So long, 2016.

Photo: Stephen Lam/ element.ly

It’s that time of the year, again.

That’s right, yearend recap time.

Luckily, for you, mine is short and sweet.

And might I add, Happy Holidays, to each and everyone one of you.

  • Never mix regular brake pads with Mavic Exalith rims. The squeal will be so loud as to bring tears to your eyes and you will find yourself shedding riding partners like a Saint Bernard in Spring.
  • I know flouro colors are the “in” thing,  but there IS such a thing as wearing too much flouro. Remember kids, a little goes a long, long way.
  • I can’t recall having so many cyclists I know being diagnosed with heart-related problems. Jim even died but came back to tell us his story. Do the annual check up and listen to your body, people. It’s okay to take it easy.
  • I read a piece a while back where a writer complained about the over-saturation of logos on bikes. Well, same thing should apply to cycling clothing. I’m happy to have some logos for shoutouts, brand identity or to add a certain je ne sais quoi, but come on. Slapping on a bunch of logos everywhere is not going to make a pair of bibs ride better, but it will make you look like a tacky moving billboard. Less is more, get it? Kudos to Kitsbow and Ornot for getting it right.
  • Doping is not going away. Is it? Could it, please, go away? As for micro-doping/TUE/motor-doping/mechanical fraud, honestly we don’t need to refer to the AP Stylebook or create another industry category just to describe what is commonly known as cheating. Cheating is cheating.
  • I don’t care how awesome your company’s new bike/component is, it’s a guarantee you will lose me if your site has embedded music or a video which auto-starts upon arrival. I will click it if I’m interested, but it’s midnight here and that happy launch video of yours has just aggressively awoken my toddler. I hate you.
  • Don’t forget to buy an awesome set of screwdrivers. I know, it’s easy to turn our attention to cool tools like a Crombie tool or them Usag T-handle hex keys, all the while using shitty screwdrivers to adjust your high-end, battery-powered derailleur (or chores around the house for that matter). Get a good set. You won’t regret this decision, like will the fluoro skinsuit.
  • Out of all the bottle openers I’ve been given from shows and meetings this year, I absolutely love the one from Paul Component. Meticulously CNCed and gorgeously anodized out of Chico, California, this opener is straight up badass. So much so that I am torn as to whether to leave it in my tool box (it doubles as a 15mm open end wrench/rotor truing tool) or in my kitchen. These are the types of tough decision I am willing to wrestle with during the Holidays.
  • Strava KOM/QOM: Yo! You just did an hour ride at an average speed of 60mph? Bro, you should land that ProTour contract and race the Tour. Or, at least, the Giro. Let’s just all be honest for a second and relax about the KOM/QOM hunting. Shall we?
  • Group ride: Do not, I repeat, do not sprint to the front of the pack and ask everyone to stop for a flat. Especially, after the front just turned up the heat and started ripping up the road.
  • Pro tip: Being courteous on the road/trail goes a long way. Be courteous out there.
  • It’s been fun writing/shooting for Element.ly this year. It is a struggle at times and a thorough and thoughtful review takes much longer than I would have ever imagined. As a relative noob in this business I’m indebted to the many helpful people in the bicycle industry who have welcomed me with open arms and showed me the ropes along the way. It’s been quite a ride, a breath of fresh air from the photography world, and I can’t wait to see what rolls my way in 2017.

Relive InterBike

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Welcome to InterBike 2016! Photo: Stephen Lam/element.ly

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PURPLE PURPLE MORE PURPLE PLEASE Photo: Stephen Lam/element.ly

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Everyone seems to be making their own cycling computers these days but one thing that caught my attention about this Stages Dash computer is its claim of 30-hour battery life. Hey, you can now record your entire 24 hr bike race in one charge! Photo: Stephen Lam/element.ly

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Shouldn't this fall under the e-motorcycle category? Photo: Stephen Lam/element.ly

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Otso Voytek got a good buzz throughout the show. Carbon frame that can take 27.5+ or 29+ AND up to 26 x 4.6” tires on 70 mm rims? Sign me up. Photo: Stephen Lam/element.ly

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Lightweight's amazingly light Meilenstein has finally gone disc. The Meilenstein C Disc is a thing of beauty but was a bit disappointed to find out the rim width is still 20mm external and 17.8mm internal. photo: Stephen Lam/ element.ly

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Giro's Factor Techlace sure looked different but it made a lot of sense after checking it out at the booth. Photo: Stephen Lam/element.ly

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I have to admit I was drawn to the Orbea booth by the dazzle paint job on this prototype Terra gravel bike. Looks even better in person. photo: Stephen Lam/ element.ly

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A 3D-printed Syntace FlatForce stem and a real Syntace FlatForce stem photo: Stephen Lam/ element.ly

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Let's admit it, skinsuit is a pain to put on. But Giordana might have an answer with their Quick On zippered suit system. More aero than a bib/jersey combo but easier and more versatile than a traditional skinsuit. photo: Stephen Lam/ element.ly

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Dario Pergoretti's paint work never ceases to impress and this Responsorium in Ravenna finish is just so fresh. photo: Stephen Lam/ element.ly

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Just can't get enough of this 3T Exploro. photo: Stephen Lam/ element.ly

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Slovenia-based Unior tools might not be a household brand here in the States, but they've been around since 1919 and chances are you will see the tools a lot more in the States this coming year. photo: Stephen Lam/element.ly

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Australia-based Knog brought their newest Oi bell to Interbike. It's dramatically different than one's image of a bell, but it's an interesting take just like their line of LED blinker lights. photo: Stephen Lam/ element.ly

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Old-school-esque e-bike, anyone? photo: Stephen Lam/ element.ly

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Poor tire, its one and only job is just to be poked. Photo: Stephen Lam/element.ly

We had a glitch on the site in the days after InterBike, so this post is way past due but the unplanned slow down also meant more time to relive this year’s InterBike

While the gallery above is going to highlight all the fun stuff… Below are the observations from the show floor.

– First, the appointments. I got smart this year and did a bunch of appointments in advance to check out offerings from various brands. So my InterBike was more structured, with shots of adrenaline from random drive-bys to booths I didn’t know much about.

– The buzz I kept hearing was “it’s pretty quiet this year.” Well, that was true. The show was smaller than last year’s. I honestly could have just spent a day there. One industry veteran commented on how he/she was checking out people’s badges and noticed there weren’t as many buyers at the show as there used to be, and he/she would be pretty pissed if they got a booth… All about the ROI, guys.

– On the outskirts of the show floor was arguably where the fun was… I got a pitch about a solar USB charger stating “looks like you can use one of those” during day one. At the other end of the hall was also a booth that sells handheld electric massage devices. The massage device booth definitely saw an uptake in traffic on Thursday, possibly due to the walking from day one on the floor + CrossVegas hangover collab.

It's true. Someone tried to sell me this solar usb charger during the show. Photo:Stephen Lam/ element.ly

Really thought the days of scantily-clad booth women were a thing of past. But I was wrong. I mean, okay, sex (allegedly) sells. But wouldn’t money be better spent on making a better product instead of having models promoting shitty products (and offending the female attendees while at it)?

Amount of broken arms/legs: It dawned on me during day two that there were quite a few people in slings/braces. Guess adventure shows must have a few of those around. As one rep put it “they’re getting after it”.

Reception of e-Bike: Last year was all about e-bike bashing and all of a sudden e-bikes are the future this year.

Photo: Stephen Lam/element.ly

The international aisle. Probably the quieter, less buzz sections but everyone there was pretty cool to talk to (knowing Mandarin and Cantonese definitely helped) and they really deserve more recognition for their efforts of travelling across the globe to Las Vegas to showcase their products, whether it’s the gazillion lights, matte carbon fiber parts, or aluminum parts in all the imaginable anodized colors one can possibly dream of.

Three spokes, five spokes, no spoke, the international isle have got you covered. photo: Stephen Lam/ element.ly

Best snack from the show: Vanilla Ice Cream at the Skratch booth made with their new recovery drink mix. Not only was the line 4,000 times shorter than the Starbucks line outside but it was also freaking delicious. Way different than the typical “come by our booth for free booze” hook too.

Last thing I did at the show: tried an e-bike at the rep’s prudent suggestion, only to make it 30 plus feet before a security guard rolled up and warned “no biking on the show floor”. Returned the bike to the booth, walked down the aisle, and was greeted by two bros zipping past on motorized scooters.