Last autumn I went to the Interbike show.
Las Vegas just seems like a strange place to go
For folks for whom riding is their major vice,
Who rarely if ever play cards or shoot dice.
Most cyclists don't drink much and don't even smoke,
You'd think that it must be some odd kind of joke
For thousands of roadies and off-roaders too
To meet in a place where there's not much to do,
Not much that they like there to fill up their days,
Except to pig out at the breakfast buffets.
Most bicyclists somehow just don't quite fit in;
Las Vegas is focused too tightly on SIN.
This healthy and active, outdoorsy young gang
Seems grossly misplaced where the slots go ker-chang.
But out on the streets it's the same or much worse;
Folks stare as they ride past as though they're perverse.
No citizen cycles the Las Vegas Strip;
A tourist who does must be losing his grip –
'The very last stages of sunstroke', they think,
'Her brow is too sweaty; her cheeks are too pink.'
And why do the natives avoid riding here?
It isn't a secret; it's really quite clear.
The fauna's all scaly; the flora's all brown.
I doubt that there's even three bike paths in town.
The weather's too hot and the traffic is YUCK!
They're apt to be crushed by a huge diesel truck,
Or die all dried out by the wind and the sun –
And neither end's likely to be lots of fun.
But hey folks, I came here to check out the wheels
And Interbike's where dealers make all their deals.
The Sands is the place where they held the bike show;
Were things there more normal? I'm sorry, but 'No'.
I've been here to other exhibits before,
But this was the strangest. I stood on the floor;
I looked all around there but I didn't see
One person as old or as pudgy as me.
For tourists in Vegas the average age
Is roughly the same as Alzheimer's first stage.
And blue is the most common color of hair;
Nobody gets carded by bartenders there.
And those who aren't old are instead quite obese,
At risk if we ever have diet police.
I marveled to see all those folks in the hall,
So young and so skinny and healthy and all.
Although I am glad that I went to the show;
I'm puzzled, and wish there was some way to know:
I've wondered all year if those kids I saw there
Were somehow affected by neon lights' glare –
If Vegas's bawdy and gaudy displays
Have changed them in subtle and devious ways.
But Vegas will always be Vegas, I'm sure,
Untempered by contact with folks young and pure.
Last updated Oct 6 2004