NEW YORK, NY (BRAIN)—Nowhere is the diversity of cycling consumers more evident than 30,000 cyclists on bikes of all shapes, sizes and ages crossing the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge from Brooklyn to Staten Island.
Moms on rented hybrids wearing white sneakers, hip urban fixie riders slinging Chrome messenger bags, dads pulling kids on Trail-a-bikes and lycra-clad roadies all mingle side by side in the nation’s largest urban cycling tour.
Despite soggy conditions yesterday, rain couldn’t dampen the spirits of those who participated in the 32nd annual Five Boro Bike Tour. Many participants traveled from around the country to see Manhattan and its surrounding boros from the exceptional vantage point of a bicycle seat.
Monica Davis, North America marketing and sales manager for Michelin bicycle products, rode the 42-mile tour for the second year in a row. She said the ride is a great place to conduct informal market research.
“It gives me an idea of what tires people have on their bikes,” Davis said. “It’s a way to get an idea of what your marketshare is. We have an opportunity here to talk to cyclists, but we can also learn a lot by observation.”
At last year’s ride Michelin launched its line of city-trekking tires, which feature a thick Protek layer to resist punctures, making it ideal for urban riding. “There was no better place we could think of to effectively introduce this product,” Davis said.
The company found it so worthwhile that it returned to exhibit at the closing festival on Staten Island for the second year. Cannondale and Specialized also exhibited this year.
Despite incessant rain, a line formed around the Michelin booth as consumers waited to spin a wheel to answer Michelin trivia and win swag. Ralph Cronin, who provides support for Michelin bicycle products, estimated that at least 500 people and as many as 1,000 riders visited the booth. He said cyclists walked away knowing more about Michelin as a result of the contest.
“This is a great opportunity to promote our brand directly to the consumer. For the amount of money we spend for the weekend, we accomplish so much brand visibility,” Davis said.
To see photos of the tour, visit the BRAIN Blog.