I never thought at this stage in my life I'd be able to say, "I've been to Utah a bunch of times", but here we are. This summer I was again fortunate enough to have been invited to Quality Bike Product's Saddle Drive event in Ogden/Snow Basin, Utah.
|Welcome to Saddle Drive|
QBP throws this event each year to get dealers ride the latest offerings from their house bike brands, like Salsa, Surly, All City and Foundry. Its also a great opportunity to attend business seminars as well as catch up with other great independent bike shop owners. This year's trip was also unique as Alfred our manager was invited to attend
Day 1, Sunday July 19th
The trip to Salt Lake City started from JFK Airport at 7:00am. After a 1-1/2 hour delay on the tarmac, the 4+ hour flight was pretty uneventful. As an added bonus, Emily from Bicycle Habitat here in NYC was on our flight. After landing in Salt Lake City, we caught the QBP shuttle to the hotel in Ogden (a trip made an hour longer due to an accident on the Interstate).
Upon arrival in Ogden at 11:00am, Alfred and I explored the downtown a little bit and are at Rosters Brewing on historic 25th Street. Naps followed until it was time for the Welcome Dinner at 6:00pm. After diner, All City throws their traditional party at the Kokomo. New All City models are mounter onto pool tables, and the 3.2% beer flowed like the water it basically was. After tripping over the power-chord powering the DJ stand, it was time to retire.
|All City Party|
Day 2, Monday July 20th
It's never cold and rainy on these trips, so I didn't bring a rain shell. After a huge group breakfast at the hotel, the group piles into 5 huge coach buses for the 1 hour trip up into the mountains and Snow Basin.
|Bus ride up the mountain|
For new attendees and old hands alike, the bus ride is visually like any other. Jagged arid cliffs and lush valleys with lakes and rivers are what makes this landscape unique, with mountains as far as the eye can see.
|Rain and clouds moving through|
The whole event is centered around riding bikes. With such a large group of dealers, this proved to be a challenge in years past. This year, QBP divided the entire dealer group up into 4 ride groups to ensure that each group had access to the bikes they were interested in riding. Our group had us riding Salsa first at 9am. Upon arrival at Snopw Basin, it was rainy and cold. Not wanting our Salsa timeslot to pass us by, Alfred and I jumped on a Horsethief and a Pony Rustler respectively.
|2 wet guys riding bikes|
By noon, things had cleared up and we joined the large dealer group for lunch. The afternoon, the weather turned into more of what I had initially expected; beautify, clear and 80 degrees. After more riding (Salsa Marrakesh, Foundry Chilcoot), we were bused to an afternoon/evening picnic at Cemetery Point.
|Picnic at Cemetery Point|
Day 3, Tuesday July 21st
Tuesday dawned as a perfect riding day. In the morning session, we were treated to a Salsa New Model presentation by Brand Manager Bentoin Hunt. Lunch on the patio followed, and more great riding the rest of the afternoon.
|Riding the Salsa Pony Rustler|
|Lunch on the patio|
The afternoon was spent connecting with fellow dealers and our QBP representatives. For dinner, we were brought back to downtown Ogden for a gathering at the towns amphitheater
Day 4, Wednesday July 22nd
All good things come to an end. After waking up at 4:00 am and getting to the airport, I arrived at JFK by mid-afternoon. I always leave this trip every year filled with great experiences that I can relate to customers in terms of bike riding and performance. Also, I end up collecting a number of great ideas that we can institute in the shop.
|Heading home from Salt Lake City|
In closing, I just want to say that if 718 didn't have the best staff in NYC, there's no way the owner and manager could be out of the shop for 4 days in the middle of July.