The forecast on Friday was for an unseasonal nor’easter to slam the Philly area sometime on Saturday. I didn’t believe it. I directed traffic on tiny Ranstead Street alongside the Armory (um, how do you turn a 48ft race trailer being pulled by a pickup truck, Cooper Bikes?) and greeted the exhibitors as they arrived with their products. It was a comfortable late October day and the iron-gray sky didn’t frighten me.
Everyone had a blast at the post-setup party hosted by Brooks England at the Armory and then it was off to bed to get ready for show opening the next morning. Overnight it drizzled and by mid morning it was raining. Shuttling between the show hall and the Unitarian Church where some of the seminars (and the fashion show) were to be held, I was glad to be wearing my cold weather gear and snow boots, but despite the fact that there were flakes of that wet white stuff falling, attendance seemed about the same, if not better than last year. I had no idea that outside the small and warmer circle of Center City Philadelphia, up to 4 inches of slush was enveloping the area and thousands were without power.
I have to thank the stalwart souls who braved the storm to attend day one of the 2011 Philly Bike Expo and all the exhibitors, sponsors, seminar leaders, volunteers and food vendors for not panicking and cancelling. You are all to be commended for your dedication and courage!
It was quite the contrast from the breezy Armory to the roasty-toasty Unitarian Church. We had a full house for the fashion show and the students and faculty of Philadelphia University’s Fashion Merchandising Dept. did a commendable job bringing out the runway glamour we always knew cycling apparel was capable of. Congrats to all the fashion raffle winners; there were some fantastic prizes that included bags, helmets and clothing! (Pat Gaffney, owner of 10 Bilenky bikes walked away with the majority of the prizes….I swear the raffle wasn’t rigged!) At the Saturday night after party thrown by Keswick Cycle at their new West Philly location, I placed only a couple MPH behind in the goldsprints! Coulda beat you, Isis Shiffer, if I hadn’t fallen off my training schedule!
Day two, Sunday, was sunny. Yay! It was as if the wintery precipitation of Saturday had truly never been. Sunday usually sees a drop in attendance, but this time (thank-you, Mother Nature!) it was the reverse. Deva Black-Regan, in her adorable rainbow-knitted hat, checked wristbands at the side door all day- sending those without the requisite purple, yellow, or orange identifiers around to the front entrance. (There was only one tricksy potential gatecrasher with a story.) When asked if she’d like to take a break, Deva said, “No, I’m good. I’m meeting so many cute guys!”
The Zombiecat was rescheduled from late Saturday afternoon to Sunday noon. And the winner won a Girl.Bike.Dog messenger bag with brains on it. I must say I sampled some tasty eats from all four of the food trucks during the course of the weekend. Their tantalizing aromas wafted in and were impossible to resist. I have to make special note of the breakfast taco from Honest Tom’s, the veggie slider and tater tots from Chewy’s, King Kabob’s steak kabob, and the mac & cheese and greens from GiGi’s Caribbean Soul Food. (What was that yummy flavor in the greens? I have a sneaking suspicion it was not vegetarian!) As a show coordinator, I now have 4 shows under my belt. I know more about the ins and outs of this segment of the bike world than ever before. I think I’m almost ready to write a book!
Exhausted after breaking down the show and saying goodbye to the last of the loading-out exhibitors, I faced a four hour drive home and therefore had to miss the final and impromptu afterparty. Who was there? If you were, let me know. I want to hear all about it!