Todd's Blog


Growing Cycling By Design

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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

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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


For The Record

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Lately, I’ve been getting a lot of inquires and referrals from outside the cycling industry.

For the record, as much as I think we are in the bicycle business, and as much as all our biz dev is directed there, the majority of our business is serving up delicious promotional products for our long time friends and customers.

And that’s the awesome truth.

I think it was C. Sheen that said “winning” first, but I’ll second that and add a dollop of Thank You to our wonderful fan base.


Chris Carmichael: What I Learned

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pic w crhis

When I planned this years SoCal Cycling Summit I was truly excited to have America’s best known cycling coach on board: Chris Carmichael.

As the event neared, and more and more negative press came out regarding Lance, I was a little worried.  Some sponsors didn’t want to be involved because of the association between Chris and Lance.  Some people said the same thing.

Fortunately, this has never been about sponsors it’s been about us and our desirie to bring the best and brightest to our town to kick off our season and further connect this community we all love.

So, while I respect and get those decisions, I pressed on because I wanted to hear from the man that legitimized professional cycling coaching and has been a true pioneer, the guy who has a thriving business in an industry known to run on financial fumes, the guy who’s coaches have helped people I know personally to reach peak potential.

Here’s what I learned:

First I learned that Chris is a very humble, soft spoken, thoughtful human being.

He’s very, very smart.

All our interactions were professional, with a uncommon kindness and gratitude.

He has tremendous vision, and consequently a good feel for what works.

Chris’ story telling skills are great, and this is where he really lit up his presentation.
The stories from inside the pro peloton  were hilarious.  I reveled in his accounts of the early 7-11 days, the days that inspired me to try the road myself while living in Utah so far away from my surfing life.

During the evening, as I drifted between those accounts woven into real-life cycling advice and my own pressures to pull off a good event I learned Chris is a good guy to have involved, and a good guy to keep an eye on.  Genuine inspiration and hope shined on the faces of my friends as they allowed the pressures of life to move to the back and the dreams of a moment or two of personal cycling triumphs to be front and center.  It’s good.

Of course, I also learned a ton of stuff about the Time Crunched Cyclist… but you can read the book for that.

Three cheers to all who attended, helped, sponsored, and supported.

Now, go ride your bike!


Why every town needs and often has a TMWC

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Because it’s fun to ride with and meet new people.

Because faster people make me better.

Because the same course shows improvement.

Because the same time makes it dependable.

Because fast folks need a way to give back and help new folks.

Because together we achieve more.

Because if I know you will be there, I’ll get outta bed.

Because you give me real feedback.

Because that doughnut is easier to drop if I know the consequence is being dropped.

Because it’s a diverse group that enriches my life.

Because I like people. Because we can engage for good.

Because we can support each other professionally.

Because I get back early and can get my work done.

Because my lover gets it that I need a hobby and an outlet.

Because we support each other in sickness and health.

Because old kids like beating old guys they thought were fast.

Because old guys like seeing new, young blood.

Because runners are people too (and their running days are numbered).

Because it’s good to teach others how to ride in a group and the tactics to stay on – should they ever want to race.

Because it’s just once a week.


This Is Pedal Industries

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We’ve been hauling for the last 12 months.  It’s been a blast.

First was GTB – Off The Bike Branding – more here.

Next was bringing more lifestyle to cycling with Damion.

Then we had Joe Friel come  to Oakley which lead to BiciFire.

And now we are focused on unveiling Dusty Shins.

With all this going on, I felt it necessary to create a mother ship.  There is no way I could do all this alone, so a name representative of what we are doing was kicked around. Hence, we have christened the ship Pedal Industries.


How The Boogie Man Can Make You Faster, Better, Stronger

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There’s a new dude on our ride.

He’s a goof.

Sits on, and sits on, and then punches my ticket when it counts.

He’s the Boogie Man as far as I’m concerned, a real you know what. AND, his riding style is just off the range of acceptable so as to add a few extra beats a minute – probably wasting what little adrenaline I might have as well.

This is just the kind of person one would like to ride away from – easily.  Ho-hum, off with you.

But, my boogie man is getting faster.  He’s hanging on longer, and I do fear he’s going to pass me up.

Propelled by the twin motivations of beating the Boogie Man when it suits me and the even more awesome terror of being whipped, I am focused.  The troops are being rallied: better food, sleep, training.

Hopefully the Boogie Man gets really, really fast.  That will make it a great season for sure.

I’ll thank him someday, might even get to know him.


Cat D – Let Them Dope and Race

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Fighting doping is a loser. Let’s roll with it.

Keep testing, and those that get caught just move on to a new category called Category D.

No bans, no suspensions, no returning after time served. Keep racing boys and girls. Are you pro? Cat 2? Masters super star?  We have a league and level playing field for you.

Cat D will grow the sport.

Body building gave up a long, long time ago. They have doped and natural competitions. It’s a bigger market place.  Conversely, NFL, NBA, WWE all turn a blind eye. But they aren’t lifelong sports like body building and cycling.  Cat D will extend blown careers, maybe indefinitely.

Cat D will bring in new sponsor dollars.

New sponsorship dollars will flow in for Cat D products. No more shadow doctors, now the DR. Fuentes of the world can advertise. No more mystery drugs, the makers of Clenbuterol can have the coveted butt panel on racing bibs.

Cat D will give hope.

As Cat D heroes race for decades and extend their careers beyond rediculous, drug makers will have new heroes to give real hope to the aging and decrepit.

I woke up from a bad dream once that I had cancer.  At the end, I was stoked because Lance had shown that restored, even improved, performance was a reality.

Cat D will save money.

No more testing and re-busting previous dopers. We can concentrate resources on keeping the natural racers honest.

Send the Cat D racers off first on the race course. Doped to the gills, they can blast down the road at moto speed and clear the path for natural racers to follow. Okay, that’s a stretch but we can get faster motos with their own doping product sponsors.

Cat D will create genuine interest again.

Cycling is a lifelong sport, and most of us aren’t willing to risk our health, so our “natural” interest will ideally be on the natural Pro’s competition.

The natural results will be more attainable and something a youngster could actually hope to achieve and therefore see a future for themselves in the sport.

Cat D fans, like WWF fans, will exist and thrive and not be mocked as fools. Their heroes – Lance and Tyler and Roberto and Eddie and… will race on, and be cheered on.

Think I’m nuts?  Think about it, really think about it.

Cat D: Dope on, Do what you want, Don’t stop racing.


Never Stop Pedaling

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It’s pretty simple, right?

dont stop pedaling


SoCal Cycling Summit

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In 2012, I had the idea to bring the top thinkers, innovators and products to our friends in Southern California.

Jan 2013 we had our first event with Joe Friel at Oakley.  Joe’s knowledge and presentation top notch – mind expanding.   275 people attended.  It was awesome.  We gave away thousands and thousands of dollars in product.

For 2014, Chris Carmichael will be joining us at Oakley.  It will sell out for sure.  The sponsors are back, plus some BIG surprises.

Click here for details.


A Special Place

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There is a special place in my heart for bike shop owners.

For most, it’s a hardy road/path they ride; full of risk, danger, adventure and friendship.

Pushed by a personal love for their own bike experience, they set off to share their truth of what makes life great and worthy. For some it’s to do it better, for others to do it different, and for all to just do it.

To own a bike shop, and live the dream.

The love and passion ebbs and flows.

Competition is tough, much tougher than any three week tour or off road century. Everyday they compete with other specialty shops, big box stores, the internet, etc.

In my travels, I get to meet with them personally. Sometimes, at the end of the day I feel like I’m greeting them at the top of a brutal climb. Other times, early in the morning, they have a sense of warming up and readying themselves for a challenging day in the saddle.

Call me sentimental, but I really do pray for their survival. I hope for their success.

May they have the courage to make it to the next smiling child getting a first bike, the next adult sharing how their health has improved.

If you share this sentiment, stop by your local shop and give that man or woman a hug. Send an anonymous thank you note. Buy a gift card to the local restaurant for them and their family to enjoy.

Trust me, they need a little love. Today.

 


Fall!

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Fall could be my favorite time of the year to ride, at least it is right now.

The weather this week has been wonderful, and getting out today to ride Canyon Velo with the usual suspects was perfect.

2013-09-28_1317  2013-09-28_1320photo12013-09-28_1318


How we raised over $1000 for local high school MTB scene on a free bike ride

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Why did Robert (Robot) and Craig personally cut checks of $323 each for the local high school mtb teams?  Why did David and Patrick kick in $100 each?

About 12 years ago, 4 of us started riding on Tuesday mornings… we jokingly called it the TMWC (Tuesday Morning World Championships).

Fast forward to July 2013, the ride had grown to the point that we jokingly put on a TMWC Invitational Fundraiser.

We created kits.

kits

We created T-shirts.

We blasted on FB and Strava.

50 people showed up! (we used to be thrilled with 8, and we average about 20)

The event was free.  If someone bought a tshirt or jersey or donated on top, that went in the kitty.

In all, we cleared $1,100 for the kids.  Personally, I was stoked… and so were the MTB teams.

But then Robot got the bug and shouted out on email he was matching it.  Craig followed, then Patrick then David.

Cool beans.

I’m already looking forward to next year.

 


When you started vs when you finished

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rad rick

When did you ride your first bike?

Do you remember your first “ouchie”?

How soon did you chuck the training wheels?

Who were your first riding buddies?

What was the name of the local bike shop or catalog you’d drool over?

Where did you love to ride?

… If it’s been a while, it is – after all – like riding a bicycle and it will make you smile, so get back on: get a new bike, get fresh ouchies, meet new riding buddies, find a new bike shop, discover new terrain.

PS… ignore the shameless self-promotion when you click on the image, unless you really like that image… in that case, we brought back Radical Rick and he’s available – if you like that sort of thing.


Let’s Make Some Noise

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vuvuzelaI love Vuvuzela’s… at Formula 1 Racing, World Cup Soccer and now bike racing.

The Path handed them out at Over The Hump and they were a huge hit!

path vuvuzela

 


Caution: Our brand owns this event

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“Caution” tape is a great way to own an event.  Promoters are often in need of the tape, and will willing use your tape with your brand at little to no cost to you.


How to value your kit branding

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Super useful… the whole article

 


Report from Stage ll of Amgen Tour of California

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Descending to Palm Springs from the high mountains was pretty cool, and then it was hellishly hot.

How hot?

While gasping for air, I noticed an unusual sensation in my mouth.  My teeth were warm, not hot, but definitely much warmer than 98.6.

The records show it was 115 and climbing, and we still had the climb to the Tram ahead of us.

“You may say to yourself, how did I get here?” or maybe, why are you doing that?

Before you judge too quickly, understand that anytime you get a chance to ride a pro course ahead of the pro’s it’s a totally awesome experience.

The locals cheer you on, because they think you are pro.

You’ll see your times compared to the pros when you upload to Strava.

There is no other way to adequately appreciate what a pro does day in and day out.

This day would be awesome even with the heat.

The course was beautiful, well marked, and easy to navigate and support.  We had assembled a great group of riders of relatively equal capabilities.  Matt Wenger was an awesome driver and supporter in our rental van.

We met at 4:15am, and were riding by 6ish.  Mostly we rode together, and had a sweet pace line working efficiently.  The unifying force of riding soon bound us into one.  We were rocking it – pro speed on some of the early sections.

The long climb out of Murrieta caused some separation, but it was gorgeous.  Along the route we picked up other riders and continued ripping through the rolling terrain.

Back to that finish.

Our group sort of shattered in the broiling condition.  Fatigue and dehydration had set in and our thinking was less than clear.  I needed to cool off my core and ducked into 7-11 for a Slurpee and Popsicles.  At the van, we reloaded our water, which quickly turned warm then hot then awful.

The tram road greeted us with a radiant heat of 150 degrees: egg-frying.  The road is straight and lonely.  Nobody rides together; it’s a personal struggle.  Promises are quickly broken, and bonds shattered.  I zigged and zagged the final miles.  The boys from East West Bikes had a kiddie pool with water and ice and I plunged – shameless, but it saved my life.

Finally finished, we scrambled for shade and a view of the big screen.  The pros were on the final climb.  Famous dudes from around the world were attacking what nearly killed us… then they too started to wilt and fade and even walk.  It was a crushing finish.  One by one they collapsed at the finish, or even before.  The ambulances raced to the top, much more help was needed than any had anticipated.

Our finish was a celebration.

Gourmet burgers, shakes, fries, rings, drinks all lifted our spirits back off the ground and we re-hashed our own trials and those of the pro’s.

Back in the van, most drifted off and slept.

Pics of the day:

 


Matt’s Bad Habat

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Trevor and I loaded up for a mancation, to ride and race the Whiskey 50 in Prescott, Arizona.

My buddy, Matt Wenger, is ballsy enough to take action on something I had only threatened to do.  He bought a Sprinter, big deal you might say.  It’s a really big deal, because he put his creative talents into building a bike-riding surfer’s dream.  It’s called The HABAT.

For years I drooled over the “big Merc”… not some road racing, screaming V8 from Mercedes but the really big Merc, the Sprinter van.

Beds, check.

Room for all the gear inside, check.

Fridge, running (heated) water, a sink, and plenty of lighting all solar powered, check.

Storage, lots of it, check.

Great German looks and engineering with manly all terrain tires, check.

Solid and commanding on the highway with 20+mpg, and easy to drive in town, check.

Got it?  Everything a dad and son needed to mancation after being apart for two years.  Plus, lots of road ahead to catch up on life.

Perfection is always attained with persistence and patience, and I’d be tested a bit on this trip.  We finally needed fuel as we crossed into Arizona.  We were down to a 1/3 tank and I thought fueling up prudent.  I pull in for diesel, put my card in, insert pump, set it to fill and head in to pee.  I return and exactly 2 cents had clicked over.  After pulling the trigger a bunch, running my other two cards, trying different pumps, getting an eye roll from unhelpful cashier I call Matt.  “Bro, how do you get fuel in? is there a trick?” “Nope.”  Frustrated, not full, I pull out praying we can get ‘er done at next town.  Yep, no problem.  What gives?  I figure the other station was empty and the cashier was a little too overwhelmed texting her boyfriend to care.

We roll on.  Comfortable.  Snacking and drinking and chatting about life.  So engrossed, we zipped right past the turn off.  30, 40, 50 minutes later we decide to take the back roads to the proper highway.  The sun resting behind us, we lit up the road with powerful beams enjoying the lonely desert highway.  It got twisty, and we longed a different German tool for a section, though the Habat was steady and never topsy turvy.

Behind schedule and uncaring we slipped into our self-serve camp spot for the night.  It was quite late.  Even Neil Adams was down for the night.  In a few minutes we had the beds up and our heads down.

Well after sunrise, we rose.

Those now showing up to find a spot mid-morning were turned away, the campsites were full.

Friday we set up camp, mainly just covering the cement table with our ez-up.  Everything was already set in the van.  We tweaked on the bikes then broke camp to pre-ride the some of the sweet single track.

Prescott has great riding.  Decomposed granite is always a fun surface, and that’s most of what we rode.  Single-tracks are flowy, fast and fun.  The race was shaping up to be wonderful.

We ran into our friends Ben and Season pre-riding.  Ben had told me how awesome the course was and I was glad to see him, and see he was right.

Pre-race dinner in Prescott.  What could the little town offer?  Well, how ‘bout an awesome steakhouse partner?  We stuffed ourselves on salad and bread and pasta and fish and potatoes.

There’s a certain comfort to knowing all your gear is locked up, and a massive ease when it’s all in the van.  “Pulling up the stakes” is a cinch.

We got back to camp.  Got into bed and watched Breaking Away – the cycling classic, which Trevor had never seen.  His passion for cycling is nascent, burgeoning.  It’s all new, and some of it I get to see through new eyes.  We howled over classic lines: “Refund? Refund?!  REFUND!!”, “give me something American damnit, give me some French fries”.  And we slept.

Early, real early we snuck out of camp in the van.  Others slept, we crept all the way to the Start/Finish.  Easy.  Grabbing our Walmart camping chairs (Prescott has everything), we set up on the first line of the start and waited in parkas, comfortable while others stood freezing.

Neil Adams and co were there, Ted Willard and the G2 squad too.

90 minutes later, the gun went off and it was on.  5 miles later Trevor flatted.  We fixed it.  3 miles later Trevor flatted.  We fixed it.  This would not be a race of dad vs son, it would be an adventure.  We settled in and began picking off people ahead of us.

Getting that good start still kept us ahead of the conga line behind us.  Neil and others were far enough back the had to walk a lot of the start.  We rode… at a good clip too.

Flats behind us, the technical downhill single track was nothing to overlook.  Now we were really up to pace and in our element.  Miles and miles of descending later we poured out onto the jeep road that leads to the aid station.  We felt good.  Matt Ford and Linda McGee were friendly faces who helped us load up for the plummet to Skull Valley.

We flew.  Flew past slower descenders then past the fast guys who were already climbing back up.  There’s Ty, there’s Rob McGee, there’s Dustin and Ben and Charlie and… so many friendly SoCal faces.

At the bottom, we caught Kevin “Backpack” McKenna.  Back on the climb, Jeff Renteria was bombing down the other way; aminute later a certain Meredith “Rosie Cheeks” Ford  followed.  Kevin dropped us – whatever.

How good of shape could my kid be in?  He’s been sans physical training for two years, and the mountain bike he got at Christmas was mainly inside as he was in Utah snow all winter.  The sun beat hard, the dust blew hard, and the climb got hard – much harder than it seemed when we were ripping down it.  Finally, we made the aid station.  This was earned and needed.  We were parched and worn down.

Every race has it’s friendly town folk who line the course and cheer you on, Prescott more than most.  They were awesome, having as much or more fun than us.  Especially, when they lined the course a few miles of hard climbing later and said “you’re almost there”.  Wiley vet that I am, I warned Trevor “don’t believe it, press on.”  And so we did, right up to Cramp Hill.

Smoking single track was our reward.  Fast.  Technical.  Tree-lined.  Water crossing with fans handing up drinks of questionable athletic benefit.

The final miles of the 50 are paved, and all down hill.  Way out, you hear the town.  A mile out you feel the energy.  A half mile the crowd sucks you forward.  Our group of two swelled to six, there would be a sprint finish : 0

We crossed the line together, my friend Nate with us.

Lots of congratulations and skin slapping passed around the finish.  A great vibe. Loot in hand we soft pedaled the short distance to our Habat.  Changing in privacy, locking bikes inside, and walking to an awesome hamburger and fries.

I’m hooked, and so is Trevor.  This is one bad Habat, one I don’t want to kick, one I want more of.

I can just see my office on wheels parked at San O all week, and on an adventure every weekend.  Now I need to man up like Matt!


Musk also quipped, “Apparel sales are going really well.”

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It’s official. Tesla has returned its first profitable quarter after 10 years in the business, following promises that it would be in the black in 2013… details here

What’s really official is that Tesla is cool, and because it’s cool the closing remark of the article makes sense: Musk also quipped, “Apparel sales are going really well.”

Cool brands make a boat load on people willing to pay them to wear their brand.

Why?  Because the apparel shows they are part of a tribe, it shows what matters to them individually and that apparel is a reminder that they’re part of something special.

Now that’s chill.