Before I continue with the stories and pictures from Australia, I have to give a long list of thanks to a bunch of great people in Australia. What makes this impossible is the fact that I can't remember names to save my life. In advance I want to apologize to all of you in Australia whose names I have forgotten or have gotten wrong- it isn't you, it's me.
Steve Paraskevas (Masi Brand Manager for Australia) - all the hospitality and the friendship. I had a great time and you were an amazing host. Really, there are not enough words to repay you my friend and I look forward to seeing you here this summer- then it's my turn mate.
Brian Gillin (National Sales Manager) - the dinners, the great wine selections, the conversations and the great mini tradeshows. I think we made a pretty good team at the shows and I think that Masi is in very good hands in Australia. Thank you for all the hard work and for keeping me on track.
Kerry Leamon (Coordinator Exrtaordinaire) - thank you for making all of the arrangements that got me from point A to point B in Australia and the excellent hotel choices. Your efforts in making things run smoothly were felt from Melbourne to Brisbane and beyond. (You and I know who really runs things around there...)
Debbie Chambers (Melbourne area sales rep) - thanks for dragging me around to the shops and listening to me ramble about the bikes. It isn't really fair that you had to sit through my presentation at the launch and then go through it three more times in the shops. You should be getting a medal.
Steve Davidson (Sydney area sales manager) - Davo, thanks for dragging me around to the shops and a great lunch at Bondi Beach- still the best fish-n-chips I've ever had. Your efforts and your team will make Sydney a power market. Thanks for getting me to the Dunc for a spin too- what a thrill that was!
Joanna Hobbins (Sydney area sale rep) - for somebody new to the bike industry, you sure know what you're doing. Those poor blokes don't know who they're dealing with. I predict a Sales Rep of the year in the near future... I just have a feeling about it. Thanks for dragging me to the shops and listening to the same presentation again and again and for all the conversation in traffic. Thank you.
Tony Blackshaw (Brisbane area sales manager) - thanks for selecting the venue for the show on Friday. That was some incredible food and a great location. From the looks of things there, the orders should be coming in any time now.
Gary [sorry for forgetting your last name] (Brisbane area sales rep) - thank you for dropping everything unannounced and taking me out to visit with shops first thing upon my arrival in Brisbane. What a great cycling history in the family too... wow!
John Ayers (Brisbane area sales rep) - thanks for dragging me around to some great shops before the launch. Another family full of cyclists and cycling enthusiasts... there must be something in the Aussie water. Good luck to your son with his bike shop as well- selling Masi of course.
4/14/06- Update; I can't believe I left out Tony Crino (Customer Service Rep) - thanks for all the hard work and the great conversations about racing, racers and bikes. It's always great to meet another passionate fanatic.
There are other sales reps I worked with at each of the area launches and I apologize for not remembering your names. With all the travel from city to city and all of the retailers I met as well, I'm sure you can understand how I can forget. Your efforts were also valuable and deserve mention, so thank you to as well.
The Bike Shops; (ok, here's where my memory really comes up short, so please forgive me...)
Anthony - Cecil Walker Cycles - how can you not love a shop named after a famous track cyclist? Thank you for taking the time to talk to an ignorant Yank. I thoroughly enjoyed the conversation and the industry/ people talk. That's one heck of a busy shop you have there... all you're missing is a couple of Masi bikes. Otherwise, your shop is perfect.
Peter- Brunswick Street Bicycles - thanks for being the first guinea pig in the Mobile Masi Guy presentation. It was a great conversation and I hope to be able to see even more Masi bikes in the store next time I come around there... but only because you're selling more of them. You've got a great space there and it looks like you'll have even more growth coming your way.
Damien - Flemington Cycles - thank you for giving us a bit of your time, especially in consideration of how busy you were. It was much appreciated. Looks like the shop is growing further, maybe then you'll have a little more room for a Masi selection... it'll be worth the wait.
Michael - Woolys Wheels - thank you for taking a moment to talk to us while you had so much business happening in the store. You have some very dedicated customers and a great looking shop. I'd obviously love to find a way to stuff a few Masi bikes in there, but my feelings won't be hurt if it doesn't happen right away... I'll give it time. (By the way- Phil's an incredible asset and proponent for the shop, so make sure you keep him.)
Dave - Burwood Cycles - if there is a retailer who could qualify as my long lost brother, then it has to be you David. I don't know if there is anybody who loves Masi as much as I do, or Breaking Away for that matter. I am really looking forward to hearing more about the shop and the expansion and addition of the cafe. You've got a great model there and it will hopefully reward all of your hard work- stay in touch.
Hugh - City Bike Depot - this is the coolest shop I've seen in a very long time. You've done a great job, Hugh, and your efforts have got to pay off. The city needs a great shop like yours and the coffee bar is only going to help make it a destination point in the center of Sydney. I'm going to keep looking for more news about the shop's growth and success.
Fraser's Cycles - I've forgotten both of your names, but I'll add them in as soon as I can remember them or Davo emails me and tells me what a fool I am. What a huge shop and it's getting bigger soon. I'm almost scared to know how many bikes can be sold and serviced then... good luck with the continued expansion and growth. (Davo came through with the save; Ian and Todd! Thanks guys for talking with me and coming to the launch as well.)
Rik Fulcher- Fulcher's Cycles - one of my newest mates and sure drinking buddies. I owe Rik for my time spent on the Dunc Grey Velodrome in Sydney. I can't thank you enough for the hospitality and the piece of the track timber. I'll have to come back to Sydney for the Master's World Championships, if for no other reason than to go out for a few pints afterwards (or before/ during). Good luck with those junior riders too.
Nigel and Lynne Forbes - Indooroopilly Super Cycles - thank you both for your amazing kindness and generosity of time. Not only did you sit through a lengthy conversation with me, but then you sat through my rambling presentation at the launch the next day. Thank you very much and good luck with the shop. I will definitely visit again and look forward to hearing from you in the future.
Nick and Rachel Furmidge - Bike Force Kedron - as a former pub owner, I am confident I can get a good pint of Guinness from Nick. His simple explanation of how to pour a proper pint was absolute poetry to my ears. Oh yeah, and his bike shop was pretty amazing too. Of course, like all smart retailers, he already has some Masi bikes in the store. Looking forward to hearing from you again and I'm looking into that jersey for you...
Troy and Jered - Yellow Jersey Bike Shop - thank you guys for listening to me and allowing me so much of your time. I really enjoyed the frank and honest discussion we had about the business. I love conversations like those and I'm glad we had the chance to talk as long as we did. Good luck with all of those efforts Troy- they have to pay off. Jered- I'll get back to you about the team for Super Week...
There are many other people I should be thanking, I'm sure, but since my memory is still suffering under the jetlag, you'll have to forgive me for the time being.
One more big thanks has to go to Maurice Wulfsohn, General Manager of the Leisure and Fitness division of PacBrands. Without the approval and support of Maurice, the aggressive launch of Masi might not have ever taken place... and then I wouldn't have gone to Australia. Thank you!
Once more, thank you to all of the wonderful people I met and talked to in Australia. I know I have new friends there and I am happy about that.
More tales and images to follow- I promise.