Simple Pleasures

The best bike demo event in the universe is the perfect way to work off the pandemic blues. Get your tickets now.

Our lives are complex. We work day jobs, nurture side hustles, raise children, run our dogs—it’s a precarious balancing act at best. But with all the chaos and complexities surrounding us day in and day out, I’m learning just how important it is to indulge in life’s simple pleasures. For me, that often comes in the form of two wheels. 

You’d be hard-pressed to find another outdoor activity that will make me “woop woop” like a sugar-filled kid than riding a bike. But add a festival environment, a fun-filled crew of attendees, staff and exhibitors and the opportunity to demo a half-dozen or more brands to find the perfect ride and you better believe the smile won’t leave my face.

Last fall, we were exhausted—like everyone else—from balancing pandemic shutdowns, long work weeks, and all the things that come with raising two young kids in today’s world. We needed a refresh. We needed to simplify. And we needed to check out some new bike options.

That’s exactly why we loaded our family up in the rig last fall and drove from southern Colorado to Utah to experience the best bike demo event in the universe. Outerbike is a one-of-a-kind collaboration between bike and outdoor brands created to give riders a “see, try, and buy” experience in pedal-focused towns across the country. The name is a play on the Interbike trade show, which has been on hold since 2019—except anyone (not just people in the bike industry) is welcome to attend Outerbike. And what better place to experience such a renowned event than the crown jewel of fat-tire bliss: Moab.

So, we parked our camper at a site on the edge of Moab and spent three unforgettable days demoing bikes from Esker, Specialized, and Fezzari.  Strategically based at the Bar M Trail System, the base area offered up access to exhibitors, food, and, most importantly, classic desert riding. We were also able to cruise mellow singletrack with our 5-year-old and chase some two-track with our 3-year-old every day of the event. Blue skies, sunshine, and red slickrock set the stage for the simplest way to enjoy the weekend.

And that was just the main site. The daily shuttles to iconic Moab destinations—Navajo Rocks, Mag 7, and others—were the icing on the cake. Riding slick rock and singletrack on trails like Great Escape, Arth’s Corner, and Gemini Bridges on the latest and greatest bikes for a few days in the warm Moab fall weather took the edge off of a challenging year. 

The multiday event is the brainchild of Ashley Korenblat and Mark Sevenoff, owners of Moab’s Western Spirit Cycling Adventures. In 2022, they’re celebrating their 12th year with Outerbike Moab, Sep. 30–Oct. 2, and Outerbike Bentonville, Oct 21–23. Tickets go on sale April 15, and, similar to last year, the number of full demo tickets will be calibrated to the availability of demo bikes. Why just two events? Thank (or blame, perhaps) the complexities of the supply chain in a pandemic age. While last year’s attendance was at a fraction of historical numbers due to right-sizing the ticket sales to match the demo fleet availability, this year’s prognosis is looking up. In 2023, Outerbike has events planned in Killington, Vermont, Jul 21–23; Crested Butte, Colorado, Aug. 18–20; and Duluth, Minnesota, Aug. 25–27. Tickets go on sale for those events next spring. 

Sevenoff says he and Korenblat consider themselves “stubborn parents” who want to see Outerbike succeed—even if that means pairing the extravaganza down to two of their biggest and oldest events (Betonville and Moab) to help get more people on bikes. “The supply chain issues and availability of bikes will be better later this year,” he says. “We’re seeing little glimmers of it, and we want to help these companies sell more bikes. There are a lot of new brands out there.” 

If you’re looking to indulge in some simple pleasures—and test ride the newest releases from Specialized, Canyon, Giant, Kona, Rocky Mountain, Propain, Ibis, and Diamondback (I know, I’m drooling too)—buy those tickets now, and we’ll see you in Moab this fall. 

Photo by Ryan Michelle Scavo

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