Friday, November 30, 2007
With this cold weather up here in the northeast it is tough to get a good motorcycle ride in without loosing the feeling in the tips of your fingers. Although the easiest way to solve this problem would be to drop the money on some heated gear, but for me I just plan my ride with places to stop and get off to warm up. Sometimes it is a hiking trail that I know of in the area to warm me up, but lately I have been making Moto Market in Acton, MA my stop.
Moto Market is a great high quality motorcycle apparel and accessory shop that doubles as a Café where you can sip on a hot tea or chocolate or one of their tasty cappuccinos. Now I know I will catch some flak from the folks in the office about the coffee thing, because I think I am the only one in the Kryptonite team that doesn’t plan my day around this caffeinated drink. But I am a fan of Italian coffees hence the last name.
So if you ever find yourself in the area you should stop by, everyone there is helpful and friendly not to mention that there is some great riding up in that area. They do have heated gear too if the coffee doesn’t do the trick. They are located at 481 Great Road (2A/119), Acton, MA 01720
Nevertheless on with the story, we have recently acquired a 55 Chevy Wagon that my father has been obsessed with getting. It is a wicked cool car but needs a lot of work. If it was any other time of year the car would be on the back burner and forgotten about but because we are slow the car is going to be full steam ahead!
We are already having fun with this car. There is no motor in it so Jeff, our parts guy, climbs under the hood and Jay gets random people to come over to the car and Jeff pops out! It is too funny and definitely scares a lot of people!
Well I guess when business is slow in one aspect you move on to another. Do whatever it takes to bring in the money!!
Wednesday, November 28, 2007
Here are some photos I've collected over the last couple of months. They are completely random, but I hope you find one or two interesting.
Tuesday, November 27, 2007
Since we get so many requests, as I'm sure every other company in the industry does, I thought I'd go through our process here so you can make some sense (or not) out of it.
We get, literally, hundreds of requests each year asking for anything from 1 lock to hundreds of thousands of dollars. Those big ones make me giggle and remind me of a post my friend Karl Wiedemann wrote when he was at Pedros (he's now at Thule). Please read it - there are great tips about submitting an event proposal.
Anyway, when requests come in they go into a pile on my desk. I don't read them right away - right or wrong, I just don't. I used to review each request as they came in, but that was too time consuming so I went to the once a quarter system. I know some companies that do once a year, but I recognize that not everyone is so organized that they can get requests in for once a year. So, I'm somewhere in between every day/week and once a year. Works for me.
When that once a quarter comes around I take the stack and start going through it. Unfortunately, at that point we've missed some of the events, but when you send the request the week before your event that you've had planned for months, well yea, we miss it. I do reply to most everyone though - I know some people have slipped through the cracks and I'm sorry about that - I do the best I can. I try to get back to everyone.
Mostly we support events through product donations so I set aside a couple of days and start packing boxes in my office. Yup, every one of those boxes is packed and shipped by me. We try to do as many as we can and as many as make sense to our customers. I'd say that we support about 100 events a year or more - maybe not in huge ways all the time, but something to help out.
Now, in addition to Karl's tips (seriously, if you want to send a request to any company read Karl's tips...), here are a couple of my own....
- include the date of your event - it helps tremendously if I know if the event has past or is just upon us or isn't for another 2 months. What if your event is three days after I sit down to review? If I think it's a great event, I'll ship you something overnight but if I don't know the date it goes into the 'need more info pile' which takes more time and by then your event is over.
- include a shipping address. I can't tell you how many times I get emails or notes where someone wants product for an event, "can you send some products for our event"....well, maybe, but since you didn't include a shipping address it's kind of hard. Yup, people who want products don't always include a shipping address (can anyone answer that one for me?!). I've never been a good mind reader so I don't really know where you live...honest.
- tell me what type of event you are putting on. I love when I get notes like this..."I'm putting on a race and want to know if you are interested in sponsoring it". Hmmm...don't know you from Adam but I still might be interested if I knew if it was a bike or powersports event...or even what type...are you racing ATVs or mountain bikes? Do tell. Again, not so good with that mind reading thing....
- if you do get something from a company for your event, send a thank you note. Doesn't have to be fancy and doesn't have to be by mail - email is free remember! - but send a note. Trust me, it goes a long way towards a repeat. I've got some fun things as thank yous, and some "interesting" ones, too (boxer shorts come to mind...) but the best thank you? A simple, short note on a ripped piece of paper. Why? The guy had put on a first time charity event for a very special reason - probably didn't have a lot of money, but he has a ton of manners. Worked for me and guess what? He'll get product again for another race.
So, between Karl and I we've given you some good tips here. Should help you whether you are contacting Kryptonite or Thule or any other company along the way.
Oh, yea, and if you are waiting to hear from me? I've got the stack down from 6 inches to about 4 inches on my desk. I'm getting there. Please have patience! Thank you!
Monday, November 26, 2007
From what I can tell, the lottery sytem in England is giving away this boat load of money to one of four different initiatives. The finalists are: Black Country Urban Park, Sherwood: The Living Legend, Eden Project: The Edge and Sustrans' Connect2.
All are great projects, but the Connect2 is one that all cyclists in the UK should get online and vote for. You can read more about the project on the summary page, but here is a little exerpt:
"Connect2 is a UK-wide project that aims to improve local travel in 79 communities by creating new walking and cycling routes for the local journeys we all make every day.
By building bridges and crossings over busy roads, rivers and railway lines, Connect2 will get people to the places they want to go. Each crossing will link to a network of walking and cycling routes, taking you to your schools, shops, work and green spaces. Connect2 will also bring people closer together, making journeys quicker and more convenient and leaving more time to spend with family and friends.
Around 6 million people live within a mile of a Connect2 project. Each one will change the lives of people of all ages – from cyclists and leisure walkers to commuters and schoolchildren, as well as elderly people and wheelchair users – everyone will have a better quality of life thanks to Connect2."
Voting started today and continues through noon December 10. You can also vote via phone, if you'd like. You can spread the word about your favorite project in a number of ways, including imbedding images into your Facebook page.
Thursday, November 22, 2007
To all of our friends outside of the U.S. - Happy Thursday to you - the weekend is coming! :)
Enjoy your day, however you choose to spend it.
Wednesday, November 21, 2007
The whole store was only open for a week when I went in. The bikes ranged from kids bikes at $65 to $1,800 for adult’s bikes. It was a clean, bright store and bike shop. The bike shop was in the back corner and the signage was pretty good.
During my scouting, I snapped a couple of photos.
Tuesday, November 20, 2007
Angela, the owner's daughter, took a lot of photos during the day. Below are a few to get the feel of the day to compliment Don's words, but you can view all of the photos here. Enjoy!
Thanks to everyone who came out to meet Bob; we hope you all had a great time.
Don looks like he's all set to get out and enjoy a ride on a gorgeous Sunday morning!
Bob signed autographs and chatted with folks that were on the ride and some that just stopped by. In all, about 300 people were hanging out at Velo Pasadena throughout the day.
Hrach and Bob reminisced over "the old days"
Monday, November 19, 2007
"A deck of cards, featuring messengers from four cities. Each city will take a suit, thirteen messengers per city"
Pretty cool concept, but that's not why I'm sharing it. Amy created a video of the photo shoot the other day. It kicks some serious butt! Check it out! You'll be glad you did!
I'm sure there will be info on the card decks when they are complete over on Cycle Hawk, too.
One thing that was always on the plan was to provide some great cycling cities with permanent bike racks. We wanted to give cyclists in these cities and towns more places to secure their bikes when they were off exploring the city - or just doing daily errands.
It was a long process, longer than any of us expected, but in the end 4 cycling cities and towns will have bike racks installed - or already do. Portland, Oregon was the first city to see the bike racks. The first group was installed at the Pacific Northwest College of Art and seem to be full just about all the time.
Thanks to Rachael Allen for the photos of the Portland racks!The school actually took away some car parking spots to put in a bigger bike rack area. How cool is that?! Now, to be fair and tell both sides, some people in Portland aren't happy that the racks have a company name on them, but most people seem to think more bike racks are a good thing and will use them. As you can see by the photos, dozens of people don't mind the little logo on the bottom of the racks. They just care about having a safe place to lock while in school or around the area. Photos like this just make us smile!
All full in Portland!
Then it was off to Blue Island, Illinois, which is just outside of Chicago. They are a city that is trying to get back to more of its roots of being a walking and cycling city. The racks were just installed there a couple of weeks ago and Roby went out to meet with some people in town, including Mayor Peloquin, to christen the racks.
Mayor Peloquin and his office were gracious hosts to Roby when he was in town and were happy to have these racks provided (read the mayor's thoughts here). All of the cities and towns we've partnered with have been so great to work with during this project. But the local advocacy groups have been fantastic, too. Chicagoland Bicycle Federation really helped out with getting racks placed in their area and have been very supportive of this initiative. They even came out to the christening in Blue Island (thanks guys!).
There will be more racks installed soon in one other Portland location as well as in Austin, Texas and Palos Heights, Illinois. In all, over 75 racks will be around the country for cyclists to use when they are out and about.
As soon as the rest of the racks are in place, we'll let you know...and get some more pictures up.
Thursday, November 15, 2007
The actual date of that race was November 15. When I looked at that date I realized that another significant event happened that day. No, not to the world at large, but in my little world. It’s the day I started at Kryptonite. Yes, 8 years ago today I walked into the doors of a funky, fun family business. The air was electric and dynamic – and sometimes held balls that sailed by your head when you least expected it (affectionately, of course).
Day to day you didn’t know what might happen – a pick up flag football game in the back yard, movie clips played over the intercom system, a dog wandering the hall or practical jokes orchestrated by quite a few pranksters on just about anyone (nobody was immune). The one thing that you were always guaranteed to find was passion and hard work. We had fun, sure, but we all worked really, really hard. It was a magical time and I couldn’t believe my good fortune at being picked to work at this great company (thanks Peter, Gary and Karen).
My dog Chauncey (RIP) goofing off in my first office shortly after I started.
She spent many days at the office with me and loved all the attention from her friends!
Through the 8 years I’ve traveled around the US, to many different countries (I highly recommend Lago di Garda in the spring) and met some incredible people along the way. Some I consider more friends than colleagues or business associates – a couple I’d consider just about family even. I think that’s just the nature of the business we are in, though. The people in the bicycle and powersports worlds are nice, down to earth, fun people. People I really enjoy spending time with. I’ve been lucky, very lucky.
In 8 years the building has changed (we moved), my office has moved (5 different ones and counting) and many things along the way are now different. But, the passion for the brand is still very much alive by everyone here. And the fun? I haven’t had a ball wiz by my head recently, but the practical jokes? They still happen – just ask Roby about the Snowball (cupcake-like desert) and his car......
So, happy NASCAR anniversary, Mr. Gordon and to all those who have made my time at Kryptonite special...thank you.
Tuesday, November 13, 2007
I know this site isn't about movies, but hey it's what is on my mind today. Saw a great movie this weekend, as you can guess from the title of the post. "Gone, Baby, Gone" is fantastic! If I was given a vote by the academy, I'd vote Ed Harris as best supporting actor to get the Oscar. He was that incredibly good. Scene stealer every time.
In full disclosure, I know the author of the novel and, although I haven't seen him in years, I consider him a friend. Regardless, I'd recommend this movie even if I didn't know Dennis. It's very well done. BUT, I'm warning you now - moral dilemma at the end. So much so that you won't be able to stop thinking about it. Trust me, when I read the book for the first time it stayed with me for at least a week, maybe more. The movie captures that pretty well. Actually, I'd like to see it again and probably will.
Have you seen the movie? Did you read the book? What would you do? C'mon, I want to know. I'm truly curious as to what you'd do in that situation (at the end of the movie/book) and then I'll tell you my thoughts. I just don't want to put them here to spoil it for anyone who hasn't seen the movie.
What would you do if you were Patrick and Angie at the end of the movie?
Thursday, November 08, 2007
At the Interbike trade show in September, Bob Roll worked in the Kryptonite booth with us each morning. In the booth, Kryptonite retailers could enter to win a personal store visit by Bob himself, and on the last day of the show we drew from the fishbowl to see who the lucky winner was.
This year's winner was Hrach Gevrikyan at Velo Pasadena in Pasadena, California. Hrach and his wife Nevrik have run their high end Pro Shop since 1988 and were thrilled at winning. Hrach selected Sunday, November 4th and organized a "ride with Bob" VIP ride for his best customers, invited some vendors like Time & Specialized to demo their bikes, hired a DJ and a guy to BBQ and the party was on!
The sun rose Sunday on a perfect day. I was to pick Bob up at the hotel and arrived early - but Bob was ready to go! As we drove to the shop he asked how many people were expected and I said well.............we though there would be about 30 on the ride but that there were already about 80 when I left a half hour ago. Bob seemed worried, "80?" he asked. "80, but that was a half our ago".
We snuck in the back of the store where Hrach had full use of a large parking lot - the lot was jammed full of bikes and people - it was a sea of color. We wasted no time and made our way though the crowd to get fitted on a couple of spankin new Time bikes.
Back outside, a ride leader announced the route - were going to do about a 20 mile loop out around the Rose Bowl. Bob "clicks in" and were off through the quiet streets of Pasadena. I dropped back to count and was astonished - there were about 150 people on this ride! The peloton was about the same size as what you see in the "Tour Day France" - and the amazing part was that wile the pace was brisk the pack stayed together, mostly because as we snaked our way through the tree canopied streets of Pasadena Hrach was working the peloton to keep it together - he dropped back and pulled some back to the peloton, was calling out to others and checking on people, going to the front, dropping to the back and just working hard at 20MPH! Some wanted to go faster, some slower but Hrach just wanted everyone to ride together and have fun.
As we rounded the Rose Bowl and started the mild descent back to the shop the pace relaxed some. People were going to the front to ride with Bob and chat with him a bit. The fun and relaxed pace slowed as we rounded the final turn onto Colorado Blvd. (yep, the same one as the Tournament of Roses Parade) and arrived back at the shop. The BBQ was smokin, the DJ was spinning and the demo bikes were ready to go.
Bob changed and worked the crowd some before settling under the tent to sign Kryptonite posters, shake hands and take pictures.
As the crowd of roughly 300 finally subsided Hrach, brought out an old program from the 1982 Coors Classic and Bob and Hrach shared war stories about racing together back in the day. When Bob left I heard him invite Hrach to come hang out with him at the "Tour of Cali" in February.
A special thanks to Hrach and his wife Nevrik for their warm, welcoming hospitality. We only get Bob to the store - the rest is up to the retailer and Velo Pasadena know how to throw a party!
Regardless, check out the socks and then guess how many he has - kind of like the contests of how many jellybeans are in the jar contests - and you get a prize. A cool prize - a pair of Sockguy socks (hopefully not pre-worn by Masiguy) and a great Kryptonite lock! Which lock? Well, I don't know...I sent him out a couple that he's misplaced so who knows which one he'll find first. But, he has an Evolution series 4, and Evolution Mini and a New York Lock. Whichever he finds first will be the prize, I'm sure.
So, go on over, look at the sock pile, take a guess and leave your lucky number in the comment section before December 1st. I wonder if that's how long it will take him to find the box of missing locks...hmmm....
I think I'm ineligible, but if I was guessing, I'd say 70 pairs.....
Wednesday, November 07, 2007
Last week was the SEMA show in Las Vegas. We sent out 2 bikes to be displayed in PPG’s booth. A 1950 Panhead that we just finished and an early 80’s custom that my father built back in the day.
I got to meet some cool people. Some of them were Goldberg the wrestler, Indy car driver Danica Patrick, and a few others. The show was so crowded that just getting a glance at a celebrity was difficult but I managed to get a few pictures and autographs!
Monday, November 05, 2007
Back in August we had our 3 new regional managers in the office for a visit. We took this opportunity, after a hard week of work, to go fishing in Duxbury Bay. August is not the most productive time for striped bass fishing but it was all about bringing the team together and doing something other than talking about sales of locks.
Upon arrival to the point we noticed that there was no activity on the surface; no birds working. We decided to drift along the outgoing tide and see what luck may strike. We only had 2 rods so we had 2 people on while the others dodged sloppy casts and rubber shads wizzing by our heads.
It was quite a spectacle to watch 3 people who had different levels of fishing experience try to catch striped bass. But the real payoff was not necessarily the fishing, but the bringing together of a new team.
While the fishing was not productive we did catch one fish and that credit goes to Craig Glab as much as it bothers me to say so, being the local, of course. After returning from fishing we washed down the boat and headed out to Arthur & Pat’s at Brandt Rock for a breakfast of omelets, bacon, pancakes, steak & eggs and home fries. The best part of the day!
All of you blog readers will be hearing from the new team soon with blog posts about their own adventures on the road.
Friday, November 02, 2007
This year we changed it up a little bit as part of our whole Feel Free to Stop campaign. This year the grand prize is that Bob will go to the winning shop and ride with the owner and a few of his/her close friends and then go back to the shop and hang out for a little bit. As we mentioned, a very good customer of ours won the event at the show in September. Well it's this weekend!
Yes, Bob will be visiting Velo Pasadena this Sunday morning! It seems as though owners Nevrik and Hrach have taken their prize to the next level and created quite an event for their customers, too. They really care about their customers because not only will Bob be there but there will be food, music, demos, test rides, raffle prizes (hint..think locks, Bob Roll shirts...) and, did I mention...Bob Roll!
The festivities will start around 11am so if you are close to Pasadena, c'mon over and meet Bob - he'll be with our regional manager, Don Shipman, so it's a Kryptonite twofer. Bob and Don will be there until around 1-ish so get on over there and say "hi". And, while you are at it, thank Nevrik and Hrach for making us feel so welcome. Have a great time!
Thursday, November 01, 2007
The guy coming down the incline towards me on his bike had on jeans, a flannel shirt, Red Sox cap and only had one hand on the bike. The other hand had a tray with 3 Dunkin' Donuts coffees on it! Ok, I don't know they were all coffee, but I'll assume they were.
That's New England-style bike riding if ever I saw it.