This time of year, most people who eat, sleep and breathe bicycles have one thing on their minds: the Tour de France. While brainstorming ideas for blog posts at our most recent marketing meeting, the newest addition to Revolution, Angela, made an apt comparison between our freshly formed marketing team and professional cycling teams (referencing our team work, not our legs). So, to celebrate the Tour de France, we’re going to talk a little bit about the complexities of the cycling team and we’re going to attempt to draw a grandiose metaphor for our team and how we work together.
For those unfamiliar with the nuances of the Tour de France or bike racing in general, there are many important team roles in addition to the leaders. While racers like Lance Armstrong and Alberto Contador are the most visible individuals during a race, they would be nothing without their supporting casts. For a race like the Tour, the team members are each selected for very specific physical abilities. Some riders are good at keeping pace on the flats while others fly up mountains. Team members may experience moments or days of personal glory, but eight of the nine riders per team are working for the overall success of a single team leader. During the US Postal years, Lance used his team to “We are a collection of domestiques working for the team leader, which in our case is Revolution Cycles.”perfection. On the flats, his pacesetters kept a tempo that controlled the peloton, making individual escapes difficult. When the mountains reared their heads, the altitude specialists rode at attack speed, thereby negating any attempt to attack Lance before he decided to attack! These supporting riders are called ‘domestiques‘. They block the wind, fetch water bottles from the team cars behind, give up their bikes or wheels in desperate moments, and go on the attack to force the hands of the other teams. They are the unsung heroes behind the leaders’ jerseys, champagne spraying, and podium kisses lavished upon the team leader.
We are a collection of domestiques working for the team leader, which in our case is Revolution Cycles. As individuals, we have different roles and responsibilities that are suited to our strengths, and our goal is to use our skills to keep Revolution Cycles in the yellow jersey. From our staff that runs the sales floor everyday to our operations manager who oversees each department in our company, every position within our organization is critical to the overall success of Revolution Cycles. Right now, we’re in the midst of our own bicycle retail TdF- we have so many events, sales and rides stacked up on our marketing calendar that I have to schedule time to read our schedule! This has always been a busy time of year for us, but with our marketing team now in place, we’re taking on more than ever and we’re having a lot of fun doing it. Coordinating a single blog entry with four people in a forty-eight hour time period is just one of the crazy, challenging and rewarding ideas that we came up with at this week’s meeting.
Stacey: Communications Specialist/White Jersey
So what are we so busy working on? As the Communications Specialist, I’m writing this blog piece (with the contributions of rest of the marketing team, of course). And I’m reading other blog entries. And I’m harassing our most adventurous staff members to write more blog entries for me to read (because this is my favorite part of my job by far). I also spend quite a bit of my time in the role of the buyer, which means that for our upcoming Trek Dream Bigger sale, I have to make sure that all of our stores have more than enough of the many dozens of items that will be on sale from July 16th to July 25th (and Mike makes sure that we have all of the bikes that we need for the sale). I’m also generally juggling about eleven to twelve million other small tasks, like making the entry forms for our TdF Big Stage Game or fleshing out the details of our P1/Oakley promotion. As the most persnickety member of the marketing team, I actually love proofing all of the spectacular looking posters that Chris designs and spending excessive amounts of time choosing between two words for an email subject line. I’m also the youngest member of the team (although I can’t boast being under 25 anymore), which gives me the white jersey.
While I’m busy obsessing over words and commas and numbers (and making really dumb jokes and distracting my officemates), Angela, Chris and Jakob have plenty on their plates as well. And now, in their own words, you get to read about how each of these domestiques spends his or her days working for that maillot jaune.
Angela: Events & Advocacy Coordinator/Polka Dot Jersey
As the newbie of the team, I’m ignorantly blissful and proud of my role as a domestique. I’m the freshman who is so new to this side of cycling and the TdF that I’m super excited about every opportunity to help the team. I’m distinct because I’m the daily commuter mama who has built my legs on 100+ miles a week of transportation cycling and who’s just dorky enough to bike anywhere in a skirt on a single-speed with a rack and panniers. Combine this with my role in events and advocacy and I just may be the one to earn that fancy polka dotted jersey. It’s just my style: unique and a bit endearingly oddball from an aesthetic point of view but representative of someone with real heart. I’m going to be expected to conquer mountains as they loom ahead of us, but with such finesse and enthusiasm that you’ll never see me sweat and you’ll want to join me on the climb. But, when I’m done leading us over the mountains, someone else on the team will take the lead.
My current climb has us heading toward two wine tastings next week to celebrate the TdF in Crystal City on the 12th and to celebrate Project One bikes on the 15th in Clarendon. These events will be followed by a series of summits called Ladies’ Nights at the end of July and in early August. These evenings will taper into the rolling hills of Hub Spins every other Saturday in CC, but the terrain will be ever-changing with each new Hub Spin theme, which will include a Singles’ Ride to Hanks Oyster Bar, a Monuments at Night Ride, and a ride via bike and water taxi to watch the Nationals! All the while, I’ll be working with folks such as BikeArlington, WABA or the Rockville BAC to help get even more butts on bikes. Riding the events mountains may put me in that groovy polka dotted jersey, but in the end, it’s only meant to earn Revolution the coveted yellow.
Chris: Marketing Manager/Green jersey
Making sure the message gets out to all of you is my part of the team. Whether it’s on Twitter, Facebook, our website, email blasts, blog posts, or good old-fashioned in-store posters/flyers we want to make sure that you’re up to date on everything we’re working on for you. For example: yesterday I created a Facebook event for our Hub Spin: Singles Night that we’re having on Saturday, July 17th. Next, all of the stores had posters delivered to them that I designed for next Thursday’s (July 15th) ‘An Evening with Project One’ special event.
This was on top of designing graphics for our stunning Trek Project One/Oakley Custom Glasses promo that we’re running during the entire Tour de France this month (3rd-25th) as well as our TdF Big Stage Game kicking off in Crystal City this coming Monday (July 12th). By the way, the kick-off party is actually a subterfuge for an evening of wine tasting with our in-house sommelier and City Hub manager, Caleb!
Those of you who have visited the stores since Le Tour started, you’ve seen our leader jerseys displays. We’re updating these after every stage finish, so stop by and see who’s wearing what! Speaking of wearing jerseys, all locations have the full Radio Shack team kits available, as well as the ever-popular podium hats and water bottles. After Stacey makes sure that they’ve arrived in the stores, I make trips to all the locations to make sure that everything is displayed as spectacularly as possible. While I’m there, I can talk about our promotions and events with the staff as well as gather some stories and images of what’s going on in their neck of the woods.
Jakob: Operations Manager/Directeur Sportif
Whew, it’s been a busy year…looking at our schedule the past few months, we’ve had lots going on relative to projects, community involvement and advocacy, sometimes averaging multiple events in a week (shameless plug: you can keep up with all of these events on our Facebook page and at Revolutioncycles.com)! We’re working with citizens and government employees who are deeply committed to making the roads safer for law-abiding cyclists, and with the addition of Angela to our team, it feels as if we’re making a quantum leap in that area. The number of events and corporate partnerships that Revolution is involved in has jumped as well, and telling people about what we’re doing is what much of Chris and Stacey’s work is about.
The riders participating in Le Tour have different roles and some enter the race knowing that their name will only come up when the announcers comment on “how many water bottles that guy can stuff in his jersey,” while other racers are mentioned on sports blogs and websites across the world as “icons” and “legends.” What connects all of these riders is a shared passion for the sport of cycling and for pushing their minds and bodies to the limits. That same passion (minus the 30-hour per week training habit and the neon outfits) also unites the person touring across the US on his or her bike with the mountain biker, and it connects the die-hard bike advocate with the Cat 2 road racer. Be a spectator at a charity ride, triathlon or bike race and you’ll see what I mean. Cycling brings out the kid in us and though the toys change, the adrenaline rush of speed and movement remain the same.
That same passion unites our staff as well. Whether it’s marketing, management or the incredibly talented people who work with us on the sales floor and in our tech centers, we all share a love of bikes and of cycling. Some of us are beginning our careers here, while others are passing through on their way to a college degree or another field. Working at a bicycle shop is very hard work and, without a doubt, some of the most fun work out there. I get to wear shorts to work – as many days a year as I want. I get to be a part of a dynamic and energized environment, with all of the effort, risks and learning experiences associated with such a thing. I enjoy the luxury of having an instant connection with anyone I meet who’s ever ridden on two wheels. Few professions offer that perk.
All of us at Revolution Cycles work very hard towards this “maillot jaune” distinction and you, the person reading this blog, award it to us, whether with a purchase (thank you), feedback on what we do well and where we need to be better, or by joining us for one of our many events.
The Tour de France, steeped in many customs while showing us the latest bike goodies (what better way to spend an entire paycheck), is a wonderful event and it’s the race’s traditions that offer much of the entertainment. Our company, with all of our events, classes and products, is a great place to explore cycling and enjoy it. I hope you’ll check out both and thanks for reading.