The call came in…our National Sales Manager was going on the road to visit bike shops and I had been invited to tag along.
I like road trips and bike shops and I even sort of like Jon Sacks, Kali’s National Sales Manager. Of course, what I really like is riding my bike and Jon was headed to shops in Moab, Utah and Fruita, Colorado, so I decided to sacrifice my precious time and join him on the road.
Kali is located in Morgan Hill, California and Jon is located in Salt Lake City, Utah, so this presented some logistical issues but it turns out Jon is nothing if not a terrifyingly organized and opinionated logistical expert.
Since I garnered so much wisdom from my short travels with Jon I thought I would “force” him to give up a list of his expert traveling salesman tips. Most of these are directed at bicycle sales representatives, but they could be easily used by a door-to-door Ginsu knife or encyclopedia salesman.
Before we jump into his on the road tips, I want to mention a couple of things I learned while on the road with Jon:
- His family is amazing and having an amazing family makes being the National Sales Manager so much easier. Thank you Nancy, Rory and Zoey for your amazing hospitality.
Slickrock sucks. I am still pondering how so many of you gave this horrific piece of trail 5 stars on all of the review sites. Slickrock either receives one star or five stars and I commend all of you who were “rider” enough to give this up/down/sandpit of a trail a single star. The rating it so deserves.
Skip the Slickrock, ride Fruita.
- After the first day or so I was able to give up all my adulting habits and let Jon make each and every decision from what we ate for breakfast, where we got coffee, what time we road and what time we visited shops. He was much happier and relaxed when I stopped trying to exert my opinion and it was quite refreshing to just let it go.
- Bike shops are best when they are independent.
The shops we visited were so unique from each other and it was super interesting to see how the individual owners curated their shops. Of course, in this part of the country there was quite a bit of “merchandising” with t-shirts, beer koozies and stickers front and center. I loved seeing the difference in product from shop-to-shop, something you don’t get with the big brand stores.
Enough from me. Here is Jon’s Hot Tips for representing Kali and still getting your turns in.
- Family is number one: Negotiate with the wife. Make sure the kids have everything they need to make the day a success.
- Proper packing prevents poor performance: Make sure you have everything thing you need for work and play. Nobody wants to make the run for home having forgot something crucial to either.
- Nutrition and hydration in the morning are paramount to road trip success. A thermos full of black coffee and feed which won’t make a mess in the car makes me happy.
- Do your own trail research: Don’t trust the groms at the bike shop. They are just trying to get you killed.
- The shop rats might not be great for trail recommendations, but they know what’s up for grub. Always follow their tread when it comes to getting the best local fare.
- And finally, Be prepared for everything: Know your product. Know what kind of abuse your body can take. Know the condition of your whip. Most importantly, know when it's time to call it a day and recharge all of your batteries, internally and externally.