Leaning hard into a decreasing radius turn on my ancient Schwinn Paramount, I ponder the effectiveness of thirty year-old sew-up glue.  A failed tire can kill you. Changing one can, too. Bitter experience has taught me to regard  every decision about tires, however insignificant, as a matter of life or death.

I slept with Yoshi Shimano. Airline computers, those prankster accomplices of fate, had assigned us adjoining seats in the sold-out business class of an Alitalia red-eye going from L.A. to Milan. It was more togetherness than either one of us would have preferred, but we made the best of it.

Sitting in the doughnut shop enjoying a chocolate old-fashioned and a black coffee, I was reading the paper and glancing up occasionally at my Cook Brothers Cruiser leaned against the wall outside.  Unencumbered by a lock, it was only ten feet away from me, although a window and a wall were between us. As it happened, I wasn’t its only admirer. A tough looking young guy approached from the sidewalk, keeping a purposeful eye on the bike as he stopped and rolled up the right cuff on his jeans. He was a stride away from the bike when he made eye contact with me through the window. In that instant of recognition, I’m sure he was asking himself, “Can that old dude get out of the chair and through the door, before I can get a leg over the bike and put a couple of turns of the pedals between us?”

Birthdays are dangerous for impulse buyers. My most recent one found me shivering in the alcove entryway at Elliott Bay Bicycles in downtown Seattle, waiting for them to open. A bitter February wind was blowing in off the Sound. An empty sixteen ounce malt liquor can rattled around at my feet. When Bob Freeman rode up on his classic Schwinn Paramount to open the store, he seemed surprised to see me huddled there by the front door. “It’s not mine,” I said when he glanced down at the empty can. “I haven’t had a drink in over a year,” I continued, sounding exactly like the kind of righteous jerk I was afraid of becoming when I quit. “Stumbling around in a hopeless fog of sobriety is no picnic,” I added, hoping to lighten the mood, as he unlocked the door.

I came to Rivendell like a refugee, dragging my belongings behind me in a red roller borrowed from my wife.  A January fugitive from Seattle, I was seeking sunlight and perhaps a bit of enlightenment.  Having taken the BART train directly from SFO to Walnut Creek, I dodged SUV's while jaywalking across busy suburban streets.  Whenever I extended my stride, the roller would bounce off my heel and go into a Dutch roll, trying to twist out of my grasp.

In its own independent and disorderly way, Berkeley is a great bike town.

The $15mm Man Or Maam

I’ve heard it said that no two snowflakes that land on planet Earth are alike. There’s also a theory that if one atom in the universe were to occupy the same space/time the whole cosmos would implode.  The same goes for your retail store, which is your brand! It’s what the alien nation calls DFD or ‘Death From Duplication’ for those of us that are acronym challenged.

The 2011 NAHBS Awards winners are as follows:

Tagged North American Handmade Bicycle Show

Can You Turn Less Into More? 

I’ve followed professional wrestling for several decades. It’s the best integrated marketing on the planet and their longevity and strong financials are proof.  Ok, go ahead make fun of me because I know all about Ravishing Rick Rude and his signature move “The Rude Awakening”. Actually there’s a business model and competitive strategic approach I’ve implemented with several of my clients based on this piledriver’esque move. But I digress….. 

Share your thoughts and memories of Russ Okawa in our comments section down below.

As the year draws to a close, it’s a perfect time to reflect and revisit the most influential news stories of the year.

After two years, the final post in the series. (And about time, too.)

Six Ways Bike Industry Marketing Models Religious Cult Behavior

How bike companies profit by sponsoring zillion-dollar racing teams and advertising products that (almost) no one ever buys.

…And other Unpleasant Facts Of Life The Bicycle Advocacy Movement Needs To Learn Real Darn Quick-Like

Today I sat with an anxiously ambitious CU student who interned for a client of mine.  A smart but obviously misguided youth, he asked me to be a mentor on his new web based product/services idea that took 2nd place in the business school competition. He’s chomping at the bit for some light speed online retail growth.  

I was fortunate to get an invitation from Ridley Bikes to see its new headquarters in the Flanders region of Belgium last week as well as sample a bit of the local culture.

The Last Two Installments In The Perfect Competition Series…Plus The Final Scorecard.


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