I know I should have posted this on Saturday, but I’ve been too busy enjoying the freedom.
Das Boot is History!
I went to see the physio-therapist on Friday and after talking for a while about what my doctor said on Thursday the decision was made to go ahead and loose Das Boot. She warned me not to over do it, wear really solid footwear, and put the boot back on for a while if I feel the foot getting weary or sore. Makes sense doesn’t it.
So what’s the first thing you do when your foot is out of a cast for the first time in almost three months? Go to the Toronto International Bicycle Show of course!
Late Friday night my brother Alex called me and reminded me that the show was on this past weekend. So Saturday after band rehearsal we headed down to see what there was to see. It was really a great afternoon. Since both of us have fairly busy schedules we don’t get a lot of time together and so it was definitely good to have the time to spend just talking back and forth, sharing a Tim’s, just hanging together for a while. It’s like the commercial says,
Lunch at Tim Hortons – $10
Tickets to the Bicycle show – $13
Spending time with my brother – Priceless!
That said however, the show itself left me less than fulfilled. I don’t know where the Toronto show fits on the bicycle equipment manufacturers schedule, but I’m willing to bet it’s a way down the list of “places we have to be”. I was very disappointed in the low turn out from the big bike and accessories players. The vast majority of the booths were local bike shops, and while I don’t begrudge them the chance to increase their public face, what I was hoping to see was a showcase of the newest and best innovations in the development of cycling gear. The stuff was there, but you had to worm your way past the bikes they wanted off the shop floor to find it.
Now, don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying that it was a waste of time or money – it wasn’t. There were a few things that really impressed me. Shimano had a great display, and Thule was very well presented, but there were few other large manufacturers. The Trek display was just the local dealer with a large rack of bikes. I should have suspected it when the event was advertised as being sponsored by Shimano. So basically, it would appear they were able to buy out the show. They sponsored the BMX demos and the like so I guess they owned it. At least, it certainly looked that way to me.
The problem is, it’s not just the bike show. In Toronto, this is increasingly the case with trade shows aimed at the buying public. It is no longer about building the dream, pushing the envelope, trying to out perform the competition in who can put on the more impressive display. It’s only about holding the flea market. Which in and of itself is not a bad thing, but even in this I saw very little that I could not have acquired for a similar price at my local bike shop.
I realize some will accuse me of being over nostalgic here, but I remember going to these kind of shows when I was younger and the understanding was that the purpose was to inspire me to dream. I would get a chance to see in person all the great stuff I’d only seen in magazines. I could touch it, feel it, smell it; it was an experience in of of itself going to these shows. Not so much anymore. Now the Toronto shows feel more like a trip to a discount mall, only not as appealing.
I will give credit where it is do however; as usual Gears Bike Shop in Mississauga did a great job. Their display rivaled even that of Shimano. But most importantly, unlike many other vendors at the show they didn’t have the elitist air about that that seems to permeate cycling culture here in North America. I’m happy to report they treated this over-weight, hobbling on a crutch to protect my ankle, 50-something with as much respect and dignity as I could hope to be treated anywhere. In too many of the booths I was greeted with the usual enthusiastic indifference. Not so at Gears, I felt like they were just as interested in helping me as anyone else, and when the subject of my injury came up they even had a few moments for that as well. Well Done!
Another thing that I was surprised to see was not only a number of Guelph venders (WIKE Trailers for example) but also the city of Guelph itself, promoting the Royal City as a bicycle friendly place to live. They had a great display, right at the entrance, decked out with a European style cargo bike, banners, decals, maps, and plenty of information on the initiatives Guelph has in place to promote increased cycling infrastructure. I felt more than just a little proud.
All in all, it was an acceptable afternoon. Alex picked up a few things for his three-wheeled recumbant, I met a friend or two and had a chance to get out and about for the first time in nearly three months. Spring is in the air, and if my achilles tendon continues to cooperate I hope to be on my bike by the end of April.
So keep a good thought and if you have not already done so, click on the banner at right and sponsor either myself or one of the other members of Team Kortright in the Ride to Conquer Cancer.