Todd's Blog


Save a cycling life… invoke rule #1

Todd Brown Uncategorized

Your friend finally got a bike and starts riding… to save his cycling life you must invoke Rule #1.

You could have a heart to heart over a latte, or just forward this email.

Secret rule number 1:  Never, ever, ever skimp on the bib!

You’re sitting on that thing… for hours!  Your bib must:

 be comfy, caress you, protect you,

through mud, rain, dirt and sun and sweat.

This is the union of all unions.

You screw up your bib choice and that union is gonna end quickly and ugly.

 Newbs don’t get this

They are so freaked out over Lycra they buy the cheapest thing possible knowing/thinking/hoping they’ll toss it after one ride.

Whoops… even cheapo bibs are so much better they keep wearing them, eventually wasting hard-earned dollars on chamois butter.

That’s not you.

You know better

You know quality bibs are the apparel equivalent of an outrageously expensive carbon fiber frame.

We have a team so thrifty, they buy the cheap jersey and come to us for the bib.

Why would you do that?

Because it matters!

Great bibs shouldn’t cost you an arm and a leg… they should just be great.

  1. Your bibs should be made of Italian fabrics, they are the best.  The Italians are so into fabrics and fashion and cycling!  Don’t experiment, they’ve got it mastered.
  1. Every single panel of the bibs you choose should be made of 100% polyester because polyester is the softest and most elastic of fabrics. And those panels need to be expertly cut every time and comprised of just the right polyester so you get the perfect amount of compression.  Plus, when you use polyester, you can print every single panel and create striking designs.
  1. Your bibs should have a pad that fits like a loving glove, no matter how long you ride.  The pad should be anatomical perfection, and gender specific.  It should be stretchy.    And, AND!, the pad has got to be placed and sewn in the correct location.  Critical stuff here.  Get it wrong and you’ll look like a banana smuggler and feel a lot worse.

At the end of your ride, you must lovingly and thankfully step out of your bibs…

you might want to stay in them all afternoon…

Take a shower.  Clean up.

Wash your bibs inside out, so the print stays crisp.

Air dry your bibs after the spin cycle.

Take care of your bibs and they will take care of you.  Really.

Should you be having anything less than an awesome experience with your bibs, you may want to check out our line up.

We’ll make sure you feel as warm and cuddled as your bits and pieces will when you ride in our bibs.

May all your rides be comfortable!

PS… our latest kit, called Speed, could be just what your looking for.

 


Skipping School

Todd Brown Uncategorized

IMG_0371

It’s Tuesday morning, and it’s raining… and I stayed in bed and skipped the TMWC.

Now what if this turns out to really be an El Nino year?

1.  We’ll get all kinds of random training in, making us more like surfers who depend on good waves to surf their arms off and no waves to recover and wait for more great surf.

2.  We’ll have many days of hero dirt vs many days of moon dust.

3.  We might… just might… Man and WOman up and learn to ride with wet socks for more than 10 minutes because it’s Tuesday and that’s what we do.

Until next week… #nomatterwhat.


“That’s right! Ice… man. I am dangerous.”

Todd Brown Uncategorized

do not jump

Well, hell.

Jeff, my great friend, riding buddy of 30 years, confidant and all around nicest person you’ll ever meet is in the hospital, under the knife…

50% of his bike-related hospital trips (6) have been on rides with me, two within 15 months.

%^&*, is about all I can say about this.

His wife is not happy, with either of us.  We’ll probably be banned from ever riding together again.  Can’t say I blame her one bit.

We’re just a couple of 53-year old knuckleheads… doing what we love.

This time we were on Tidal Wave, a rockin’ mountain bike trail with humongous banked turns and more than a few some what large table top jumps.

We had just watched what looked like a helmet mounted to a bike rip the course, getting massive air.  The kid was probably 10.  He even had a GoPro.

It looked so fun, “let’s just roll” the course.

It was fun.  Super fun.  Even when Jr took a tumble and shredded his kit it was fun.

We HAD to take a second run.  The park was closed, lifts were stopped.  We were the last kids on the mountain.  Boys being boys, we rode past the Do Not Ride Up Trail sign to the very top.  Epicness awaited.

I begged to rest for moment, to get some air in my sea-level lungs.  The locals acquiesced.

Fresh and ready, we entered the course slowly.  There was no jockeying for position, just a simple roll out and down the course with huge grins.

The builder of the course is a genius.  In no time, you get in a rhythm and quickly gain confidence and speed.

Zooooooooooom.

I waited at the bottom.  And waited.

I was riding backup.  It was very steep.

Matt rolled around a corner towards me.  He had started last.

Jeff was not good:  left clavicle in 3 pieces, right wrist in two pieces.

The long walk to the car, was long, too long.

Short drive to the hospital….

“Now the doctor came in stinking of gin
And proceeded to lie on the table
He said Rocky you met your match
And Rocky said, doc it’s only a scratch
And I’ll be better I’ll be better doc as soon as I am able.”

Rocky Raccoon – Lennon/McCartney

… heal fast my fast friend.


Writing in a stranglehold

Todd Brown Uncategorized

So, I’m going to write a book.

This topic has been burning and brewing for way too long.

The question I have right now is can I write the entire book while listening solely to Ted Nugent’s Stranglehold?


I. Engine

Todd Brown Uncategorized

Kozo Shimano said, the problem with cycling is the engine is weak.

Ouch.

He was right. We are weak.

My motorcycle ripped. It had 50 horses.

We are clever.

On bikes we sprint faster than horses and soar like eagles.

Eat great. Get rest.

Take care of your engine.


Sprinting

Todd Brown Uncategorized

  1. Kevin WaytKevin Wayt Great race tonight TB! 
  2. Kevin WaytKevin Wayt Wish I could sprint with you guys at the end…:-( 
  3. Todd Brown PEDALindustriesTodd Brown PEDALindustries You can Kevin. We just need to work once it. I’ll show you a few tricks pre race next week.
  4. Kevin WaytKevin Wayt Great! Can you lend me some power too :-) Remove
  5. Todd Brown PEDALindustriesTodd Brown PEDALindustries No. But I can show you how to get some power on your own and how to steal some from others (I guard mine like a squirrel guards his nuts – and it does take balls to have power). Sprinting is an art form, it takes a calm, calculating devilish will. To really do it right you must commit well before the race, you must be willing to vomit, be able to hold your breath until your ears hurt, be able to turn your legs over long after they have turned to stone, and and and and and and do all this with a Gatsby-foolish grin… top down and scarf blowing in the wind on a lazy summer day. Got it? Probably not… But you can have it.


How To Ride In A Group

Todd Brown Uncategorized

great park

(From TMWC FB Group Discussion)

Gabriel sent me a question about tonight’s crit – should he go and what should he do during the ride.  Dave and Ryan and the rest of ya feel free to jump in here:

Gabe it’s a great idea. I’ll be down there early. Warm up with me… in the meantime here are some basics to consider:

Always keep your fingers looped around the bars – thumb and forefinger should be touching in case you hit an unseen bump (learned this from the great Nelson Vails)


Never overlap wheels (learned from Experience)


Never stop pedaling – apply your brakes when needed but never, ever stop pedaling and slam on your brakes at the same time (learned from the legend Bob Bills).


Be vigilant – trust no one to be thinking or caring about you -> IQ decreases as race duration and speed increases.


Pay attention to wind direction – take your pulls when it’s time then get some shelter and rest.

… and remember, it’s supposed to be fun, so have fun!


Never heard of that before

Todd Brown Uncategorized

sheriff escort“Never heard that before”…

I’ve heard that response to one of my ideas countless times.

This time, I had the idea to do a rolling road closure for our annual charity bike ride… like they do for funerals.

How cool would it be if we could do the TMWC with Sheriff’s escort for the ride?… I’m trying to make that happen.

Doing the unusual is never easy, but nearly always worth it.


Is your sale sucking your essence?

Todd Brown Uncategorized

Seems like everybody has something on sale this Memorial Weekend, and it’s got me wondering.

Are we putting things on sale because business is slow or because the particular product wasn’t a seller… in other words are we blowing out the crap, are we discounting our brand equity, is the sale sucking the sexy from our essence?

What would be a better way to reward our customers without using the word or concept of On Sale?

Would an email directly to our most rabid fans with this flavor be more effective…

Subject: We like you!

Hi SuperRabidFan, we know you love our gear because you buy a lot of it and we think you deserve X% off this Memorial weekend.

Here’s the new and cool stuff, and below are some things we need to move out for even more of the new and cool… the X% applies to your entire purchase – new and old.

 Thanks for being awesome!

 


The biggest bike race promoter is?

Todd Brown Uncategorized

Biggest hotel chain in the world? AirBnB

BIggest taxi company in the world? Uber

BIggest bike race promoter in the world? STRAVA


If I ride my bike today…

Todd Brown Uncategorized

If I ride my bike today…

The wind will blow through my hair

The sun will shine on my face

My mind will clear

My body will rev up

I might:

Meet someone new

Get a flat

Have an encounter with a car

Slam on the brakes

Find a new path or perspective

Some things are given, many things are possible.

That’s life… on a bike.


New Blood at USACycling… springs hope!

Todd Brown Uncategorized

It’s been years, no decades, since USA Cycling has made an exciting announcement.

A new CEO: YOUNG. ACCOMPLISHED.  Here’s to much success for Derek Bouchard-Hall.

usa cycling ceo

After retiring from cycling in 2002, he attained an MBA from Harvard Business School and began a career in consulting with Ernst & Young in Boston and then with McKinsey in London. At McKinsey, Bouchard-Hall focused on designing and implementing change programs across a range of commercial and governmental organizations. He joined Wiggle in 2011 where he rose to assume leadership of the international business of the rapidly growing global online retailer.

read more


I don’t need to be the fastest…

Todd Brown Uncategorized

I don’t need to be the fastest guy on the ride,
I just want to ride with people that are getting faster.


2 things all champions know

Todd Brown Uncategorized

be a champion

 

All champions know exactly what they want.  They can see it, taste it, feel it, touch it, hear it.  What they want is crystal clear.

More importantly they know why they want it.

No matter how gnarly the challenge if the why is big enough, the how always presents itself.

When the champion arrives at the destination sublime satisfaction is there to greet, because the champion knows why it had to happen, had to be.

This TED talk is awesome.


Why road racing makes you better:

Todd Brown Uncategorized

If your training is pretty good, you will get dropped… and lose minutes, you won’t even be able to see the leaders.

If your training is excellent, you will finish in the middle of the pack… but you won’t be on the podium.

If your training is outstanding, if there’s nothing more to do, add or subtract… you could place, you might even win.

Road racing demands ALL you can do.


My 1 leg vs his 2 legs

Todd Brown Uncategorized

The large man I roll past mutters “1 of your legs equals both of mine”.

I bit my tongue, it was more like his belly was 3 times the size of mine.

When it comes down to speed on a bike a lot of it simple math and physics.

Want to go faster, lose weight.

It’s not unique to cycling, it’s the same in running, business, serenity.

They call it dead weight for a reason.


4 Mistakes To Avoid When Ordering Custom Cycling Gear

Todd Brown Uncategorized

Pedal Vest Art

Are these 4 Mistakes are costing you time and money?

1.  Bad art.  .jpg, .png, .doc, etc are not the formats your manufacturer needs or can ultimately use.  What you need is Vector Art, and those files are going to end with .ai or .pdf.  Note, saving a .jpg as .ai does not make it vector.  If you can’t get the original files then a good vendor will be able to help you turn your art to vector art, and most likely will give you a copy for future use.

2.  Bad color.  Saying we like a bright red is nice, but if you want your gear to have that red you must get in front of a PMS Chart and indicate the PMS color you want.  PMS is short for Pantone Matching System, and every printer in the world works from that system.  If you and I pick RED 186 from the chart for your color, then we’ll get you RED 186 on your gear.

3.  Bad budgeting.  Know what you can afford and go get the best possible gear you can get for your money.  Asking “how cheap can I get a jersey” is not the way to go.  Stating I have $X, what’s the best product you have if we order quantity X is the way to get the most bang for your buck.

4.  Bad vendor selection.  Websites are a great way to find vendors, and there are lots of brilliant ads you see for gear.  But, you should always get referrals from current customers and test the gear yourself.

Custom cycling gear is expensive.  Whether you are buying cycling jerseys for the company to wear at a gran fondo, or a custom canopy to gather under, or custom cycling socks to kick around on and off the bike being prepared will make that purchase go much smoother and come out a lot better.

Vector Art. Check.

PMS Colors. Check.

Budget. Check.

Referrals. Check.


How Do You Know Your Pricing Is Right?

Todd Brown Uncategorized

kevins email

Recently, a very good customer asked me to match a competitor’s ridiculous deal on cycling clothes.

While I appreciate the opportunity, let’s face it these requests can pop your balloon.

Confident in my product and service, I stuck to my price for the simple reason that if I go down that road inevitably it’s the customer who loses.

I can’t deliver 100% of my virtuous love at a slut’s price.

I didn’t expect to receive the email above… but, I did.  It’s the kind of email that make me want to walk over hot coals for my customer.

This is not a compliment to me as much as it is to Kevin, because Kevin is building a successful bike shop in a competitive market by devoloping relationships with his customers.  I’ve seen him in action.

I’m just lucky enough to have great, awesome customers.


Growing Cycling By Design

Todd Brown Uncategorized

we love cycling

We love riding bikes.

Love it.

We’re doing all we can to grow the sport.

We invite others to ride with us.

We teach the new riders what it’s all about.

We put on fun events – rides and education.

We create fun retail apparel to share the love.

We scour the globe for great custom products regular folks will love and can afford.

Growing cycling by design means we do all these things on purpose, with an eye for great design.

We hope you love what we do, and when you don’t that you’ll tell us what we can do better.

Ride On!


How To Value The Real Estate On Your Cycling Gear

Todd Brown Uncategorized

We get asked all the time, “How much should I charge XYZ to be on our team gear?”

This question implies cash, which is always good.

Truth is we all want as much as we can get – sponsors and teams.  So let’s get it.

Anybody asking for sponsorship needs a plan to answer these questions:  how many events will you attend? how many people will be on the team?  how committed and effective you are with Social Media? how likely are you to get press coverage?  what will you use sponsorship for – travel, gear, living expenses?  can you do some guerrilla marketing or sampling at events? etc.

Sponsors need to ask themselves these questions:  what return am I looking for – customers, sales, a measurable metric?  am I doing this just because I love the sport and want to help some people/give back?  can I afford to give cash or is my product industry related and product could be adequate?  does this team represent my company/brand well?

This picture has excellent guidance on the value of each location on your cycling gear – don’t be emotional about this.  Who goes where should be related to the value they are brining to the time. The pic is from a very detailed article posted by Cycling News.  I highly recommend it.

sponsorship value pic