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MS 150 must be good for LBS business(22 posts)

MS 150 must be good for LBS businessPaulCL
Jul 17, 2003 10:49 AM
Just a guess...but thousands of weekend cyclists gearing up for a 150 mile ride?? Our local LBS's must have seen a bump in business.

I mention this because of what I've seen in my office. My office had a 'team' of about a dozen rides (me, not being one of them). Of that dozen, at least five purchased brand new rides in the weeks before the big weekend. Of the others I've talked to, they spent $100's on accessories like new shorts,jersies, tubes, bike upgrades and the like. Our company team may not have been the fastest, but they were the best looking.

One of my friends who is badly out of shape (6', 240lbs) rode his MTB this year. He is hooked on cycling now. He wants to buy a road bike. He's searching LBS's, catalogues, etc...looking for the perfect ride. I'm helping as best I can to convince him to go to LBS's and ride a lot of bikes.

So, the MS150 raises money for a great cause, helps our local businesses, but also raises awareness and interest in our beloved sport. That's a good thing....OK...maybe I'll ride it next year...anyone want to sponsor me? ;)

Noticed this too hereSpecialTater
Jul 17, 2003 11:10 AM
in Memphis. Past few times in the LBS I've noticed at least 2 people looking at hybrids for the MS150 Elvis to Tunica.
re: MS 150 must be good for LBS businessJS Haiku Shop
Jul 17, 2003 11:17 AM
2003 will be my third year riding the local ms150.

last year they started a large local team (sponosred by FedEx), and held training rides on routes strikingly similar to our regular weekend routes--in fact, they marked-up all my routes, put them on paper, and called 'em FedEx training rides. ah, well...i digress...

do it. as i hear, they're normally well-supported and very well run. expect hundreds of folks to jackrabbit the first few miles, then give in at the first or second SAG, where many will spend 20-40 minutes (each). the first 20 miles are usually pretty dangerous, so try to stay at the front.

good for business, good for the NMSS, and good for the community, sure. good for cycling? i'm not sure. good for cycling's role in the community/relationship with motorists? no; bad. the majority of participants--on training rides, and in the actual MS150 rides--are unskilled bike handlers, and fairly well oblivious to vehicular traffic and relevant laws. they set an exceptionally bad example. along with training rides, organizers should make mandatory skills & road etiquette clinics. it's surprising more folks aren't hurt or involved in bike/car traffic incidents yearly.

remember, i'm pro-MS150 rides.

the amount of money had by LBS's and internet retailers (mainly the former) between 2 months and 1 day prior to MS150 rides is likely staggering. i'd suspect that those folks getting ready to ride--a large chunk of whom are probably higher-eschelon corporate--are dropping a big hunk o'change in local shops for high-end clothing, accessories, and quick-fix wrench work (tune-ups, new tires & tubes, fittings, you name it). the upper-end of those folks are buying "high-dollar" road bikes ($1500-$2000), and the "lower-end" folks are getting their knobbies replaced and maybe a new chain.

i'm sure if a few new lovers of the sport are recruited from the masses that attend these events, many will consider them a success. from the proper standpoint, the events themselves are a success as they raise money for and awareness of MS. however, with the big drive locally, and having seen the results for the past couple years, i won't hesitate to be critical.

am i becoming a purist? or a snotty elitist? or have i just ridden too many miles in rural southern illinois this year?
Unskilled bike handlersPaulCL
Jul 17, 2003 11:32 AM
Yes..many..or most do fall into that category. But the 4 or 5 MS150's I've ridden were on lonely backroads, with a lot of signage and support vehicles everywhere. I think the locals along the route are warned well in advance. There have been numerous reports of people injured or killed on these rides. I remember a note on this board about a young teenage girl hit on an MS150.

Like I said, I've ridden it many times before. This year I couldn't do it, nor did I want to...but I'm getting a lot (and I mean A LOT) of corporate pressure to join the team. First of all, if I had ridden it this year, it would have been my fourth weekend in a row out of town - a whole week of riding in Colorado followed by the 4th weekend at my family's. I couldn't afford that divorce. ;)

I learned one thing from our 'team' that makes me pre-disposed to giving it a go again: the team did not ride together. I just couldn't stand riding 75 miles at a snail's pace. The "fast" members of the team were on target to ride it in 6 hours before they got lost. That would kill me riding at a 13mph avg speed. I also hate the fundraising part of it.

Maybe next year...unless I come up with another excuse...
corporate pressureJS Haiku Shop
Jul 17, 2003 11:39 AM
yep, i don't even like to go to lunch with folks from work. if it has any kind of office politic-undertone, forget it. i could only imagine the pain of riding with folks you'd be politically obligated to "not drop". i have a *strong* (read "survival instinct") aversion to mixing personal life and work.
"politically obligated to "not drop" - not my experienceScot_Gore
Jul 17, 2003 12:01 PM
Groups of riders form around ability and desire, not office politics. I've never experience any animosity.

On this years ride I went sailing by the Exec Vice Pres that I ultimately report into. I sucked up her husband in the "testerone fest" on my way by and she was left solo for the remainder of the leg. It was nothing but a fun laugh around the snack table that night. Of course, the line around here is that the RFC in our name stands for "Really Fun Company".

BTW: here's one of our riders, were talking @13MPH with stops for bumps and brews along the way. This is more about fun than knowing what HR zone your riding in.
alas, 'twas the case here in years past...JS Haiku Shop
Jul 17, 2003 12:20 PM
and the experience i guess depends on who you're riding with. i've heard complaints about having to stay with the boss/es fearing fallout. many times it's about power and place, not having a good time. should it be? no--your method sounds best.

in last year's ride, we averaged >20 mph for 100 mi the first day and >19 mph for 70 mi day 2. these speeds were a bit faster than we'd normally ride (we = the regular weekend posse), but it was a large group, and everyone worked *together* in an attempt to get there fast, without dropping anyone due to ego/testosterone (not that there's anything wrong with that, either!).

again, i think your method is preferable. the only thing we're lacking are the brews along the way.
Did you ride with a team?SpecialTater
Jul 17, 2003 12:24 PM
If so, which one? Or just the hightailers?

See ya in a few.
Did you ride with a team?JS Haiku Shop
Jul 17, 2003 12:25 PM
FedEx last year. won't do it again this year.
Organizers set the tonejtolleson
Jul 17, 2003 1:22 PM
I just rode an MS150 for the first time in a few seasons and was very impressed by both the bike handling and the etiquette. Not bad for a 2500 person ride!

The organizers really helped set the tone. The pre-ride literature not only detailed certain obligations (esp. to be single file expect when passing, to announce, to point out road hazards) but threatened to yank the ticket of scofflaws. People seemed to be respectful of approaching vehicles, and each other.

I'm thinking that hopefully the ride brought more joy than headaches to the communities through which it passed. Obviously, keeping such an event motor vehicle friendly also requires good route selection.
Hey JS...Dave Hickey
Jul 17, 2003 11:34 AM
Are they wearing FedEx jerseys? I pay good $$$ for a FedEx jersey.
what size do you wear?JS Haiku Shop
Jul 17, 2003 11:35 AM
e-me at

we do some bidness.

Yes and no,TJeanloz
Jul 17, 2003 11:42 AM
The good side is that MS150 and their ilk (known in the industry as the "disease rides"), bring a lot of people into the shop. The downside is that most of them come in a week before the ride, which causes a degradation of customer service (because there are suddenly too many customers) and the inability to effectively serve your normal customer base.

The best customers are the ones who decide to do the ride 9 months ahead of time, and buy a new bike to accomplish that with. It really sucks for everybody when somebody lugs a bike out of a barn, and needs it fixed up ASAP (like, the ride is tomorrow) so they can go.
have you ever provided support the morning of the ride?...JS Haiku Shop
Jul 17, 2003 12:22 PM
...or on the ride itself? i bet there are some real horror stories from "en route technical support"!
No, but I bet you're right (nm)TJeanloz
Jul 17, 2003 12:41 PM
Having helped put together a successful MS150 teamScot_Gore
Jul 17, 2003 11:42 AM
What you observe is mostly true. MS150's attract many folks who generally put on about 150 miles a season and are perhaps a little nervous about a 150 miles over a weekend.....therefore, like good scouts, they prepare.

As a team organizer I encourage a great deal of the preparation. We've got a regular weekly e-mail telling teamates to have tubes, a pump, get a padded short, and RIDE RIDE RIDE (and other tips).

Most of my team members are not "serious" cyclist as members of this board might define one, but I can't claim to have had more fun than any of them because I am a "serious" cyclist. Ride with your team, have a bunch of fun, raise some money for a good cause, and welcome all you co-workers to your world of bike riding.

I would have to give this MS150 team a large share of credit for re-kindling my desire to ride a bike every day. Don't count your 6'0" 240# friend short, that's me not too long ago.

BTW: I'll sponsor you, post your pledge link.

Here's the gang from this year.
WHOA !! Now that's a team!!PaulCL
Jul 18, 2003 6:31 AM
Congrats on putting together such an enormous fundraising team. I'm impressed.

I will probably ride it next year. My real hesitation is taking the weekend away from home. I only can have so many cycling weekends away before my wife really starts getting upset. I just didn't want to 'waste' it on a 150 mile, 13 mph ride. If I don't have to ride with my co-workers, just party with them that night, then I'll do it. I'm sure I'll find some other roadies who will crank up the speed and perhaps add a few miles.

As for my 6' 240 lb friend - I am supporting his enthusiasm 100%. He is looking for a roadbike and I am helping him as much as possible. He was 265lbs just two months ago - the prep for the MS150 helped him to lose the 25lbs. The problem is: he is stuck on the idea of some light, aluminum frame with 'cool' wheels. I've been gently telling him that he will kill 18/24 spoke wheels in a week.

I'll email you in 11 months for a pledge. ;)

re: MS 150 must be good for LBS businessaliensporebomb
Jul 17, 2003 11:52 AM
Another interesting bit:
I believe bicycle theft is also a way for bike shops to
get unusual bursts of sales.

When my bike was stolen on the 10th, I visited my LBS and
mentioned it to the salesguy. He said that he'd already
talked to SEVEN people that day alone who had their bikes
ripped off and were in process of replacing them with
new rides. That's seven people who bought new bikes in
one afternoon who otherwise might not.

Then last night on my commute home from work I saw a
computer-made flyer posted to the backs of signs facing
the opposite way on the bikeway - someones tandem was
stolen and he had a digital picture and his name and
phone number for anyone who'd seen it. I'll likely
do the same on my own stolen bike.

As far as workplace and riding goes - there are several
people here who ride - one guy who used to be in my
department but is in another area now did the AIDS ride
a few years ago and had a big sign with his team kit
posted to it to attract attention and potential
contributors. Another guy who is a manager now rides,
and a co-worker of mine also rode in in frequently.

There used to be a guy who worked in my department who
was an avid roadie but he was such a jerk that I never
really wanted to ride with the guy, heh.

Luckily, my rides are free of unwanted co-worker
interference. Some I wouldn't mind riding with but
I'm sort of the exception, not the rule.
Say it aint so.......The Giant has been abducted !!!!Scot_Gore
Jul 17, 2003 12:09 PM
Where and when ? Still got the blue sidewalls on the Yellow bike? Black seat right ?

I'll keep my eye out.

Say it aint so.......The Giant has been abducted !!!!aliensporebomb
Jul 17, 2003 12:23 PM
Scot - call off the dogs, sort of. My Giant TCR is safe
in my basement where it belongs at the moment. The bike
that got ripped off was my commuter, an inexpensive little
Specialized Crossroads Ltd.

(Picture is at

I just took my old Mongoose Surge hardtail mountain bike
and put Specialized Nimbus kevlar reinforced slicks on it
and turned it into my commuter. It's so beat up nobody
is going to want to steal it. And they won't want to try
with this lock:

Thanks for the effort though. Maybe it will turn up
someday. Building security here was worse than useless
with their video equipment not capturing a thing and the
local PD not being very cooperative.
Where are the bikes stolen?94Nole
Jul 17, 2003 12:14 PM
Do people cut locks off, are they unlocked, etc?

Just wondering.

Mine is either locked in my garage or locked in my Rodeo, locked in my office or under my arse.
Where are the bikes stolen?aliensporebomb
Jul 17, 2003 12:39 PM
One security guy was fairly helpful - the rest were like
passive sheep - it was weird.

But the helpful guy gave me some information that in the
downtown Minneapolis area there were some guys who would
work in teams.

One guy would drive a pickup truck with a big bed. The
other guy would be in the bed with bolt cutters.

They'd make the rounds of where people lock up bikes and
would see something they liked. The driver would function
as a lookout too.

The thief would use bolt cutters on cable locks (what I
was using sadly) and then grab the bike, put in the
truckbed and they'd take off together.

They caught one guy on 7/3 down here and they had a picture
of the guy, he looked like an angry samoan - big, brutish
looking guy with a pineapple haircut. I guess some of the
rest of his buddies are still doing this since I know about
two other thefts that happened 7/10 and 7/15.

There is a pawn shop two to three blocks east of the Target
Center down here in a not-so-nice neighborhood where it
likely ended up or on Ebay or something.

Right now in my cube my helmet, gloves, clothes (in a cool
mini-closet in my cube) and my seatpost and seat are sitting
here. I have the front wheel locked to the rear and then
thru the frame and thru the immovable steel barriers we use
for lockups.

I put a bunch of stickers on the new commuter and also did
not clean off the mud and dirt from riding on the river
bottoms so it's not much to look at. I think the reason
the first one was stolen was that I bought it last fall
and it looked really new even though the components were
really not that good.

My roadie ride - I'd never dream of locking it up down
here, it would be gone in minutes.

Two weeks ago I saw a Specialized S Works hard-tail
mountain bike with full XTR locked near a bus stop and
I guarantee you, that thing was gone - the owner used a
simple U lock but locking a $4000 bike in a high theft
area is just asking for it.