Monday, October 30, 2006

Eurobike in Portland, Oregon?

One of the first things I saw this morning was a story on Bike Europe's website titled, "Eurobike Gets Sister Bike Tradeshow in US". Excuse me? As far as I know this isn't an April Fool's Day joke because later in the day Bicycle Retailer & Industry News broke even more of the story, "Eurobike Makes Move to U.S. Market To Challenge Interbike."

So, this show is to shake up the trade show scene a little bit and compete with Interbike, right? I'm all for healthy competition. However, they are saying the show will be in a to-be-determined set of dates in September. Seriously? Potential exhibitors have at least three shows that month already. Eurobike (largest bike tradeshow in Europe), Cycle Expo (Canada), and Interbike. I know that the point may be to shut down Interbike, but let's be realistic, it isn't going to happen in a year or two or even five. What happens in the mean time?

Manufacturers/exhibitors
Do you do four shows? That's a strain on personnel, not to mention finances. C'mon, we all have budgets. It's more travel costs. Hotel costs. Food costs. Shipping costs. Booth space costs. Schwag costs. Time out of the office. More marketing dollars (graphics, catalogs). More booth building costs (space configurations may be different in each location). And the personnel - you can only be in so many places at once and only be away from home so long before you get miserable and aren't that good at your job. Even our fabulous Masiguy would get a little tired of all the arm flailing if he had to do 4 major shows in a month, right?

Dealers
Will dealers go to both? Because, let's face it, unless there is some killer incentive, dealers need to go to Interbike to see the manufacturers. Not all will go to Portland in the first year or two or maybe ever. Dealers are, for the most part, small operations. Will US dealers be able to be short staffed twice in the month? Will they be able to afford it? I don't see that happening. So they will have to choose. Could it be that they'd have to choose between seeing some manufacturers over others as some prefer EuroPortland* and some prefer Interbike? Who is that benefitting?
*EuroPortland is my made-up name for the show until it has one of its own.

Location #1
Portland, Oregon. Been there once and remember it to be a fantastic, lovely city that I'd enjoy going back to anytime. Great alternative city, lifestyle-wise, to Vegas for the bicycle industry. However, as much as some of us complain about it (ok, I do....I don't enjoy being dehydrated from the second I step off the plane...and all the smoke in the casinos -gasp!), really...how many of us spend much time outside? Would we spend time outside in Portland? It's a trade show....most of the time is inside (except dirt demo) on the show floow and then at restaurants or events.

Can Portland handle an event the size of Interbike? Because that is the goal, right (get as big as Interbike)? At least that is my assumption, which could be wrong. Portland is a small city. Can we all get dinner reservations? Strange thing to think about, but I'm a very food focused person and when you have customers that you'd like to take out, it's kind of nice to be able to feed them before midnight. Vegas - sure you run into some snags, but for the most part you can find great places to eat on the spot. My personal favorite is the Grand Lux. Why? Location. Location. And warm cookies to go(need I say more?). But, I digress....

Location #2
Why the western part of the country, again? Why not more eastern this time to be different? You'd think Eurobike would try to lure European companies to this show with the same management and all. Yet, they put it on the West Coast - as far away as you can be from Europe and be in the US(ok, Hawaii would be further and Alaska...but you get my point). Besides, didn't Interbike originally have an East Coast version in Philly? If you want to gain some kudos with the US crowd go East Coast. Interbike is already way over there in the West. I've heard many people over the years lament that they miss the Philly show. They might be more than willing to go to an East Coast show, too.

These are, clearly, just my ramblings and first thoughts about the EuroPortland. As I said, I'm all for healthy competition, but I think they are going to have an uphill battle. Then again, it will make the rewards all the more sweet, right?

I am interested to hear more about this event as details are released. I'll bet Jonathan Maus at Bike Portland will be all over this story (he's already started). It seems as if the organizers haven't been in touch with him yet, but if they are smart they will be before long! He'd be a huge asset to anything they are putting in place.

I'd like to hear from some manufacturers and some dealers out there. What do you think? Would you go to both? Would you only go to one? How would you decide which one you'd go to?

Just my ramblings after way too long....thanks for stopping by.

Posted by Donna Tocci at 4:08 PM 8 comments

Monday, October 09, 2006

Why are we a bunch of knuckle dragging morons? (UPDATED)

Like that title? I thought it rolled off the tongue pretty well.

So Interbike is over now. It's been a little less than two weeks now since the bell rang on Friday and the show for 2006 was over. I have mixed emotions about the close of the show because I really do enjoy the show and having the rare chance to talk to as many potential customers as possible. The show is a thing of beauty to me, so I look forward to it each year and hate to see it go... even though it nearly kills me each year.

I've talked about this to some extent before and I find myself compelled to ask the question again; why do we, as an industry, rely so much on half-naked women to sell bicycles? Don't get me wrong, I am a big fan of women. I like them a lot. I think they are great. I'm as much a "guy" as the next guy, so a really beautiful woman is a great thing (you know what I mean honey). It just makes me wonder, is anybody paying attention to the fact that women make up the fastest growing segment of the market?

I know I'm not alone in this view, but I really feel like it is time that the cyclling industry grows up and gets out of the "boobs sell bikes" mentality. Seriously, haven't we grown up any in the last 10-15 years? We keep talking about trying to attract more women into the sport and the industry itself and yet we continue to use scantilly clad women to sell bikes- or as is more accurate in the relation to Interbike, we use half-nude women to attract guys into our booths in hopes they will either order more product from us or at least remember our products after they leave our booth. Isn't that what great product and/ or a great catalog is supposed to do?

If the cycling industry really wants to grow and be seen in a more professional light, it is time that it starts acting like it. I'm sure I'll catch a bit of flack for this viewpoint, but it honestly embarasses me to see so much cleavage at the show each year. Yeah, yeah, I know... then don't look. And I don't... as much as possible.

Tell me; am I just an idiot thinking like this all alone or has anybody else been wondering when the industry as a whole will finally say "enough is enough"?

Tim Jackson
Chief Kool-Aid Dispenser

UPDATED;
10/11/06- Hey, bike industry... there are some great comments posted here already. I admit that they come from contributors here and a friend, but they are great comments just the same. Great dialog going on- come be a part of it. I know you read the site- folks at Raleigh USA, Pacific Cycle, Specialized, VNU, Kettler International and even somebody from Trek have all been here in the past two days.

I promise nobody here will bite and if they do, their comments will be removed. There is nothing and nobody to fear. Come join the dialog to create a better bicycling industry for all of us.

Posted by Tim Jackson at 10:09 PM 14 comments