Well, it's that week again, a trip to SeaOtter. It used to be that the tradeshows were the anchors of the season, but somehow they have now been replaced by events such as SeaOtter. Makes sense for us, as we're much more about the consumer-facing part of the cycling industry than the business-to-business work, but it seems that it applies to a lot of companies nowadays.
We've had some great bike launches at SeaOtter over the years, including the best of them all, for the original U.P. (see above, and a special mention for the home-made carbon bike rack). We don't have any launch at SeaOtter this year, in fact we don't even have a booth, but for me it's still a good place to go and see people. So if you were planning to visit our booth for a chat, just send me a message instead and we'll find a place to meet up.
On the more formal meet & greet end of the spectrum, I will be doing two talks this week in the USA and I am dreading them already. Don't get me wrong, when I do the talks I love them, but the days leading up to them I am a mess. You see, I don't want to do scripted talks. I always set myself the challenge of just going in and starting. The feedback from people is always positive, and that's what matters (it's for their enjoyment, not mine), but it means that the days leading up to the event I always worry that I won't find enough stuff to talk about. That's never happened, but the fear remains.
To give you an example, one of the first talks I did this way was at Rapha New York, and as I got closer I got more and more nervous. I cheated by preparing one line ("Hi, I'm Gerard Vroomen") but that hardly gave me the confidence I could fill the hour that would follow. So I had nothing, went into the store, still nothing, chatted with a few people, still nothing, was sent onto the podium, still nothing, then the introduction started and they said "Those who were here last month for Bernard Hinault know that we like to have interesting speakers each month ...", still nothing.
Actually, I did have a thought: "Well, this month the speaker may not be interesting!" But then it hit me, I once was in a race with Hinault and that was funny. So that was the start and the whole story flowed from there for a good hour. In fact, so much so that a few months later in Washington, DC, I held a completely different talk and the first question for the Q&A was "Hey, tell us about Bernard Hinault!"
(c) Neil Bridge
Anyway, this week I'm sure it will be fun again at:
- Rapha Chicago (1514 N Milwaukee Ave, Chicago, IL 60622)this Wednesday, April 10 at 7pm. And because it's the hometown of SRAM, I know I have at least one fun anecdote related to them. You can RSVP here.
- Rapha Los Angeles (1347 Fourth St, Monica, CA 90401) this Sunday April 14 at 6:30am (yes am). I'll be there during the live screening of Paris-Roubaix, so anecdotes galore I would think/hope. Please RSVP here.
- 10-Speed Coffee (1919 Santa Monica Blvd, Santa Monica 90404) this Sunday April 14 at 2pm.
BTW, when I tell people how I do these talks, sometimes people ask me why I don't simply remember the talk, write down the ten topics I covered and then rif it from there. But the craziest thing is, afterwards I remember almost nothing, it's like an out of body experience and I have no idea what I filled the time with. During the talk I may think "Hey I hadn't thought about that story for a long time, I should use this again" but afterwards I may remember 1-2 small bits if I'm lucky but that's it.