Tag Archives: Bicycle

An update – quiet times

I haven’t posted for a week. I realised that this was becoming a little like a training blog, and a boring one at that. I rode today, I rode yesterday…. Blah, blah. So I thought I would leave it for a bit and write about something else.

This last week involved quite a lot of time off. Monday and Tuesday were holidays in the UK. Germany has loads of holidays too. In fact I hadn’t taken the recent ones, saved them up and took the UK ones instead. Then Thursday was a German holiday, so I took that too. It sounds lazy, but this is my quiet period. Selling in new products to distributors is difficult, and they can only sell what they can sell in the middle of the season. Yes, advertising helps, but advertising needs to be international – and doing that is expensive. A lot of my time at the moment unfortunately is taken up explaining why products which should have delivered haven’t. As you can imagine, this is not much fun. The weather is also critical in this industry. Good weather sells bikes and accessories, shitty weather, well only the hardcore cyclists go out in that. As far as OEM sales go, there is just research to be done. Meeting with people and presenting products takes place from the Munich ISPOBike show this year, then Eurobike, Interbike and the others in between. The product managers at the bike companies arent really specifying the 2014 bikes yet – and certainly not in the detail that our products are on their minds yet.

To motivate people, a few distributor visits are perhaps called for. That said, going without a set target for the visit, other than talking to the sales reps, makes it feel a bit too much like a nice day out. I am very aware that I don’t want to take advantage.

I have been riding too. Last Tuesday, 138km, then nothing for the rest of the week (giving my legs a rest). Some visits to the gym in the building two days running for some rowing, another massage, and some time on bike on rollers doing spin ups (up the rpm until you can’t go any faster then try to hold it). I am in Germany now, after an eventful journey yesterday. Just did a fast flat ride, 43km at 34.4km/h, then another 5km to warm down, so a balance of 49km averaging 32.7km/h. My legs are quite tired now!

Next week, well time for a summer holiday I think. 🙂

Reading material

There are no end of cycling magazines. On a monthly basis we get Bike (Germany), Bike (USA), Bicycle, Tour (Germany), MBR, What Mountain Bike, Trekking Bike (Germany), Pro Cycling, etc etc etc.

Recently though I have seen a trend towards more upmarket, more exclusive publications. Perhaps they are aimed at the stockbrokers like the scathing reviews of Rouleur which suggest they were just cashing in. My personal opinion is that Rouleur was fabulous, aimed at a different market to the traditional, perhaps formulaic magazine. The weight of the paper, the quality of the photography and the lack of adverts (although product placement is beautifully done) as well as the locations, and the nostalgic and romantic approach had me all misty eyed. Not all cycling fans want to read about the latest carbon this or that, and the lifestyle and cultural side of things was where they spotted and filled the gap.

Mr USE (Trevor Allen*) gave me a new publication yesterday. The Ride seems to share a fair amount of Lifestyle positioning with Rouleur, but is crossing over to the mountain bike segment. The list of contributors reads like a list of who is who for the last 15 years in cycling. Names such as John Tomac, Jo Burt, Chris Hoy, Dave Yates and even Pharrel Williams!

Perhaps this is what we should expect from publications in the future. There is no rivalry, there is very little product snobbery (high end is the name of the game, but experience and lifestyle articles look at everyone, regardless of what they ride, or what their financial investment is, or isn’t. It is about their investment in the sport). To be honest, the MTBers versus Roadies thing had become very tiresome to me over the years, as has the baggies versus lycra, downhillers versus cross country, and every other petty little war within the mainstream press. Magazines should embrace everyone. Ride seems to be going the right way. Intelligently written articles for the intelligent cyclist perhaps.

The downside? It is £7!

Issue 2 of the Ride.  Great artwork

Issue 2 of the Ride. Great artwork

*Trevor is in fact a student at Bath University. He is doing his placement year at USE / Exposure and is a top lad. Currently targetting 24 hour racing and going for a Solo effort, he is always up for a ride and is more of a face in the UK than I am – deservidly so. To catch up with him, visit Exposure at the Exposure Big Night out… details here