SUNCADIA, WA (BRAIN)—Some 100 Raleigh retailers heard the company’s president, Steve Meineke, tell them Wednesday that Raleigh is refocusing its long-term strategy on supporting so-called “cause” rides, events that attract thousands of cyclists every year.
“It’s about what’s happening in your local market,” Meineke said, noting that these riders typically buy bikes and accessories from local retailers. And they pay full retail, he added.
“When you ride one of these events, you see the event riders, and most of them spent their money at retail for all those bikes,” he added. Meineke recently completed the Seattle-to-Portland Classic, a 204-mile two-day event that put 10,000 riders on the road between the two West Coast cities in mid-July.
Chuck Ayers, executive director of the Cascade Bicycle Club, which sponsors the ride, backs Meineke’s observations. A survey of this year’s STP riders found that 36 percent bought a new bike within the last year. Another 41 percent said they had bought a new bike within the last two years.
Raleigh was the bicycle sponsor for the annual event. And Raleigh will back a select series of rides through the rest of this year and next. The company also set up a website, mycyclingevent.com, that will link riders to events as well as direct them toward Raleigh dealers.
“People ride for fun, fitness, for a cause, to win, and to save the planet. The bicycle represents action. It’s not a piece of equipment, it’s an action we can take to save money, to save our lives and potentially help save the planet,” said Chris Speyer, Raleigh’s vice president of marketing and product development.
“We want to facilitate the connection between the local rider, the local dealers and the local event,” Speyer said. “How many brands are fighting for this space? Almost no one,” he said.
Suncadia, a resort 80 miles east of Seattle, is the site for Raleigh’s dealer event this year. As retailers arrived late Tuesday, they were greeted with gusty winds and light rain. Indeed, weather has had an impact on sales this season, Speyer said during his presentation. His comments reflect what dozens of retailers also have said.
Speyer, who also doubles as president of the Bicycle Product Suppliers Association, cited new statistics from Leisure Trends on wholesale deliveries through May that show how weather hit the industry this spring.
Unit deliveries fell 5.9 percent, although dollar values were up 1.6 percent. The increase in values mostly reflects the higher prices due to increasing currency, labor and commodity prices. “Everywhere I’ve traveled this year, and whenever I got off the plane, it was raining,” Speyer said.