Spend more on advocacy, urges Trek boss

John Burke, president of Trek USA, has created a PowerPoint presentation about why bike companies should increase their financial support of bicycle advocates and political lobbying groups.

He first aired the talk at the National Bike Summit in Washington DC two weeks ago. On Sunday it was also given to Taiwan’s A-Team of industry leaders and in a conference room at the the Taipei trade show.

Here’s my 23-minute video of Burke’s 40-minute talk. I created the slide graphics in Mac’s Keynote as John Burke’s slides didn’t come out very well on the video (I was using a small stills camera, not my normal video camera).

ORIGINAL POWERPOINT PRESENTATION (NO AUDIO):


Jonathan Maus of the Bike Portland blog was present at the first airing of the talk and he headlined his coverage ‘Is John Burke the Al Gore of the bike trade?’ This was a reference to Al Gore’s slide show about climate change, ‘An Inconvenient Truth.’ The slide show, seen all over the world, was made into a movie, winning this year’s Oscar for best documentary.

Burke’s presentation also focussed on the environment but majored on what Burke knows best: the bike trade. His presentation was aimed at encouraging bike companies to spend more money on cycle advocacy.

He called the bicycle “the perfect product at the perfect time.” And bike companies would sell more of them if there were more places for folks to ride them.

“The number one way to grow the business and to have an impact on society, health, environment and congestion is to create a bicycle-friendly world,” said Burke.

He revealed that for every $100 of sales, bike companies typically spend $3.90 on marketing, $1.60 on R&D but just 10 cents on advocacy.

“That doesn’t make sense. As an industry we need to look at how we spend money. Why do we spend the amount of money on marketing and product and little on advocacy?”

He wants to “spur a debate in the industry” about “where we’re spending our money.”