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Bike industry eyes the outdoor market

Published August 2, 2012

SALT LAKE CITY, UT (BRAIN) Thursday August 2 2012 7:12 AM MT—Outdoor Retailer, one of the sports industry’s biggest shows, opened its doors Thursday with more than 20,000 retailers, media and visitors expected here over the next four days. And the bicycle industry appears well represented.

Outside the Salt Palace Convention Center, staff from Dahon and Electra were setting up bikes for the Bike Valet—an operation that lets show goers take a bike to lunch, back to their hotel or just out for a spin.

Elayne Fowler, Electra’s marketing director, said this year’s summer OR is the third time the company has put its bikes in the valet program. The Southern California company brought 25 bikes, a mix of its models for people to ride, she said.

Chris Holmes, Electra’s product development manager, said OR fits nicely with the demographics the company focuses on. “There were times in past years when we had nothing left to send out,” he said.

Another participant in the Bike Valet program is Dahon. Ken Fagut, the company’s director of sales and marketing, said he would have a number of Dahon’s folders ready for riders to take for a spin.

While neither company expects to sign up dealers, although they have in the past, the market fits the style of bicycles and accessories they sell. “The outdoor market is a sports specialty market that reaches many families and our products are ideal for families,” he said.

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At a nearby party for news media, Steve Boyd, Tern’s general manager for North America, had several models and other products on display for outdoor media. It was packed. “It’s an opportunity for us to talk with the non-endemic media and as such we sort of stick out. And it’s very cost effective for us,” he said.

Tern has hired an outdoor company, Verde PR & Consulting of Durango, Colorado, to help boost its image outside of the traditional bicycle market. “We’re not looking for outdoor retailers per se, but it’s a market that fits our demographics,” he added.

REI, for the first time, has set up a separate room at the convention center, to display its Novara lifestyle products for news media. Cyndi Mundhenk, Novara’s product line manager, said this is the year for the cooperative to tell its cycling story to the news media and outdoor retailers.

“OR is our market. These are our people,” she said, while chatting with Brian Worthy of Vermare USA, a Boulder, Colorado, company that sells Belgium-made cycling wear.

REI’s customers are really multi-sport enthusiasts who ski, hike, kayak and ride bikes, she said. A quick peek at REI’s clothes for casual cyclists would indicate that they would sell well at any bicycle store committed to casual riders.

Topics associated with this article: Tradeshows and conferences

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