Ten Things Bike Retailers Can Do to Boost Mountain Biking and Business
When local trails are convenient and open to bicycle use, bicycle retailers benefit. When trails are closed or unknown, bike businesses suffer. Fortunately, bike shops have the power to help shape local trail access. Here are 10 easy steps.
- Direct your customers to appropriate trails. These aren't always the most convenient and best known paths, which often tend to be crowded. It's important to know what's out there--all (or most of) the legal trails, say, within a hour's drive.
- Promote responsible riding in your store. Put an IMBA Rules of the Trail sign up on the wall (available from IMBA: 303-545-9011). Responsible mountain biking is basically about common sense and respect. It won't crimp anyone's style, but it will keep trails open.
- Support local mountain bike groups. Give a regular discount to local club members who do trail maintenance. Allow local clubs to gather for rides at your shop. If you have the space, host club meetings after business hours.
- Create a place in your store where useful riding information is available. Stock maps and guidebooks. Establish a ride blackboard or dry-erase board, where you post advisories on local trail conditions. You can use this board to suggest a "ride of the week."
- Hire a knowledgeable staff that not only knows equipment and sales techniques, but also where to ride -- off- and on road.
- Be the source in your community for great riding advice. Display a local trail map on the wall and use it to teach your customers about local parks and forests.
- Conduct mountain biking 101 clinics on weekends. New cyclists will flock to well-organized, non-intimidating instructional gatherings. Make these clinics fun... and give out (inexpensive) schwag.
- Connect with local schools. Fourth-through-eighth graders aren't riding bikes as much as they used to. Why? Parents are concerned about safety--both on the street and in the woods. If your store is willing to provide free rental bikes, guides and a fun experience for an afternoon outing, chances are good that local schools will be interested. This connection can create new customers.
- Sponsor local club trailwork sessions. Buy sandwiches and drinks for 20 volunteers on a Saturday. This is cost-effective PR that again builds customer loyalty.
- Join IMBA as a retail member. We'll provide materials, advice, and credibility to help you help mountain biking and grow your business.