A Week in Review
These next two months are completely full throttle for me. On one side I have deadlines for pre-season orders on about 7 brands that I represent before Interbike (mid/end September).
This means a ton of driving, this past week around Atlanta and Augusta, the week before around the Triangle and the list keeps going. If you are in the southeast, chances are I’ll be in your hood soon!
On the other hand there is prep work for cyclocross season. 11 hours on the bike this week, and a solid 3 hour ride today. Legs are feeling good and catching back up with my full throttle life. Even had a 30 minute run this morning that wasn’t too painful.
Also…I’m working on my hi-vis accessories on and off the bike!
My Bikes: Foundry Cycles Auger B1
As a rep for Quality Bicycle Products I have many bikes that are ridden and driven all around the Southeast. They are *all* considered demo’s, so if you are in the southeast and want to try out one of my bikes let me know in the comments or drop me a line on the contact page.
The newest bike in my fleet is a cyclocross bike from Foundry Cycles. When looking through all the brands I rep for my next cyclocross bike for the upcoming season I was automatically drawn to the Auger. Late last season I had raced a Ridley X-Fire, while I enjoyed it immensely (and will probably end up on a disc version this year) the geometry was more race driven than I wanted to ride this summer and I also wanted to try something different.
At War with the Industry I Love
It is no secret my history with the bike industry. Without coming from parents in the industry I am as close to growing up in the industry as you can. At 15 I was a shop rat, living my life in some way or another around bicycles since then. In two years when I am 30 I will have spent half my life revolving around bicycles and all things that are the culture of bikes. This is where I mention that I wouldn’t change a thing.
I have spent half of my life preaching the word. Answering the call. The call that bicycles can solve everything. It can make you happy, make you skinny, allow you to drink more beer, require less gas, give you independence, teach you adventure, become a family affair and so on.
Quietly fighting the good fight. Never taking up the arms of advocate as the word advocacy is a dirty word to me. We don’t need advocates, we need lovers. Everyone hates the politician but loves the hero’s. We need bike lanes that connect schools and grocery stores. We need to empower our children to pick up their bikes and go forward safely.
Two things came to light today that have made me struggle with the industry and culture I love
The death of an innocent freshman, riding his bicycle to school in Charlotte.
The “elephant” of the bike industry that our sales our flat for the past twenty years.
Two different stabs, two different pains, and two different fears.
I have two children that have no way to ride their bikes to school. They are lacking the freedom and the adventure that 10 & 11 year old boys should be given by the gift of bicycling away from home.
I make a living in the bike industry. I have sold bikes to first consumers and now bike dealers. Margins are tighter, and instead of expanding the bike industry and taking market share from golf, or soccer, or football. We are flat and fighting each other. From bike brands, industry standards and bike shops at war with their local community.
The elephant in the room is the bike industry is full of selfish folks lacking business sense and caring more about their piece of the pie than the pie that they are cutting from.
What do you believe in? When did you last fight for something you believe in?
I believe in bikes and if you know me – you know they are my life. I know a few other things and hopefully these all will be able to come together to make the pie bigger for the cycling industry, and for people to be able to ride their bikes safely to and from wherever they want to go.
Here I am, standing to fight a war against the industry I love. This war is why I work for the company that I love, Quality Bicycle Products. A sleeping giant, the backbone of the bike industry. This is why I love my co-workers, quietly pushing things along in Minnesota. I believe in bicycles and here I stand to fight the good fight of putting more butts on bikes. Carbon fiber doesn’t do that, fancy new bottom bracket standards or fighting over wheel sizes..sure some good marketing can help, but empowering the industry will. Empowering your local cycling community, finding a new word for advocate and allowing other people to drink from your passion.
On the Road Balances
As I am figuring out the balance of being an outside rep in the large territory of the Southeast, doing a shop I am absolutely in love with and trying to get back on my bike I am left with the daily struggle of finding a balance.
Anytime a new swing of events or change happens you often rise to the occasion of finding the best ways to do things. Learning new habits, breaking old ones and finding your place in life – that is what life is about right?
Finding Bike Rides and Making Money
I’m a rep now. A traveling, selling, building, growing, creating relationship, rep. My territory is NC, SC, GA, TN and AL. It means a lot of time on the road behind a steering wheel, a lot of time learning about different bicycle cultures in so many different cities and helping a great amount of bike shops get more people on bikes. The more people I can see, the more places I go, the more opportunities I have.
What I am balancing now is the right bikes to take, the right time to ride, getting shops to show me the area and witnessing their cycling culture first hand. Every day is different, every town is a new challenge and I’m embracing it but I haven’t been on the bike nearly as much as I would like. (That’s true for most!)
What is Your Story?
Do you have 5 kids and go riding at 5am? Are you an investment banker that travels all over the world and has a folder bike they utilize during the week? Tell me your story and how you find time to get on your two wheel friend.
Preview: Surly Troll. One Part MTB, One Part Utility
While at the Surly Intergalactic Headquarters of QBP I was able to demo a few bikes for commuting purposes from my abode to the headquarters. While there was also a Civia I haven’t put up yet, there is a Surly Troll that also busted a friends hip on the black ice across the Minneapolis pavement.