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    SANTA MONICA, Calif. (BRAIN) — Police here have arrested a suspect in a series of thefts at Southern California bike shops in which fake identification and credit cards were used to take high-end bikes out on test rides and never return them.

    Anthony Negreary was arrested in Santa Monica and is being held in Los Angeles County Jail on charges of grand theft. Negreary was identified using facial recognition software on security camera footage taken at Newbury Park Bicycle Shop, where a $6,600 MSRP bike was stolen on a test ride. The Conejo Valley retailer subsequently recovered the bike through a Craigslist ad, owner Ben Cox said.

    Det. Paul Ferruzza of the Ventura County Sheriff's Office said Negreary used stolen identity information to create fraudulent credit cards and identification bearing his own photo. Santa Monica police arrested Negreary in connection with two thefts in the coastal city.

    Retailer Cox has compiled a list of as many as 14 shops in Ventura, Los Angeles and Orange counties who have had bikes stolen in the same or similar fashion in recent months.

    Mike Franze, owner of Fullerton Bicycles and Buena Park Bicycles in Orange County, said Negreary left one of his managers a credit card, driver's license, wallet, set of keys and a cellphone before making off with a $4,900 Santa Cruz Hightower LT. "He had on a Fox shirt and had cash in pocket to make a deal," Franze said.

    Authorities are encouraging retailers who have experienced similar thefts to contact their local law enforcement agency.


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    HELSINKI (BRAIN) — The board of directors for Amer Sports has issued a statement in support of a bid by an investor group to buy the company's outstanding shares. Amer is the parent company of Mavic and Enve as well as an array of other sports brands.

    The investor group is led by China's Anta Sports. 

    "The Amer Sports board believes that the investor consortium's potential to contribute further capital and resources to the business of Amer Sports will benefit the activities of Amer Sports in the future. With the support and experience of the investor consortium, the Amer Sports board believes that Amer Sports can accelerate the expansion of its businesses in the Chinese market in particular. The Amer Sports Board also notes the investor consortium's statements in relation to investing capital and resources in product development and human talent on a global basis," the board recommendation reads in part. 

    The board statement noted that the investor group plans for Amer Sports to be operated independently from Anta Sports, with a separate board of directors. "Under the new ownership, Amer Sports' management team would have the autonomy to execute on its business plan under the strategic direction of the board of directors," the board said. The board recommended that shareholders accept the offer. 

    Besides Anta, the investor group includes FountainVest Partners, Anamered Investments and Tencent. Anamered Investments is owned by Chip Wilson, the founder of Lululemon.

     

     


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    Testing to improve rider safety and identify fraudulent helmets

    LONG BEACH, Calif. – Dec. 7, 2018 – ACT Lab, the independent ISO 17025 accredited laboratory that conducts safety and compliance testing for the motorcycle, bike and outdoor industries, has earned a repeat 5-year contract from the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA), the federal agency within the U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT) that is tasked with saving lives, preventing injuries, and reducing vehicle-related crashes.

    Under the agreement, ACT Lab will perform independent motorcycle helmet safety testing as outlined under the U.S. Government Code of Federal Regulations known as Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards (FMVSS) 218. The tests, which include impact, penetration, retention, and environmental assessments, serve to audit motorcycle helmets that bear DOT certification stickers, and identify helmets that are fraudulent and unsafe.

    "The number of fake motorcycle helmets sold to consumers is really quite surprising," said Scott Huber, ACT Lab's director of global operations and the lead contact with NHTSA officials. "It's gratifying to work with NHTSA because we have a direct impact on improving consumer safety."

    Huber explained that ACT Lab purchases specific helmets identified by NHTSA through retail channels to eliminate any possibility of manufacturer sample selection, tests them, and provides data directly to the federal agency. This is the third 5-year contract that the testing facility has earned, dating back to ACT's inception in 2008.

    "Being in daily communication with NHTSA officials helps us stay abreast of trends and challenges that affect all helmet manufacturers, which in turn helps us to continually educate the industries we serve, raise standards, and educate our customers, all of which increases efficiency and safety overall," summarized Huber.

    The Motorcycle Helmet Safety Standard, FMVSS 218, is available for view on the Government publishing website. ACT Lab's contract will be fulfilled at its headquarters laboratory in Long Beach, CA. Huber said that the workload of the NHTSA contract is fairly constant and will not affect the lab's overall capacity.

    ACT Lab additionally works with leading manufacturers in the bicycle, outdoor, and motorcycle industries. For more information about ACT, please visit www.act-lab.com or call the company's U.S. headquarters at 562-470-7215.

    About ACT Lab
    ACT Lab is an ISO/IEC 17025 independent third-party accredited laboratory conducting consumer product safety and compliance testing. Specialties include mechanical and chemical testing of bicycles, bicycle components, e-bicycles and accessories, helmets and head protection, scooters, sporting goods, children's products, toys, outdoor industry products and more. Founded in 2008 with operations in USA, China, and Taiwan, ACT Lab allows customers to more effectively and consistently deliver safer, more reliable products to market. For more information, please visit www.act-lab.com.


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    HEERENVEEN, Netherlands (BRAIN) — Accell Group N.V.  said it is considering selling its North American business, Accell North America, or right-sizing it down to a profitable size. In the meantime, the company said it will operate ANA as "a separate and focused entity" that will be defined as "non-core"— meaning the North American operations won't be seen as dragging down its parent company's profit reports. ANA accounts for about 6 percent of Accell Group's sales.

    In a new release Tuesday before European markets opened, the company said it will conduct a review in the next six to nine months before deciding between options for ANA. 

    Accell North America distributes the Raleigh, Diamondback, Ghost and Redline traditional bike brands, as well as the Raleigh Electric, Haibike and iZip e-bike lines. The company previously owned and operated Seattle Bike Supply. 

    Ton Anbeek, the CEO of Accell Group, said, “We have decided to run our U.S. activities as a separate and noncore entity. This means that we need to reconsider and decide on our U.S. activities in the next six to nine months, apart from improving the results of the U.S. business. While considering future options for the U.S. will require our attention, we expect these measures to free up management time, allowing us to focus more on the further execution of our growth strategy."

    Accell has already begun splitting off the ANA business as noncore in unaudited year-to-date financials released Tuesday. It said its core (non-U.S.) sales were up 5 percent in the first 10 months of 2018 compared with the same period in 2017.

    Anbeek joined Accell last year and announced a "Lead Global, Win Local" strategy that includes sharpened brand positionings, omnichannel distribution, centralization of its P&A business and a 40 percent reduction in SKUs, among other goals.

    Accell North America went through a dramatic restructuring starting in November last year, following the collapse of its sporting goods channel bike sales, combined with slowdowns in its IBD business. In March 2018, Accell said that ANA's sales were down 14 percent year-over-year in 2017 and 2016.

    Watch for updates to this story today. 


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    MONTEREY, Calif. (BRAIN) — The Sea Otter Classic is working with a Toronto-based group to launch Sea Otter Canada, a festival to be held July 4-7, 2019, in Blue Mountain, Ontario. 
     
    The event will include mountain bike racing in a variety of disciplines, road cycling races and recreational rides, children's activities and a product expo.
     
    “We are thrilled to have the opportunity to work with Sea Otter Cycling Canada Inc. to introduce our celebration of cycling to the Canadian market,” said Frank Yohannan, the president and CEO of the Sea Otter Classic. “Reaching more cyclists and outdoor enthusiasts has been the long-standing goal of Sea Otter. Blue Mountain is the perfect location for us to be able to expand our reach to the Canadian cycling community.”
     
    Sea Otter's 29th annual event in Monterey, California, is April 11-14 at the Laguna Seca Recreation Area.

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    Arleigh Greenwald

    (BRAIN) — Bicycle Retailer & Industry News is teaming up with Arleigh Greenwald to bring her Shift Up podcast to a wider audience across the industry. Greenwald, AKA "The Bike Shop Girl," is an industry veteran and owner of Bike Shop Girl Family Cyclery in Denver's Stapleton neighborhood.

    Greenwald launched the Shift Up podcast earlier this year and has produced one nearly each week since launch. Podcasts have focused on topics including tariffs, rider safety, mechanic training, building a women's focused bike brand and building an inclusive bike shop.

    "We are very excited to be introducing Arleigh's new and informed perspective to BRAIN's audience over the next year," said Bicycle Retailer's editor, Steve Frothingham. "I've been impressed by the range of topics that Arleigh has explored in the first year of the podcast. She's had lively conversations with a wide range of experts — some of them are names that appear frequently in BRAIN, while many others are lesser known industry members who offer a fresh take on issues. Arleigh has delved into big, long range issues in her podcasts and also has acted quickly to bring on relevant guests to discuss breaking news. The podcast is going to be a great addition to BRAIN's coverage of the industry."

    Greenwald said, "I'm thrilled to bring a progressive and optimistic outlook of growing the bike industry to Bicycle Retailer. We need to learn and evolve together by having healthy conversations on what's working, what didn't, and what we can try next."

    BRAIN will assist in producing, hosting and promoting the podcast, with new episodes to debut on BicycleRetailer.com each week. The podcast also will continue to be available for subscription and download through most podcast apps and Spotify. Greenwald will coordinate with BRAIN editors to develop subjects and identify and recruit weekly guests. Editors will also participate in Greenwald's regular State of the Industry podcasts. BRAIN's sales staff will work with industry members on sponsorship opportunities.

    Greenwald entered the bike industry at 15, installing kickstands and changing flats at a shop in Annapolis, Maryland. She later worked as operations manager for a North Carolina retailer, as a sales rep for QBP and in custom sales and marketing for Pearl Izumi. She has worked as a marketing consultant for retailers around the country.

    In 2010, Greenwald created Bike Shop Girl as a website and online community focused on empowering women and families in cycling.

    Greenwald launched her own store this fall, after interviewing a range of retail experts who were guests on the podcast. The shop's goal is to help remove barriers to get more people on bikes; the mission is "Connecting families and communities by bike."

    Previous podcast episodes are available for download at shiftuppodcast.com and will soon be available on BicycleRetailer.com as well.

    A new episode was released Tuesday. In this episode, Arleigh talks with Jenny Kallista, the founder of Appalachian Bicycle Institute and board member of the Professional Bicycle Mechanics Association. Kallista wrote an article this fall looking at the results and implications of the technical exams that the PBMA conducted at Interbike. The podcast discusses technical training, the role of PBMA in building a better bike industry, the PBMA's technical testing and what brands, shops, and mechanics can expect if they attend one of the upcoming PBMA Technical Workshops.


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    By James Stanfill

    Editor's note: Stanfill is president of the PBMA

    Color me just another “old” white guy, but I’m really not that old … I’d like to reintroduce you to the PBMA with this long-winded rant and rave … will it make friends, who knows. I’m an only child so entertaining myself is really simple, getting along with others took years to learn but I am really really good at it now … I can even stand up in front of people and talk … I still get nervous but I can do it, thanks to help from people always pushing me to be better.

    The PBMA wants to push everyone to be better… that is the bold statement that will hopefully get you to read the rest of this thing.

    We started this thing March 22, 2016 with a call to action of sorts; you can read it by clicking here. We had some ideas, we formed an official board of directors and by September we were at Interbike in fabulous Las Vegas. That show was great, people wanted to talk to us, know what we were doing and meet the people involved.

    We formed the PBMA as a 501(c) 6 which means we don’t pay taxes but we aren’t a charity, we are a membership organization focused on its core mission which is: To Promote, Advocate and Develop on behalf of the Professional Bicycle Mechanic. 

    Until mid-2016 the term “Professional” and “Bicycle Mechanic” rarely lived side by side. A few places and a number of actual professional working mechanics had used the term (appropriately), yet suddenly by mid year, everyone was hiring and employing Professional Bicycle Mechanics. GREAT! Except one problem — just because you are getting paid to do something doesn’t make you a professional. We debated this publicly as well, you can read it here. People get angry when anyone questions their level of professionalism — a perfect example of what makes a pro and what doesn’t. 

    We’ve floated a lot of ideas and information into our industry's trade magazine where you are reading this today. Bicycle Retailer and Industry News has been there, they have posted news releases, opinion pieces from us about wages, how to make more money and the importance of service. You can easily find all of these by going to the search box on their site and typing in PBMA (no less than 3 pages of stuff relating to us, a page per year is pretty solid I think!).

    I can assuredly tell you we are not a trade union, and honestly it’s getting exhausting hearing this. We heard it in the beginning, and we still hear it today. Yes, we are gathering mechanics, and yes, we are talking about hard subjects like wages, but no, we aren’t going to tap into the mechanics to strike and hold the industry hostage — who is that going to help long term? Not the industry, not the shops, not the brands, and certainly not the mechanics. They say you can only squeeze so much juice from a lemon … so lets try to grow bigger and better lemons so more juice is available.

     Some people get really angry when we talk about or support something that usurps the traditional shop model. Say "Mobile, Direct-to-Consumer, Service- Only"… man, if we really get into these discussions, some folks' nonprofessional side really comes out.

     Mobile is really important, as it provides a pathway for the mechanic to earn more money. Independent Mobile is huge, maybe three of four hundred are operating in North America, and that number isn’t shrinking. On the opposite side of the spectrum, more shops are closing all the time … why shouldn’t we support a pathway for mechanics to branch out on their own? Why should the mechanic's career end when the shop can’t sustain business?

    We didn’t create the internet but we understand it. Consumer-direct is fine, stop hating it and embrace it, find a way to work with it, figure out how to use it to your business's advantage and you’ll win … trust me, simply having someone build you a copycat website isn’t going to win you the internet race.

    We need to educate business owners on Google’s Analytics, they need to understand SEO and how search engines function … but is that our job? Not really, but we’ve learned that most shops are small enough to feel a good connection to the service side, one- and two- and three-person operations that aren’t getting this information elsewhere are reaching out to us … so yeah, we might as well start doing that too. (read about all that here)

    We aren’t a charity as I noted above. If you’re a shop or a mechanic, you can be a member and the benefits of such become stronger and more relevant daily. We work constantly to create more value for what we as the PBMA are doing for you, and also to create more value for what you do for the consumer. The consumer after all is why we are here — if not, find another business, but good luck finding one that ultimately doesn’t serve the consumer.

    If you are a brand, you can’t donate money to us, but we can talk about putting your marketing dollars to work to our vast audience. Our newsletter reaches 7500 people, our following on social media is nearly 10k across various platforms and what started it all was this little Facebook group that now has almost 10,000 members … if you want to work together, if you want mechanics to know what you are doing, we are just a call, email or conversation away and our arms are open.

    While it can be easy to say "Facebook so stupid, it's just a bunch of mechanics complaining, crying, blah blah blah"… we've found it's actually a very valuable tool for us and for the industry. It reaches people who are interested in the exact topics of education, mechanics, tools, resources, training and on and on … if you aren’t your company's social-media-numbers-person — go get them … in a year: 2500+ posts, 8000 average active members, 62,000 comments, 117,000 interactions … everything here stems from the conversation we started in March of 2016. some will say "oh there is a consumer in there … this person doesn’t belong"… well we weeded out much of the riffraff which was doing more harm than good, bolstered the moderation of the discussions, and today the Facebook page World Bicycle Mechanic Forum provides an efficient platform for sharing information, best practices, getting questions answered and most importantly sharing what is going on in our world with people who are interested.

    Education is important, and our technical education is really important. We can’t simply focus on making sure the best keep getting better. Yes, we want that, but we need to elevate them all, all mechanics, all owners, all managers, all sales people, all product managers … everyone in our industry needs more education, trust me. It could be simple business management, budget writing, planning … diversity training … plenty of education opportunities is my point …

    We supported this idea by creating workshops which we couldn’t have done without our partners, who's commitment to education makes it all possible. These workshops are important places for the mechanic not just to learn, but to see that their world is larger than the shop bench, there are others just like them, doing similar things in different ways — it is professional networking.

    So in essence, the PBMA is for the longevity of the cycling industry, and mechanics are the backbone of what we all are passionate about … the chicken and the egg, I suppose, but we believe a bicycle isn’t a bicycle until it’s put together and that is what mechanics do. We’ve done so much in the last few years and we don’t plan on slowing down … maybe you’ll join us for the epic ride we're on.

    Service is the future … that’s what we say and we mean it … define service as it fits your business model. Service to me is what we do for others, and for us mechanics, it is absolutely inclusive of all we, as an industry, do for others. 


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    PLEASANT VALLEY, Mo. (BRAIN) – Chamois Butt’r expands its collection skin lubricants and chamois creams with Chamois Butt’r Coconut anti-chafe cream – the brand’s first product made with organic coconut oil.

    The company said it created the product in response to the growing popularity of coconut oil, a natural moisturizer, in skin care and beauty products. Shea Butter and Vitamins A and E condition the skin to protect any skin areas that experience friction, while restorative ingredients like aloe vera and tea tree oil contain natural antiseptic properties to soothe already chafed skin, Chamois Butt’r says.

    Chamois Butt’r Coconut is available in an 8-ounce tube at an MSRP of $17.99. More information: chamoisbuttr.com.

     


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    LONG BEACH, Calif. (BRAIN) — The online cycling platform Zwift has secured a $120 million Series B investment. The company, which started with a gaming-style virtual riding experience, has expanded into a running game and non-gaming indoor training options. It said it will use the additional funding to expand into e-sports — professional gaming. 

    The Series B round was led by Highland Europe, whose investments include eGym, Huel, WeTransfer and Malwarebytes. Other participants in the funding were True, the investment firm behind the Ribble cycling brand; Causeway Media, an investor in both traditional sports and e-sports; and London-based investor Novator, a previous investor in Zwift.

    "Zwift is a fantastically innovative company and they are certainly leading the way in the indoor training space," said Tony Zappala, a partner in Highland Europe, in a news release. "It's a highly scalable business and we've been impressed with how they have already managed to expand globally - already 70 percent of current subscribers are from outside the USA. Research points to an audience of 40 million competitive and enthusiast cyclists, and many of those lie in the traditional cycling nations of Central Europe, so in this market alone there is huge growth potential."

    Eric Min, the co-founder and CEO of Zwift, said, "With this significant investment, led by Highland Europe, Zwift is now more than ready to propel the business forward by providing innovative offerings that are greater in breadth and depth ... "In 2018, more than one third of the Tour de France peloton were Zwifters. With that support already in place, we are in the unique position of being able to combine affordable physical endeavour with video gaming technology, ultimately setting the stage for us to become the first true esport of its kind."

     


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    LONDON (BRAIN) — U.K. online retailer Chain Reaction Cycles has announced on its website that it will stop selling Shimano products into North America starting Jan. 1, 2019. As of Wednesday afternoon Pacific time, there was no similar announcement on fellow U.K. e-commerce site Wiggle.com, which merged with Chain Reaction in a $400 million deal in 2016.

    When shoppers in the U.S. and Canada visit the Chain Reaction site, the home page currently states: "Unfortunately from January 1, we will no longer be able to sell Shimano into your country. We're working with Shimano to be able to sell to you again in the future."

    Emails to Shimano, Chain Reaction and their last known public relations agencies were not immediately returned to BRAIN.

    Many North American IBDs have long criticized Shimano for not clamping down on sales by Chain Reaction and Wiggle at retail prices well below dealers' wholesale cost. As a result, many retailers have dramatically reduced their inventory of Shimano parts or stopped stocking the brand altogether.

    In fall 2016, BRAIN reported that SRAM had instituted new policies that got its products off European e-commerce sites including Wiggle and Chain Reaction.


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    DURHAM, N.C. (BRAIN) — Advanced Sports Enterprises has asked a bankruptcy court to cancel its licensing agreement with Specialized Bicycle for the Roubaix trademark. ASE also is asking the court for permission to abandon inventory worth about a third of a million dollars wholesale, currently held by a broker.
     
    ASE on Wednesday asked for an expedited hearing on both matters and the court agreed to hold a hearing  Jan. 3. The hearing on the inventory was originally scheduled for Jan. 10, a hearing on the Roubaix motion hadn't been scheduled. 
     
    ASE is asking the court to reject the trademark licensing agreement it has held with Specialized since 2003.  ASE’s Advanced Sports Inc. division, the parent of Fuji Bicycles, owns the Roubaix trademark and has had a Fuji Roubaix road bike model in its lineup since 1992. In 2013, the trademark was the center of a much publicized dispute between Specialized and a Canadian retailer, Roubaix Cafe. Specialized had threatened to sue the retailer over use of the Roubaix name, but ASI stepped in to note that Specialized actually was a licenser of the mark, not the owner. The dispute was settled amicably. 
     
    In the court filing made Wednesday, ASE said it had determined that the licensing agreement with Specialized “is no longer necessary in connection with the operation of (ASE's) businesses and that it negatively impacts the potential purchase price that can be obtained for (ASE's) assets.”
     
    It said rejecting the contract would substantially increase the value of the mark, which is among the ASE assets set to be sold next month. 
     
    Inventory in limbo
     
    On Monday, ASE asked the court for permission to abandon inventory that is in the possession of a broker, Expeditors International of Washington, Inc.
     
    The inventory was ordered by ASE's Performance Direct e-commerce division. When ASE filed its petition for Chapter 11 on Nov. 16, the inventory was in the country but still in the possession of the broker. The broker will not release the inventory until it is paid about $151,000 for freight, customs duties and other charges, some of which are continuing to accrue as the goods sit. 
     
    Bankruptcy law allows trade creditors to make a claim for priority payment on shipments received within 20 days before a Chapter 11 filing, as an administrative expense necessary for the continued operation of the business. 
     
    However, according to ASE’s motion, inventory in possession of a broker is in unexplored legal territory. "The undersigned is not aware of any caselaw discussing the circumstance in which goods were delivered pre-petition, but not received (i.e., physically possessed) until after the petition date," the motion reads. "However, it is difficult to contemplate a finding that a claim for goods received within the 20 days pre-petition would be entitled to administrative expense status, but goods received post-petition would not.”
     
    ASE argues that proceeds from the sale of the inventory would be less than what it owes the broker, so paying the charges and taking the inventory would not contribute to the ongoing operation of the business. Performance is currently liquidating its inventory, so the goods would be sold at far less than full retail. 
     
    According to 123 pages of invoices that ASE filed with the court, the inventory in possession of the broker includes hundreds of bicycle display stands from a Hong Kong company, almost 1,000 wheels from Kemco Group, hundreds of Elite trainers and bottle cages, a few hundred WTB tires, a few hundred Kali Chakra Solo helmets, 67 cartons of Lezyne accessories, a few hundred Bulldog locks from Todson, some SRAM components, and a large amount of parts and accessories labeled with the house brands Forte, Spin Doctor, Travel Trac, and Axiom.
     
    The total cost of the inventory according to the included invoices is about $332,000 as totaled by BRAIN. ASE told the court it was unable to find three invoices connected to the order. Lezyne, Elite, and Todson are among ASE's largest unsecured creditors, as is Ramiko, a Taipei exporter that sold much of the house-branded inventory included in the shipment. 
     
    December 20 hearing
     
    A hearing is scheduled for Thursday on several issues, including ASE's request to for the court to reject its trademark licensing and manufacturing agreements with Ideal Bicycle. On Wednesday, Wells Fargo, one of ASE's largest secured creditors, filed a statement with the court in favor of rejecting the licenses for the use of ASE-owned bike brands. ASE has argued that rejecting the license would increase the value of those brands; it also would prevent Ideal from selling branded bikes it has already built for ASE but has not delivered.
     
    Wells Fargo said canceling the contracts "represents the exercise of sound business judgment by the Debtors, and is in the best interests of these estates. It said if the contracts are not canceled, it would have "a chilling effect on the sales process."

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    STOCKHOLM (BRAIN) — Thule Group announced this week that it has acquired car rooftop tent maker Tepui Outdoors Inc. for $9.5 million.

    “Rooftop tents offer consumers a great way to utilize their existing cars for self-reliant overnight travel to remote destinations, where the journey is the principal goal. The overlanding category has been growing steadily over the last few years and we are very pleased to add this great assortment of high-quality rooftop tents and accessories to our broad portfolio of products that cater to consumers who enjoy living an active life,” said Magnus Welander, Thule Group’s president and CEO.

    “The synergies between the Thule brand’s market-leading expertise for transport solutions on the car and Tepui rooftop tents exist in both consumer marketing and in the supply chain. When combined with the mutual philosophies on high quality, smart engineering and great design, as well as a shared passion for the outdoors, Tepui is a natural fit to our portfolio,” he added.

    Tepui was founded in 2010 by Evan and Gabriela Currid. The company is based in Santa Cruz, California, and led by Evan Currid, who will continue to manage the product category within Thule Group, according to a news release.

    Tepui has approximately 20 employees, and net sales for 2018 are expected to total $6.5 million.


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    December 20, 2018 - The Ulman Foundation and Jamis Bicycles announced their continued partnership benefiting Ulman’s annual 4K for Cancer program.

    Jamis will continue to equip participants with road bicycles, as well as provide training and mechanical support during a 3-day, pre-ride orientation. Leading up to next summer’s journey, 90 riders will raise funds for young adults impacted by cancer; while, training to ride from coast-to-coast on their 70 day, 4,000+ mile journey.

    Last year, the 4K for Cancer program raised more than $900,000, and had multiple young adult cancer survivors participate. One of the riders, Sonali Verma shared, “4K for cancer was the first time I met people my age dealing with cancer, and it provided me with a support community I didn’t know I needed.”

    “We’re proud to continue our support to 4K for Cancer,” said Carine Joannou, president of Jamis Bikes. "The dedication and professionalism of the team at the Ulman Foundation inspire all of us here at Jamis Bikes and it’s our honor to provide the bicycles and tech support they need to help achieve their mission.”

    “Safe and reliable bicycles are critical to this cross-country journey,” said Brian Satola, Ulman Chief Operating Officer. “This partnership proves key to the success of 4K for Cancer and we are excited to partner with a organization that understands the importance of our cause.”

    About 4K for Cancer
    The 4K for Cancer, a program of the Ulman Foundation, uses cycling and running as a means to build awareness of the young adult cancer movement, to serve cancer survivors and communities nationwide, and to build leadership skills and promote lifelong, supportive relationships among 18-25 year olds. The 4K for Cancer offers three cross-country bike rides and three cross-country runs each summer, during which participants are nearly fully self-supported and stay overnight at volunteer host sites. The program raises between $800,000 and $1 million annually to support Ulman direct services to young adult cancer patients and their families.


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    After six years with Niner, “Mondo” assumes management of domestic sales for the Colorado brand.
    Fort Collins, Colorado (December 14, 2018) – Niner Bicycles is happy to announce that Armando “Mondo” Aguilera has been promoted to National Sales Manager, effective as of December 1, 2018.
     
    “Mondo is the perfect person for this role,” said Jeff Young, VP of Global Sales. “He’s been in the bike industry for over 15 years, has great perspective on Niner’s business and is well connected among reps and retailers.”
     
    Based for years in Orange County, California, Aguilera started in the bicycle industry with Ellsworth Cycles. He spent time with several shops and BMX brands before landing at Niner in 2012. As Niner’s West Coast Operations Manager, he traveled extensively, visiting accounts and attending rider-facing events. Most recently, Aguilera has been responsible for sales of Niner products in emerging markets.
     
    Niner Bicycles is in a period of global expansion. In August, the company opened a third-party distribution center in the Netherlands in order to facilitate dealer-direct sales in Europe. The European sales team has expanded to five individuals.
     
    “It’s an honor to be trusted with this role,” said Aguilera. “I look forward to growing our sales in the US.”
     
    Contact Mondo Aguilera at mondo@ninerbikes.com or 714-273-1727.

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    Jeff Frehner

    MADISON, Wis. — Almost three decades after acquiring Graber Products and renaming it Saris, co-founder Chris Fortune is stepping down as president and handing the reins to COO Jeff Frehner. Fortune becomes Saris’ CEO effective Jan. 1, 2019.

    “Jeff will run the day-to-day side of the business. My role will be CEO, and I’ll be involved in other aspects of strategic planning and acquisitions while still being connected with the customer side,” Fortune said.

    Frehner joined Saris in 2009 as vice president of business and product development after serving as president of Cannondale Sports Group (now Cycling Sports Group). He was named Saris’ COO in June 2018 and has worked in various roles at the company over the years, including leading the CycleOps and PowerTap side of Saris’ business and, more recently, serving as global sales director. He continues as Saris’ COO.

    At BRAIN’s press time, Frehner was traveling and was not available for comment.

    Frehner’s appointment comes as Saris reorganizes the consumer and commercial sides of its business, Fortune noted.

    Jesse Bartholomew, who worked for Saris from 1999 to 2014, is returning to lead the consumer side, while company veteran Mike Basarich will lead the commercial side, which includes the company’s outdoor and indoor bike parking business as well as the Bike Fixation brand of outdoor pumps, work stands and other cycling infrastructure products. Saris acquired Bike Fixation (called Bike Fixtation at the time) in 2016.

    The company is also bringing in additional new leadership to support Frehner, Fortune said.

    We have total confidence that Jeff will be able to navigate the changing marketplace dynamics and is the ideal leader to do so,” he said. “When we look at who we are as a company he checks all the boxes: He’s smart, he’s highly motivated and he’s a humble guy. And if you look at the core fundamentals of our business, it’s about doing the right thing and being responsible to the internal and external stakeholders.”

    And although Fortune is stepping down as president, he will be around to assist Frehner as well.

    “I’ll still be here at the office. Maybe I’ll spend a little more time on the nonprofit side, but there’s not a lack of things to do, for sure,” he said.

     


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    Co-op's new first-of-its-kind location will be a hub for outdoor gear and experiences in the White Mountains

    SEATTLE – REI Co-op is opening its first location in New Hampshire, bringing quality outdoor gear, expertise and experiences for the region's most popular activities in North Conway and the surrounding region. In addition to being the first store in-state, the nearly 25,000 square-foot space at Settlers Crossing will also be the co-op's first-ever outdoor experience center, offering expansive gear rentals, high-end equipment demos and guided outdoor experiences for the millions of visitors that adventure in the region every year.

    "As the gateway to the White Mountains, North Conway is the perfect community to unveil the co-op's newest retail format, which will focus on outdoor experiences," said Rachel Ligtenberg, REI vice president of retail. "We are continuing to shape this new store format, with the goal of becoming the one-stop shop for every kind of adventurer. From the seasoned expert who owns their own gear, to the family looking to spend the day trying something new, REI North Conway will be a launching pad for outdoor activities in the White Mountains."

    While the store in North Conway will be the co-op's first location in the state, REI has nearly 53,000 members in New Hampshire and currently offers guided multi-day and day outdoor trips in the White Mountains. In addition, REI has supported trail work in the White Mountains National Forest. Through a grant provided to the National Forest Foundation, REI helped fund trail improvements in 2018 along The Crawford Path, the oldest, continuously-used mountain trail in the United States. Prior to store opening, the co-op will look for additional ways to invest in New Hampshire's outdoor community.

    "The White Mountains are New England's outdoor playground with year-round activities like skiing, hiking, mountain biking and snowshoeing," said Becky Smith, REI retail director for the Northeast district. "We look forward to providing our customers throughout New England with the gear and expertise they need to get outside, while also investing in the outdoor spaces that make the White Mountains special."

    In addition to providing quality outdoor gear, REI North Conway will offer workshops, classes, and guided day trips to connect people to outdoor experiences in the White Mountains. A national leader in outdoor experiences, REI helped more than 375,000 people across the country get outside through classes, day outings and events last year. REI Adventures, REI's active adventure travel company, has been operating trips in the White Mountains for over 10 years and currently offers five options in the region – Mount Washington Winter Climb, Ice Climbing Basics, New Hampshire Snowshoeing, Hut-to-Hut Hiking - Presidential Peaks, and Hut-to-Hut Hiking – Pemigewasset Wilderness.

    REI is a member-owned co-op, offering top-quality gear, expertise and experiences to connect people to a life outdoors. While anyone may shop at REI, members pay a lifetime $20 membership and share in the company's profits through an annual dividend. In addition, REI actively works with nonprofits across the country to protect wild places and invest in spaces for outdoor recreation. The co-op annually gives 70 percent of its profits back to the outdoor community, and in 2018 invested $8.8 million in more than 400 nonprofit organizations across the country.

    "REI products and experiences contribute to an outdoor experience in the White Mountains of New Hampshire that our community and our visitors will appreciate," said Dot Seybold, OVP Management, Inc. general manager. "The dedication to the brand by its customers is legendary and we believe REI will contribute greatly to the outdoor community in North Conway."

    REI North Conway will join eight other REI stores in New England, including four in Massachusetts, three in Connecticut and one in Rhode Island.

    Join the REI team
    Candidates interested in joining the REI team at any local store can apply online at REI.com/jobs. In 2019, REI expects to hire 55 employees at the new store in North Conway. New employees will receive a variety of benefits, including generous product and service discounts, competitive pay, and retirement contributions. For 21 consecutive years, REI has been recognized as one of Fortune magazine's "100 Best Companies to Work For."

    Store facts
    Address: 1498 White Mountain Highway, C-30
    Square footage: 24,779 square feet; includes 18,750 square-foot storefront and adjacent 6,029 square-foot space
    Special offerings: Equipment rentals, guided outdoor experiences
    Open date: September 2019
    Membership: Nearly 53,000 in New Hampshire


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    WASHINGTON (BRAIN) — TerraTrike is working with the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission to recall about 450 Rambler Electrical Vehicle Option ( E.V.O.) recumbent trikes with an electric-assist wheel because the torque sensor in the hub motor can activate unexpectedly and cause the trike to power forward, posing crash and injury hazards.

    The recall concerns the Rambler E.V.O. trike equipped with a Falco hub motor. TerraTrike’s Rambler E.V.O. spec’d with a Bosch mid-drive motor is not affected by the recall.

    The trikes have two wheels in the front and one wheel in the back with a large black hub motor. “TerraTrike” is printed on the front of the back-rest area. The model name “Rambler E.V.O.” is located on the front outrigger tube that connects to the front left wheel.

    TerraTrike has received five reports of the torque sensor activating while not pedaling. No injuries have been reported.
    Consumers are being told to immediately stop using the recalled trikes and return them to the place of purchase for a free speed sensor installation and a software upgrade. They can contact TerraTrike at 800-945-9110 from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. ET Monday through Friday or visit www.terratrike.com and click on “Important Recall” for more information .

    The trikes were sold from August 2017 through Oct. 1, 2018, for about $3,500.

    More information: CPSC recall notice.

     


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    Bike shops can integrate with brand websites

    December 20, 2018 - Boulder, CO

    SmartEtailing has finalized the trial phase of Buy Local Now PRO and is now offering the service to any bike brand with a US or Canadian IBD network. This service allows bike brands to integrate local bike shop availability into a consumer website.

    “89 percent of shoppers say that having access to real-time product availability information would influence their shopping choices,” explains SmartEtailing president Ryan Atkinson. “Buy Local Now can tell a shopper what local bike shop has the product they are looking for. We offer a neutral and secure data network that brings transparency to the shopping experience for cyclists.”

    SmartEtailing works independently with bike shops to collect inventory data which is securely stored in the Buy Local Now database. Brands are able to integrate with the database to provide local availability data to consumers. Consumers are given the information they want on a brand or retailer website, not in a third party marketplace.

    “We want more retailers to join this independent data network,” continues Atkinson. “It’s free for retailers and by reporting you are able to connect with consumers while remaining aligned with your fundamental business model. You control which brands have access to your data and you can make changes to your permissions at any time.”

    Buy Local Now PRO started development in 2016 and was initially launched in conjunction with the Giant WebLink program. WebLink uses data from SmartEtailing’s Buy Local Now database to enhance the consumer shopping experience on Giant’s consumer website with stock status at nearby local retailers.

    Brands such as Cannondale, Salsa, and NORCO have since subscribed to this service for use on their brand websites. Each installation of Buy Local Now PRO is unique, with some brands offering consumers local inventory insights and others selling product on the brand website directly from retailers’ on hand inventory.

    Over 40 brands have a version of Buy Local Now installed, securely sharing inventory data from over 1,700 retail locations. The standard version of Buy Local Now that is free to brands while the PRO service has a monthly subscription cost.

    “Retail is changing fast and consumers want more information faster. Most bike brands don’t have the resources or technology to collect inventory data,” concludes Atkinson. “Buy Local Now is the industry’s largest data network and we make it practical for any bike brand to provide local availability information online and drive more traffic to local retailers.”

    Bike brands interested in learning about Buy Local Now options can contact Matt Lolli, Supplier Relationship Manager, at brandsandsuppliers@smartetailing.com or (303) 527-0676 x 115.

    Retailers are encouraged to sign up for free ahead of the 2019 selling season. Retailers can opt in at smartetailing.com/buy-local-now-sign-up.

    About SmartEtailing

    Founded in 1999, SmartEtailing provides website, marketing, and data solutions to help independent bicycle retailers and suppliers sell more product in-store and online. With SmartEtailing, a bike shop’s website is transformed from a passive advertisement to an interactive, content-rich marketing vehicle that informs and sells to customers. SmartEtailing is committed to the success of local specialty bicycle retailers by providing tools that help them effectively compete in an evolving retail environment.

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    KENT, Wash. (BRAIN) — The CEO of Accell North America says he is feeling "very good" about where the business is and he's expecting a lot of improvement in 2019.

    ANA's parent, Netherlands-based Accell Group, announced Tuesday that it was no longer tracking the North American business as a core part of its business. It said it planned to re-evaluate the business in six to nine months with an eye toward selling or right-sizing it. 

    John Short, who was named CEO of ANA in April this year, said the announcement was necessary but that ANA is continuing to move forward on a 24-month plan to achieve break-even earnings before interest and taxes (EBIT). Those 24 months are up at the end of 2019.

    Will ANA make the goal?

    "We've done a huge amount of positive work at ANA that I view as foundation building," Short told BRAIN. "We have delivered a significant overall improvement from the ugly numbers that we saw in 2017. As we look at the current performance, we are most likely going to need more than those 24 months to get to EBIT break-even. As we move into 2019 we'll get closer, but it's going to be tough to get there by the end of 2019."

    Tuesday's announcement, he said, "doesn't mean by any stretch of imagination that ANA is going to disappear or the brands are going to disappear. In fact I think our brands are getting a lot of attention as we move online and are getting stronger."

    Short said ANA is continuing to work to rebuild a U.S. dealer base with an omnichannel program that includes enlisting brick-and-mortar retailers to assemble and fulfill online bike orders driven through ANA’s Beeline SaaS (software as a service) model. Retailers who enroll in this program receive a commission and, more importantly, a new customer. Short calls it “paid customer acquisition.”

    “In the branded businesses I grew up in, we had to know the cost to acquire a new customer. Often the cost was $50, $100 or more for each new customer. Our fulfillment program is real benefit to retailers because we are delivering them a new customer and paying them for it,” he said. 

    ANA also offers retailers subscriptions to the Beeline software that is used to schedule service appointments and efficiently fulfill online orders. ANA acquired the Beeline mobile franchise business in April after holding a minority share in the company previously.

    Since ANA went through a restructuring process last fall company officials have shared that its problems stemmed from the loss of bike sales through the sporting goods channel combined with online bike sales that often undercut dealer prices. The company spent the past year getting rid of excess inventory, refocusing its brands and product lines, cleaning up online pricing with a monitored minimum advertised price program, and developing new dealer programs.

    “The foundational work done in 2018 puts us in a very good position going into 2019,” Short said.

    ANA first launched a tiered omnichannel dealer program in January last year, and relaunched it at Interbike in September with the Beeline software as a service option. Short said his goal at Interbike was to sign up 100 dealers for the new program by December.

    "We are just about double that now, so we are way ahead of the plan," Short said. "The plan is really a great value for dealers as everyone is starting to understand that they are going to have to deal with the online world, because that's where the customer lives. So you need to figure out how to take advantage of that if you have a bike shop.

    "We want to be the linkage — that's the role we are trying to play. The moves we've made since we closed on the acquisition of Beeline in April are all intended to allow us to partner with IBDs to allow them to have access to the online world."


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    MILWAUKEE (BRAIN) — Fyxation has expanded its Sparta carbon fork lineup with the new Sparta FCR (Full Carbon Race) and Sparta QR (Quick Release) models. The new models open up the Sparta fork to a much larger audience, Fyxation stated in a release.

    "We realized early on that the versatility of the Sparta would fill the needs of many riders, but the adoption across so many models has been exciting to see," said Nick Ginster, co-founder of Fyxation Bicycle Company. "The Sparta was exactly what people were looking for and allows many riders to upgrade their existing bike with a lightweight and versatile carbon fork with gear mounts, thru-axle and flat-mount brake standard.”

    The Sparta QR takes the original 1⅛-inch aluminum straight steerer carbon fiber Sparta fork and makes it compatible with 9-millimeter QR hubs. It retails for $299.

    The Sparta FCR is made entirely of carbon and weighs 500 grams, compared with 747 grams for the original Sparta All Road Carbon fork with an aluminum steerer. New features on the Sparta FCR include triple gear cage mounts for more bottle placement options and compatibility with the Salsa Anything Cage, and internal routing for clean dynamo hub routing. A new thru-axle design features a removable lever on the axle that gives riders the ability to remove the lever for lower weight and a cleaner look, or keep it on for access to a 5-millimeter hex wrench at the end of the lever. The Sparta FCR retails for $420.

    More information: fyxation.com.

     


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