Turning Cycling and the Cycling Industry Around: First, Identify the Problem

October 25, 2017

Interbike 2017 Outdoor Demo (upper left), rippin' it on e-bikes at Cyclofest 2017 (right), dearly-on accurate Einstein quote on Interbike 2017 poster (lower left).

Just back from both Interbike (Las Vegas) and Cyclofest (Charlotte, NC) 2017. Attendance at both was way down for both vendors and retailers compared to 2016. 

I entered the cycling business last year both to create bright, bold cycling and running wear designed to help drivers see us better and to help turn the cycling industry around from its current downward trend. At Interbike last year and this year, there was a lot of talk about the need for the industry to unite to increase ridership and strengthen the business. Unfortunately, even as those words were being spoken, people in the audience were leaving in droves to attend their own individual business meetings. 

There's no doubt unity is key - as long as that unity is focused with purpose. 

With that in mind, I've engaged cycling leaders face to face to propose that we work together in a small, manageable group to: 

1. Define the primary problem(s) facing cycling participation and the industry and then develop a vision for where we want participation and the industry to be in 3-5 years.

2. Set specific short-term goals and determine a point of approach to achieve them efficiently.

3. Develop a plan to engage potential new/renewed cycling participants and industry leaders.

As a lifelong avid road cyclist, I see safety as the primary obstacle to cycling participation and actual or perceived preferential treatment given to avid/performance male cyclists as a significant barrier to expanding the industry as a whole. 

I spent almost all my time at Interbike and Cyclofest this year speaking with as many industry insiders and active cyclists as I could.

Industry insiders identified two primary problems:

1. The difficulty bike shops face integrating brick and mortar store needs with online capabilities/competition. 

2. Rider safety, particularly on the road.

The overwhelming primary problem identified by cyclists was safety, particularly on the road. (Almost every cyclist I spoke with said they ride off road because road riding is too scary/dangerous.)

Considering the virtual unanimity identifying the problem, the next step is to develop a vision. I'd very much appreciate your vision of where you think cycling participation and the cycling industry should be 3-5 years from now. My contact info: bruce@breitz.cool, 508-446-7790 (cell).

Thanks & ride on!

Bruce


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