Couch to Metric Century: What is it?
It is worth my time and payroll investment to have my employees plan and execute events that cater to beginner to intermediate riders. On average, we see an additional $30,000 in sales during runs of our Beginner to Expert Saturday Training Rides (BEST).
— Brandee Lepak; Global Bikes, Arizona
Four years ago, Brandee Lepak of Global Bikes (Arizona) made the connection that new and returning bike riders were the greatest source of untapped potential profit in her area – and in that first session they saw 85 attendees and $30,000 in additional revenue. In the years since, the program runs a few times per year, and they have graduated insecure riders into experienced ambassadors for their shop.
The Beginner to Expert Saturday Training Ride is a weekly group ride inspired by the Couch to 10K format with progressively more challenging rides, taking the attendees from 10 to 50 miles in five weeks. The program begins with an “off the bike” orientation in the shop during “week zero,” and ride leader John Montaz guides the group through the basics of the gear, apparel, bike riding, comfort touch points, group riding etiquette, nutrition, wayfinding and anything else a brand new rider would want to know. He puts himself in the shoes of the riders - what made him nervous when he was starting out? What would he want to know to feel ready to tackle the first real road ride?
The following week the attendees get on the bike after a short refresher from the orientation to try their legs on an introductory ten miles. Before, during, and at the mid-ride break, attendees get one on one feedback from John and the ride supports. The tips and tricks shared with the riders relate to their bikes, pedaling cadence, tips and tricks for shifting and what maintenance they may need now or down the road. Instead of spending their time selling new products or services, the ride leaders and support work to build rapport with each rider and gain that trust that is necessary for developing long term customers.
Weeks two, three, and four incrementally add miles, elevation, and technical decision making. At the end of week four, riders are completing 50 miles with the group, are more confident on their bikes, and have relationships with the Global Bikes staff.
Global Bikes’ success here is tied to the connections built between the ride staff and the riders. By removing the active selling element, they are able to meet their customers where they are and determine their needs in real time. Once everyone is off the bike, the selling can commence – with real, tangible, ride-based evidence on what would give someone a better ride experience.
In Part 2, we’ll cover the best practices and mechanics around organizing a successful Couch to Metric Century group ride.