【FROSTBIKE】Minneapolis welcomed us.

Text : Toyoshige Ikeyama / Photo : Rie Sawada & Toyoshige Ikeyama

QBP is the biggest American wholesaler in its bike industry. There is an event called “Frostbike” holding around this season every year.

To be honest with you, I have thought that people ride on snow in winter Minneapolis, but it wasn’t about that. I was very lucky this year since I could visit this event for the first time as SimWorks USA.

In February, a bike industry in America is an off-season, so that this kind of event would help the circulation. Bike shop owners, buyers, sales people, and makers are all gathered around in this Midwest Minneapolis.

Like I said above, Frostbike wasn’t a ride event. It was mainly held for the expo and seminar for dealers.

The first and second day was mostly for a seminar and they invited specialists from each department in QBP, and staffs from successful dealer shops as a panelist and they gave various type of lectures.

A title of a lecture is something like this.

  • “How to make an attractive shop for women”
  • “The reason why a real shop is better than Amazon & the way to overcome Amazon.”
  • “How to communicate with customers”

I was very surprised and inspired that people exchanged their great ideas through talking about some advanced topics which we, all dealer shops, could not ignore any at all.

Usually, a bike expo in Japan is the place for announcing some new items and for the business meeting, but Frostbike was the place to share the profitable information in order to run a shop earnestly. I thought that this is the ideal social meeting place to have close relationships with other shops and makers. Anyways, it was an energetic spot that people rouse themselves to action for supporting their own industry.

Moreover, people who I met at the event will be connected with us deeper than now for sure. We were also able to meet SimWorks USA dealers in East Coast which we couldn’t have met so far, so it was very beneficial and I think they also thought the same way as we did.

Of course, the event is not held only for seminars.

On the last day of the expo, I was able to see Surly Big Dummy E-Bike a.k.a Big Easy and TV Tray which expands the possibility of the way of a rack use.

It seems like some kind of curios fork might be releasing from WHISKY, but I think I should shut myself up right now.

We also visited Angry Catfish, which is a SimWorks USA dealer shop in Minneapolis and their group management cafe called Northern CoffeeWorks, and Mend Provisions, a fly fishing shop.

Accidentally, we could stop by a country music live at First Avenue in down town, which I heard they produced Prince and participate in a mystery thumb wrestling game at The Grease Pit Bike Shop. A man called himself Sasquatch slaughtered my finger completely and that’s how we fully enjoyed the stay in Minneapolis.

Since it was not enough with 2 days of seminar and walking around and visiting some booths at the expo for a whole day, we actually asked SURLY crew to ride a fat bike together after Frostbike finished.

At the weekend when Frostbike was happening, it was -20°C (-4°F) at the minimum temperature outside and recorded the heaviest snow in the past few years. (It was actually snow storming from Portland to Minneapolis and we heard so many times of “Delayed…Delayed…and delayed…” and also couldn’t land on a runway at the airport first…)

Jeff from ALL-CITY said like a joke, “A small river gets frozen in this season, so that we can all go riding on top of it and it’s totally safe because no cars around.” To be honest, I also thought that we could ride on a frozen river with a fat bike.

Majority of people would think that we are crazy as hell because of visiting in winter time, but we didn’t even remember that it was freezing cold by peddling so much. It was very special experience that we could meet amazing people who could share the same value of like and it wasn’t a wrong decision after all.

Record breaking heavy snow and hell cold in Minneapolis and on the contrary, the warmest people we’ve ever met welcomed us there.

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