BRIGHTON, MI (BRAIN)—In its fifth year, the Island Lake Spring Bike Demo in Brighton, Michigan, drew hundreds of consumers this past Saturday who rode demo bikes from Trek, Specialized, Giant, Cannondale, Felt and Jamis.
The annual event, which takes place the first weekend in May, is organized by James Knight, an independent sales rep servicing the Michigan, Indiana and Ohio region.
“I saw the bad economy up the road in Michigan and we took the brunt of it. I thought, if these dealers were to survive, it’s in my best interest to help them,” said Knight about the thinking behind the event.
About 11 Michigan area retailers set up booths or supported the demo rigs set up by suppliers. Representatives from Zipp, SRAM, Ritchey and Louis Garneau also offered support. Knight estimates that more than 600 people came out to the demo; 320 pre-registered.
“The weather couldn’t have been better,” said Knight. “We had a pretty lousy spring as far as weather, but the stars aligned on Saturday. It was sunny and 65 degrees. The last two years we had rain.”
Knight said the Island Lake Recreation Area has an 11-mile road bike loop and 4.5-mile mountain bike loop, providing an ideal setting for testing bikes.
Dewight Plotner, owner of Wheels in Motion in Ann Arbor, Michigan, said it’s worthwhile for his store. “We take bikes out there to offer for test rides. The majority of the people that show up to that want to buy bikes. We see customers come to us after the event,” he said. “It’s been a huge hit and gone over very well ever since the beginning.”
D&D Bicycles with fives stores in Michigan sent three people to the demo. “We had our truck out there, six demo bikes and three staff members getting bikes set up and
helping with Giant’s demo truck,” said Rick Bentley, service manager at the Brighton D&D store. “It gives customers the chance to ride some high-end bikes and see how
they work on the trail. It’s hard to have demo bikes of all different sizes at the shop.”
Knight, who is a rep for Louis Garneau, Ritchey, Look, KHS and Jelly Belly, said he’s considering adding a day to the event next year as well as other activities to make it more than just a demo.
Photo courtesy of Jeff Herron