Saturday, September 22, 2007
I'm off to Interbike tomorrow morning. First stop will be the On Dirt Demo for 2 days and then off to work the show for the rest of the week. I'll do my best to post some reports when I can. If you're attending the show, safe travels. And please stop by to say hi!
Happy trails, ya'll!
Saturday, September 15, 2007
Friday, September 14, 2007
I attended Eurobike in Germany a couple of weeks ago with lofty intentions of doing a nice little report each night. Ha! Between a crappy Internet connection and just getting in too damn late each night, it never happened. Heck, I haven't even downloaded my pictures yet.
Going back to Interbike, the preparation for this one has been especially busy for us since we decided to build a new trade show booth. No, not as in"have it built by a trade show booth manufacturer". We are building all 30 x 80 feet of it with our own hands. This has meant days of hammering, sanding, painting, and cutting wood. I think I sanded stuff for about 8 hours straight today! But the good news is it's going to look fantastic. If you are going to attend the show, please come by and admire our hard work. Keep your eyes on Masiguy's blog...he's been taking some photos which I'm sure he'll post.
Anyhow, I think I'll sign off for now. I'm pooped. Think I'll have another glass of red and head to bed.
Ciao for now!
Saturday, August 25, 2007
I thought you guys might enjoy a little sneak peek of our all-new Metro series bikes. Think flat bar road bike with a mountain bike twist. Huge props to Product Manager Wayne for the killer spec on these bikes and Product Manager Pat for creating the frame drawings. I'm really excited about these bikes...not only are they nicely appointed with nice parts on them but they look awesome. I've got Graphic Designer Rick James to thank for that. Anyhow, three models...Roscoe (MSRP $550), Sanford (MSRP $750), and the Maxwell (MSRP $950). Realistic availability won't be till closer to the end of this year; hopefully sooner. Check 'em out!!!
Friday, August 24, 2007
Admittedly, one of the things I love the most about by job is seeing ideas come full circle into product...and being able to have first crack at putting prototypes through their paces. It's pretty cool.
We've had a ton of success with our line of Mary XC and Mary SS 29er mountain bikes. The price, look, colors, and spec on these bikes are dialed and people love 'em. They aren't expensive (relatively speaking, of course), but they aren't cheap either so we had a few requests for a down-spec'd cheaper version of the Mary bikes down in the 5 to 6 bill range.
So away we went to accomplish such a feat. The current Mary frames are made of crmo steel and are built in a really high-end factory in Taiwan, so they are pretty expensive. In order to bring the pricing down on these new bikes, crmo was out of the question so these bikes would have to be alloy.
MTB Product Manager Pat Crosby whipped up some drawings based on the same geometry as the Mary frames and voila! Just a few months later, we've got prototypes. Pat wasted no time in getting these babies built up so we could see how they rode. In fact, mine was built and ridden at the local trails all within about 3 hours of the box hitting the warehouse floor. Hey, that's how we roll here at Haro. We don't mess around when it comes to brining YOU cool product.
How'd it ride? Awesome. It's alloy, so it doesn't have that lively crmo ride, but it's lighter and stiffer, that's for sure.
Does this bike have a name? We're leaning towards Ally; she'll be like Mary's little sister. We're hoping to have these bikes dialed and ready for sale in the spring.
Pictures? Of course I have pictures. Just remember...this is just a prototype and won't come spec'd as shown.
Well, it's time to get back to basics and start blogging about what I had originally intended. And a little more frequently, I hope.
The fun starts now....
Friday, August 10, 2007
The next item of business is it appears I have been "tagged" by Donna at Kryptonite (Thanks Donna!). No spraypaint and/or thugs involved. Evidently, it's a blog thing (which I would know nothing about since I have been so inactive lately). Part of being tagged is telling the world 8 random things about yourself. So here goes:
1. I have recently taken up kayaking. I have never kayaked before, but have always thought it looked like fun. Think maybe I'd go rent one to see how I liked it? Hell no, that's not how I roll. I just went out and bought one. It's a Malibu Mini-X. I love it! Here I am at Lake Hodges:
2. I love to fish. I usually go fishing every weekend. That's actually one reason I bought the kayak is to fish from it. Haven't caught anything on it yet, but I've only fished off of it a couple of times.
3. I am a National Parks junkie. There's a reason these places are National Parks...because they are freakin' gorgeous. I just went to Bryce and Zion in May (went last summer, too) and plan to hit Zion again next month. In October, I'm going doing a road trip to the Grand Canyon, Arches, Canyonlands, Capitol Reef, and wherever else the road takes me along the way.
4. I own the coolest cat ever. Tommy rules. God broke the mold when He made her; she's an absolute doll. Even people who hate cats like her.
5. I used to be a kick-ass downhill racer. I was the #1 ranked expert female in the US in 2001. I went pro in 2002, but didn't stick with it for a variety of reasons. I was on the US National team for UCI Master's World's twice. I still race every now and then as an expert. I'm actually thinking about starting to race a little more next season.
6. I'm a former "test model" for Mountain Bike Action magazine. I was on the cover twice (December 2000 and April 2001) and in reviews a total of 4 times (December 2000, February 2001, March 2001, and April 2001).
7. Back before I took up cycling, I used to ride, train, and show horses. And you think bikes are expensive.
8. I embarrassed the ever-living hell out of myself by singing karaoke at a big party (which included most of my co-workers and several other esteemed members of the industry) during the Taipei Bike Show this year. The song? Madonna's "Material Girl". There is video floating around somewhere.
Wow, so there's eight random things. I think I'm supposed to tag some folks and get them to blog about their 8 random things, but I don't know enough bloggers (I can't tag Tim since he's already been tagged. Oh wait, here's one). So my dear and few readers...feel free to play along and consider yourselves tagged!
Ciao for now. And I promise I'll be better about updating more often. Really.
Friday, July 13, 2007
Just wanted to share a link with you for two reasons:
1) To prove that I'm really not dead and I do still care about my blog
2) Because this story is just amazing to me from a business standpoint.
Mike and Debbe Simmons own an awesome chain of bike shops here in San Diego called Bicycle Warehouse. Hands down, they are the biggest and best chain in San Diego County, not to mention just plain nice folks. Before I worked in the industry, I used to shop in their stores all the time.
Anyhow, they have been a HUGE account of Specialized's for many, many years, so it really surprised me to hear that Specialized recently dropped them recently. I didn't really know the whole story, but I got it here. Damn. What on earth are they thinking?
I'll probably rot in hell for saying this, but I'm just wondering when some of the big guys like Trek and Specialized will start to play nice in the sandbox with the rest of the kids. When will they stop telling retailers how to run their businesses? Yeah, the world of business can be an ugly place sometimes in effort to stay profitable, but I truly think stuff like this will start to backfire on them eventually.
Can't wait to see the comments I get on this one.
Monday, July 2, 2007
The reasons given for the change was the media supposedly told the Sea Otter promoters that they couldn't guarantee as much coverage if the event was in May...and then supposedly Sea Otter got "outbid" by some other event who wanted the facility for the May dates.
Friday, June 8, 2007
It would nothing short of a miracle to have the networks cover a cycling event yet they allocate air space to this stupid story. Unreal.
Ok, rant over. Have a great weekend, ya'll.
Thursday, June 7, 2007
"Sponsor me cause I rule and Haro sucks. All my friends ride Kona's, so Haro needs my help. Write back." (and this was followed by his name, phone number, and e-mail address)
I'm hoping that this request was some sort of a joke written by a kid who got a big kick out of himself for sending in such a smartass request. However, there's also the chance that whoever wrote it was dead serious. You would seriously be surprised at some of the requests that come across my desk at work.
I have to admit that many are very nice and professional. But I also have to admit that the vast majority of these folks expect the moon. The sense of entitlement many racers have these days is nauseating. Damn, you're the reigning sport class US National Champion and you need a free bike because you tell me the exposure I'll get through your results will help sell bikes? OK, I'll get right on that. Need your expenses paid too? OK, here's a blank check...
My friend Eric up in WA sent me a link to a fantastic article on Bicycling's website written by Soulcraft Bicycles owner, Sean Walling. I highly recommend that you click here to read it; you will either get a kick out of it or an education. Personally, I got a HUGE kick out of it because it really could have been penned (or typed...nobody writes anymore!) by my own hand. Somebody FINALLY had the cajones to just come right out and and say it!
One of the main reasons we stopped supporting a big factory pro team is the fact that (in our opinion) very few bikes are sold as a result of a team's or rider's presence at races. For the most part, the only people who pay attention to who wins what race and what bike they are riding are other racers. And I can't think of too many serious racers who are willing to walk into their local bike shop and buy their bikes and parts at full-pop retail based on wanting to ride what their favorite racer rides on. Most want it free or at a deep discount. Some aren't even happy with that. "Oh, you mean you can't pay my entry fees and give me team kits, too?". I have actually had people turn down an offer for a free or discounted bike because I couldn't offer them cash for entries and expenses...and the sad thing is these ingrates weren't pros or even semi-pros. The pros and semi's have class...it's the amateurs who have the worst sense of entitlement.
What many of these folks don't realize is that the state of mountain bike racing is hurting. There's only about 5 pro mountain bike racers on the circuit who are earning a 6-figure salary from racing their bikes. The rest struggle. Many (and this is especially true of some in the women's pro field), are happy to get bikes and expenses...if they are lucky, they might have a bonus program in place with their sponsors. A couple of years ago, I had one of the circuit's top female DH racers approach me (who will remain nameless) for sponsorship after her team cut her; at that point, she was just about willing to ride for bikes and expenses. It's that bleak out there. I would have loved to have accomodated her, but lucky for her, she did manage to secure a spot on a team who was willing to pay her a salary.
I'm sure I'm going to ruffle a few feathers out there, but I think there are some feathers that need it. My goal (beyond just plain bitching) is to just put it all into perspective for a few racer-types out there who feel entitled to free product just because they race. Sure, if we give you free product you'll go tell all your other racer friends how great it is...and then chances are, they too will go straight to the source for the "hook up" instead of buying it at their local shop.
As cheesy as this will sound, if all you amatuer racers want to be more successful at securing sponsorship for yourself, borrow (and modify) a line from JFK...and that's to "ask not what your sponsor can do for you, ask what you can do for your sponsor". Show us what value you bring to the table. Show us how you reach out to your community. Show us your advocacy efforts. Show us you are passionate about cycling and approachable. Show us you want to be an equal partner in our marketing efforts and aren't just looking for a handout. Sometimes you receive more by asking for less.
And for God's sake...don't begin your request for sponsorship "Hey....bitches!".
Wednesday, June 6, 2007
"Haro Bikes is looking for a motivated Inside Salesperson specializing in BMX/Freestyle but with a solid understanding of other cycling categories such as Mountain and Road. Excellent communication skills to provide customer service to both outside sales force and dealers a must. Position requires strong computer skills and 2-3 years of customer service experience either at retail or wholesale.
Please e-mail résumé’s to: firstname.lastname@example.org or fax to: (760) 599-1237 attn: Sales Position."
That's all I have for now. I promise I'm going to post something slightly more entertaining soon. I've just been so slammed at work that when I get home, I just want to veg out and do a whole lot of nothing (except maybe consume an alcoholic beverage and watch re-runs of Grey's Anatomy).
Tuesday, May 29, 2007
Friday, May 18, 2007
ZEN AND THE ART OF BICYCLE RIDING
A Zen master teacher saw five of his students return from the market, riding their bicycles. When they dismounted, the teacher asked the students, “Why are you riding your bicycles?”
The first student replied, “The bicycle is carrying this sack of potatoes, I am glad that I do not have to carry them on my back! The teacher praised the student, saying,”You are a smart boy. When you grow old, you will not walk hunched over as I do.”
The second student replied, “I love to watch the trees and fields pass by as I roll down the path.” The teacher commended the student, “Your eyes are open and you see the world.”
The third student replied, “When I ride my bike I am content to chant, nam myoho renge kyo.” The teacher praised the student, saying, your mind will roll with the ease of a newly trued wheel.”
The fourth student answered, ‘Riding my bicycle, I live in harmony with all beings.” The teacher was pleased and said “You are riding on the golden path of non-harming.”
The fifth student replied, “I ride my bicycle to ride my bicycle”
The teacher went and sat at the feet of the fifth student and said,
“I am your disciple”
Tuesday, May 15, 2007
And the Flightline Sport (formerly V3):
And the soon-to-be "it" bike amongst 6-year old girls across the country...one color option of the Flightline 20 (formerly V20):
I don't know, but I think these are some pretty damn good-looking bikes that all retail for less than $400. No more el cheapo-looking tw0-tone paint jobs with motocross-inspired graphics. These have a more sophisticated look to them. Needless to say, I'm pretty stoked about them.
We'll be posting the entire Flightline series on our website just as soon as they all become available.
Monday, May 14, 2007
- Ditch the entry fee. OK, parking was free this year, but who cares? Do you know how many groms were trolling around the parking lot begging for unused wrist bands because they couldn't afford the entry fee? Think they aren't valid customers because they can't afford it? Think again. Generation Y (people born between 1980 and 2000) boasts a combined spending power of about $150 billion. Aside from some of these kids, how many people do you think opted not to attend knowing that there would be a fee to get inside the gates?
- Get real with race entry fees. I went to Sea Otter this year thinking I'd like to race singlespeed just as I had for the past several years. When you go to Sea Otter to staff a booth, early registration really isn't an option since there are staffing issues that need to be worked out. My race entry fee, combined with the late fee AND the one-day license fee pushed the total damn near $70. I ended up not racing. Truth be told, it wasn't the outrageous fee by itself...I was getting over being sick and the weather was supposed to be bad on race day, but the fee just compounded it all. If the fee were more reasonable, I probably would have bucked up and raced but $70 is a lot of money to shell out. I'd be willing to bet more than a few people opted not to race due to the high fees as well.
- And speaking of fees, get real with the expo fees. As you know, you damn near doubled expo fees on us this year. The cool thing about Sea Otter is the fact that you had the little start-up companies exhibiting side-by-side with the big guys. I know of companies who are still in business today who got their humble beginnings selling at Sea Otter years ago. Let's keep it that way! Consumers come to see and buy new things...why disappoint them? If you keep jacking up the expo fees, you WILL price some of these people right out of your event. Speaking for myself, I came damn close to not attending this year because of the increase. When I mentioned to Skip Latham that it was simply not in my budget, he very graciously granted me a bit of a discount to keep Haro's attendance. I hate to say it, but a huge increase in Sea Otter expo space isn't going to be in my budget next year either. I simply cannot justify to my boss why the cost to attend just doubled. Am I getting anything more than I have in years past? No, I can't say that I will. Do yourselves a bit of a favor...take a look at bicycle sales statistics from a reputable industry source like BPSA. You'll see that the cycling industry isn't exactly growing by leaps and bounds. In fact, bike sales are down. Profits are down. Most companies within the industry are looking to REDUCE expenses, not increase them.
OK, well I'm done with my little rant. I hope nobody walks away from this post thinking I hate Sea Otter. I don't. I love the event. For the most part, the promoters have done a fine job at keeping Sea Otter a first-rate event. However, even the best job can still be done better. I'd really like to see Sea Otter remain the wonderful, inclusionary event that it's been for years attended by cyclists of all types, racer or otherwise. Don't give people a reason NOT to attend your event. Moving Sea Otter to May is definitely a step in the right direction. Let's keep on walking, shall we?
Monday, May 7, 2007
Tuesday, May 1, 2007
Wednesday, April 25, 2007
But enough about work. Let's talk about the "wave". You know the one...it's that little hand gesture you make to other cyclists you pass on the road (or trail). Sometimes it's in the form of a full-blown wave and accompanied with a friendly "good morning" (or afternoon). Or it could be in the form of a one-finger (and hopefully not the middle finger pointed straight up) off the bars wave. Sometimes it's just a simple head nod. I mean, all of us cyclists are a family so we're supposed to acknowledge our brethren on two wheels in some fashion, right?
Motorcyclists, much like cyclists, are a tight-knit family. When you pass another motorcycle, whether it's coming the other way at you or you are passing in the same direction, you wave. Yes, there is sometimes the silly sportbike vs. Harley snobbery where someone on a sporty won't wave to a Harley rider and vice versa, but that's pretty rare. It's just what you do...you give the "wave" to your fellow rider. You're family, after all. I have actually found myself getting bummed if too many riders pass by me and don't return the wave to me.
I've noticed recently that when I'm on my bicycle, the "wave" is becoming somewhat of a lost art. I don't know, maybe I'm just growing more sensitive to it, but it really seems like fewer and fewer cyclists do it. Are these newbs that haven't gotten then memo yet? Just this past weekend, I did 2 fairly long rides and saw lots of other cyclists. Some of the riders I encountered were just plain in the zone or something and didn't even look my way. OK, if you're into your moment, so be it. But the most puzzling folks I came across are the ones (and there were several) who I'd wave to, and they would simply just stare at me as I passed and not return the wave. This behavior seriously had me wondering if I had perhaps forgotten to put clothing on and was riding along naked or something.
I notice the same behavior on the trail when I ride MTB, too. The past few rides I have done, the hikers and horse people have been much friendlier than many of the other cyclists I'd encounter on the trail. The vast majority of the cyclists would just ride by without any acknowledgement at all. Often times, as a result of this lack of communication from some cyclists, trail etiquette suffers. I can't tell you how many times I've been climbing up a steep, technical section of trail only to have someone bomb towards me and expect me to yield the trail to them, without saying a word. What's up with that? Isn't the rider riding up the hill supposed to have the right of way?
Am I alone or do any of you also experience this and feel the same way? Does it seem like some cyclists you see on the road and/or trail just aren't aren't as friendly as they used to be? As cyclists, we truly are a lot like family. We're a tight community bonded together by rubber, metal, open roads, a penchant for pain, and a love for the great outdoors. Just as you wave to the neighbors on the street you live on, isn't it simply a nice gesture to acknowledge the other members of your community who share the same passion as you do? I do.
Regardless, I can rant and bitch about this all day long, but I won't give up in protest. I'll continue to give the "wave" and acknowledge other cyclists I see in my travels. If they wave back, that will make me feel good; validated even. If they don't, no worries. I'll just take satisfaction in knowing that I really wasn't waving at them anyhow. I was merely waving at their bicycles.
Now go ride your bike (and wave at the other riders you see, would ya?).
Sunday, April 22, 2007
Within the first few pages of this issue, there was a little story that caught my eye: "Carless in the Cowboy State". The subheading boldly declared, "Wyoming initiates unprecedented vehicle ban". Huh? Really?!? This sounds cool! So I read on. The article goes on to discuss that all motor vehicles will be banned from all streets and roads in the state of Wyoming for the entire week of July 16-22. The measure, which won support from both Wyoming Senate and house representatives, was designed to encourage both residents and tourists to use alternative means of transportation to get around. The article stated that Lance Armstrong is rumored to be planning a group ride across the state in support of the measure.
Wow! What a victory for cycling advocates! Perhaps this measure would serve as a model for others. If people are forced to abandon their cars for just one week, then maybe, just maybe a few people would find that riding their bike or walking to work would actually be enjoyable and would continue their car-free commute after July 22nd. Imagine the possibilities!
The article closed with a web address to a website where you could get more information: www.carfreewyoming.com. Of course I had to check this out.
OK, well if you clicked on the link before reading any more of my post, hopefully you got as good of a laugh as I did. Instead of a glorious website rich with details of such an unprecedented step towards encouraging citizens to use alternative means of transportation, I was greeted with a big, bold headline that read, "Welcome fellow gullible cyclists".
Much to my dismay, it was all a hoax. Actually, it was a belated April Fool's joke. I felt so robbed. As I thought about all the possibilities that could have come of a measure such as this...well, if it was actually true, that is.
However, the more I thought about it, the more I began to think about the Wyoming measure from all angles. As a cyclist, I would gladly be forced to ditch the car and ride my bike to work. Like they say, you can't rape the willing. But what about the rest of the population? How would they react? Would they be open to finding other ways to get to work and actuallly embrace using them?
It's sort of like when your parents forced you to take piano lessons when you were 10. When you're forced to do something, it's often human nature to resist it. So as much as I thought that the Wyoming measure was as cool as hell (well, again, if it was actually true), it dawned on me that alternative means of transportation can't be forced onto people. Sure, it might persuade some people to change the way they commute and run errands, but it runs the risk of turning so many more away.
So at a time when gas prices are at an all-time high and our air and environment is more polluted than it ever has been, what is the carrot that needs to be dangled in front of people to get them to leave their cars at home? As we learned at the National Bicycle Summit, there are many measures in place (and not hoaxes I swear...I was there!) that will reward and encourage people to start using differents means to commute.
My hope as a budding advocate (who still has a lot to learn) and as a cyclist is that people will adopt cycling as a means of transportation without being forced to do so. If folks are forced into it, rush hour will have more bar-banging than a AA Pro main at an ABA BMX national.
I just realized that I just got off on a tangent, taking a stance against an April Fool's joke. Well, I hope like me, you at least got a good chuckle out of it.
Wednesday, April 18, 2007
Tuesday, April 17, 2007
Monday, April 9, 2007
Happy trails, ya'll!
Friday, April 6, 2007
One of the blogs I have found myself visiting recently is the Marketing Profs Daily Fix blog. It's got a ton of great marketing-related articles on it by a slew of marketing guru contributors from a variety of industries. In fact, Tim "Masi Guy" Jackson is lucky enough to be a contributor, which is how I found out about this gem of a blog.
The other night, I read a pretty interesting post that really had zero to do with bikes or the cycling industry, but it still managed to hold my attention for longer than 34 seconds. The post was entitled "Store Brands Give National Brands a Run for the Money" and it discussed how many retailers are having great success with their own house or "private label" brands up against the big national name brands. Once considered inferior quality, many private label brands are positioned as high quality, upscale products and consumers are quickly gaining acceptance for them.
This post really got me thinking about society's obsession with brand names. I mean, it's just a name, right? Just a little logo? Or is it? And of course, cyclists are not immune to this obsession. In fact, we are the worst. We are completely obsessed by the lure of that brand name on their stems, bars, saddles, and everything else that can be bolted or stuck to a bicycle in some fashion.
Believe me, there was a time where I was as obsessed by bike part brands as I was by designer jeans back when I was 12 years old. Before I started working in the cycling industry, whenever I purchased a new bike, one of the first things I did was start making a list of which cool aftermarket parts I wanted to buy because lord knows I just couldn't leave the stock bike manufacturer branded parts on the bike. What would people think? I would surely get laughed right off the trail! Images of blue ano CNC'd cranks and yellow powdercoated stems danced in my head, eventually dancing their way onto my bike much to the chagrin of my wallet.
Once I started to work in the cycling industry, that obsession began to fade rapidly. No, maxed out credit cards were not to blame; education was the culprit that killed that sick obsession. I quickly learned that many of the cool parts I lusted over were not made by some bike geek in his garage or in some slick factory here in the USA, but they were made in Taiwan instead. And in addition to this, I learned that many of the manufacturers of these aftermarket parts were all having their parts made in the same factory, by the same manufacturer. At first, I felt a little cheated since clever marketing of some of these factories led me to believe these products were made a little closer to home, but once you figure out that "everyone's doing it", those feelings fade fast.
Yes, there was a day when many of those high-end aftermarket parts were made here and some still are, but the lure of inexpensive labor, less environmental restrictions, and good quality has shifted most of this production overseas. It's just the way that it is. And having been in this industry for several years now, you see just how homogenized that process really is. It's really interesting to walk through a factory in Taiwan and see who's getting their parts made there. In some cases, the products are identical; only the logo changes. In other cases, there might be a minor tweak like a different handlebar sweep or bend that sets one brand's bar apart from another before the logo is applied.
Obviously, there are aftermarket parts which are truly unique. But many are not...only the names (logos) have changed. So what is in a name? This is where I'd love to read some comments from you, my dear readers, on why you choose the aftermarket products you do. Why do you pull the bar and/or stem off your bike that says "Haro" or "Specialized" or "Felt" on it and replace it with something that has a certain brand name on it, but may not be any lighter, better fit, better performing, or better quality than the part (or parts) you just took off? Why do you choose a certain name brand over another? Do you do diligent research, ask your bike shop, or query your riding buddies? Does a particular brand's marketing efforts entice you?
So tell me...what is in a name?
Wednesday, April 4, 2007
Me: "Good morning, Haro Bicycles, this is Jill speaking."
Dealer: "Ummmm...hello....uh...yeah, I'd like to speak to one of the guys, please." (referring to my male Inside Sales Rep Co-workers)
Me: "Well, they're both on their lines right now. Is there something I can help you with?"
Dealer: "No, I have a technical question."
Me: "Great, I can help you with that."
Dealer: "No, I'd really feel more comfortable talking to one of the guys."
I was really beginning to get curious about what the hell he wanted to ask these guys that he couldn't ask me. I mean, does it sting when he pees and he's not sure what to do? Is he not sure what the little vent hole in the front of his boxers/tightie whities is for? Or maybe his girlfriend just sprung the "L" word on him and he needed male guidance? I found it hard to believe he had a bike-related question that I couldn't provide an answer for. Not that I know it all, but if I don't know the answer, chances are I can find the answer somewhere.
Quickly realizing that this conversation was going nowhere very quickly while also noting none of my male co-workers were available to talk to this guy, I gave it one last effort.
Me: "OK, the guys are both on their lines, so you have a choice. I can put you on hold until one of them is off the phone, or you can try to ask me whatever technical question you have. I just might have an answer for you."
Huh? You're kidding, right? Well, obviously that's not what I said to the dealer, amused at the fact that he didn't think a GIRL could handle figuring out what hanger he needed. Without skipping a beat, I looked at my tech sheet hanging on the wall nearby and give him the part number and price. Even though I think he was clearly astonished at the fact that I, a GIRL, even knew what a derailleur hanger was, he placed an order for one.
Believe it or not, that's not the only conversation like that I have had during the eight years I have been working in the cycling industry. Yes, this industry (like the sport of cycling itself) is male dominated. I'm pretty sure men working in our industry outnumber women by about 7 to 1. With those odds most people think that it's a great way for us gals to get a date (trust me, it's really not), but in reality, the fact that we are female presents a very unique set of issues (note that I did not say problems!).
Probably the biggest challenge we face is because we are female, many men don't see us as a credible source of information; especially if the information they need relates to anything technical. Most of us women who have made the decision to make careers out of working in the cycling industry have had to work so much harder than men to prove that we know what we're talking about. We have had to swallow our pride and ask more questions about stuff we don't know about even if to 99% of the guys, it's seen as a "stupid question" that "everyone" knows the answer to. And once we start gathering this precious knowledge, we really need to make a concerted effort to retain it. We have had to study bike spec harder. We have had to make many, many mistakes in effort to become knowledgeable in our field while onlooking guys roll their eyes and mutter something to the effect of "Chicks...". It's often a daunting task to constantly need to prove yourself to your co-workers, superiors, potential employers, and customers.
When I get the chance to swap stories like this with some of my "sisters" working in the industry, we have all had similar struggles, but we wouldn't change it for the world. Nor would we jump ship for any other line of work. Amidst all the funny stories, most of which all have common threads to some degree, there is one observation I have made but it seems like it's rarely vocalized...and that's the fact that none of us want to or expect to be treated any differently than our male co-workers. We've actually grown pretty accustomed to being treated like "just one of the guys"...and the funny thing is for the most part, we really like it. It lets us know that we are somehow on an equal playing field.
So as I sit here an polish off a nice glass of red wine, the purpose of this post is to do nothing but raise a figurative glass to all the women who make a living from this crazy bike industry. Just like any epic bike ride, the trail is often really, really rough, but the scenery, the thrill, and the camaraderie along the way is what great memories are made of, and keep us coming back for more.
So ladies...here's to us!
Sunday, April 1, 2007
Another view looking east. Note the pond in the foreground; I might have to bring a pole back here and try for a big catfish.
View of San Pasqual Valley from the Raptor Ridge Viewpoint.
After ridng the San Pasqual Trail all the way to the end, I turned off onto Highland Valley Road on the way back and went to find the Highland Valley Trail. It was right where I was told I'd find it, and boy, was I eer glad I found it! Although not very long (probably 2 or 4 miles), it was super fun! Lots of rolling singletrack nestled among oak trees; the trail just flowed like water. And again...didn't see a soul on it. Here are three different views from the trail:
When it was all said and done, I rode nearly 40 miles and was out for about 4 hours (hey, I didn't claim to set any speed records!). Needless to say, I'm pretty whooped; 40 miles off-road is a LONG ride. But you gotta love the hidden gems!
Thursday, March 29, 2007
The color is called Carolina Blue; it has sort of a semi-gloss finish to it. I'm really stoked on how this frame color turned out. I think it will be a real winner for us. For those of you unfamiliar with our Mary bikes, these are our line of 29" wheel steel hardtails. Named after the CCR song "Proud Mary" (that has a line in about "big wheels keep turning"), we do both a geared and singlespeed version. They are super fun to ride.
Well, that's all I have for now. I'm going to try and make a habit of writing shorter posts...hopefully I'm off to a good start.