This was my third trip to Friedrichshafen, Germany for Eurobike, arguably the largest bike show on the planet. It is easily 3x larger than Interbike, which is in Vegas and this year, is expanding to the Mandalay Bay on the strip. Eurobike is held in the Messe, aka the convention center, which is in the same location as the Zeppelin hangar. We often see a Zeppelin taking off or landing during the show. Very cool.
I flew into Munich and picked up my car – an Audi1. Super fun car, peppy to say the least and it could hold its own on the Autobahn. Woot! Within 24 hours I had gotten a speeding ticket, I was pretty sure. There are few police patrolling the roads, instead a sign that warns you and then the flash! You’ve been busted. In my jetlag, I missed the warning sign while slowing into Heidelberg, but the flash! told me immediately that a hefty ticket would find me in a few months time. Sigh.
I do not have a booth at Eurobike, instead, my German distributor has one and he brings his eclectic and international group of companies to share the booth space. In the USED – HQ booth you can find the following brands:
Rivet (Sacramento, CA),
Yuba (Petaluma, CA),
Slidepath (Palo Alto, CA)
Allegro Bikes (Melbourne, Aus),
Po Campo (Chicago, IL),
Carradice (Nelson, UK),
Georgia from Dublin (Dublin, Ireland),
Monark (Sweden) and
Carry Freedom (Scotland and Germany).
I always arrive a few days early to help set-up. Bob and Dani (USED), rent a farmhouse and we stay in it for the duration, which is great because it is close to the Messe, and yet you feel like you get a break from the insanity of humanity that is Eurobike.
Then everyone else shows up and we populate the booth, catch up, see what’s new and talk shop, share ideas, get feedback, and oh yeah, we interact with customers. We work hard, talk to a ton of people, exchange a zillion cards and at the end of the day (or close to it), everyone seems to party hard. Fucking Hell!
Needless to say, it is overwhelming. But in a really fun way…
The first year I was at Eurobike, I took a ton of pictures, and this year I barely had time to circulate through to booths of friends that I wanted to say hello to. I was psyched to see a special character who I met last year, and who came to visit me this year. Eric B. is an avid bicycle historian and collector. When I met him last year, he told me about an all aluminum bicycle that he was building with all original parts. The bicycles were French, and most, if not all of the parts were from the 30’s or 40s and all in original condition. He had painstakingly collected each of them, and lovingly restored them. His enthusiasm and dedication to this artform was wonderful. Listening to the background on a component was a treat. His bright blue eyes would light up, and he would launch into a long story about searching for and finding the part, how rare it is etc.
This year, Eric rolled into the booth with one of his bikes. It’s an Aviac, which I have never heard of. It is all aluminum, and the only parts new on the bike is a Wipperman chain (great choice) and Grand Bois tires. I won’t describe the bike, instead, I’ll show you the photos, which of course, don’t do it justice. Eric promised me that one of the other bikes he was restoring was a Mixte. My favorite. Can’t wait to see him next year!
I took the photos with my Iphone, so they aren’t the best…but you’ll get the idea!
The show was excellent for Rivet. We made contacts that will boost our brand’s reach worldwide. People were excited to see the saddles and accompanying bags, commenting on design and comfort. During the last hour of the show, I had a run-in with a fixie crankset that garnered a trip to the hospital for a firsthand look at Germany’s healthcare system. 60 euros for stitches and x-rays (fracture!) – a deal! Each night we would end up at a lovely Greek restaurant down on the lake, talking about the day over Ouzo and platters of Greek food. Next year is already on the calendar – only 358 days to go!