PDF goes to Interbike
By Anna Maria Diaz-Balart
This was our first year attending North America’s biggest cycling industry convention. I’ll admit, things didn’t start off on the right foot, but after a week in Vegas, we returned home really excited about women’s cycling in 2016. Here’s our list of favorite things, in no particular order. These things made Interbike great, and might make your next year in the saddle even better.
Riemann P20 SPF 50 spray: Ok so this one is tricky. It was not available at Interbike because it’s not for sale in the United States yet, but it’s easily acquired from sites like Amazon. For any cyclist that has struggled with constantly reapplying sunscreen on rides and wants to protect their skin from sun damage, P20 is an absolute must. It is waterproof and lasts 10 hours. That is correct. All day long, even when you sweat or go in the water. We wore this sunscreen during both days of Outdoor Demo. In the punishing Nevada sun, a single application provided an entire day of sun protection. No sunburn, no tan, totally amazing. We realize a lot of factors go into choosing a sunscreen, and this one may not be for everyone. For instance the spray version has alcohol in it. But for the majority of cyclists not wanting to broil their skin in the sun for years of their life, this is a life changing product.
Reflectivity Everywhere: Millions of tiny reflective points giving the impression of an elevated Swiss Dot, or in many cases appearing as a textured black, that come to life in a huge way when exposed to car headlights. The Sugoi Zap Jacket, the Nighttime High Visibility fabric that Ortleib has used throughout their collections, it’s clear that a safety Black is here to stay. Pearl Izumi is elevating the entire conversation with Bio Viz, carefully placed reflectivity that highlights cyclists motion for visibility to drivers, and by setting a standard for visibility at a distance. Perfect for touring, urban riding, and early am and late evening trainers, these megawatt fabrics are truly a cyclist’s ally. And unlike Hi Viz, these safety blacks work for fashion minimalists, folks who work in offices, and the entire population of New York City.
Mountain Bikes with 27.5+ tires: This was apparently the only thing people wanted to talk about at Interbike. We rode the Surly Instigator and loved it. Since Sea Otter, many more companies have debuted models that can run 27.5+ tires, All with much to love. Without getting too gear nerd here, 27.5+ tires allow riders to monster truck over almost anything. They are nimble and responsive, provide plenty of cushion, and could really give beginners a huge boost of confidence. And the most amazing thing is that you can likely retrofit a lot of 29er bikes, with 27.5+ tires. If you’re not super mechanically inclined, definitely get some solid advice before DIY-ing this in your living room. This article answers a ton of questions. So if your 29er is collecting dust, why not give it a try?
Turbine Nose Ring: Even though I’d seen Chris Froome sporting the yellow nose ring during the tour de france this year, we still had our doubts. Arriving at Interbike, it was easy to poke fun at all the roadies doing their best FKA Twigs at Outdoor Demo. That is, until we tried it ourselves. Mind blown. The turbine works, and unbelievably well. Not great for all day training rides, and still not totally sure if you can snot rocket, but for anyone racing cross, or a crit, the increased air is phenomenal. It is efficient, and a single pack can easily last an entire race season. There isn’t a cheaper and more effective upgrade out there. You will not be disappointed. We’ve heard that there might even be a collaboration between The Turbine and a jewelry maker. Totally on trend and increases air intake by 38%? We love it!
Textile and composite material innovation: Sorry to lump this all into one group, but there are so many in this list. The elite level women’s kit seems to have arrived at an impressive next echelon. From sculpted chamois that deaden vibration, to ultra strong, tissue thin, breathable fabric in jerseys, We were blown away by offerings from Giordana, Pearl Izumi, and Sugoi. Spectacular textiles loaded with tech, bonded seams abound, cool to the touch fabrics, virtually seamless chamois. Unfortunately overall design still falls a bit short in aesthetics. I hope teams doing custom orders take full advantage of these amazing innovations, and that we start to see brands dial in trends and elevate the overall look. With fabric this good, women deserve to look great! My hope is to see limited edition collaborations come to fruition in the next few seasons. A Machines for Freedom + Specialized kit? Perhaps a Ten Speed Hero + Sugoi kit? Just go ahead and open a pre-order!
Electric Bikes. Much maligned, way over priced, and agitator to many a commuter, e-bikes are really only starting to have their moment. I think it’s absolutely key to start conversations now, because the horse is literally out of the gate. Having never tried one, I was determined to give it a shot at Outdoor Demo. Much to my disappointment and horror, they are really, really fun, and feel exactly like riding a bike. I can envision them as perfect fits for commuting parents with heavy loads, for cyclists returning from injury or illness, as a way to bring in greater numbers to a culture that not about cars and about experiencing the outdoors. But it’s also vital that we start talking now about how e-bikes fit into MTB trails and on crowded commuter lanes in cities. They are fast and powerful, and getting cheaper by the day. They are almost visually indistinguishable from standard bikes, the time for action is now.
#sockgate. For a small women’s cycling blog, this wasn’t exactly how we’d planned on introducing ourselves to our peers at Interbike, but right on the heels of the Chrome debacle, it was really disheartening to find the sock in the welcome goodie bag. We posted, and then watched the issue come alive. It definitely made some booth interactions really awkward, and many things heard in passing were really disappointing. But overall we couldn’t be happier to see how it played out. Nearly 90,000 people saw our post, Interbike reacted swiftly and removed the sock from the bag, Amanda Batty, Glamour Magazine and Surly posted powerful and inspiring responses. The story was picked up by Bike Rumor and seems to be trickling into blogs and casual conversations far beyond the trade show floor. For the most part it’s been inspiring to hear all the intelligent, heartfelt conversation. But there are still so many people dismissing the controversy, and belittling the lived experience of women who ride bikes. There is still so much work to be done. The silver-lining to the whole #sockgate debacle has clearly been the launch of the 'Batty Cat' sock. Inspired by Amanda Batty, Defeet created an irreverent sock, 100% of the proceeds of the sale go directly to Little Bellas, an organization dedicated to get young women into mountain biking. We think that's pretty awesome!