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Industry Leaders Gather at Bicycle Leadership Conference

Published March 29, 2023

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DANA POINT, CALIFORNIA (March 28th, 2023) – Between March 14-16, 275 bike industry executives gathered at the 2023 Bicycle Leadership Conference (BLC) in Dana Point, California. Putting competition aside, attendees came together as an industry under the conference theme — United for the Future of Bikes. The annual event leveraged group knowledge to help attendees use industry data to plan for uncertain markets, discuss the importance of welcoming more people to bicycling, understand the impacts of current and future government regulations, and much more.

PeopleForBikes President and CEO Jenn Dice opened the conference by outlining PeopleForBikes’ bold vision to transform America into the best place to ride a bike in the world through infrastructure, policy, and participation. The vision became a rallying point as executives took the stage pledging their support to growing bicycling and outlining ways to move the industry forward.

“The BLC is an invaluable asset for industry members not only to collaborate on solving the biggest issues facing the bike business, but also meet and network with fellow industry peers who they would otherwise never interact with,” said Chris Speyer, chair of the PeopleForBikes Board of Directors and senior vice president, chief merchandising officer for REI. “If you did not attend, I would highly suggest putting it on your calendar for next year. For anyone looking to support bicycling and grow their business, there is always an open seat at the PeopleForBikes table.”

The 2023 BLC’s 275 attendees represented more than 140 brands and organizations from across the bike industry.

Bonnie Tu, chairperson of Giant Group visiting from Taiwan, shared her inspiring story founding Liv, the first cycling brand dedicated to women, and how the industry must continue welcoming more diversity into our sport and community. Tu was supported by keynotes from other notable industry executives, including REI CEO Eric Artz, Cotopaxi Founder and CEO Davis Smith, and Zwift Co-founder and CEO Eric Min.

SRAM CEO Ken Lousberg, Thousand Founder and CEO Gloria Hwang, United Wheels President and COO Bruno Maier, and The Pro’s Closet Chief Revenue Officer Travis Erwin provided the audience with lessons on leadership, with themes such as the importance of company priorities supporting industry priorities; accepting the reality of uncertainty, change, and mistakes; turning more children into lifelong cyclists; and the indispensable value of the used market.

Industries adjacent to bicycling were also in attendance, offering valuable knowledge in their area of expertise. Dr. Robert Hampshire of the U.S. Department of Transportation explained bicycling’s role in the federal Safe Streets and Roads for All program, along with the large pot of

federal funding available for road safety projects that the bike industry must capitalize on to build more safe and connected bike infrastructure.

Matthew Tucker of NPD Group (now Circana) shared insights from recent market data and Amir Sadeghi of S&P Global discussed the influence of macroeconomic trends and S&P’s industry risk and opportunity forecast for the next five years of the bike market.

Panel discussions were focused on timely topics affecting the bike business. Seth Nesselhuf of QBP, Courtney Munch of Trek, Greg Gauswitz of REI, and Theresa McKenney of NEMO Equipment shared lessons for any company looking to start or continue their sustainability journey. The panel reiterated a common conference theme of going further, together, and urged the audience to join and support the people already doing the work to make our industry more sustainable.

PeopleForBikes’ Matt Moore and Mayer Brown’s Erika Jones provided an informative update on a topic from last year’s BLC — electric bicycle regulations. After meetings with the National Highway Traffic Safety Association (NHTSA) and the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commision (CPSC) regarding the three-class system and new legislation involving UL 2849 certification, PeopleForBikes remains as a committed resource for any industry member involved in the e-bike space.

"The impact of electric bikes, and the regulations pertaining to them, on our industry are sure to be profound in the coming years, if not months," said Matt Moore, PeopleForBikes’ general and policy counsel. "Our team is taking the lead to guide conversations and advocate for the best outcomes for the industry."

The action-oriented sessions were accompanied by the recognition of industry changemakers with the BPSA awards. PeopleForBikes Board Member Bernie Doering received the BPSA Lifetime Achievement Award, while Nolan Moser of Shimano and Saul Leiken of Specialized were presented an Outstanding Service Award and Rising Star Award, respectively.

In addition to the awards ceremony, the conference prioritized meaningful time for attendees to connect with one another. The Fearless Future happy hour returned bringing together women, trans, femme, and non-binary leaders in the bike industry to celebrate the diverse faces and voices of biking. Each day also kicked off with optional group rides, runs, and yoga sessions.

“We are incredibly proud to host the Bicycle Leadership Conference and bring together members from across the industry every year," said Ravi Rajcoomar, PeopleForBikes’ VP of business network. "We want to extend our sincere gratitude to the countless industry leaders who volunteered their time shaping the content for the conference, speaking at a session, leading a group ride, and everything else that went into making this event truly by the industry, for the industry. We can’t wait to see you at the next one."

The next event in PeopleForBikes’ 2023 Bicycle Leadership Series is SHIFT‘23, taking place October 16-18 in Bentonville, Arkansas. Registration for this event will open in June.

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