Way back in Jan we had this little thing called the Chicago Winter Bike Swap. This is where most of the dealers int he Chicago region show up and peddle – or rather pedal – their un-wanted, used or over inventoried wares in hopes of generating some much needed cash for the impending and looming season to come. This is my second year at the swap and as such I have found it is more helpful for me in generating new business leads and customer contacts.
Regardless it is still a chance to clean out the shop of little needed or used gear. Some Speedplay pedals, 2 frames, cranks, saddles – you know….the stuff that accumulates over time. Stuff left over from repair work that the “customer” wants to bless you with as though it is some form of good thing – almost like a form of kharmic payment – not realizing that it’s a used component that they saw the need to replace and will simply take up room in the shop.
So…time to find a better home for these things. It’s easy to part with the stuff others give you but darn near impossible sometimes to part with your own gear. This year I was taking the Giant. My 2005 Giant TCR Composite.
I loved this frame. It imarked a turning point in my life and cycling career. It was the first time in close to 25 years that I bought a “real” top end rig. I put so many hours and miles on that frame it’s almost embarrassing. I stopped riding it about 3 years ago in order to keep from destroying it in a wreck, only to find over time that I fit much better on larger rigs and that it truly was too small.
Sad was the day I stripped the frame of the carefully collected DA 7800 components (in my opinion a group that will go down in history as one of the best all time groups ever made). Sadder still was when I put that 7800 on my cyclocross bike – because it made sense to.
The day of the swap we saw a lot of activity. I pretty much sold everything before the doors even opened to the public. In that morning rush I made a deal and sent the Giant on it’s way. I was truly sad to see it go, and a little happy to have the cash it generated.
In business it’s a good idea not to get attached to anything. Difficult sometimes when you are passionate about the business you are in but I have seen it time and time again: shop owners that feel there is high value to a piece but in reality it’s just a multiple year old used piece of equipment that has a real market value of 1/2-1/3 of what it was if you are lucky. Many times I’ve seen someone make an offer only to hear a shop guy say, “nah…that frame is worth XYZ at a minimum.” and thought – “no it’s not. It’s worth what that guy just offered”
I’m thinking about all of this because, well, the business is growing. Big. Very big. In result I am finding it hard to juggle all of the aspects of life that I need to juggle right now. I know what I need to do but I can’ just jump and do it. I have faith in myself and my abilities, but I am at a point in my life where I truly can’t make it “about me”. The end goal is the same. I have bumped around my whole life and seen a lot of success in many of my endeavours, and taken my licks as well, but one thing has remained a constant – cycling.
I’m thinking that the swap meet just may have been a nice metaphor for the business and our lives right now. Maybe it’s time to move out some of the old stuff, re-focus on the core of what makes us good, and take a leap. In the end we’ll have some money in our pocket – maybe not as much as what we hoped but just possibly more than we expect.