The last few weeks have been interesting ones for RKP. In addition to the recognition from Outside Magazine as the top blog in cycling (one of the more surreal events of my life), email has been cascading in from readers to tell me what they thought of peloton magazine‘s eighth issue. It seems to have resonated with most readers.
Behind the scenes there have been a number of inquiries about advertising, plus a few more about gear to be reviewed. In every instance, the answer has been an easy yes. However, there’s more to “yes” than just the “yes” itself. I realized I needed help.
I’m excited to announce that I’ve enlisted said help.
Roger Wotton is RKP‘s new advertising sales director. He has been a friend for a good ten years. We were riding buddies first, teammates later and always bike industry colleagues. After six years in management with two of California’s top Specialized Concept Stores (Cynergy in Santa Monica and Surf City Cyclery in Huntington Beach), Roger wanted to move to Portland, Ore., to share an address with his girlfriend. RKP was the vehicle to make his move something other than professional suicide.
Roger’s an intense, focused and detail-oriented guy. He’s the perfect complement to my big-picture thinking thanks to his ability to implement a plan in real-world operations.
In the weeks and months ahead, you’ll be seeing some new advertisers and will notice more frequent postings and a bit better organization about what goes up when.
It’s my personal good fortune to enlist a guy with uncompromising personal standards and integrity. RKP doesn’t need a slick salesman; we need someone who can speak the bike industry’s language of quality and passion.
And then there’s the fact that his near-term success will contribute directly to you seeing Charles Pelkey’s work more often.
What I can’t stress enough is that this is a tiny operation. Every dollar that rolls in helps to support Charles, Robot, Roger and me. There are no hidden VP’s, no uber-presidents, no shareholders. Just some guys who have dedicated their careers to bikes. Pardon me while I thumb my nose at all the big Wall Street job creators. I’m at four (jobs, that is) and am aiming for a few more by the time the Spring Classics roll around.
I hope you’ll welcome him in the comments below. And if you want to talk advertising, drop him a note.
I’m partial to any occasion that gets people into a bike shop for a reason other than pure commerce. Bike shops have always been a part of my sense of community, even if that shop is 100 miles away. The best shops find ways to make themselves part of the social fabric of the cycling community and when it does happen, the benefits can be profound and unexpected.
Cynergy Cycles, the flagship among Specialized‘s Concept Stores, held a charity event to benefit Right To Play. The organization targets children in areas ravaged by war and disease, using the transcendent power of play and sport to heal those children and help them chart a better future for themselves. The tie-in to Cynergy came through Specialized which sponsors Team HTC-High Road, one of Right To Play’s Global Corporate Partners.
The shop sold 100 tickets to the event at $100 each. For that, attendees got a dinner catered by Wolfgang Puck (it was quite good), wine, beer or coffee (perhaps all three?), a gift bag and $25 gift card to Cynergy. Better yet, they got to meet the HTC-High Road squad for the Tour of California and were entered in a drawing to win a Specialized S-Works HTC-High Road team frame set.
Another 10 folks got their picture taken with the team for their $250 donation.
Emcee for the event was Phil Keoghan of The Amazing Race and NOW: No Opportunity Wasted.
And while I was pretty jazzed to see Mike Sinyard and meet Allan Peiper, it may be that the biggest stars of the evening had neither the last name Goss or Van Garderen. Specialized was showing off one of a handful of the McLaren edition Venges and the local McLaren dealer was on-hand with both a chassis and working MP4-12C. You’ll pardon me if I tell you it was the sexiest thing in Santa Monica that night.
I’m keen to learn more about the McLaren edition of the Venge. I’m aware that it enjoys its own layup room, its own (much lengthier) layup schedule, not to mention its own blend of carbon fiber. That’s probably as close as I’ll come to the bike though; at $20k, I doubt they’ll be loaning any out for bike reviews. So far, they seem to be most popular with McLaren customers, who are picking them up as the ultimate fashion accessory.
Stuff like this just doesn’t happen often enough. A few PROs, a cool new bike, an amazing car and more than $12k raised for charity. Not bad.
The concept store business model takes a certain amount of heat from cycling enthusiasts. On the one hand, they tend to be beautiful stores. Merchandise is well-displayed, everything is clearly priced and their stock is often relatively consistent (i.e. they tend to keep your favorite tire in stock). Of course, the critical view is that they are homogenized, expensive and squeeze out any line that is remotely competitive with the primary line, be it Trek, Specialized or Giant.
Cynergy Cycles is a Specialized Concept Store in Santa Monica, California. In an attempt to help break the perception that a Specialized Concept Store has very little that isn’t Specialized, they invited customers and representatives of a few of their European lines to come and mingle one evening. As I’m a fan of anything a shop can do to break up the business-as-usual approach, I made sure to drop by.
The Buru promises to be the only top you’ll need on a moderately cool day.
Handlebar Coffee Roasters is a new line of coffee and café in Santa Barbara.
The owners are former PROs Kim Anderson who won the Route de France in 2009 and Aaron Olson who won stages of the Tours of Ireland and Poland among other achievements. Both are alums of Bob Stapleton’s High Road (previously T-Mobile) formation. They are genuinely charming folks with a real passion for coffee.