Changing the Game
As the new year approaches I have spent considerable time in reflection regarding the things that went well and those that didn't in 2009. I don't believe that anyone was spared, directly or indirectly, by the economic upheaval that was such a big part of our lives this last year. I learned the similarities and differences between my business and that of the bicycle industry and have started my ongoing project to change the game for you.
The state of the bicycle business is as follows: Bikes, even nice ones, are impulse buys. They for the most part are commodities and traditional bike shops try to sell them as if they are not. The bottom line is, however, most bikes are mass produced machines that can be purchased at a discount somewhere. All the other stuff for sale at bike shops is a commodity too and that is why bike shops discount and do everything they can to get your local business.
How I want to change the game is to separate the bicycle purchase from the rest of the bike shop food chain. If you plan your bike purchase properly, you can get more than a commodity for less money long term and increase your enjoyment, comfort and performance. That is a big deal.
Another goal of mine in changing the game is to help you redefine what is important regarding the relationship between you and your bicycle. If your bicycle is more important than you, it doesn't matter if it doesn't fit well as you can adapt to it. If the value of your time and the quality of your rides is less important than the brand of the bicycle or how you look on it to your friends, don't go changing as you have made good choices. If, however, the machine is what I believe it is, a tool to help you stay young, get fit, increase your enjoyment of life, or any of the other awesome reasons to ride a bike, consider assessing it objectively.
Technology exists right now that can transform your cycling experience. You may have to cut your losses and you may have to plan a little. Is it worth it? If so, check out your options. Be an agressively skeptical consumer. Hold me and all others in this business to a higher level. I can't speak for others in the bicycle business, but I will commit to you to make your life on the bike a lot better. I have the tools and knowledge to do so and you are worth the effort.
At the end of the day, either cut your losses or don't, but if you don't, at least know why you love the bike you do. If it is because you got a great deal on it, that's ok. If the pain of riding a bike that isn't really designed for you is counterbalanced by the enjoyment of knowing that a top pro rode a similar bike to win in the Tour de France, that is ok too. I only ask that you really look at the reasons why you love or don't love your bike.
The game is changing. Excellence is possible and you can reap the reward, if you only ask how. I wish you the happiest and most successful of New Year greetings and hope to be of service to you in 2010.