Archive for July, 2012

The DealerCamp post.

Sunday, July 29th, 2012

So last week was Dealer Camp.
Dealer camp is an industry tradeshow. The vendors are the fabricators (Enve composites for example), and the “consumers” are specialty retailers…..bicycle shops.
Last year I brought a little entourage with me and was reprimanded for doing so. So, to play it by the books, I went it alone this year. And just like interbike, I got a lot out of it. Because after all, being a better informed shop means helping people buy more appropriate stuff…and therefore being a better shop. Get it?

So, Dealercamp started for me at 0800J on Tuesday with a Saris presentation. Jarod told me and one other shop person all about the new 2012/13 powertap hubs. Basically, the newer ones are slighter, smaller and will have a firmware USB type interface. I was most impressed by their PowerCal,
a simple way to estimate (accurately) power without having to have a powertap wheel. Perfect for going from bike to bike AND perfect if you want to see you power and keep your precious Chris King wheelset (on your mountain bike)….like I do.

Alright, an hour well spent. Then it was off to tour booths. At the Enve booth, they have one of the prototype Turner Burner 650B’s….they are awesome if that is your desired wheelsize.

At this time, my other favorite 650B frameset would be the Ventana Zeus.

I then went home to have lunch with my darling wife and then went downhilling in the afternoon. Dealercamp is fun because so many of my “bike friends” were in town but it also makes it a little stressful because its impossible to make plans with everybody. So, despite many social possibilities, I hit the hay early Tuesday because Wed promised to be another full day.
And it was. Enve seminar in the morning, and more booth offerings. Back to the 650 thing, Rockshock had a 650 fork on display that looked just peachy. In terms of Eye Candy, Campagnolo got the top bidding with their new EPS electric 11 speed shifting system.

The natural question that you will ask if you value my opinion in technology is….Shimano vs Campagnolo…..which is better? And of course the answer is not easy – nor the same for every individual.
Shimano’s Di2 has had almost a decade of research into it….and they really are on version 2.
On the other side of the coin, Mr. Campagnolo took his time putting out his electric system so that it would be just a hair over Shimano’s. I love them both. You’ll have an easier time finding Shimano parts but the belt buckle I’m wearing right now says Campagnolo and Made In Italy….you’ll have to decide for yourself friends.
In the best idea of show, it was FSA’s system to have their cranks work for ALL bottom brackets, yes indeed, all bb’s. BB30 PF30′s, standard external, and all the weird shit. Great idea FSA.

FSA also had a great 2 speed front drivetrain similar to the SRAM Hammerschmidt. Same type of design, simple to use, not terribly expensive, and perfect for Park City…..easy gear for uphill, harder gear for going down. And it mounts to a standard BB shell….no ICG mounts needed.

So, after downhilling all afternoon once again, it was time to return for the evenings festivities….a cyclocross race with amateur and pro style competitors.
I of course showed up with about 10 min to go for the pro race.

Which is good because pro riders never want whiskey handups.

My shy friend Steve wondered by….I think he can smell cheap indian whiskey a mile away.

We met people.

Told bad jokes.

Yes, you can see we snuck Tom in.
And then decided how awesome we were.

That was about the extent of DealerCamp for me.
For industry people, DealerCamp has been given some hard reviews. “They” say its too small, not well attended and basically not worth it. “They” also say that Park City is the greatest venue they’ve ever been to for a tradeshow. I like dealercamp, sacrificed my vacation time to attend it, and learned a lot. I still believe, like interbike, that the last day should be for the public to PAY to attend so they don’t feel left out. Dealercamp will be back next year….and so will I.

1/2 way through with vacation.

Wednesday, July 25th, 2012

Its been a mellow few days here at the ranch. Technically, I’m off for this week to recharge and relax.
Alright, lets celebrate…

Its nice to have the time to unwind and hang out with my cat.

Maybe I”ll get a haircut?

Maybe go for a Mule Ride?

Perhaps I’ll work on my perfect Buddha for this life?

Actually, as you can guess, I”ll be doing some bikecycle things…

First and formost, I’ve got to ride every day so far this vacation….and that is 100% awesome. Its funny, no training for any events, just riding for pleasure. Its great – because in a lot of ways, work really does get in the way.

Also Dealercamp is in town – its a small trade show that arrives in Park City. Criticized by many for being a ghost-town of a show; I enjoy Dealer Camp. Its very intimate and really as laid back as you can get. Not quite laid back enough for me to bring my Team to (bring them to the cross race they said!), but hey, its their private function….and I’m the guest. I”ll have a full report tomorrow, because there are many cool things.
Yesterday was Pioneer Day here in Utah, and Ali celebrated….

He also raced in the cyclocross race held after the business day.

And well done to Cris Fox for bringing the Gilly suit and the dollar billz.
Team racer Tim was there….his Dharma Kit must be in the wash….

And of course, us….

We may have stayed too late and drank too much….

But then again, nobody made us leave or anything….
And big thanks to Kona Bicycles, who have invited me to their 2013 product Launch. Alright, Washington State, here I come.

On to other bike news.
Just in case you didn’t know, RAGBRAI is on, and its hot. Here is the weather report for opening night…

Reports from Ezekiel show that riding is best done at night after drinking all day to stay out of the heat.
The group in OR seem to be making their way down the coast nicely…

And speaking of the coast, let me leave you with this…because its time for a moto ride.

Bike Things…..and things.

Saturday, July 21st, 2012

So much to report these days.
Its official, I”m making Outerbike happen. Yes, I’d rather be in Santa Clara the first week of October, but its also important to me to show up and support our vendors.
If you are a bicycle consumer, and especially if you want to get that “trade show” experience. Do Outerbike.
Just to remind you, Turner will be there. Ibis will be there. Fox will be there. Kona will be there. Shimano will be there. SRAM will be there. There will also be other bikes to try and companies to see, so get your shit together, and pony up the $150. And if I didn’t make it abundantly clear, those of you who “have to ride a bike before you buy it”, this event is for you.

And since we’re on said subject. Let me remind all of you that I sell 99% of my bikes sight unseen and un-testridden. Why? Because a new bike needs to be broken in, mated (to use a motorcycle term), and setup for YOUR experience. You can try and get there off the bat…but your not going to. It takes ME a month to dial in a new bike of mine….and I”ve been doing this for over 20 years.

On to local bike news….There is some sort of Enduro event happening at the canyons. The link is here.
The most exciting part of this for me is that DJ and Quentin from OTE are racing it and maybe we can hang out a little after.

Also, there is a trade show at Deer Valley next week. This is one of those two sides of the coin thing…..Its for retailers which sucks for my customers because I can’t bring in my high rollers who actually buy product. Its also nice that the event exists and brings revenue to the town. I guess the solution is to keep it as is….if customers want to go to a trade show, go to Sea Otter or Outerbike.

In not so much news, Big props to Dave, the BassMan Alderbases for rocking opening night with UltraGoat….Kiss the Goat.

David sends me things like this.

And This…

Thats cool, because I send Dave pics like this…

I”d like to share an inspiring story about Detroit.

Yes Detroit. HERE.

Oh, and I’m sending my best positive energy to the RAGBRAI crew….that would be Evil/Team AssClown/Team Marley as they make their way from Portland to SF.

Next year my friends, I”ve got a lot spinning around me at the moment.

Last and Least, the fatbike 29er is here.

Crusher report….kind of.

Tuesday, July 17th, 2012

After 3 months of no rain, it was nice to see a change in the weather over the last weekend. And you know me, I like it hot and dry…..but seeing the mountainside scorched and ready to go up like a pack of cheap matches 2 weeks ago did cause some lost sleep. So, I am honestly thankful for the rain. Nice little unsettled pattern that came in just in time for our Bryce Canyon family adventure with my inlaws.
Here are some pics from the hiking trail at Sunset trailhead.

Hiking down Bryce is very much like hiking into the Grand Canyon. What goes down must come up. Cool to see all the Ponderosa Pines. Reminds me of Flagstaff.

After a delightful day in Bryce, we all stayed in a very cool lodge in Mt. Carmel Junction. Built by a miner/railway man and his wife on land they homesteaded in the 30′s, the lodge was full of antique bits and pieces. Really a nice place to stay. The family helped build the Mt. Carmel Jct/Springdale tunnel that runs through Zion. Pretty cool eh?
And yes, we did manage to get to Santa Clara for a hour to check on the shop. St. George has received more rain in the past 5 days than it does all summer. Sunset Blvd actually has to be dug out by the aquatic center because of the flash flood. Great news, the pioneer house was water tight and the landscaping did its job. I did get to spend 40 min mucking the sidewalk west of the property….because I’m a nice guy.
Alright, on to race news….
The Crusher happened on Saturday. Cold, wet, and just the thing for tough racers to do. Here are some stats from Pro rider Alex G.
Alex Grant
‎Burke Swindlehurst, you are a cruel man… in case anyone is wondering how hard the the Crusher in the Tushar is here’s how it stacks up against the other hardest rides I’ve done since I got my SRM (in kilojouls):
Crusher: 4135 kjs, ~4.5 hrs
Leadville 100: 5150 kjs, 6.5 hrs
La Ruta Stage 1: 4200 kjs, 6 hrs (not including the hiking)
Park City P2P: 4800 kjs, 6.75 hrs
And here is Fatty’s little movie that will simply take you there.

Last and least, get excited if you like loud music.

A little catch up.

Saturday, July 14th, 2012

Playing a little catch up today.
And watching a little bit of the tour.
Congrats to the big German Andre Greipel for the win today.

Lots has happened that you should know. Earnest Bognine died. He was great. I loved McKale’s Navy. Like many old time Hollywood people, Earnest actually WAS in the navy. And here he is getting an oscar from Grace Kelly.

Its Woodie Guthrie’s Birthday. One of the best songwriters ever. I’ve played his songs since I was 5.

Back to bike stuff….RAGBRAI is approaching. Can you tell?

That is BRoses’ bike…and actually I believe he and JRo are headed to Portland for a tour….maybe I”ll catch you guys next year at THE RAGBRAI.
Zeke, who is going found THIS on the interwebs about RAGBRAI.
Just going to the RAGBRAI HOMEPAGE makes me want to go.
Three Dog Night is even playing….sheesh.
Oh, and before I check out, look at this picture on Facebook. This is 100% the kind of bicycle I love doing at the shop. AWESOME!

This is all I got…but I’ve had it for a while.

Friday, July 13th, 2012

Just Riding Along.

Monday, July 9th, 2012

Or JRA as its knows.
Hey, first and foremost. Congrats to Fixie Dave Nice for making it not just across the US Continental divide, but all the way to Banff….I guess that was actually his end point in his quest, because even I myself was wondering why he didnt’ just stop at the boarder like everybody else. Well, extra cool….I’d like to go to Banff…especially by way of the divide.
This is Dave pulling in to town at 10pm afer 2745 on his rigid single speed fixie.

In TDF news, the tour is on. And I only realized last night that my TiVo was not set. Oh well, our good friends at NBC sports play the tour all day and night… they should, so it was possible to see Thio Pinot win like a champ. 22 year old man….holds a break….all the way….nobody else in the picture. Baller.

Alright, well, good news is that I’ve been riding.

This picture was taken on July 4th, and man, even the weeds in the mountains are burning up. I can honestly say I’ve never seen it so dry here before.
The good news also is the alpine fire is 95% contained. Good lord.
Mrs Dr. E and I scurried away from down in the afternoon hours of the 4th to check on the Santa Clara Shop. As you can guess, it was hot….102 or so.
There was some business to do.
And we officially got our business license.

And I know this may seem cheezy to 99.999% of you. But we got our 1st QBP shipment at Dharma Wheels South. Yee Haw!

We all have goals in this world…and mine is to run an honorable set of businesses. And its harder than it looks – both on the dental side and the bike side. If you want the honest shake, we’ve dumped over $300,000 into our businesses over the past 8 years and it feels exactly like your sowing a field. Lots of effort, lots of investment, the hope of return. And we have had return. Maybe its my midwest roots, but I’m enjoying the slow and steady returns of that effort….And you wonder why I buy gold.
Let me be honest, we actually did spend most of the weekend indoors re-arranging the shop.

And playing with out cats. We’ve decided to name Apricot Alpha and the Black one Bravo since Margo is named Mika. Don’t think about it too much.

I would now like to post a picture that I will title…..”Exactly 100% how trouble starts”.

Last but not least I’d like to bring you all up to speed on that warranty situation with Easton.
My outside rep Ali called me on the 4th – impressive. He’s going to have the inside guy at Easton send him parts it seems. It seems my badmouthing of the bicycle business caused a little shitstorm out there. I actually don’t care. When your on the front lines of bicycle sales in a competitive market, you take every advantage and opportunity to outshine and perform the competition. Its just like bicycle racing.

The Independance Day Post

Wednesday, July 4th, 2012

Happy Independance Day everybody. In a way its good….we’re not eating bangers and hash…but we’re also not eating frybread either, well, I am.
Unlike some days, there are many subjects to choose from today.
This week there was a great post on the book of faces regarding the supporting of local businesses, including bicycle shops.
Rather than post it, I”ll just give you the highlights….and my thoughts….because people ask.
A customer comes into a shop with a 30 day return policy and returns an item because they found it for $20 cheaper on the internet.
My opinoin: That is a lousy thing for the customer to do. Its classless and soul-less. Really. However it is a free country and those ARE the rules.

My favorite comment on this post was from a musician who said “I try to support my shop…and I bought a $25 case there…..but I can’t pay their premium prices for instruments.”

My opinion: Oh my fucking god…..”premium prices”? Are you fucking kidding me.

The Moral: This is how I see it….and its nice for me to post it now and again. Do what you can. I believe that there are a lot of different consumers out there. When I was a young bicycle racer, I looked for deals. I still do. HOWEVER, there needs to be a balance between looking for a deal and supporting a local business. A balance between taking an experts time, and giving them some money. I see our culture (both at the dental office and the bike shop) devaluing experts time. There are too many instant experts because of forums and information. A very wise man who owns several $10,000 bikes once said to me “Jon, you have good information. NEVER underestimate the value of your information when its compared to whats available”. And its tough, because I do underestimate my information. Its because I just want to get people on the right product….to “fix” them if you will… make them know what I know.

The Action: I also believe businesses have to take action. Usually, I do not have a return policy. Thats right folks…all sales are final. You’ve got to think about what you want….and then lay your money down. It does bug me that Walmart, Home Depot, Costco, et al. have luxurious and non consequential return policies. It sets a standard that cannot be match by small business…unless you outservice the big stores by providing the customer with EXACTLY what they need. And this is not impossible. I do it every day.
It should also be said that I do refer a fair amount of my bicycle people out for small parts. I have a couple hundred dollar min. order with my distributors, so ordering a single set of pedals is usually impossible for me. I recommend the shop down the street….or an online shop if necessary for that single item. And its tough too because in many cases (like SRAM drivetrain components) customers can find parts for the same price I pay. Why would you buy a $60 chainring from me when you can get it for $40 on the interwebs. Thank goodness chris king 1-1/8″ threadless headsets are ALWAYS $130….always. Or your account gets pulled. It would be great if the entire industry had this standard.

Before we get to pictures and humorous stuff….I’d also like to chime in about warranty issues and the value of boutique brands.
This week, I had a warranty issue. Let me tell you all about it. A Customer bought a Kona Hei Hei 29er and the rear wheel broke. The Easton XC OEM wheels’ freehub body stripped and basically the bike is not ridable.
Now, the customer was not happy because I was booked last weekend and couldn’t do anything until Monday….but when you have an Easton product go wrong, you technically can go to any dealer and have it warrantied.
That being said, what customers usually don’t realize because they say “its broke, fix it” is that they are going to be 100% responsible for the labor AND shipping to get their part fixed. This is what is in the “fine print” of buying a bicycle. So my person takes it to White Pine and they do a good job calling up the outside rep, who says they have replacement parts in their home. My guy drives down to Salt Lake and picked up the repair parts. The parts are wrong. So now what? The consumer cuts down the parts and shoves them in the hub and it “works”. How do you think the shell is going to look when the right parts show up? By the way, Easton sent some parts to White Pine…And by parts, I mean an axle… at least the customer has 2 perfectly working axles.

So Monday I call Easton and this is what happens…
1. They can’t 100% identify the correct wheel that they sold to Kona.
2. They can’t verify the parts that they are sending me will fix the problem.
3. My shop, that has sold Easton products for 8 years is not in the system, making me wonder how I”ve been getting parts for the past 8 years.
4. They refuse to next day the parts to me, even though I tell them that my customer, who is very capable, is willing to pay whatever it takes.

Wow, what would you do in this situation huh?
Easton products ARE well designed…..and designed to work, and I for one am disappointed in the customer service and shop service here. Its great to have a product, but A+ support is necessary as well. Bell/Easton is a big company, and I guess its not possible to just find an expert and have them drop parts in a bag….but sometimes it is.

This year, I had a simple Knolly warranty. Guess what. Noel Buckley answered the phone….he told me that he’d put some new dropouts in the mail…and the only hassle was waiting for the package to clear customs. Years ago, same thing with Moots. Called up….talked to Moots, parts in a bag…here in 2 days standard mail.

Value in bicycle and component sales is not just in the product, but also the reputation of the company and the execution of the shop. Yes it helps if its me, but its possible if your anybody…..and simply responsible.

Enough of that…..lets talk about fire.
Yes, there is a fire in Alpine….it smelled like smoke in the office/shop yesterday…Not cool.

Hopefully the whole state doesn’t go up in flames. I really don’t understand it….don’t use fucking fireworks…..its that simple.
People have been stupid for 1000′s of years…what makes me think they’ll change now?

I always get photos of business combinations…here’s a good one.

And last on the bike news front….Fixie Dave Nice has made it to Canada….yes indeed, riding his fixed gear rigid 29er from Mexico to Canada.
Well done man!
Look HERE.

Have a good 4th….I don’t care if you blow off fingers….just don’t start any fires.