The fertile plains

vegas

My latest column over at Grist is about bicycling in Las Vegas.

The literal translation of Las Vegas is “fertile plains.” Looking back in light of the city’s current landscape of asphalt and gravel, the name seems tragically optimistic. But this city, like any other, has been incredibly fertile for those who were lucky, savvy, or brutal enough to take advantage of it.

The bike industry has certainly found fertile ground in Vegas. Interbike, the annual bicycle trade show — largest in North America — is there this week. As bike companies slowly shift their focus from sports to daily transportation, the staggering dissonance in thousands of industry reps (including dozens of advocates) descend upon what might be the least bike-friendly city in the nation.

I hear a lot of grumbling that Interbike should be anywhere but Vegas. But why not try the unthinkable and instead work to make Vegas a better place for bicycling? The industry reaps huge benefits and profits in that convention hall. Maybe it’s time to give something back.

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One Response to “The fertile plains”

  1. barb g September 14, 2011 at 9:27 am #

    Someone’s making money off of Interbike but lots of the small bike businesses pay dearly to be there. For vendors, the cost of a booth and booth space, paying for union labor, hotel and food expenses are nearly prohibitive. For some small shops the expense of sending staff also prohibitive. So it’s really the trade show folks and perhaps the NBDA that benefit the most. None the less, I definitely agree. Why run away from a problem; better to stay and work to fix it.

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