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Checking in at Frostbike!

February 20, 2012

Cycling trade shows.  Most cycling gear fanatics know about Interbike.  But those really in the know want to know what’s up at Frostbike.  Frostbike is an open house of sorts for Quality Bicycle Products, also known as QBP—or more accurately, Q—arguably the retail cycling industry’s most important, if not biggest distributor.  Serving over 5,000 independent bicycle dealers, Q is a standout model not only in terms of dong business, but also in being good community stewards.  Frostbike is a chance for staff members from dealers that work with Q to head to their headquarters in Bloomington, Minnesota and get some tips on industry best practices—and see some new product!

Bicycle Sport Shop’s bike buyer, Scott Linville, and our parts and accessories buyer, Kelly Oden, packed up some cooler weather attire and headed out for Frostbike, which ended yesterday.  Here’s a brief look at what they had to say, and what they saw.

Guys, how many times have you been to Frost Bike?

SL: I’ve been 6 or 7 times. Kelly is on his fourth trip.

Scott, having been so many times, is it old hat? Do you have a set method for hitting the show?

SL:  The show is divided in to two components; half of it is about developmental seminars that help bike shops do better work. And the other half is a product expo. Q has done a good job with the seminars to offer new learning points, which keeps it fresh. There’s always some nugget to learn. The product expo of course is always new since everybody is always developing something new to look at each year. We have great relationships with folks that work at Q as well as some of the vendors so it is always great to reconnect.

Kelly, what’s it like as a newer attendee? Still exciting?

KO:  Very exciting because I’ve only been a few times. Always something I haven’t seen yet and great new bike industry folk to meet. Many of the seminars are really informative.

Kelly takes it to 11! Trying out Campagnolo's Super Record 11 EPS (electronic power shift).

What do you do at Frost Bike? What’s the purpose of the trip?

SL:  Several purposes: Learning in seminars, reconnecting with folks and making new vendor relationships, and always the possibility of new products being launched, especially with the Q house brands (Salsa/Surly).

What do BSS customers gain from these shows?

KO:  We—Bicycle Sport Shop—have certainly learned from Q as a company.  They are an Outside 100 top place to work and have given us many tools over the years that help build our shop to what we feel is an industry leader in culture and customer service.

What is a typical day at Frost Bike?

KO:  Split time between attending a few seminars a day and the expo show. Often we set up personalized meetings with folks at Q or other dealers at the show who can help us learn and/or deal with business issues that we are currently having. There is always something to learn and always someone to meet.

What’s the fun stuff look like? 

SL:  Umm… Pugsly races with beer pit stops. Giant Bonfire on a frozen pond (AKA Surly Happy Hour).  Always cool eye candy around the vendor booths of course. Typically some sort of sneak preview on a new bike or part (no…I won’t tell you what!).

Kelly, word is you won some sweet brakes in a raffle. Any other great swag? Can I have it?

Scott models the swag from Frostbike.

KO:  Not brakes – hydraulic shifters!  Best raffle prize ever! Here is the swag tally….and no you can’t have any of it!

1 belt

2 scarves

2 hats

2 tiny DT swiss espresso mugs

2 mussete bags

1 water bottle

1 T-shirt

And, um…. there may have been a few free beers along the way.

Sounds like the guys had a great trip.  Here are a few of their favorite things from the show!

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