It's often held in Montreal, so is a bit out of the way just to drop in, but this year was at the CNE grounds in Toronto, so was more accessible.
This is not a full spectrum event -- there wasn't a cargo bike to be seen -- and was aimed largely at mainstream retailers. Sessions like, "New Tools, New Tactics for Connecting with Your Bike Shop Customers" and "How to Find, Hire and Train a Team of Retail Superstars" give you an idea what ExpoCycle is all about.
Fans of Your Friendly Local Bicycle Shop might be alarmed by the session titled: "Are We Going the Way of the Book and Comic Industries or Can We Shape a Better Future?" Comic store operators will be pleased, I'm sure, to know that bike shop owners don't want to end up like "them."
And while the parking lot outside the venue was full, the bicycle valet service run by the Toronto Cyclists Union was a bit quiet. Sort of disappointing, but the weather was threatening.
Having said all that, ain't it great to be drowning in bicycles and bicycle gear? Shimano, Marin, Brodie, Norco, Surly, Rocky Mountain... Here are some highlights:
These monster tires from Surly attracted a lot of attention. There were people waiting to give the bike a buzz around the convention floor.
The people at Nutcase always make me laugh. Here's their "egg-carton" display for their new helmet-matching bike bells. And for those who recall my lament about the lack of a Canada Flag Nutcase helmet, I've been assured that they will be available next year.
The old "Model T Ford" approach (You can have any colour you want, as long as it's black) to bicycle accessories seems finally to have been put to rest with the last holdout -- the ubiquitous black bicycle lock -- being replaced by candy-coloured locks of all types.
Of course, I had to spend some time at the Brooks shrine, paying homage to the best bicycle saddles in the world. Felt a bit strange to see that candy-colours have invaded this heretofore sacred ground.
That shock was offset by the presence of the limited edition B17 Select 2012 World Traveller saddle. Only 250 of these, as displayed here by Brooks rep Carol Gibbs, were available in North America, out of a total of 2,012 made to mark the Summer Olympics.
Made from select hides taken from organically bred cattle raised in northern Sweden, where the cold climate results in tougher hides. And the cattle never had an angry thought...
The Brooks people say there are still a few saddles at Canadian retailers. You might ask around. And Brooks has held a few back. MSRP is $290.
Not a swag fest, although I did snag a Timbuk2 messenger bag for a $40 donation. I grabbed lots of catalogues and ideas about where cycling is going. More on that in a later post.