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Waiting on the World to Change? Bike Shops Aren’t!

April 6, 2011 update:  Yesterday, I was biking on the other side of the bay and found myself suddenly in need of repair.  Being a marine mammal in distress–and one who’d left her tool kit at home–where did I look?  For a bike shop!

I was in the neighborhood of Family Cycling Center, and even though it was nearly closing time, the owner and service manager were in agreement:  they wanted to help.

Eric, the service manager, was quick to get my bike fixed up so I could go right back to pedaling.  Ah….nothing like biking one of my favorite routes in my former hometown:  East Cliff in Santa Cruz, including a stop at Pleasure Point.  Thank you, Eric and Family Cycling, for preventing  a bike trip being spoiled.

I’m not alone in appreciating bike shops.  And the Sea Otter Classic knows that, which is why they are especially honoring them.  Read on.

Bike shop hero:  Eric of Family Cycling Center, Santa Cruz

Photo credit:  Family Cycling Center

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Bike shop professionals aren’t waiting on the world to change.  By getting more people on bikes right now, they not only improve the personal health of their customers who ride, they create a healthier economy and environment.  That’s something to celebrate!

The Sea Otter Classic, a “Celebration of Cycling,” is honoring bike shops with a new Dealer Days program.  Many bike shop dealers already come to Sea Otter annually—for personal pleasure, and for the contacts and information they gain that help their businesses prosper.  With the new Dealer Days program, Sea Otter aims to further help bike shops thrive.  And Sea Otter Dealer Days is free to all credentialed dealers.  Go to Dealer Days in Sea Otter’s Festival Guide to register online.

“Dealer Days is an awesome idea!” said Frank Pinto of Joselyns Bicycles in Monterey.  Frank’s shop has again been named Best Bike Shop in the Monterey County Weekly’s annual readers poll, and he knows it’s challenging for shops like his to keep up on what’s new in the bike world.  “There’s a lot of product out there, things a lot of dealers may not be aware of.  Beyond Sea Otter’s fabulous Expo, Dealer Days gives new opportunities to bike shops that can help them get those cool products to the cyclists.”

Neither wind nor rain  keeps bicycle shops, like Joselyns in Monterey (above), from meeting their customers’ cycling needs.

“Having Dealer Days at Sea Otter is a huge asset, not only for local dealers but for dealers across the country,” said Don Dauphinais of Danielson Adventure Sports in Danielson, Connecticut.  Don has attended the Sea Otter Classic numerous years, and he finds Dealer Days yet another reason to head to the west coast in April.  He knows that bike shops are depended on to help their customers make sense of what many are only confused by online.

Successful bike dealers keep up with industry changes, have access to reliable industry resources, and develop positive relationships with customers, staff, communities, and vendors—the manufacturers and suppliers of bicycles and related products.   Dealer Days is designed to give dealers an advantage on all of these.

“Fifty percent of cyclists are women,” said Kelli Poindexter of Eden Bicycles in Castro Valley, California.  “Learning directly from the manufacturers at Dealer Days about their women-specific product lines can help bike shops be better equipped to serve their female customers.”  Kelli has specialized for many years in the bikes and products women and girls love most.

Looks like Sports Center is just for the spandex crowd?  Not! Check out their website to see why Sports Center is “The Home of Team Everybody.”

Take a look inside Sports Center Bicycles in this KSBW story.

Robert Cepeda, service manager since 2001 at Sports Center Bicycles in Seaside, California recognized the value of the opportunities Dealer Days provides through its manufacturers’ clinics and seminars, and at the daily receptions.  “Just being in touch with the industry professionals helps you understand product better, as well as helps the employees be better advocates for bicycling.”

Clinics and seminar presentations, such as one scheduled about SRAM’s Avid Brakes, are one of the ways that Dealer Days is facilitating better product understanding for Cepeda and other bike shop professionals.

Demos for dealers

Bob Barwick, general manager of Family Cycling Center in Santa Cruz, has been with the store for twelve years; the store has been there since 1986.  He finds Dealer Days a great opportunity for owners and key employees at independent bike dealers.  “The key employees don’t often get the chance to get outside the store and meet with manufacturers and suppliers, or to ride with pros.  The demos op is huge. To be able to go out and ride the product in the proper setting—trails, roads—and to do that with industry folks, that’s a very attractive opportunity!”

Dealer Days includes dealers-only demo rides with exclusive access to some of Sea Otter’s famous race venues—downhill, dual slalom, pump track, and cross country.  Many of the demos will be led by top pros, such as a morning downhill demo with world champion mountain biker Eric Carter.  Dealer Days demo rides are apart from the public Ride-With-A-Pro program, which dealers can also participate in.

Demo bikes will be available from many suppliers, including BH Bikes, Cannondale, Giant, GT Bikes, Neil Pryde Bikes, Pivot Cycles, Specialized, and SRAM.  Other products available for dealers to try out include Cobb Cycling saddles, Contour cameras, GoPro cameras, Native eyewear, and Osprey packs.

I want everyone to experience the joy…

Pam Slocum and Scott Campbell own Earth Cycles in  Santa Cruz.  They opened Earth Cycles in 2010, and they sell, repair, and service bikes.  Earlier, Scott owned retail bicycle clothing stores.  What motivated Earth Cycles to register for Dealer Days?  Pam answers, “We want to get people out of cars and on bicycles!”  The wife-and-husband team recognized that the Dealer Days opportunities will help them share their passion for biking with their community.  Scott first learned to repair his bike about fifty years ago—he has been biking since age six—and the shop’s community contributions include being involved with bicycle safety classes in the elementary schools.  When asked why he puts in the extra hours, Scott doesn’t hesitate:  “I want everyone to experience the joy of seeing the world from the saddle!” Sounds like the voice of a true bicycle dealer.

What’s offered dealers at Sea Otter Dealer Days?  Complimentary demo rides, clinics, seminars, and daily receptions—as well as free admission to the Sea Otter Festival, all four days.  Dealers are encouraged to register online, so their badge and a dealers packet will be waiting for them at Will-Call April 13-17.  Or they can register on-site, April 14-17.  Visit the Dealers Day web page to register now.

Dealer Days is being coordinated by Devian Gilbert, an endurance cyclist and passionate bicycle life stylist based in Monterey since 1993.  Dealer Days is supported by Cycle California Magazine, Sierra Nevada Brewing Company, and SRAM.  For further information, visit the Dealer Days web page or phone the Sea Otter hotline (800) 218-8411 or (831) 373-2331.

About Sea Otter Classic

A four-day “Celebration of Cycling,” Sea Otter Classic is renowned as the bicycle world’s premiere festival and one of the world’s largest.  Sea Otter hosts nearly 10,000 professional and amateur athletes and 50,000 fans.  The 21st Annual Sea Otter Classic is April 14-17, 2011 at Laguna Seca Recreation Area, Monterey, California. For more information, visit www.seaotterclassic.com or call (800) 218-8411.

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Thank you to Sea Otter for providing the press release featured in this post.

For more about Sea Otter on this site, see “Celebrate Cycling in Monterey County,” and “Welcome to the Sea Otter Classic–All 50,000 of You Cycling Fans.”

For tips on bicycling to the Sea Otter Classic–all or part-way–see Sea Otter’s “Ditch the Car” web page.

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Related resources at the Bicycling Monterey website

Especially for visitors

 

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