Right back atcha, brother. It was great to see you and spend more time with you.
Yeah, it's a weird thing. I was totally floored by Burke's very open discussion, covering dollars that Trek is spending on things. It was a rare thing. We all get so caught up in this struggle to sell more bikes, that things get a little nutty and companies get paranoid and the cooperation goes out the window.
Steve, thank you for this comment (as I said privately already). We have such an incredible opportunity ahead of us. The world needs the bike industry to help create and foster change around the globe. It sounds big, but little things can add up to big results if we all try. I'm in- who's with me?
Rich, thank you my friend. Thanks too for staying committed and plugged in. I emailed John Nedeau as well and have offered my assistance where he needs it. We can all do little things. It's harder to do big things, but that shouldn't stop us from doing something- even if it seems small.
KK- amen sister! It actually IS a great time to be involved in this sport and industry. The wheels of change are actually rolling. I'm going to try and get to the front and take my pull too.
DMT, I believe the bulk of this lack of cooperation exists primarily among the bike companies. I have a feeling it is much less prevalent among other types of companies. The researchers were astounded by their findings- it was the worst they'd ever encountered. Whoa.
I'm with you on the different types of advocacy we can all do. As Jill Hamilton said a long time ago- it can be as simple as offering help to a new rider and keeping them involved and excited about the sport so that they can go out and bring in more people to keep the love alive.
SRAM is doing some amazing things. They put their money where their mouths are too. On top of that, they had a whole bunch of people there at the conference. They "get it"... big time. I was very happy to see that Shimano is big into the issues as well- Kozo Shimano was there, as was the head of Shimano USA, Penina Bush (who is really a very, very nice woman and I was happy to get to chat with her there).
You are totally right- the retail experience for many new riders is one that has been less than perfect for many years. That's not to say there aren't any good shops out there, but there are many that just aren't geared towards new riders. The culture of bike retail has been one of enthusiasts selling to enthusiasts for decades. It is slowly coming around and becoming more like other retail experiences. It won't happen over night, or even in a couple years... but we're getting closer and there are many people behind it all.
SKU proliferation is a double-edged sword though. I honestly can't tell you the number of times I've been told "you have too many bikes!" Only to be told later, "what happened to the ___ bike? I needed that! What were you thinking?" Brands are all scared to lose a sale because a consumer found the bike they wanted elsewhere in another brand. Due to that, we all try to have a bike for every rider. I'm not saying it's a perfect system at all, but it's how we got to this point.
As for the saving-the-world-to-sell-more-bikes dilemma... well, yes, it's true. An idealistic altruism doesn't do you much good if you can't sell more bikes and then have the means to do more good things. In the end, we all have to sell our widgets to keep the lights on (high efficiency ones hopefully). The hearts and minds are in it for the right reasons, so getting a few more sales out of doing good isn't bad.
Thanks again for the comments and the dialog. Let's hope all of this nets the results we all hope it will.