Keywords: bike industry

We are OPEN

Andy Kessler - 27-Mar-2020
I have been struggling for over a week to write this BLOG and I still somehow do. In the current situation there is so much to say but at the same time so much has been said already and everybody thinks he has to say something... 

Is it ok to write about something not important when people are dying or fighting to survive both from a health perspective and very soon we will have our biggest recession ever and the fight will be a different one?

Whatever you write is inappropriate those days. People start to hate other people that can still ride a bike...when you do something good these days people think you want to get free marketing - it became very difficult to write something and not offend anybody!

Currently there are some many questions but almost no answers...

I will try to make this blog not political but just share some thoughts that float around in my head. This is just me and I don't want to teach anybody what to do and I might be wrong or right nobody has to care about that.

I get many questions those days if we still work. Yes we do as we have the luxury that we are already all in our personal quarantines since a long time. When we started OPEN it was always clear that we "work hard to stay small" and that we want to work from a place of our choice. So Gerard works from his home office in Amsterdam, Marc our photographer and social media master from Spain, Matt our webmaster from Toronto. So in fact in the office here in Switzerland it is just Sebastian and myself.  We have now created OPEN West and OPEN East. We have split the office in two sections in which everybody has his own little infrastructure such as bathroom, printer, etc.



It is kind of strange to work with a closed door but at least we have a glass window so we can see each other and communicate through the closed door...But we can be safe like that and stay healthy.  I think as important as it is not to get infected yourself, it's even more important not to infect anybody else and I would hate myself for doing so.

The only downside for me is Sebastian got the only coffee machine and I am a bit jealous honestly....



Next question I get very often is will you survive ? That's an easy one. I always tell people that we are very well prepared for that. Our "working hard to stay small" results in very low overhead cost. So we have zero worries about that. But even more importantly, we are experts in surviving: When we started OPEN, not only did we make no for the first three years, we lost a fair amount. So much so that all my savings and my pension money (and I had well-paying jobs for 25 years) were gone. It was always clear to me that OPEN was "all in".

We had many up's and down's but we made it. I personally reduced lifestyle a lot during those years .  Let me tell you - as many people might be in the same situation soon - it felt very good at the end. So coming back to the question, will we survive?  Yes we will, we did for 3 years before. So we're a lot more worried about those around us than about ourselves.

Strangely, for the first time since we started OPEN I actually have spare time. I would have preferred this during good times as then 95% of my thoughts would have been positive. Now it is a bit different and somehow I almost would prefer to have no time to think... But on the other hand it forces you to work on new projects, rethink existing structures, adapt to the situation and for the first time to clean up my desk.

So actually I work on 4 projects that will give back money to society. On a small scale but at least something. As mentioned before I will not misuse them for marketing so I will not list them, they will just happen sooner or later. And we will not make money on any of them and donate 100% of the profit and not just 10% as some companies do right now...

Last but not least there are many many heroes in this crisis- too many to list. Yes there could be more but better than nothing. So here just 3 very randomly picked people/companies that impressed me this week.

1) Kitsbow: Impressed me already last year with moving a lot of the clothing production back to the USA. Now they are producing masks and face shields for hospitals (no not for private people also they could sell a ton...)

2) Tim Cook from Apple who has sourced over 10 millions masks for people in health care not only in the USA but around the globe. 

3) Every body that works in health care they are the biggest heroes right now. I had to spend 5 hours because of an emergency in a hospital this week. I had a lot of time to look at those people working in rough conditions not even being able to ask themselves what to do to not get infected? They are the role models. I know personally people in health care that got infected helping other people. I want to express an offer to them. Whenever this storm is over come to see us in Basel for a weekend riding and recharging batteries. We take good care of you, have bikes ready to rock and roll and you can stay for free in our B&B at the office (the coffee machine included). Contact me by mail hopefully in the summer when we can enjoy outdoors again without limitations.


Ok, enough words wasted. Please don't comment. I just want to mention one last thing: "lose your dreams and you will lose your mind".

Stay positive and keep dreaming and most important: all of you and your beloved stay healthy. 
 

Comments & Questions

OPEN
It's so nice to read your thoughts, thank you for sharing them honestly and of course openly!
In these times it's good to have an uplifting project to turn to.
What better than to virtually build that perfect next bike, starting with that crucial frame but then checking out every component.
I did this when I was 21 years old, and ended up with a Reynolds 753 frame from a small UK builder with Campag Super Record throughout. I'm now 60 and living in Sweden, hence I'm dreaming of building myself that perfect gravel bike. I've chosen an Open Upper for the frame and am enjoying choosing what to add, double or single rings, electric or manual shifters? What wheels? Two sets, a luxury or a great way to get two bikes? Am I still a remote wilderness explorer or now just a gravel day-rider! I would never normally be able to justify such indulgence and it does indeed feel selfish. So please keep writing and making bikes. I'm sure you'll emerge from Covid in great condition.
Post #1 of 24. Posted by Kevin Brown on 27-Mar-2020 07:55:05 GMT in reply to blog [0<--21144]
OPEN
Glad to hear from you guys. I know you said no comments but you need to know: I am a physician, my wife is a pharmacist and we own OPEN frames. It's been stressful, but you cannot imagine how great it feels to clear the mind on these amazing bikes you designed. I ride my Upper into the hospital everyday. My wife wanted to say extra thank you for the size XS! Hopefully we can meet at Open headquarters someday.
Post #2 of 24. Posted by Andrew on 27-Mar-2020 10:49:15 GMT in reply to blog [0<--21146]
OPEN
Hi Andrew, the door here is OPEN would be really great to see you both here. Take care and stay healthy
Post #12 of 24. Posted by Andy Kessler on 30-Mar-2020 05:56:49 GMT in reply to post #2 [21146<--21159]
OPEN
Thank you for the thoughtful words.
Post #3 of 24. Posted by Scott Hudson on 27-Mar-2020 12:14:54 GMT in reply to blog [0<--21149]
OPEN
Best. Blog entry. Ever.
Post #4 of 24. Posted by Marc D, MD on 27-Mar-2020 12:29:17 GMT in reply to blog [0<--21150]
OPEN
Well said. I appreciated your sincerity. Speaking as one of those “healthcare workers”, thank you! I’m a radiologist in Santa Cruz, CA. Maybe I’ll be seeing you in Switzerland this summer when it’s ok to travel! (Owner of Open 1.0 since 2014...and loving it.)
Post #5 of 24. Posted by Gary Geil, MD on 27-Mar-2020 13:22:28 GMT in reply to blog [0<--21151]
OPEN
Hi Gary, would be really nice to have you over here later this year or next year depending on the situation. There are nice trails waiting fro your 1.0. Stay healthy
Post #13 of 24. Posted by Andy Kessler on 30-Mar-2020 05:57:50 GMT in reply to post #5 [21151<--21160]
OPEN
Good thoughts and good to hear that you don’t lose your dreams! Stay safe, stay positive and count on your customers/followers ...
Post #6 of 24. Posted by Christian Gmelin on 27-Mar-2020 17:24:58 GMT in reply to blog [0<--21152]
OPEN
Andy: keep U.P. the U.P.dates!!!! Your customers are going to support you!!!!
Post #7 of 24. Posted by Andrew Terker on 28-Mar-2020 03:11:18 GMT in reply to blog [0<--21153]
OPEN
Hi, I'm new to Open as of this morning when I picked up my UPPER. Echo all your good thoughts and sentiment. Our healthcare workers are heroes, every one. It's at times like this when human kind actually gets what it is to be human. The UP side is that change will come, it will be positive but it's up to us to harness the benefits that come from living through this crisis. We're all ambassadors for that and you, the cycling community as a whole, have a big part to play. Keep well and thanks for designing a super dream bike that I can now enjoy on road, trail and through all seasons. Chapeau! Rob
Post #8 of 24. Posted by Robert on 28-Mar-2020 08:12:37 GMT in reply to blog [0<--21154]
OPEN
Hi Rob, I wish you many great adventures on your OPEN and that you stay healthy and happy. Enjoy the ride
Post #15 of 24. Posted by Andy Kessler on 30-Mar-2020 06:01:37 GMT in reply to post #8 [21154<--21162]
OPEN
Thanks for your blog post. Appreciated. Here in the UK we are allowed to ride alone once a day, so I took my OPEN U.P. out on empty and quiet roads and listened to the birds and the wind not the traffic . . . I rode over bridges on motorways that were almost car-free. I passed a few individual walkers or cyclists - all of whom greeted me, as I did them. In the darkness there is light.
Post #9 of 24. Posted by Adrian Reith, Cambridge on 28-Mar-2020 13:44:50 GMT in reply to blog [0<--21155]
OPEN
Nice words, thanks , and yes, we will keep dreaming for sure :)
Post #10 of 24. Posted by perrine on 29-Mar-2020 07:24:31 GMT in reply to blog [0<--21156]
OPEN
Hi Perrine. you are already living the dream so no change for you. Did really like the pictures of your lastest adventure. All the best and stay healthy
Post #14 of 24. Posted by Andy Kessler on 30-Mar-2020 05:59:23 GMT in reply to post #10 [21156<--21161]
OPEN
Thanks for the update, Andy. Certainly, trying times for all of us, no matter where we live. I can appreciate what you wrote about the changes you made in your life when starting OPEN. Necessity created positive changes in your life. I'm hoping that there will be positive change for me as a result of COVID-19. Everyone stay well, maintain distance, eat healthily and think positively. Take care of yourselves and your loved ones.
Post #11 of 24. Posted by Mark Spencer on 29-Mar-2020 11:50:46 GMT in reply to blog [0<--21157]
OPEN
... one question: i’m about to buy an u/p or u/p/p/e/r ... if i go with the u/p, i’d buy it ready-to-paint ... but ... i won’t have it painted until this fall ... can i ride it as it’s intended to be ridden until then - and, in the process, not damage the frame? ... thank you ...
Post #16 of 24. Posted by bob loeb on 31-Mar-2020 13:08:40 GMT in reply to blog [0<--21163]
OPEN
Hi Bob, yes that is no problem at all.
Post #17 of 24. Posted by Andy Kessler on 01-Apr-2020 02:54:13 GMT in reply to post #16 [21163<--21165]
OPEN
That was a rather profound post! As one of the rather few people in Australia who own an Open UPPER, I rather think that you have actually delivered something very important towards the 'cause' of surviving this plague. We are so totally inundated with the 360 degree traumas of the virus situation that an escape, any escape, even a temporary one, gives critically necessary respite. An escape like, say, gravel bike riding through unpopulated wild and rural areas is rather special. And then to deliver that escape through a machine as spectacularly perfect as the Open UPPER is as great a diversion as any that I could ever imagine. I know that cycling outdoors is currently off the agenda in so many places right now, but we are still allowed to ride here in Australia (so far). My ride today was into our local wilderness gorge country; no people, no evidence of any kind that there is a virus pandemic. Even though I have over 20 bikes, I have only ever connected with two as profoundly as I have with my Open UPPER. My point here is just a vote of thanks to you for the sacrifices you have made to deliver this bike and to express my appreciation for something that is really, really special. For three hours today, there was no virus. There was no crisis. There was just joy in the experience to the degree that is possible when you combine a perfect place to ride with a perfect bike to ride it. Thanks Gerard and Andy.
Post #18 of 24. Posted by Roderic Gill on 01-Apr-2020 04:53:30 GMT in reply to blog [0<--21166]
OPEN
Hi Roderic, thanks for sharing your thoughts with me. I always say this bike has saved me lots of money. My psychotherapist has now no more work... Seriously for me riding is an important part of staying healthy both physically and even more mentally... Wish you many great adventures on your UPPER
Post #20 of 24. Posted by Andy Kessler on 03-Apr-2020 08:52:35 GMT in reply to post #18 [21166<--21169]
OPEN
this sounds hokey and perhaps to some, cheeky, but you are an inspiration to me. thank you for the sincere and positive attitude and for the awsome bikes that enable the rest of us to live and breathe a little. oh, and thank you for turning me on to Ryan Littlefield of Contender Bicycles; awesome service and I just love the build on my new Open WIDE!
Post #19 of 24. Posted by Paul Silvestri on 01-Apr-2020 06:37:22 GMT in reply to blog [0<--21167]
OPEN
Outstanding.
Post #21 of 24. Posted by Sascha on 04-Apr-2020 16:50:59 GMT in reply to blog [0<--21170]
OPEN
I agree with Kevin in many ways -- yes, the perfect time to spec out a new dream bike, and also a perfect time to strike out alone and find new routes and trails. Your "staying small" motto rings true to me, especially so during this time. Our local small (grocery) store has been open and well-stocked since this all began weeks ago.... I live in Canada, and have been using this "pause" in time to deliver and post my bicycle art around my city at sunrise every day. One day an OPEN will be the ideal delivery tool ..... until then, let us keep dreaming. Industria et Spe. (@painterpoirier)
Post #22 of 24. Posted by Mat Poirier on 06-Apr-2020 21:26:07 GMT in reply to blog [0<--21174]
OPEN
Thanks Andy, for the thoughtful post. I found OPEN today by way of watching Youtube videos of cycling. More specifically the 2018 Iceman Cometh Challenge in Michigan. Watching good cycling videos seems to be a peaceful way to pass some downtime while keeping the dreams alive. In that race Geoff Kabush won while riding an OPEN/Yeti. The bike stood out not only because of Kabush's masterful, smooth ride (and win!) but because of the great lines of the frame and, of course, the color.
When things clear up here in the midwestern United States I'm continuing my quest for the perfect road/gavel/trial bike. The U.P. (coincidentally an amazing outdoor adventure area here in Michigan - Upper Peninsula) is currently at the top of the search list.
Post #23 of 24. Posted by Daniel Fray on 07-Apr-2020 17:59:34 GMT in reply to blog [0<--21176]
OPEN
Thanks Andy, for the thoughtful post. I found OPEN today by way of watching Youtube videos of cycling. More specifically the 2018 Iceman Cometh Challenge in Michigan. Watching good cycling videos seems to be a peaceful way to pass some downtime while keeping the dreams alive. In that race Geoff Kabush won while riding an OPEN/Yeti. The bike stood out not only because of Kabush's masterful, smooth ride (and win!) but because of the great lines of the frame and, of course, the color.
When things clear up here in the midwestern United States I'm continuing my quest for the perfect road/gavel/trial bike. The U.P. (coincidentally an amazing outdoor adventure area here in Michigan - Upper Peninsula) is currently at the top of the search list.
Post #24 of 24. Posted by Daniel Fray on 07-Apr-2020 17:59:39 GMT in reply to blog [0<--21175]
Content
From:
To: