July 24, 2013
Our Bike for a Kid Program was started with the idea of giving back to our local community. The program, which is run in-house at FLO Cycling, donates a Huffy bike and Bell helmet to a less fortunate child every time we sell a set of ceramic bearing wheels. We had our first bike drop in June of 2012 in Las Vegas (video below), and it was a very special day. We left that event with dreams of expanding the Bike for a Kid Program beyond our own community, and we made that a goal for 2013. We just needed to figure out how!
Near the end of 2012 we met Ironman athlete Thad Beaty who also happens to be the lead guitar player for Sugarland. Thad was working with Dave Deschenes from the Ironman Foundation on creating the Ironman Foundation - Newton Running Ambassador Triathlon Team (IFNRA Tri Team). I'd like to share the Ironman Foundation's mission statement with you because the triathlon team was created with the same beliefs.
"to leave IRONMAN's legacy through philanthropy, volunteerism and grant making; by supporting various athletic, community, education, health, human services and public benefit non-profits organizations around the world." - Ironman Foundation Mission Statement
It was easy for us to believe in this team from the beginning and we kept in touch with Thad over the next few months as the team began taking shape. In the end, we became the official wheel sponsor of the team and more importantly, we had a brand new avenue for expanding our Bike for a Kid Program.
Expanding Bike for a Kid - Our Road to Kona
Since the athletes on the IFNRA Tri Team are helping the communities where they race, we felt as a sponsor, that FLO Cycling should not be any different. We picked a list of races (shown below) and will be at those events throughout the year on our "Road to Kona". At each Ironman event we visit, we will be donating Bike for a Kid bikes and helmets to the local communities. Our journey will end this year in Kona, Hawaii at the Ironman World Championships where we hope to have our biggest bike donation to date.
|FLO Cycling's Road to Kona|
How you Can Get Involved
Originally, our Bike for a Kid funds were generated strictly from the sale of ceramic bearing wheels. So yes, you can help by purchasing ceramic bearing wheels from us, but we realized that this doesn't work for everyone. FLO Cycling is an LLC, which means by law we cannot accept charitable donations. Setting up a 501c(3) (a charitable organization) is very time consuming and expensive. As a start-up company, it simply was not a step we could afford to take at this point in time.
The Ironman Foundation is, by definition, a charitable organization and they have agreed to accept Bike for a Kid donations on our behalf. We will be accepting donations via the Ironman Foundation to support our Bike for a Kid program between now and October 12, 2013 when we deliver our shipment of bikes in Kona, Hawaii. If you are interested in donating (which would mean the world to us and to many children), you can do so here. We are also hopeful that this program will continue not only next year, but for many years to come.
As a triathlete (and in our case, as triathletes and entrepreneurs) it's easy to get caught up in personal gain. The IFNRA Tri Team believes that triathlon can be about so much more than personal gain. In the communities where we train and race, there are many in need and we feel it is important to take time to give back. We are very excited about our opportunity to expand our Bike for a Kid program and greatly appreciate all of the help we have received from our customers and friends to date. If you feel inclined to donate, we'd like to thank you as well.
I'll leave you with a video of our first Bike for a Kid Bike Drop. It's pretty awesome!
As always, comments and questions are encouraged.
July 12, 2013
At the end of May we traveled to Taiwan to meet with our current factories and some new prospects. We wanted to give everyone an update on how that trip went. Our goals were to inspect our current production, determine a plan for increasing future production, and to discuss future products we have been working on. Overall, the trip was a big success and we even had time for a few days of rest and relaxation in Taiwan's beautiful city of Kenting. I've been to Taiwan three times now and I had no idea this tropical paradise was there! I'll recap a few things below and add some pictures from the trip.
Current production inspections were excellent. Our factories (and we) are learning how to become more and more efficient with our current product line. Our goal at the start of the year was to sell 3,500-4,500 wheels this year and we are still on track. We are actually pushing for 4,500 wheels for 2013 at this point. (see Increasing Production below).
As many of you are aware, we have been a little short on stock this year. I mentioned above that our goal was to sell 3,500-4,500 wheels this year. Selling 3,500 wheels would be more than two times our 2012 sales, and we felt it was a great goal. Selling 4,500 wheels (three times our last years sales) was the ultimate/crazy goal. Even after more than doubling our production during the beginning of the year we were still selling out. Some of our customers have not been happy that they've had to wait (we are sorry) and we were doing our best to increase production (full story here). In the article that was just referenced, one of our goals for increasing production was to move a few of our 2013 orders ahead of schedule. After some creative thinking and begging, we've moved our next order one month ahead of schedule. This means during the months of June and July in 2013, we'll import nearly the same quantity of wheels we sold during all of 2012!
I can't say much about this yet, but there are definitely more products in the pipeline at FLO. At heart we are a design company and that's exactly what we are doing. The meetings with new and current factories were to discuss the possibilities of our new products. In short, those meetings went well.
As I said above, I've been to Taiwan three times and I had no idea this beautiful city (Kenting) even existed. One of our factories spoiled us and took us to the area for a quick getaway. We visited the night market, got to eat some great food, and swam at several beautiful beaches. Speaking of beautiful beaches, we also got to swim part of the 70.3 Taiwan swim course. We only swam part of the course because there was a seasonal visitor we didn't know was in town.
It turns out that the 70.3 Taiwan swim course is visited by jellyfish at certain times of the year. I swam about 500 meters off shore and kept feeling like something was pinching me. I couldn't see anything in the water and thought perhaps I'd hit some pieces of seaweed that were sharp. I ended up swimming back to meet my brother ( while still getting pinched) and he said that he was getting pinched as well. Our Taiwanese friend then mentioned that jellyfish may be in the area! The pinches were coming from very small jellyfish that we couldn't see. We decided to head to another beach. On the way to shore, I met the big brother of the little jellyfish. As soon as I hit this big brother, I knew it. My back and hand were on fire right away. I got to shore as quickly as possible and pulled some bright blue jellyfish remnants off of me. For the next 10-15 minutes it wasn't hard to remember I had run into a jellyfish! Thankfully, the jellyfish wasn't poisonous and nobody had to pee on me ;). Check out the pictures below.
I hope you have enjoyed this article. If you have any questions or comments, we'd love to hear them.