The last bike show I went to in NYC was in 2003 when Montauk ride guru, Glen Goldstein was throwing them in the Armory on Lexington ave. He wanted to diversify the show from just being a bunch of brand name outfitters showing off their latest wears to something more social and embrace the outlaw NYC culture that was blossoming at the time. The last one he threw had a group ride (dare we say critical mass-don’t-ask-for permission style) mutant bikes and a DJ accompanied ride-your-bike-in-a-circle dance party, yes indoors. Glen was rewarded with his outreach by that one being the last show. They’re may have been other factors involved and definite room for improvement, but the thought to have bike show was a good idea and perhaps ahead of it’s time. It was definitely a reflection of where the biking community was at.
Now fast forward to the present and the bike show is back here in NYC. In fact we now have three of them including the Bike Expo and Grand Fondo May 20th…More about these other shows…soon. Seems like the bicycle is more mature, more accepted and definitely in fashion here in NYC. The first show, I attended last weekend, was in it’s second incarnation called the New Amsterdam bicycle show. This was put on by the advocacy group Transportation Alternatives and entertainment guide, Nypress.com and Dutch Airline company KLM, who actually embrace bicycle travel unlike the US. The New Am show had the same intentions of the past bike shows, to bring together bike organizations, culture, fashion and products under one banner, right around the kick-off to the bicycle riding season. Around 4,500 people attended the two day event which had food, a DJ,
a ton of bicycle stuff, a fashion show and guest speakers. It was held in the one level event space, west of Soho called the Skylight Soho.
My first impressions was this was a good amalgamation of where the biking culture is today in NYC. Of course the corporate name brands were there as the back bone of the industry but there were a lot of custom ETSY, style new comers, leading the charge for making biking more stylish and more fashionable. Much like the movements in Brooklyn to make homemade chocolate, beer and pickles, etc., the bicycle world is also having this kind of renaissance with individual companies making everything from lock holders, to reflective clothing and especially different styles of bags. It was also nice to see some real stewards of the bicycle culture in attendance, people who really pioneered the scene, back before the green painted bike lanes and debates about “All these damn bikes.”
I attended the event with the wife and three year old who despite the short attention span, enjoyed seeing everything and getting free stuff…what’s a trade show without schwag…right?