It was a pretty impressive night at Colorado Bikes, Biz & Beer last night, a networking event for people in the bike industry in the Denver metro area that is organized by some energetic women from People for Bikes. The organizers had to cut RSVPs off at about 450 before the event because the facility couldn’t hold any more people. It wasn’t as loud as the last event at Galvanize seemed to be (last night’s venue has wooden ceilings!), and Industry Denver is a cool space. When Angie and I went to our first networking event at Galvanize we were so overwhelmed by the crowds and noise that we didn’t even meet anyone (though the speakers were great).
Last night we had more of a chance to meet some people. A lot of people would just start talking to us, which was great. We also met some people in the beer line (always a great way to meet and greet). We made the acquaintance of a lovely lady from People for Bikes, Martha Roskowski, a gentleman who is starting an apparel company, and even another person trying to get into the hospitality business. Also met a lovely Englishman, Ben Lockett, who was from Cornwall originally but said he just loves it here. He’s involved with the high school cycling league in Colorado.
The meeting had the same format as the previous event we’d attended, beginning with socializing with beer, this time donated by the Alpine Dog Brewing Company. There were also soft drinks and water for those of us who can’t drink beer, and an added bonus of gourmet hot cocoa from Peteybird, a well-regarded purveyor of ice cream sandwiches that are sold from bicycle-drawn coolers around town. Maybe the next event can be sponsored by a cidery!
After the networking bit is over, and everyone is settled down, there are different types of announcements: events, businesses, hiring, and catchall; and then four presentations. Also last night, there were some giveaways from Timbuk2, which has a shop in Denver, and whose bags are a favorite of many cyclists (I LOVE my custom messenger bag, which I designed and Angie bought me for my birthday a few years back).
Each presenter, who has to apply and compete to present at each session, is given five minutes to present and five minutes for Q&A. I think this is a great format, since it encourages people to really give you the essence of what they’re trying to do/communicate. Last night’s first three presenters were: Nick Frey, the Founder and CEO of Boo Bicycles, a manufacturer of bamboo bikes up in Fort Collins; Frank Overton, Founder and Head Coach of FasCat Coaching, who recently transitioned from a brick and mortar presence to a virtual business; and Jessica Caouette, Co-Owner of the Denver Bicycle Café, who talked about the café’s mission to be inclusive.
The final presentation was by Chris Sulfrian, fabREEBcator, and Tim Moore, Director of REEBdiculousness for REEB Cycles, a bike manufacturer that includes fat bikes in its line. The presentation was a blockbuster. I think Tim Moore was the one who gave the sermon, and he was brilliant. He really did present as if it was a sermon, talking about the bikes they build at Reeb, which was born out of Oskar Blues Brewery in Longmont, CO. The audience was in fits and they were very well received.
It’s so great to see so much dynamism in the industry, and so many different things happening.
We also ran into an old biking buddy, Brian Jeffrey, who is a long-time biker who is now part of a dynamic new media company in town, Lightstreetmedia.
We left the event energized and maybe a little more excited about our big move to Pueblo and the plans for our new business.