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Sunday, March 25, 2012

Smoothies, Helmets, and Trail Maps - Oh My: Pittsburgh Bike Expo

9 months until Christmas. Just Saying.

Attended the Pittsburgh Bike Expo today with M. and I'm really glad I went. It was a much bigger event than I anticipated, the parking lot at the hotel was quite full, and it was a good event.

Although many of the displays were worthwhile, very few were arresting or completely novel (that's hard to come by) but one local bike shop did well with a trainer kludged up to a blender and letting people hop on to make smoothies, that was pretty cool.

Local bike shops were well represented, and what really pleased me was that businesses and representatives from outlying trails came in to town for the Expo - B&Bs from along the Great Allegheny Passage, lodges in Maryland, etc.

There were reps there from Lizard Head Cycling Guides (more), for instance, very cool and I never would have gotten to see them and what they do if they hadn't come out.

Mary Shaw and Roy Weil were there, and they had "final draft" 2012 versions of their famous "Linking Up" planning guide for the DC-Pittsburgh bike trip that they were selling, I was fortunate to have Herself autograph mine.

There were several regional trail groups there that I've been interested in but haven't been able to find info about - the Butler-Freeport Trail, the Red Bank Valley Trails, and the Ghost Town, Hoodlebug and West Penn Trails, and the Armstrong Trail, and they all had newly updated maps and I may just have a fetish about bike trail maps.

These are the current "open" sections of those trails, and to me it looks like with a little bit of on-the-road connect the dots, you could build some interesting long trips out there:

I was very pleased to see Fiks: Reflective, a Pittsburgh startup funded via Kickstarter that produces reflective wheel rim strips. I bought a set for two of my bikes, I think they'll be effective.

Bandbox was there presenting hats that are actually helmets, or helmets that look like hats, take your pick. It really looked like a boutique hat display and not at all like a rack of helmets. I think they get their market (and it's not me, btw) because they'll do things like mix/match strap colors to match the customer's hair, etc. If there is a term for a female Fred, that would be their spokesperson.

It was a very good Bike Expo.

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