The Outspoken Cyclist Reports on Bike Press Camp
Press camp swag, enough to make you jealous
Flying over Salt Lake City on my way back home to Cleveland in late June, we passed what appeared to be a small fire burning on the ground at the edges of a huge cloud of white smoke that hung in the sky. It served to jolt me back to the real world and so I decided to write my regular column for GLC before some of the nuances of the trip wore off.
On our way to the airport to return to Cleveland, I learned that one of the other shuttle passengers works for the Romney campaign and that in fact Governor Romney was in Park City for a few days. We at Press Camp had no idea that he was there. Our days and nights were focused on cycling!
Bike Press Camp is an opportunity for the members of the bicycle press to get an in-depth preview of new products, in this case for 2013. Many of the companies that come to BPC might not ever get the chance to have the kind of media attention that is showered upon them here and many of the journalists never have the opportunity to spend the kind of quality time testing product and talking face-to-face with the vendors that is afforded them in this environment.
Being invited to Press Camp is quite a privilege - at least that's the way I felt. There were about 35 vendors and 31 journalists representing 41 different press outlets. (Some covered more than one publication.)
I think I was (and am) the only one who produces and hosts a weekly on air radio show, and, I was rubbing shoulders with amazing journalists including editors from magazines such as Mountain BIke Action, Lava, and Momentum, to bloggers such as The Fredcast, Red Kite Prayer, and Girl Bike Love.
When we checked in to the Silver Baron Lodge, we found an enormous gear bag from Kali Protectives and Press Camp on our beds. In it were a huge variety of items including a Camelbak with 4 containers of matching "elixir", a pint glass from Canari, a full box of Clif Shot Blocs, a pair of long fingered gloves from Answer, and more. (See photo)
It was only the beginning of what was to be a continuous "shwag fest". More importantly though, the generosity of the vendors paled in comparison to the opportunity to have the one- on-one time with so many company representatives that is never afforded a journalist under almost any other circumstance.
The event is produced by a small company called Lifeboat Events, and they didn't miss a beat when it came to the venue, the food, the timing, the fun, and the enjoyment of the attendees.
The phrase “wined and dined" was embodied by this event.
Monday evening began with a cocktail hour and 3 huge whiteboards laid out in grids. Each board represented a day: Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday. The vendors’ names were in a column to the left with timeslots inked across the top. There was a frenzy of activity as each journalist chose a time to visit the vendors of his/her choice.
Since most of the journalists are on deadline to get their stories to their publications or upload information to their blogs, Since I don't specifically do product review for the show, I hung back and just waited to pick my interview times. My work at Press Camp was to ferret out the interesting stories that want to be told; about people, events, and the impressions of other journalists
One of the things that has changed the way journalists work now is social media; and, it was rampant at Press Camp! The bloggers and web site writers were sending their stories up to on line magazines, Face Book, and Twitter as fast as they were out of one interview and before they ducked into the next. What was even more impressive was that vendors were quickly reporting incredible results from the media attention they were receiving - in all forms.
During the three days of meetings, test rides, food, and great conversations, I was able to corner a few vendors and journalists for their impressions of Press Camp for the June 23 episode of The Outspoken Cyclist. I also have scheduled and will continue to schedule more interviews with both journalists and vendors over the next few months.
When you start seeing and hearing about the 2013 cycling season, much of that reporting will have come from the experience of a few dozen journalists who spent four great days in Park City, Utah! It was an honor and privilege to be included.