OK, back to the bike show.
As everyone knows, the second best thing about the bike show is all the stuff to buy. Take my money away!
Unfortunately, the vendor situation this year was….well, it was a little….OK, it sucked. Helimot wasn’t even there, prompting Peter and I to wonder whether the organizers jacked up booth fees or something. We’ll try to get the story.
The one thing we did intend to buy, and did in fact buy, were custom earplugs. I used to have two pair: a normal custom pair and one with built-in speakers and a cord to plug into the iPod. Sadly, the former were thrown away in Chetwynd, British Columbia, by an overzealous waitress, so I needed a replacement. Peter also finally decided to drink the custom earplug koolaid after listening to me rave about them for two years now.
Like last year, we went to the Ear Defenders/WK Baker Co. booth (Eardefenders@aol.com; 685 Parkhill Rd, Santa Margarita, CA). Their prices are good ($45), they’re friendly, and the product is excellent. Since you’re all dying of curiousity: mine are hot pink and bright blue swirl; Peter’s are bright blue and bright green swirl. I wore mine to sleep last night (I’m a really light sleeper and frequently sleep with earplugs) and on a ride this morning, and they’re wonderful earplugs as always.
Along with the earplugs, Peter picked up a pair of throat microphones for us to try. We’re always looking for communications devices that’ll work with our Motorola Talkabouts. So far the only snag is that my neck is too small. Of all the physical inadequecies that I could possibly dream up, I never quite figured one might be having a tiny neck. The mic works by being pressed right up against the larynx (it’s triggered by the vibrations of talking, so road noise won’t trigger the voice-activation), and sadly, the metal piece that wraps around my neck is too long. So we’ll have to do some surgery on that before it’ll work perfectly. Ah well — another project! FYI, the contact person for the throat mics is Marilyn Navia at Now Hear This (firstname.lastname@example.org).
The show had the usual selection of bike-themed T-shirts, various cleaning products, a few stuntah DVDs (though far fewer than in previous years), Gerbing, etc.
I was completely enthralled with the guy giving demos at the Super Shammy booth, and stayed and watched three demos in a row. Most of our friends wandered by, took one look at me, and quickly wandered away again. Barb, however, took one look and joined me in the trance of the Super Shammy. Peter and Brian tolerated us very well, and in the end, we all went in together on the purchase of a Super Shammy multi pack.
Ah, saving the best for last. I remember the first year Peter and I went to the bike show; I don’t think we saw a single other person we knew. The second year, I think we bumped into a guy I knew from MC-USA.com, and of course, Tony and Stephanie. In 2002, we saw Fred and Diana, and a couple of Sport-Touring.net people. Last year, a few people we didn’t know came up to us saying “you must be Peter and Carolyn! I read the bike journal!”.
This year — I am not making this up — this year, I had people come up to me before we’d even gotten through the entryway. We had tickets in our hands for 15 seconds before I bumped into the first Guy I Sort Of Knew From Some Place Or Another, which sort of set the theme for the entire day. Poor Peter stood around and listened to me talk a lot.
Let’s see, I already mentioned that we were there with Tony and Steph (naturally) and Deb and Ben.
We bumped into quite a few Wind Dancers, including Barb and Brian, Jodie, Leslie, June’s husband Mark (whom I embarrasingly did not recognize) and Jenny. Leslie gave me some of her business cards to hand out, which I promptly forgot all about, so hopefully advertising her new touring venture here is close enough: it’s called Hug the Curve, and from what I’ve heard, it sounds like a ton of fun. Leslie is good people, and anything she throws her time and energy into has got to kick all kinds of ass.
There was also a nice ST.n contingency this year; we quickly bumped into Jim (TheExplorer), Gil (Dr. Gil), Chris (naked_sv), and Chris’s girlfriend (Liz, I think?). Everyone teased Peter for letting me go off on my own to ride with these obvious hooligans, and I think he felt shamed enough to agree to attend November’s monthly Bay Area dinner. 😉 I was hoping Gil’s wife Becky (Beck-Zuki, a fine and glorious ST.n name) would be there, too, but alas, it was her turn to stay home. She has a red ’01 SVS too…ah, here’s a picture.
When we wandered into Ducati’s Monster exhibit, I was looking at one of the bikes when I heard someone mentioning my ST.n shirt. I looked up, and saw Gary Eagan. Yes, Gary Eagan! Holy crap, was I a fanboy. I have no idea how long I stood there, forcing poor Mr Eagan to talk to me — we chatted about Alaska, mostly; the road conditions, the heat wave (he missed it by a week, the lucky devil), the animals. We talked about the Iron Butt, about Ducatis, about sport touring. The guy is super friendly, super funny, and super approachable. And, hey, he said if I was ever interested in going back to Alaska, he’d tag along. Poor Gary — I would totally hunt him down and take him up on that. 😉
I finally mustered up the willpower to leave Gary Eagan alone, and had walked about five feet when I bumped into Stacey, a wonderful fellow SVS rider whom I’ve met through about three different avenues (first at the Wind Dancers Gold Wing skills practice, then on ST.n, and finally through Friction Zone, where she works). She told me all about her suspension upgrades that Phil at Aftershocks had done to her SVS, and it’s got me pretty tempted. More on that later.
Let’s see…who else did we talk to…we saw Creech working the AFM racing booth, and thanks to the magic of the hiptop, I could IM Cat to tell her Creech said hello, and then she IMed back to say hi to him. Aww.
I chatted with Michel at the Road Runner magazine booth, and was completely shocked that he remembered me from last year. “You still have the blue hair!” he said, which, OK, yeah, I guess people tend to remember that. If you don’t have a subscription to Road Runner, and you like touring — which, of course you do — go subscribe. Right now. It’s that good a magazine. And I’m not just saying that because I want them to eventually accept one of my queries. Really.
Speaking of writing, I met Ted Simon once again at the CityBike booth, and finally got him to sign one of his books for me. I’d actually met him last year, too, and had forgotten to bring my book for him to sign; well, honestly, I forgot again this year, too, but I bought a second copy at the show just so he could sign it. This made the poor guy a little flustered — “this seems a bit excessive!” — but, hey, Ted Simon’s autograph. He signed it, “And so at last, after years of trying: To Carolyn – Ted Simon”, which I think is absolutely wonderful. 🙂
Have you read Ted Simon’s books? Go do that as soon as you’re finished subscribing to Road Runner.
OK, I think that’s it, not that anyone is still reading this. Go read those books. 🙂