The MS150 was this past weekend and I’m happy to say we made it. One hundred and fifty miles, most of it sitting up front pulling our team. Amy and I have a new appreciation for what battling a continuous 20 mile an hour headwind feels like, over 70 miles – exhausting!
In past years, it was always our objective to get out as early as possible. Much of the first day is on paved railroad bike path, which can get pretty crowded. For some reason on Saturday the team decided to take a more leisurely time getting ready. Instead of our typical 6 AM start, we rolled out a little after 7:00. Not a good idea, especially when you tend to ride much faster than 80%-90% of everyone else on the ride. So we passed a lot of people and observed hundreds of bad bike fittings – some appearing to be incredibly inefficient and painful, which led to this idea…
Missed marketing opportunity for studio owners!
I’ve commented in the past how I see large charity cycling events as the perfect place to be promoting your Indoor Cycling studio. The MN event had over 3,500 participants and everyone is a potential customer. With over 100 Bike MS events scattered around the United States there’s bound to be one near you.
I appears that the MS Society accepts two types of sponsors; paid promotional partners and in-kind sponsors. If you have a very well-funded indoor cycling studio it may make sense for you to investigate sponsoring a rest stop or a booth at one of the and points. The other way to get yourself in front of the 3,500 cyclists is to provide an in-kind service of some type. The best example would be the bike shops that provide maintenance and repairs at each of the rest stops. At the end of day-one there are a number of massage therapists and chiropractors offering their services to tired, but grateful, participants.
“But I’m an Indoor Cycling Instructor John… I can’t fix bikes or massage tired muscles… what else could I do?”
Provide complementary bike fittings 🙂
Now this is just me thinking here, but if I owned a studio I’d look into providing complimentary bike fit services at the end of the first day. Trust me. there are hundreds and hundreds of clueless people, who would benefit dramatically in some simple adjustments to seat height. That might be all I would offer. If you found someone with a horribly wrong seat fore and aft position you may offer to change it or you may make some cleat adjustments. But with hundreds of potential fittings, I would be focused on quantity rather than quality. You may want to bring along a few turbo trainers to hold each bike while you check seat height. A few end wrenches, bicycle multitool and a small level + a few assistants to help would be all you need.
Your target would be the occasional rider. This event is probably the single largest ride they may ever do in their lifetime and they will appreciate any help that will improve their experience. Your service would not be directed toward the typical road bike rider who has the experience to recognize the importance of proper bike fit. You may want to set up a booth at registration with some simple signage explaining the service you provide. My guess is that you wouldn’t get a lot of takers until after that first 80 mile day 🙂
Think Burma Shave signage.
A series of inexpensive yard signs, positioned along the last 10 or 15 miles, with some clever verbiage that communicates how much more comfortable you would be properly fitted to your bicycle. You would have literally thousands of suffering people open to your promised relief. After all, they have tomorrow to think about… And many are dreading the thought of day two.
Leverage the event
The local TV stations love these active, feel-good events. Before I left for my class Monday morning, our local station ran a long segment about this past weekend’s event. Reporters loved to be tipped off about interesting things they can talk about. If you called and pitched them about the importance of proper bike fit and how it makes for a more enjoyable long distance ride, there’s a good chance they might bite on it. Your pitch is nothing about you or your studio, only about the service that you’re providing to others. TV reporters know the game and it’s natural for them to want to plug you and your studio in their report. With any luck you may end up on television and get the opportunity to invite tens of thousands of people to come and ride indoors with you!