MONTGOMERYVILLE, PA (BRAIN)—The 2008 Bicycle Leadership Conference (BLC) will be held a few weeks earlier to avoid conflicting with other events such as Frostbike, but will remain in downtown San Diego. The conference, to be held Jan. 18-20 at the Holiday Inn On the Bay, will focus on supplier issues.
“We’re revisiting the old format from years ago, before it became a joint conference (with the NBDA),” said John Nedeau, president of the Bicycle Product Suppliers Association (BPSA), the conference organizer. “We think there’s a benefit to making it about suppliers.
“In concert with that, the BPSA board decided that we’d do some industry research to see why it is we’re not growing this industry given the great place we’re in from a health, environmental and transportation standpoint,” Nedeau added, citing the latest data from the National Sporting Goods Association, which suggests that fewer people are cycling.
The BPSA has commissioned a couple of “top-notch” researchers to provide market assessment, strategy and viewpoints as to why the bicycle industry isn’t competing as much as it could be and not inviting more people to the sport. One of these researchers is affiliated with the University of Chicago’s School of Business.
“The response to the research project has been really encouraging,” Nedeau said. “We’re going to use that to drive the agenda for the conference. It will have a supplier bias, but that’s what our membership is. But we think retailers will find this pretty compelling as well.”
Nedeau said the researchers are interviewing bicycle brands, component suppliers, retailers, distributors, and possibly, consumers. The findings will attempt to answer the question of “how do we bring more people to the sport, but through the lens of the industry not what we do wrong at retail,” Nedeau said.
Elliot Gluskin and Jay Townley are managing the BLC again this year and stress that the event is open to all industry members, not just suppliers or BPSA members.
“While the conference is going to be supplier led, it’s open to the industry. We want all the leaders there,” said Gluskin. “A big component is networking opportunities. We want the conference to be much more social in nature. We hope attendees will bring spouses and families.”
In addition to networking opportunities, the conference will again offer bike rides, an informal product forum, and host the BRAINy awards presentation.
Registration will soon open for the conference at www.bicycleconference.org. —Lynette Carpiet