Bike Demos should really be called "Drinking Beers and Riding Bikes in Beautiful Places".... because that more accurately describes what goes on at these events.
Last Sunday I went out to McDowell Mountain Regional Park for Specialized's Demo - they had road, cyclocross and mountain bikes for people to try. PLUS FREE BEER AND BURGERS. It was seriously the BEST way to spend a Sunday afternoon.
For those that have never been to one, a bike "demo" is when a cycling brand (like Specialized or Trek) and/or local bike shop haul all their awesome bikes out for people to test-ride for free. Usually they do this to promote new fleets, at the beginning or race season, or in conjunction with some other major race or event. Basically, bike demos are a GREAT way to test out a bike you're considering purchasing, or, if you're like me and don't even own a MTB, take advantage of a free ride out in the desert (or other lovely landscape near you)!
Here's how it works: typically you sign a waiver and give your ID to a representative. A trained mechanic will do a quick fit on the bike of you choice, and then you are off to the trails! Since I am a totally noob on the MTB and was super scared, Landis Cyclery paired me up with on of their awesome (and patient!) representatives who rode the trail with me, calling out dangerous cacti and gravelly turns - so THANKS, MIKE for getting me safely through the course!!! (If you're like me, and a newbie who needs some help, I'm sure the representatives at your demo will help pair you up with a more experienced rider to escort you through the trails of riding a new bike!)
I've been told that the "corporate culture" of each bike company and local bike shops will influence the structure and spirit of a bike demo. The Specialized Demo, I felt, was communal, fun and laid back with music, food, kids and dogs - but I've been told that the Trek Demo this coming weekend (also at McDowell Mountain Regional Park, with Landis) is known for being even more laid back and fun!
With Spring upon us, bike demos will be popping up all over the place, so if you're considering attending, here's what you should know:
How to Find A Demo Near You:
- Check websites of brands you're interested in: Specialized, for example, lists their upcoming events all over the country
- Ask your local bike shop (or check their Facebook or website), because they usually provide mechanical support for these events and know all the deets about upcoming demos. Click here for Landis Cyclery's calendar
What to Bring:
- Drivers Licence/ID (they ask for this in trade for riding the bike, along with signing a waiver)
- helmet (you must provide your own in order to ride)
- pedals (if you don't have pedals, typically there are extras lying around, but it's recommended you bring your own)
- water bottle, gloves, sunscreen, any other gear you may need
- $10 cash for parking and tipping the cooks!
- Bring the Kids and Pup- these events are family-friendly and an AWESOME family outing