And just like that, poof, U.S. Eurobike was gone!
December 4, 2006, Valyermo, CA
(Slowtwitch News Service)
The new Portland-based trade show that only a month ago had the bicycle industry buzzing is gone as quickly as it came. Messe Friedrichshafen, owners of the popular Eurobike trade show and Interbike's proposed competition in America, announced that it was postponing the Portland event.
The press release announcing that there would be no 2007 show came less than a month after the initial announcement of the trade event's existence. Oddly, this latest announcement buried the news of the show's no-show in another announcement trumpeting a partnership between Eurobike and the Sea Otter Festival.
In announcing its abrupt change of course, Eurobike is blaming its postponement in part on its inability to generate a staff in time to make the event happen. Concurrently it's moving the ball forward, it says, by pairing with Sea Otter, a large and popular bike racing extravaganza in California's Central Coast. "We'd like to harmonize the trade show with the sporting event for the Spring start of the cycling season," said Eurobike's CEO Klaus Wellmann, "in order to reach manufacturers, retailers, the media and consumers more consistently."
Linking the Sea Otter event to Eurobike's prospects for a large industry trade show is curious. While Sea Otter has its own self-billed "trade show," it consists of 250 exhibitors and the attendees are 9-to-1 Californians. Eurobike is a major sponsor of Sea Otter, but it remains to be seen whether this foothold in the U.S. market can be leveraged into a major trade show presence.
Interbike to get robust competition in 2007
November 14, 2006, Valyermo, CA
(Slowtwitch News Service)
In a move certain to shake up the manufacturing and retail marketplace Eurobike, the top European bicycle trade show, is establishing in the United States a competitive alternative to Interbike, currently the World's preeminent bike show.
The new show will take place in Portland, Oregon, during September of 2007. The date is set to clash with Las Vegas' Interbike, annually held in the same month. This means exhibitors will have to choose one American show only at which they'll exhibit their wares.
Last week the National Bicycle Dealers Association (NBDA) announced its intention to "enthusiastically partner with Interbike."
But neither the NBDA, powerful though it is, nor its members are in a strong position to affect an outcome. Wherever their vendors choose to exhibit determines which airport the retailers will fly into, so they must patiently wait and see how the trade show war plays out.
Manufacturers contacted by Slowtwitch.com, who spoke on background, were unanimous in their views that a Portland show was to their liking, not simply because of the locale, but because Portland's trade show industry is non-union. Exhibitors have, in the main, grown annoyed with the unionized aspect of the Interbike show, and the thousands of extra dollars it costs the typical mid-sized exhibitor to set up, exhibit, and tear down in Las Vegas.
Several attempts to interview the Eurobike show's U.S. representative, Eric Reiss, were denied, but Reiss promised, "...more press releases during this month."
This is not the first time Interbike has faced a challenge in recent years. Trek, along with some other large exhibitors, attempted to start a maverick show that went by the acronym BIO. The show flopped, but Trek has not warmed to Interbike and hasn't returned in recent years.
One by one several large manufacturers either stopped going to Interbike or only have a token booth there. Specialized' booth is barely the size of Cervelo's and QR's, even though they are arguably the largest seller of bicycle units in the U.S. Specialized and Trek (which probably remains the largest revenue seller of bicycles in the U.S.) rely on bringing their biggest dealers to their respective headquarters instead of meeting them at Interbike.
But this new show might cause either or both of America's flagship bike makers to reconsider attending an annual U.S. industry get-together. Likewise some of the smaller manufacturers, such as Serotta, which also eschew Interbike, will want to consider the more attractive Portland venue.
Unknown is whether the largest manufacturers, such as Trek, Cannondale, Specialized and Giant, will be offered inducements to exhibit at Eurobike's Portland show. In the same way a shopping center offers free or greatly reduced rental space to "anchor" department stores, will Eurobike subsidize any floor space inhabited by America's largest manufacturers? Eurobike's representative have not replied to this question.
This issue could impact the new show's prospects, particularly for exhibitors who remember the BIO show. Those sensitive to the interplay between the industry's shows (historically places of detente) and its mega corporations may be drawn back to Vegas and its damnable union charges, depending on how the Eurobike show's facts unfold.
Triathlon's fortunes may well rise with the advent of trade show competition. The NBDA, which favors Interbike and is granted a place of promenince in that show, has historically ignored triathlon. It's "Super Seminars" have never touched on the theme of multisport, though it is probably the fastest growing major revenue source for its more serious members.
With two shows vieing for exhibitor attendance, how each treats the bloc of exhibitors in a major category such as multisport could help determine the success at such a show. Accordingly, this year's competitive trade show environment may offer this sport a lever with which to pry for itself the place of prominence it does not now enjoy.
De Soto distributor in Germany loses rights to the line
July 18, 2006, Valyermo, CA
(Slowtwitch News Service)
For the second time in as many decades the owners of the popular San Diego-based De Soto Clothing company have had to take its German distributor to court to protect its manufacturing and distribution rights.
Christof Werschkull, the De Soto distributor in Germany for more than a decade, will abandon any right to sell De Soto apparel in Germany under a stipulated settlement enforced by a German court.
Werschkull will be allowed to liquidate his De Soto-like product, which carries the DSS oval logo," through March 1, 2007. After that date a cease and desist order takes effect, barring Werschkull from using the signs "DSS," "T1," "DSI” and "De Soto" for goods not made by the authentic De Soto Clothing company. Werschkull has already surrendered these marks and applications to De Soto.
Werschkull obtained these trademarks in 2002, without De Soto's knowledge according to De Soto's International Customer Liaison Sylvie Hannuscheck. Werschkull manufactured apparel over the past five years with logos similar to those owned by De Soto. De Soto had previously filed and been granted trademarks in 12 European companies, Germany included, according Hannuscheck.
In 1993 a firm bearing the name Tri Tec Sports distributed De Soto imported from the United States. Eventually that firm took to making counterfeit De Soto apparel, without De Soto's knowledge, for sale in Germany. Ironically Werschkull, a former Tri Tec employee, aided De Soto in its efforts to regain the clear rights and title to De Soto distribution in Germany.
De Soto Clothing can install a new distributor in Germany starting in two weeks, on August 1, 2006.
Simon Lessing repositioned on a Javelin
March 2, 2005, Valyermo, CA
(Slowtwitch News Service)
Simon Lessing's metamorphosis into a long-courser took another step yesterday when he and Javelin Cycles announced the signing of a new contract. Lessing will ride Javelin bikes "for the 2005 season," said Javelin's Mac McEneaney, VP of Sales and Marketing for Javelin.
A one-year deal makes intuitive sense, as the ultra-talented Lessing has had his problems adjusting to the new realities of a 112-mile cycling leg and a 26-mile run. This is Lessing's fourth headbadge in four years, going from Cannondale to Yaqui to Cervelo and now to Javelin.
"I left Kona last October knowing that I needed to make some major changes to my cycling position," said Lessing about his move to Javelin. Lessing had been riding Cervelo's Soloist, and will now be riding Javelin's Barolo, more of a true tri bike. But this begs the question: Why not just move from Cervelo's Soloist to its P3, if a position change is all that is required?
There is more to Lessing's move to Javelin than position and mechanics. Cervelo might've been the right bike company at the wrong time. A year ago, Lessing was less open to the geometric themes behind the P3, and never really gave that bike a chance.
Lessing now appears more accessible to those who counsel a riding style that's always been foreign to him. Javelin, and its president Scott Warren, appear to represent the appropriate product along with the hands-on positioning work that the big-motored Brit now needs.
While Lessing's new Barolo may give him a position achievable on Cervelo's P3, it was the personal touch of Warren that helped win Lessing over. "I flew down to Javelin’s facility in Arkansas," Lessing said, "where I worked with Scott Warren on improving my time trial position for Ironman racing. After setting up on the Javelin Barolo, the differences were obvious."
It remains to be seen whether Lessing's new position will "stick." He's been coached by Dave Scott and bears a striking resemblance to the Iron legend in terms of bike positionor did, prior to his visit to Arkansas. The norm in Ironman racing these days are the steeper, flatter positions of Tim DeBoom and Peter Reid. According to Warren, Lessing's position is now more reminiscent of this style.
There is no doubt that Lessing has the engine. He is one of only three athletes to win World Championships at short and long distancesMark Allen and Greg Welch are the other twoand he won both long and short course Worlds in the same year.
Lessing will again toe the line of every major long and ultra this year as one of those to watch, if not the out-and-out favorite, and that includes the race in Kona. Expending a bit less energy on the bike may be the key that unlocks Lessing's ultradistance potential.
The signing of Lessing comes on the heels of a deal with Mike Lovato, another Dave Scott protégé. Also on Javelin's roster for '05 are Lauren Jensen, and rumors are circulating that Amanda Gillam-Lovato may also join the fold.
The Lessing/Lovato signings make for a nice set of bookends for a company gaining traction, and it comes at the right time of the year for Javelin. This company has been remade from a small, boutique builder to a well-rounded, top to bottom, seller of tri bikes. Indeed, probably only Felt, Quintana Roo, Cervelo and Guru offer a line of triathlon bicycles that stretches from the mid-teens in price to the high end, with models stair-stepped in between.
January 12, 2005, Chicago, Illinois (www.slowtwitch.com):
One of triathlon's most exciting new bikes will have its formal coming out party today or tomorrow, depending on the time zone of the reader. On Thursday, January 13th, at Mission Bay's downtown store (738 W. Randolph, Chicago 312-466-9111) everyone associated with the Lucero project will be in attendance.
Starting with an open-to-the-public reception at 6:30pm (Central Time) that will last for an hour, Mission Bay's owners, along with American Bicycle Group's president, Mark Lynskey, and the Lucero's designer, Brad Devaney, will present and explain the Lucero. At 7:30pm the Lucero will be formally shown to prospective owners, with Devaney and Lynskey there to answer any questions.
Slowtwitch will carry the event live, with photos, vignettes, asides, sidebars, &c. Also, Lynskey, Devaney, et al, will be on the Slowtwitch forum answering readers' questions from 6:30pm to 9:00pm.
During the 24-hour period starting 6:30pm on the 13th, Luceros will be available from Mission Bay to those in Chicago and also throughout the Continental U.S. with Mission Bay paying all freight and sales tax.
December 15, 2004, Valyermo, California (www.slowtwitch.com):
America's three glossy monthlies became two some months ago, when American Tri folded itself into Inside Triathlon and absorbed its editor/publisher Kyle DuFord. Since that time DuFord has been a rising star in Boulder.
Now DuFord has a chance to execute his editorial vision with a bankroll behind him. In his wake are a list of former long-timers at Inside Tri. They include the magazine's prior editor, Rick Martin, the position DuFord inherits. Under Martin was managing editor Cam Elford, who last week left Inside Triathlon and has just landed a gig at Triathlete Magazine, the arch rival of Inside Triathlon.
Elford officially inherits work on the annual Road to Kona, however the talk on the street is that Elford's role at Triathlete will almost certainly grow. There is some limit to the impression Elford can make at the magazine, at least in the short term, as he lives in Vancouver, British Columbia, while earning his MBA. His work with Triathlete will have to conform to his university schedule.
Also gone from Inside Triathlon is its publisher, Gordon Selkirk, often seen and well-liked on the racing circuit. He's now working in La Jolla, at Active.com. IT's chief advertising representative, Rob Wood, is also no more, landing a nice job with National Geographic Traveler. Nick Ramey is ITs' new ad director.
Bicycle Sports bites the dust
December 9, 2004, Valyermo, California (www.slowtwitch.com):
Venerated Bicycle Sports, owned and run by John Cobb out of Shreveport, Louisiana and more recently Tyler, Texas, is no longer in business.
According to sources formerly employed by the enterprise, Bicycle Sports' principals are set to file Chapter 7 bankruptcy liquidation. The largest creditors are rumored to be a bank and several private investors.
John Cobb has twice faced imminent demise as a retailer, once in 1993 before local Shreveport businessman, Albert Katzenstein, stepped in to finance Cobb and act as his partner (the tale of Bicycle Sports history is recounted here). Then, in 2002, Cobb intended to exit the world of retail and work for Steve Hed, owner of Hed Cycling and manufacturer of race wheels and aerodynamic handlebars. According to Cobb, he was in the middle of making the transition from Bicycle Sports to Hed when approached by Cody Smith, a much more flamboyant partner than Katzenstein, with much broader business intentions.
Bicycle Sports grew to seven retail locations at its peak, barely a year after Smith's first meeting with Cobb. Also infamous was the "Big Red Truck," an entire retail store on wheels evident at many high-profile triathlons across North America during the 2003 season. Smith’s ambitions for Bicycle Sports exceeded his grasp, by all accounts, and a cycle of investors and loans could not fix what ailed the retail enterprise.
Cobb and long time employee Dave Bunce are not entirely gone from the scene, however. Cobb’s desire for several years has been to move into product manufacturing and designing and, indeed, working with Hed held out the promise of just that. Though the relationship with Hed did not pan out, Cobb spawned another company while he was at the most recent iteration of Bicycle Sports, and Blackwell Design was to be the fruit of Cobb’s creative endeavors in product design. Blackwell had been run out of St. Paul, Minnesota, by Ben Popp, an associate of the Heds. However, Popp resigned from Blackwell this week, and Bunce is now running the outfit. Popp has not been returned calls for this story, however he is rumored to have lost tens of thousands of dollars according to two sources close to Bicycle Sports, the sum representing a capital investment in the Bicycle Sports firm. He is also reportedly owed pay for his work at Blackwell.
Blackwell is not a part of the Bicycle Sports structure, according to sources, and so may be shielded from any attempt by creditors to attach its assets. Cobb’s interest in Blackwell might represent one clue as to his future plans. His recent interests also include setting up a sort of super training facility for triathletes and other athletes, headquartered in Tyler. Triathletes would receive a battery of physiological tests, bicycle positioning, and even wind tunnel testing, performed in a tunnel to be built on the premises. This all appears in question, however, due to the Bicycle Sports closure.