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.