Monday, March 26, 2007

Raleigh's Carey Schleicher-Haselhorst

Carey Schleicher-Haselhorst is the brand-new marketing coordinator for Raleigh USA, and she blogs! Although a number of Raleigh employees contribute to Raleigh Commutes, Carey is the initiator and the main voice behind that blog. Carey is an enthusiastic cyclist, but she was kind enough to devote some time for an interview about her blogging and Raleigh's plans for 2007.
Carey of Raleigh on a fixed gear bicycleCarey Schleicher-Haselhorst is the marketing coordinator for Raleigh USA.

On Raleigh's reaction to her blogging: Tim Jackson at Masi has gained some notoreity with his "ask forgiveness later" model of blogging about his employer. Carey, it turns out, did the same thing: She created the Raleigh blogs first, then she proposed them to management. "Getting management to buy-in was not very difficult," says Carey. "I convinced Raleigh that there needed to be a personal voice behind the corporation, reaching out to our consumers, dealers, and industry folk. Personally, I find value in having a human voice connected to a company. The ability to validate your passions, ethics, humor, lifestyle, and beliefs by relating with the people of the company you buy into is such a positive thing, not only from a business standpoint, but also from a human one."

Why should Raleigh have a blog presence? "I started the Raleigh Commutes blog in hopes to raise an awareness of the thoughts and feelings that are generated as we (the employees) ride, and to encourage others to share them. I believe in sharing stories; it somehow validates one’s decisions and gives them a sense of accomplishment. Plus, riding a bike to get around is a huge part of how I exist and it’s my hope that through these stories it will encourage others to jump on a bicycle within Raleigh and throughout the world."

On city bikes for commuting & transportation: "Our hopes are high in regards to addressing this growing market. It’s amazing how the commuting/comfort rider has been ignored for the past 5 years due to the overwhelming sales in road bikes, or as it’s sometimes called: the “Lance Bike Boom.” This boom is starting to slow and people are more interested in bikes as eco-friendly means of transportation or as a way to have fun with friends: getting to the coffee shop, socializing, hitting the beach, etc. Teaming up with Shimano, our Coasting bike for 2007 is an attempt to welcome these “non-riders” into the bike world by providing a bike that has a 100% fun/style factor and a 0% intimidation factor – no Lycra, no competition, no training, just pure fun.

"We are also looking at the rise in “commuter” numbers and starting to spec select bikes with fenders, racks, and bells. We all know how the story goes – bicycle commuting numbers rose this past year due to oil prices; it seems people finally kept their keys hanging on the wall at home and grabbed their bikes instead. I’m guessing these riders realized that riding a bike to work was not only beneficial to their bank account and to the environment, but to their physical and mental health as well. So, bike commuters and comfort riders are definitely playing a large role in moving the current bike market, which is incredibly encouraging. As my boss Reed Pike says, “The bicycle is the answer to the world’s problems.” With this in mind, Raleigh offers bicycles that are 100% commuter friendly directly off the shelf. Our hope is to get the potential new commuter excited about riding and to provide top-notch bicycles to the experienced commuter looking to upgrade. The end result, we hope, will be streets filled with bikes rather than cars. Notice that I end all my answers with optimism; bikes are awesome and I hope that everyone involved in this culture and industry believes the same and carries the same optimism."

What has been the reaction to Raleigh Coasting and other "comfort" bikes from Raleigh distributors and bike shops? "The Raleigh Coasting bikes have been received with such great excitement that we have already sold out of our first production run. Coasting bikes should hit dealer floors this week (03.26.07), which will be a relief to the dealers, as demand has definitely increased consumer traffic. I encourage everyone (and I mean everyone) to at least take a test spin on these bikes; they are super cool, relaxed, and stylish. Our dealers are extremely excited to be part of this movement and we are as well."

I'm looking forward to more of what Carey and her co-workers at Raleigh have to write over at Raleigh Commutes.


David said...

In San Francisco, fixies are taking over the biking landscape. But there are some coaster bikes to be found here and there. One guy wanted to buy my Fuji Team frame to make a single speed coaster bike for commuting to work. After reading this, I might have to add to my already burgeoning collection of 5 bikes and go the coaster route myself!

Ed W said...

I think I'm in LOVE! Though not with Carey. I did teach Mary to shoot straight, and I fall asleep before she does! No, I'm in love with Carey's bike, or maybe just the handlebar. Old school, steel, track bend.

What's not to love?

James said...

Great interview Fritz. I have enjoyed reading both of the Raleigh blogs lately as well. More bike companies need to join the conversation.

Keep up the great work CS-H (now I know why you use those initials)

SueJ said...

and... you prob'ly don't want to click on the little "bloggerhacks" that I see underneath the comments.

The "coaster" is okay - but I'm not so fond of coaster brakes. (Okay, and even my car has a stick shift... I want to shift when **I** want to shift.) Of course... Ihave one, that 1968 Schwinn Racer that does not need gears.

Fritz said...

*Yikes!* BloggerHacks link removed.