When we started out OPEN, we had a series of posts about what it was like to set up the company and run it. Lately we have fewer posts like that, partially because we're not sure anybody cares and partially because we ourselves view our everyday work as not special enough to write about. (and if you don't feel like reading this whole blog, maybe you are an UP or UPPER rider and are interested in just skipping it and helping us out with a little survey
But I knew this week would be quite an interesting week so I was determined to write a blog about it. For starters, Andy and I both had an important meeting in California this past Tuesday, and we thought it would be a great topic. So we both flew in to San Francisco, Andy from Denver as he has been visiting OPEN retailers, and I from Amsterdam. We get to our meeting Tuesday morning, and the first thing that happens is that we're sworn to secrecy. So unless you can tell something from the reflection in my sunglasses or the sliver of mountain in the photo above, you'll have to wait.
So I can tell you absolutely nothing about who we met, why, and what will come out of it. At least, I can't tell you right now. I will however write the blog I wanted to post today, put it in the "vault" and publish it when we are finally allowed to do so. Which actually is very similar to how our first blog posts went, I was writing blogs for a year while we were developing the first frame, without posting anything. And then when we were almost ready to launch that frame, I released the posts.
What I can tell you is that it was great to meet up with Andy again. OPEN is a bit strange, in that Andy and I work very closely (we speak almost every day) but we rarely see each other. 3-5 times per year would be the average, but lately it has been even less because I temporarily lived in the States. So when we saw each other in California, that was the first time since last year's Eurobike!
We had a really nice couple days, including a ride through the mountains, to the beach, and back again, with some nice people (can't tell you who) and some fun discussions. California means traffic jams and although neither Andy nor I particularly like them, there are fewer people I'd rather sit in a traffic jam with than Andy. And the Garmin's constant attempts at "optimizing" the route, making it longer every time, added some much-needed humor.
Of course our discussions often involve future projects and bikes we would like to ride (and therefore bikes which would be "eligible" to be OPEN models as per our "policy"). That's a lot of quotation marks, just because we don't take ourselves that seriously, but the "rule" (darn, another pair) that we only build bikes we want to ride ourselves has served us - and I hope you - well so far, so we'll definitely continue in that way.
High on our wish list (though low on our "let's have that ready tomorrow" list) is a smart cargo bike. Lots of ideas, but no idea yet how to put that all into one practical bike. Until then, we'll just keep riding our UP and ONE+!
A lot of our discussions also revolved around whether or not we should offer some complete bikes again, built with our personal favourite components, so that it becomes easier for people to join the OPEN family. Especially with the UP and UPPER, we know there are so many spec options that it can be overwhelming. Some people love picking the bike one part at the time, but others just want to ride.
So should we add complete bikes, or stick to just frames? And if complete bikes, should it be a "Gerard spec" (meaning the most cost-effective way to get the best performance) or the "Andy spec" (the absolute greatest stuff in the world)? We would love to hear from you in the comments section, both if you already own an OPEN and if you don't.
One other thing Andy and I were discussing is our current UP/UPPER geometry. We're happy about it, but we would love to know how you feel about it. So I made a 1 minute survey at SurveyMonkey and we would really appreciate it if you could take the time to fill it out.
Funnily, that is also something we did during those first months of OPEN, when the market was still just slowly moving to 29er mountain bikes (can you believe that was was ever controversial!) and we wanted to do some market research on the sly.