This email was in answer to my email announcement of the idea for the park. My response (in part) follows...
| I am proposing a year-round mountain bike park, which is substantially like a
| ski resort but with NO SKIING. I have built a web page to describe the
| concept and all the advantages it would have, and am talking to bike
| manufacturers, magazines, trail designers, local politicians, and the U.S.
| Bureau of Land Management. Target is the Los Angeles area.
Russell, I love the idea, but a few comments:
(1) why talk to any of the people you mentioned above? Talk to your potential customers, and potential investors. Develop a business plan, get financing, find some appropriate sites, buy/lease one, and go!
(2) liability insurance is probably your biggest obstacle; get an attorney to work on that aspect of the business plan.
(3) forget the manufacturers' booths; to be able to hold user fees to an acceptable level, you'll probably want to leverage the revenue from (1) your on-site bike shop (retail sales, service) (2) "Pro Shop" (rentals, instruction) and (3) food service (do you ever finish a hard ride where you're not starving?!).
And make sure you incorporate tandems into all the aspects of your plan. They're hot right now, not to mention way fun, but most people wouldn't put out the money to buy one unless they first have an opportunity to ride one. And you'll encourage more usage if you have a variety of rentals (both singles and tandems) so people can try before they buy. And sell what you rent.
(4) "could become a mecca for mountain bike racing"? How about, "start with"??
Launch the facility by having a pro race, so the public can come in afterward and ride the very same course that Furtado, Overend, Tomac, etc., just rode. Special promotional T-shirt, water bottle, whatever, for the first week.
(5) Frequent Rider/season passes/Kids-Ride-Free programs.
(6) Onsite child care (probably a Phase II enhancement).
I could probably ramble on some more, but I've gotta get back to my "real job", at least for a little bit :-)
FWIW, and best of luck!
And don't hesitate to call me if you'd like to brainstorm on this - even though I don't live in the LA area, I'd love to see something like this succeed.
I wanted to respond to some of your other points as well, for example the first one--why talk to those people? Actually, the way I see it, there won't be any investors without a proven community interest. Hence talking to the magazines. I need pros to agree to build "signature" trails, but I haven't talked to any yet. (Remember, this is Friday and this all started Monday night a little after midnight (tuesday morning then, really.) I'm sure I can get a few to do it, there are lots of them. Of course I want Tomac, Juli Furtado, Hans Rey, Ned Overend, Missy Giove... But even if I don't get them, I'll get someone. I've talked to manufacturers that sponsor big names, and they like the idea, so I'll get the names when I need them.
But financing, everyone admits that's the tough part. The proving ground. But the way I figure, someone out there has the land. I got one step away from it today, for example, and who knows, that problem might actually already be solved (the guy didn't get back to me yet...) Financing will occur when I've proven to enough people that it can happen, and that it just needs financing. At that point, it will be a worthwhile investment and will get started. So I'm out looking for land, and finding out who's interested. Seems almost everyone is interested!
Really, I think the most important thing is to prove that the entire mountain biking community knows about it, and backs it. That's why I need the emails from people so badly! If everyone knows about it, and supports it, then why would anyone try to build it without me? (I'm so naive--Ed.) And someone out there, will have money and hear about it and offer a fair investment strategy. Hopefully!
On to other parts of your letter: The onsite bike shop comments seem correct. That will be like a "pep boys" of bike shops. Big, real good at changing tires, has every part and every tool imaginable. Work bays for rent as well, with good tools and stands in the bays.
>>"could become a mecca for mountain bike racing" how about Start With?
Sounds right to me!
>>Frequent Rider/season passes/Kids-Ride-Free program.
Also, a service wherein a skilled and experienced rider will ride with you and bring your kid in a caboose, for a fee. (Certain trails only.)
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First presented online May 30th, 1996.
Last modified March 27th, 1997.
Webwiz: Russell D. Hoffman
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