Thank you Hannah Clarke

Thank you Hannah Clarke

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Every body deserves a shoe that fits well!

It's that time of year again! The bike show! yay! Basically like Christmas time to the mass hoards of cyclists, triathletes, and unfortunately those freaky recumbent people (yep there are indeed people out there that want to sit back and relax with a backrest and everything on a bike. bunch of freaking junkies). I started working at the bike show last year, it is a 3 day event some building at the Exhibition Centre in Toronto where new stuff is put on display, products are marketed, and shops set up booths. As I am currently suffering one of my once a semester "I'm way to broke to exist" portions of life, the bike show is a good idea, whether you're going to pay me in money or just cut out the middle man and give me stuff for my bikes-it helps.
Weekend started off with me on the way to Toronto with my buddy Alex and his buddy Chris, we got there, I snuck them in through the exhibitor entrance and that's it-all is good. Cycle Solutions brought the heavy ammunition for the show-a couple of commuter bikes, maybe 3 mountain bikes worth less than $1000, and everything else up to $7000. These guys were drooling checking out the stuff, and I got to act like a bigshot, proud to be involved in "the business".
Day one I was reminded that as a bike racer (not a real salesman) I would get the shaft for jobs-this meant selling shoes. I'm particularly good at selling shoes it turns out, and I think that's because I live far enough from my sponsors that I have to order stuff sight unseen and hope for the best. Of course shoes are almost impossible to do this with (sizing differences, I'm a 10.5..what's that in European?), so distinctly remember ordering some sweet shoes, them being too big, and an extremely disappointed naive 18 year old Chris, wanting to keep my shoes that were too big for me, and being told that apparently shoes that fit are important in cycling. So you can see why I might get excited about someone finding a shoe that fits well?
Everybody deserves a proper fitting shoe. And an excited guy selling you shoes is pretty disarming I guess. 
Had a funny exchange though-

"Hey can I help you find a size? What kind of cycling do you do?"
"Oh we're recumbent cyclists!"
"Oh..."[walks away]

So I sold lots of shoes, but eventually wandered over to the bikes. I also get very excited about people getting new bikes! Everybody should have a sweet bike! If everybody had the same bikes, races would be more interesting,t and the sport would be a lot less exclusive (people buying bikes-that's what pays for me to rock out on my stuff too right?).
There was an inevitable process to me selling bikes though. I try to help, and to answer questions, but I'll almost always get caught at something. It's like this:
"What about ______?"
"Uhhhh...hmmmm....I'm guessing that ______ but I'm just a racer for these guys, I'll get find out though!"
"WAIT! You race for Cycle Solutions?" (this is where they realize I'm not trying to get their money, and Cycle Solutions looks good for sponsoring young kids)
"What do you race on?"(Now I get excited to hype up my stuff!)
"Yeah check this out!"

That little exchange sells bikes, and really impresses the bosses that the meathead racer can sell bikes. promotion! 

I didn't pack anything for the show really, 4 pairs of underwear, 1 shirt, and my birkenstocks (yeah I know eh? almost as bad as lunch the other day-a can of tuna and an old grapefruit from under the bed). So I had to be resourceful for food! Of Paramount importance to the weekend was the Powerbar booth (milkshakes, granola type things, and winegummy things!), the Gears booth with their scones (I was fiending for those things!), and this wicked booth of all natural granola bars (they told me to buy my own case though...).
On my foraging walks through the show, I came across quite the bike:
Pretty eh? $20,000 pricetag.
Whaaaa? $20,000? Well damn, that's some serious tuition money. Heck I could get a nice car for that! 
After staring with my jaw down at this specimen I moved on (you can see the wheel of the next bike to the right).
Besides looking like a transformer, this one is $28,000.
Okay. Seriously? I would LOVE if one day I have a car worth that much! If you can afford this bike, I think you should give back to the cycling community! Sponsor some races, youth development, or hey, this blood doping thing is expensive, wanna help me out? (seriously kidding. I will NEVER take performance enhancing drugs. I have been through too much to cheat. I'm proving to myself and to the world that I can ride a bike, drugs make a mockery of real athletes, dopers suck. They are not at all the people they try to look like they are, and when confronted with problems they take the shortcuts.).  Back to the bike! This badboy shifts with the press of a button, had a ribbed aerodynamic downtube, a wheel with a $2500 pricetag on it, and let's face it-I look good riding something that's Italian and the blue goes with my kit (bike term for skin tight spandex outfit).
Next was probably the funniest finding of the show. Roadies are, as I have been told by a British guy "A bunch of wankers". They obsess over brands and the weight of their bike. OBSESS over it. (Lighter is better)

The next big happening of the show was that a photographer came by! Roger (one of the guys who owns Cycle Solutions) quickly grabbed me for a photoshoot. I had to walk like a bit of a goof in front of some nice lighting, while holding two bikes (later to be referred to as steeds). Apparently this would get me into the newspaper.
Page 2 of the Toronto Sun. Shameless self promotion? Loving it.
While I have grown to dislike the bike show a lot, I love to be involved, and in the end it's always worth it.


  1. I missed the show due to a silly thing called a vacation. However, I need some MTB shoes, I am going to call on you to hook an uncle up!!!