Tuesday, March 18, 2014
However, I'm discontinuing moderating two blogs and will be solely adding content to my longer of the two sites- stickboybike.com
The Bianchi Life blog will remain up for those in need of any reference to things of celeste, and addition to the Twitter feed in the right side column.
Click the photo below to get on over to my latest endeavors.
Thanks and be well!
Tuesday, December 17, 2013
Friday, December 6, 2013
It takes a business owner a few years of working for free as the sole employee of the shop; wrenching, selling, leading group rides. (If you have friends willing to help for free, that's a bonus too.) Don't forget cleaning the bathroom! All of this needs to be done before the IBD should consider hiring its first full time employee. I call this organically growing the business.
Yes there are instances when a business can prove this process wrong. Most of the time, the independent bicycle retailer who toils for their first few years with very lean overhead, maintains focus on community outreach to other cyclists through events and group rides-- ends up paying their bills on time with their bike companies and 'growing their tribe' faster than those who unlock the front door and just flip over the Open sign. I've found that this is the formula for a sustainable business-- the 3Cs.
Speaking of organic growth and nailing it with community outreach, the guys in Raleigh, North Carolina-- Oak City Cycling Project have put together my favorite shop video of 2013.
If you're in the central NC region, hit them up either late on Wednesday nights or during First Night Fridays. You will find a cold beverage and good discussion is waiting there for you.
Wednesday, November 20, 2013
Looking to get the best spot at the Gran Fondo Miami bike expo, I consulted our independent rep as to which booth location/ number would be best for us. Across from the VIP tent is where we pitched our tents.
On Saturday, the riders of the Gran Fondo Miami strolled in to pick up their packets for Sunday's ride. Surrounding their exit from the sign in tent, were us bike companies offering up a peek at the latest cycling technology and a chance to speak with factory reps.
Having a celeste bikes at the booth is always a sure fire way to bring out fans of the brand. Not having Campagnolo on every single bike can also bring out the worst in some people. But let's face it. If you're buying a bike that's over $2200 and it's made of carbon fiber, Bianchi has you covered. There's no need to go home and kick a puppy.
Saturday's booth traffic was defined by a large number of visits from Bianchi owners. A small chunk of passer-bys were generally curious cyclists. If the conversations on Saturday were any sort of a groundswell for what we'd see people riding on Sunday, we'd be very busy that day. And that we were.
Sunday. Ride day. Carbon clincher wheel day. Oltre day? Yes, Oltre day.
Being across from the VIP tent had paid off. As people racked their bikes, enjoyed the food and then departed with a full belly, they strolled over for a chat, some swag and a handshake.
You can spout out gobs of metrics about who attends a gran fondo in Miami, Florida. Some of it might be exaggerated, speculated and methodically formulated. One thing was for sure, the majority of the carbon bikes and their owners that stopped by after the ride to show me their pride and joy, rode an Oltre. Those not on an Oltre-- it was some other model of carbon fiber, Bianchi road bike. Absent were the classic steel bikes like the Imola, Vigorelli and Volpe like I saw endlessly at RAGBRAI 2013.
I saw every size Oltre from a woman on a 50cm Super Record with EPS, on up to a 61cm frame size with FFW celeste colored deep dish wheels like the Vacansoleil team rode.
I believe Aldo from Canada gets the super fan award of the weekend. Tri-color helmet, Oltre with Campagnolo Super Record, Bianchi branded sunglasses and.....
....ink. I thought he was showing off is guns until he rolled his arm over revealing this. Edoardo would be proud.
Another event goes down for me and much like RAGBRAI, people felt entitled to tell you their story of how and why they have a celeste colored bike. So much enthusiasm, so much passion and excitement these Bianchi owners have; it's more than any brand I've seen from 20 years of working retail.
It's difficult at best create a brand's culture, buy culture or force a culture to last over a century like Bianchi. It has to marinade for a long time. Culture creates itself and after 128 years of it, I'm proud to be a part of Bianchi's culture because once you throw a leg over their bicycle, the world is that much smaller.
From Florida, back to the Mid-Atlantic weather.....brrrrrr!
Monday, November 11, 2013
Saturday, October 26, 2013
Like a well worn pair of comfortable jeans, I installed this Selle Italia Flight saddle on the Bianchi Cavaria 'cross bike last season. This saddle was knocking around in the bottom of my tool box since the dismantling of my Voodoo Bokor (last of the US made ones) and once I realized that a Fizik Arione saddle is a poor choice of a saddle on a cx bike, this seat stepped up to bat.
Do the math. Started using this saddle back in '99 on the Voodoo. It's 2013. The plastic is bound to get a bit brittle and maybe weakened by sloppy remounts by my 6'5" self. DCCX was the end of the road for this saddle. I finished the last two laps with the broken saddle. RIP of friend.