Dear Bike Industry,
I love you, but it's time we had a talk... Have we already forgotten how young we are as a sport, let alone as an actual industry? Have we forgotten where we came from even? It really wasn't that long ago the pioneers of this sport were still building things that no one but a select few understood in their garages while the rest of the world looked on like we were nuts, and like this sport will never catch on. We used to embrace the underdogs, the people willing to take a risk and build something just because it has the potential to be a lot of fun and then figure out how to sell it later, the people everyone else would write off as crazy. Now we have been infiltrated by your typical bottom feeder corporate types who only care about moving product, no matter how well it actually works as long as it turns a profit and they are willing to throw those of us who have dedicated our lives to making this sport just a little bit better under the bus to do it.
There is so much to address that I can't even begin to think of hitting it all but there are painfully obvious things like Specialized launching their 2019 model in the SPRING of 2018?!?! Hey marketing teams, think about all the dealers that are now getting hit up with calls expecting discounts on "last years model" that has only been on the floor a few months.
How about your hypocrisy in constantly assuming small shops will violate MAP policies all the while allowing your big online retailers to sell stuff at close to wholesale?
Before I get off on a tangent, this frustration has been building quite a bit since starting my own business, but doing so like most of this sports pioneers, with very little start up cash and busting my ass in the garage all day and night until I can afford a proper shop space. Back in my days in a traditional shop, reps would come by practically begging me to carry their goods, place orders through them and all the other usual rep stuff. Now a lot of those same exact reps that I worked with in a typical shop want absolutely nothing to do with me now that I am on my own working as a mobile mechanic and building loads of wheels from home. Nothing with me personally has changed, my business is 100% legal and registered, I still regularly do work for a number of local bike and component manufacturers, pro's, national team riders, current and past Olympians and Paralympians yet for some reason I am now seen as a "fly by night" and "un-credentialed" business by a few reps/companies because I do not have a fancy building or Sprinter van???
Just know, WE WILL remember who supported us when we needed it most as a new business as things continue to grow and you start to want our business again.
The times are a changin Bike Industry, we are seeing a resurgence in "no budget entrepreneurs" again and we are not going away. It is time to take mobile businesses as serious as brick and mortar and look at actual credentials of the people running these businesses before writing them off as "fly by night" simply because they don't have hundreds of thousands of dollars for start up.
So Bike Industry, we are in this together, and it is time to remember where you came from and instead of just bragging about "supporting small shops", you should actually start supporting small shops by giving us the same respect as the rich dude who bought a B&M bike shop as a "hobby".
A no budget entrepreneur
Obsession, or passion? Who am I to judge? Either way I simply love building wheels for those who appreciate quality!