I’ve been riding bikes since I was a wee lad and continue to cycle Taipei on a single-speed beater. I love that so many of the world’s bikes and bike parts (like everything in the world) are Taiwanese made or designed, so I jumped on the chance to check the Taipei Cycle Show out this morning, which is currently on exhibit at the Nangang Exhibition Center and will be open to the public tomorrow (3/7) and tomorrow only.
If you’re in to bicycles, I suggest you check it out. Admission for general public will be NT$200. Don’t miss the outdoor areas, where you can test dozens of bikes you wouldn’t otherwise have an opportunity to ride so freely (but get there early as I suspect crowds will be an issue). Here are five things I learned today:
1. The line between bicycle, moped, scooter, and motorcycle is getting blurrier
A trend among manufacturers is the battery-assisted bike. The battery and motor units are becoming less conspicuous and come in a variety of sizes for different ranges and charge times. Some have pedals, while some have done away with the pedals altogether, allowing for radically different frame structures and bike stylings. So, what exactly is a bicycle anymore? If it sorta looks like a bike but doesn’t have pedals, is it an electric scooter?
I tested a couple of these out, and man they are fun. Some have a motor that kicks in just a bit as you pedal, while others are all motor-powered. Some even have variable assistance. I asked Jason McCarter of Chapel Hill-based Nashbar if he saw these becoming a big thing in the States. “Yes and no,” he replied, “a lot of it depends on the infrastructure of the cities that people live in. The more bike lanes there are, the more likely people will take to those bikes to commute.” I could see these bikes becoming a hit in hilly and eco-conscious cities (San Francisco, Boulder, and Pittsburgh come to mind).
2. Bicycles in general are getting really good
The quality to dollar ratio in the bicycle market these days is outstanding, and is probably only going to get better. Not only have our options increased, but the engineering is getting better, materials are improving, and bikes are getting lighter. Some new cycles look to have come straight from outer space (in a good way); I would love to be in the market right now.
3. Booth babes are not as present at a bike show
Different crowd, I suppose. Bicycling is an activity that takes place outdoors, a location largely unfamiliar to the Computex otaku. So, the girls stay home.
4. A lot more thought goes into bike building than I can appreciate
I saw entire booths dedicated to the latest and greatest in the unrecognizable miscellany of bicycle building. I don’t know what your company does, but your parts look cool. Rock on, man.
5. Keep the damn glass clean
I don’t care how great your parts are, if it’s behind smudged, dusty, or dirty glass, I’m instinctively going to walk right on by. Minimal levels of attention to your display’s lighting and cleanliness go a long way in adding to booth aura, which has a funny effect on the chances that a man speaking Italian will be sitting at your little table, eating from your little candy dish.
Enjoy the bike porn – captions and spacing are a bit fussy at the moment, I’ll fix them later.