While the winter of 21/22 in southeastern Wisconsin was milder than usual it was not apparent during January. We all kind of sit around waiting for sub zero temperatures or huge snow storms and by mid-late January get a little winter weary. We love Wisconsin, but there is a lack of perspective during this no-so-fun time of year.
I was slogging through my January and randomly got a call from a Mr. Leon Spencer. He called the 800 line to the company (833-266-4432) and as in most cases, I fielded the call.
Leon was looking for a speaker for his Grand Design Rally in Tennessee in May. Not knowing what a Grand Design Rally was, I asked a lot of questions and as Leon Elucidated me, it was apparent that this was something that would be great for both of us. I agreed to come to Tennessee in May to be a speaker and a vendor and his Rally, and Leon was able to cross one more thing off his list (I would not understand until going to my first event how much work goes into these by the coordinator.)
After putting together a task list for the trip it occurred to me there may be more opportunities to speak/sell bikes during the very early spring, which is still not great weather in Wisconsin and the tail end of our slower winter season. It is also a best practice of ours to do at least two and if possible three of something to determine the business value. I called Leon back and he was more than happy to help me get in touch with others putting together Rallys.
I got online and looked at upcoming events, I contacted a coordinator for a Texas Rally in March and a Florida Rallly in April. The Texas event didn’t work out for a few reasons, but the Florida meet seemed like it would work well, and Ray was a friend of Leon’s which helped me get a spot.
I emailed Julia (my oldest daughter and travel companion/bike salesperson), she checked her calendar and the affirmative reply came back lightning fast, of course she wanted to get out of Wisconsin for a few days in April! Usually this would be a two person trip, but when my wife and younger daughter found out they were on board in no time happily agreeing to the 20 hour plus drive to escape for a few days.
As usual, winter went faster than expected and Cruiser Bikes started to really pick up in early April making our timeline seem impossibly short. We got everything together and left on Good Friday. We drove straight through and were blessed by almost no traffic the entire trip! We arrived in Eustis Florida a few days before the rally and in great spirits because of the beautiful weather!
We visited a few of the local attractions in the days before the rally, maximizing our sun time engineering a mini-family get away before we got down to business.
We got to the Rally a day after it started, so we set up early to make sure we maximized our time. When we set up at the large tent supplied by the organizers opened, we were SWAMPED. It was super fun to meet the folks from around the country and many full time RV’rs. As a group they are super fun genuine people who are almost universally outgoing and relaxed.
We talked RV, we talked Bikes, we talked about competitor’s bikes, but most importantly we gave a TON of test rides.
For many it was their first time on an ebike. With trepidation they would get the basics of operating from Julia or I and set off. They all came back with HUGE smiles and a great appreciation for the ebike buzz. In some cases there were questions about the pedal assist and throttle. We explained that it seemed like you’d need to switch from one to the other, but all you needed to do was ride with the bike in pedal assist and the bike would give you “help” for hills and to go further and faster than you might with a “regular” bicycle, and you could use the throttle at any time for a boost, for fun or to get out of a sticky situation.
Other test riders had tried competitor’s bikes or owned ebikes already and were curious to see what the Cruiser Bike difference was. We had them sign the waiver and gave them the quick overview of controls and sent them off. It was interesting to get immediate feedback from them as well, especially those with bikes we were not familiar with.
It turns out, in the RV community space is ALWAYS at a premium so foldable ebike are common to residents of the parks throughout the country. Most of those bikes have smaller wheels in the 20-24” range, fat or narrow to save even more space. The universal feedback was that if they could FIT our full-size bike they would LOVE to make the switch. They liked the ride, they liked the comfort, and they quickly realized with the larger tires and full frame that they would dramatically increase their range.
All riders LOVED our seat, as most do, and I explained that when we were developing the specs for the Cruiser Bikes we found ebike forum after forum where riders got a new ebike, rode it, threw the factory seat out and ordered an $80 seat from Amazon to replace it. We wanted to ship our bikes with a comfortable seat right away. We even sold a few seats. Check out our seats here.
The next day, I was scheduled to give an ebike talk. I was pretty nervous and didn’t know what to expect. I opted to give a bike overview and then field questions. Nothing is worse than a presentation that doesn’t really get to the questions that YOU might have, other than a presentation that relies on questions where no one asks anything………..
True to form, the Grand Design rally goers were AWESOME. They were warm and welcoming. They were casual and there to have fun. The pressure melted away as soon as the questions started rolling and we got a lot of good ones. What fun! Talk about ebikes to genuinely curious folks thinking of ebikes. I had a Cruiser Bike on the stage to help as a visual, but kept things pretty generic so folks could get the most out of the time.
Right after the seminar I was notified that the Hollywood 1700 RV racks were shipping (after a ONE YEAR WAIT)! Up to this point I didn’t have a great solution to transport the beautiful cruisers for the people I was there to server, all of that changed!
We hand wrote a show special for 2 bikes and a rack, and had many folks take advantage of it right away. What a great way to end the event! (Click here to see the package for yourself)
We wrapped up about 3ish loaded the truck and struck out for Wisconsin. After a marathon drive and a couple of naps we arrived home around 3PM the next day.
What a great trip. What a fun community! Thanks Ray for putting it all together and all the people who came looking for fun community. I am a little jealous that we don’t have a Grand Design unit to join in the fun, but grateful to get to take part in the party.
I am sure we will be doing more of these and when we do we hope to see you! If you have questions, we’d love to answer those too! Give us a call to chat about bikes. The company provides the BEST service before during and after you buy a bike to make it a comfortable easy experience.
Here’s a link to our events page. Come on out and let’s talk bikes!