On-time is better than late, but better late than never. That said…
I had the distinct pleasure of attending the 2011 San Diego Custom Bicycle Show April 9th and 10th. I knew about the show a couple of months in advance, but my decision to actually go was 11th hour, so I *gasp* drove to So Cal by myself, just to cover the show.
This interview with Lance is a year old but is fascinating because it’s as much about business, politics and social media as about cycling. Nonetheless there’s plenty for race fans to obssess over.
Courtesy of ValleyWag:
Cisco Exec Makes Death Threat Over $4,000 Bike
Apparently enraged that his custom-built $4,000 Cervélo was a day late, Burton stormed into Cyclepath, a bike shop in Pleasanton, Calif., to get a final fitting. . . .
You can tell that the reporting isn’t completely reliable: there’s no way that a custom Cervélo could be had for $4000. Tip of the hat to Anh Tu.
A-bike photo courtesy of SlashGear, which has an extensive review
As has often been noted, selling expensive fancy bikes to passionate cyclists is where the bike industry excels. Expanding the pool of customers by reaching out to non-riders is much harder to figure out.
The Sinclair A-Bike was discussed in Cyclelicious and VeloVision in 2006, when the product first went on sale. What struck me in reading about the A-Bike again today was that its U.K. distributor is Mayhem, a gadget and novelty company more akin to Brookstone or Sharper Image than a traditional bicycle retailer. A big part of marketing bicycles to non-riders may be realizing that we need to sell bikes in the places that they shop. People who don’t think they want bikes don’t go into bike stores!
Sure Walmart sells bikes, but Walmart is where shoppers trudge to buy diapers and toasters, not fun toys and not transportation equipment. In order to promote the image of bicycles as hip fashion accessories, as seen in Bikes and the City and sac cycle chic and Velo Vogue, we need Electras in Ann Taylor and Stridas in Old Navy and Breezers in Starbucks. In order to promote bicycles as transportation, why not convince car dealers to sell them? Maybe someone who can’t quite qualify for a loan to buy a Prius would be interested in an Xtracycle instead.
From N.Y. Times on Sunday 12/28:
Wayne Sosin is the president of Worksman Cycles in Ozone Park, Queens, a 110-year-old shop that produces heavy-duty bicycles and tricycles used in warehouses and factories. In October, a manager at the company was worried about rising costs, but confident that sales would remain strong. But orders from automakers and their suppliers have “basically dried up to nothing.”
Kiva is a Web 2.0 microfinance community allows the affluent to support and interact with small businesses in remote places. Lenders give loans as small as $25 to enterpreneurs all over the world. One kind of business that participants can support through Kiva is bicycle shops. Consider for example the Reaksmey Sar Group of Ta Reab Doun Sar Village, Cambodia:
This village bank loan which consists of twelve people is located in Ta Reab Doun Sar village in Kandal Province. Mrs. Reaksmey Sar is the village bank president who has been selected by the members. She is a 43 year old housewife and the mother of four children, all of whom are attending the local school. Her husband, Mr. Koem Muny, repairs bicycles. In this business, he now faces a small problem because he does not have enough money to buy bike equipment for his customers. Thus, his wife, Mrs. Reaksmey Sar, decided to ask for a loan to buy more bike equipment for her husband’s business.
The Reaksmey Sar Group needs $175 in increments as small as $25 each to complete their loan. Why not support cycling in Cambodia this holiday season? And if you do join Kiva, be sure to sign on to the “Move Your World” team of cycling supporters.