April 21, 2015
Posted by FLO Cycling at Tuesday, April 21, 2015
We were recently published on the FitnessRX website. The following article was titled "4 outdoor Alternatives To Hitting The Gym". Feel free to check it out here or read the full article below.
4 outdoor Alternatives To Hitting The Gym - by Chris Thornham
It’s too cold to exercise outside. Or maybe it’s too hot. Or the pollen count is off the charts and your allergies are acting up … or there’s no weight room outside.
You get the point. These are just a few of the reasons you might give for holing up in the gym all week. Maybe it’s even a matter of routine – you’re used to working out in air-conditioned comfort, surrounded by your exercise buddies, TVs, and an endless supply of fresh towels.
I know how tempting it can be to stick to the gym for your workouts; I did it for nearly 10 years. I couldn’t stand the monotony of the treadmill and bikes that went nowhere, so I rarely even strayed from the weight room.
But all that changed when I started participating in triathlons. I took up trail running, cycling, and swimming and was amazed to find myself more engaged. What was once unbearable on a stationary bike became enjoyable. I even started swimming in lakes and oceans.
And while I still enjoy strength training at the gym, there are many great benefits to taking your workout outside. Now that the weather is finally – hopefully – warming, here’s a list of why you should considering taking your workout outdoors.
BENEFIT #1: Outdoor Sports Are Social
It’s not uncommon to greet people you encounter on the trail or strike up a conversation with a total stranger. I’ve made new friends and even found new business prospects while out and about. That sure beats the gym, where everyone has earbuds in the entire time.
BENEFIT #2: Get More Vitamin D
Simply put, your body needs vitamin D for muscular function, immune function, and bone maintenance. In one study, vitamin D was also shown to increase testosterone by up to 20 percent.
BENEFIT #3: It Increases Energy
Studies have also shown that fresh air naturally boosts energy levels in 90 percent of people, and fresh-cut grass and flower scents can make you feel happier and more relaxed.
BENEFIT #4: It’s Always Open
Best of all, the great outdoors never close. Forget about operating hours or packed-to-the-gills gyms that have every machine claimed. With a few lights and reflectors, you can exercise safely outside at any time of day.
If you’re looking to get out of the gym and explore the outdoors, there are several activities you can try at low or no cost that will give you a killer workout.
Ditch spin class and head out on a real bike instead. Most cities have designated bike paths that are accessible and safe. Learn the rules of the road if you decide to bike in traffic. Cycling is not only great for your cardiovascular health, but it will also help tone the muscles in your lower body.
If you want to give cycling a try, there’s no need to buy a $5,000 bike at the outset. Borrow one from a friend or rent one from a bike shop to make sure that cycling is something you enjoy.
Get off the treadmill and pound some real pavement. Hit the streets in your neighborhood or find a local trail.
Running outside is not only a great cardio and lower-body workout, but the variable surface of a trail also makes you use lateral muscles you wouldn’t otherwise. Plus, you’ll likely be motivated to run a little further because you have beautiful scenery to inspire you.
To break out of the boredom of treadmill running, all you need is a good pair of running shoes. That’s about as simple and inexpensive as it gets.
Hiking is a great option for people who want to slow things down a bit. Hiking enhances your cardiovascular health, strengthens the muscles in your lower body, and improves your balance — all while exposing you to some beautiful landscapes.
As an added bonus, you can bring your favorite four-legged friend and give him some great exercise and excitement.
If you’re worried about getting your strength training in, MovNat is a great option. This increasingly popular workout involves using natural human movements to increase health and fitness by lifting logs, throwing rocks, climbing trees, swimming, running, and even crawling outdoors.
Just like working out in a gym, exercising outdoors is all about building a solid workout plan. This ensures that you work out all the different muscle groups and avoid injuries caused by overtraining. If you plan to do anything extreme, it’s good to get checked out by a doctor first.
There are few limitations on outdoor activity. The hardest part is getting started. If you need some extra motivation, join a club. Challenge yourself to bike your way through your first charity ride, complete your first 5K, or hike to a particularly beautiful vantage point.
Once you start accomplishing new goals, improving your health, and meeting new friends, you’ll realize how much you enjoy the change in scenery.
I hope you have enjoyed this article. We'd love to get your feedback below.
All the best,
April 14, 2015
Posted by FLO Cycling at Tuesday, April 14, 2015
We were recently published on MultiChannel Merchants's website. The following article was titled "Why Lowering Prices Could Be Your Best Sales Strategy". Feel free to check it out here or read the full article below.
Why Lowering Prices Could Be Your Best Sales Strategy - by Chris Thornham
In a world where a higher price is often associated with a better product, pricing your product lower might seem counterintuitive. After all, many business owners use higher pricing to increase their products’ perceived value, and it’s easy to assume that you won’t be able to compete without matching those inflated prices.
But charging more doesn’t always work — especially when the product doesn’t deliver. Customers will be quick to complain if a product’s price doesn’t align with its quality, and with the increasing relevance of online reviews, pricing your products correctly becomes even more important.
When people are constantly looking for the best deal and the best quality, you have to be smart about your price. And that doesn’t always mean an increase.
Lower Prices by Cutting Unnecessary Costs
Unfortunately, determining the best price for your product is harder than you’d think. It all depends on supply and demand, and demand can fluctuate due to seasonal changes, the economy, and social media trends, among other things.
To keep the price just right, you’d have to change it constantly, and that isn’t realistic. Consumers don’t want to pay $15 one week and $50 the next — such wide variations dilute the value of your product. Instead, you need to focus on cutting unnecessary costs that can drive your price up. Make sure there’s a strategy behind your pricing. Here are three tactics you can use:
Cut back on expenses that don’t improve your product’s value. There are costs that directly contribute to the value of your product (such as materials and manufacturing), as well as those that don’t (such as extra office space, celebrity sponsorships, etc.). Ensure that any costs your business incurs will truly benefit the customer. High-quality production materials or better manufacturing processes probably justify a price increase, but the customer will ultimately benefit by receiving a better product.
Limit your stages of distribution. As your products travel from the factory to the owner to the distributor to the retailer to the consumer, they’re marked up multiple times. A direct factory-to-owner-to-consumer process is much more cost-efficient.
Don’t get greedy. You’ve probably heard the saying “Pigs get fed; hogs get slaughtered.” Figure out the profit margin you need to keep your business functional, and don’t charge more than the price needed to achieve that. You’re aiming to give your customers an incredible deal that they can’t wait to tell their friends about.
Get the Word Out
As long as you’re charging enough to stay in business, establishing fair prices, and offering a high-quality product, you don’t have to worry about out pricing your competitors. The key lies in keeping your costs closely linked to the value of your product. Then you just have to convince your customers that they’re still getting a high-quality product.
Here are a few ways to let potential customers know you’re the best:
1. Tell customers why your products are great. Write blog posts, website content, and articles that explain the materials, manufacturing, design, and distribution behind your products. Be completely transparent about where your costs come from. If customers can clearly see what goes into making the product they’re buying, they’ll be more likely to believe your product is superior.
2. Provide objective reviews. As the owner, your personal opinion about the quality of your product can only go so far. For an extra boost of credibility, ask reputable third parties to review your products and provide feedback.
3. Get your product certified. An objective rating agency that vouches for your product’s quality is worth its weight in gold. The International Organization for Standardization’s stamp of approval will give your company a strong reputation. You could also pursue certification that’s specific to your industry.
Even the best product can’t sell itself, but if you price your products so people think they’re getting a steal, your customers will spread the word for you. When you sell a high-quality product at an unbelievable price, it’s easy to debunk that age-old misconception that a high price equals high quality.
We hope you have enjoyed this article and would love to hear your comments below.
All the best,
April 9, 2015
Posted by FLO Cycling at Thursday, April 09, 2015
April 7, 2015
Posted by FLO Cycling at Tuesday, April 07, 2015
We were recently published on Overdrive's website. The following article was titled "How to Overcome the Belief That Your Product is 'Too Good to Be True' ". Feel free to check it out here or read the full article below.
How to Overcome the Belief That Your Product is “Too Good to Be True” - by Chris Thornham
Everyone loves a good deal. But when a cheap price tag makes others question the quality of your product, it could actually hinder your company’s success.
If you’ve discovered the formula for delivering a superior product at a fraction of your competitors’ prices, that doesn’t mean consumers will instantly buy your product. Many budding businesses struggle to dispel the belief that their product is “too good to be true,” and uprooting assumptions is no easy task.
Many people simply don’t understand the factors that determine price; they assume that cost reflects a product’s quality. It’s up to you to educate your audience about the value of your offering.
Here are four ways to educate your audience:
1. Always Speak the Truth
Don’t hide anything about your product or business. If a customer asks a question, give him an honest answer, and don’t leave any room for skepticism. You might be tempted to conceal problems with your product, but being forthright with customers and explaining how you’re dealing with issues will earn their trust.
2. Educate Consumers Through Content
Consumers want to make their own well-informed decisions. To equip them with the information they need, create content that details what you’re making, how you’re making it, and what distribution method you’re using. Explain how those decisions cut costs so potential customers don’t have any looming questions that could breed doubt.
First impressions can form in an instant, and once consumers make up their minds, those perceptions are nearly impossible to shake. Your story and message have to shine through your content as quickly as possible. If you don’t want to seem too good to be true, don’t use sensational language like “miracle” or “never again” that suggests it.
3. Keep All Reviews Online, Even the Bad Ones
It’s impossible to please everyone, and consumers know that. Hiding all the negative reviews and manufacturing a “100 percent customer satisfaction” facade will only make people second-guess your brand. Instead, work on providing excellent real-time customer service on social media or forums, where potential customers can see how you respond.
We once had a customer post in a forum that our wheels weren’t good because he kept getting flats. I responded immediately to ask whether he could help me understand the problem. After tracking him down, we eventually resolved the issue — it was an operator problem. I posted the solution on the forum, which demonstrated both the quality of our product and our friendly, efficient customer service.
4. Be More Relatable
Honesty not only fuels trust; it also ignites people’s sense of compassion. Tell potential customers the good and bad parts of your story. If you bring them along for the ride and make it part of your story to go the extra mile, they’ll see you as a relatable person working hard to accomplish your dream and improve the lives of others.
We’ve dealt with rising prices after underestimating manufacturing costs, and factory delays once set our estimated shipment date back by a month. But through all the problems, we shared our story and explained the causes. Despite the disappointments, people enjoyed watching us try to find the most affordable way to bring them a high-quality product. They related to our bad luck and fell in love with our efforts to keep our word.
Don’t miss out on potential business because consumers think your deal can’t really be that good. You’ve made a great product that’s also affordable. Share your journey with your audience, and allow them to enjoy the benefits of your hard work.
We hope you have enjoyed this article. Please leave your comments below.
March 25, 2015
Posted by FLO Cycling at Wednesday, March 25, 2015
We were recently published on WeWork Magazine's website. The following article was titled "From Engineer to Entrepreneur: How I Discovered I Could Start a Business". Feel free to check it out here or read the full article below.
How I Discovered I Could Start a Business - by Chris Thornham
Like most engineers, I learned to think on my feet and execute plans fast. It’s one of the qualities that primed me for entrepreneurship. But despite my penchant for planning, I still walked away with a few bumps and bruises.
Venturing out of my cubicle and into the entrepreneurial unknown allowed me to flex the problem-solving skills I picked up as an engineer. It took a few botched attempts to finally get it right, but the failures only made me more resilient.
Surviving the first-year business woes with my twin brother was nerve-wracking. A typhoon hit our factory, a container ship stocked with our products crashed, and our web servers continually went down, among a string of other disasters.
We stuck it out in the end, and our passion and engineer ingenuity helped keep our heads up as we navigated the murky entrepreneurial waters.
In any industry, building a solid startup brings a distinct set of challenges. Here are four universal lessons we had to learn firsthand before triumphing with our business:
1. Follow Your Passion
A successful entrepreneur doesn’t only enjoy making money — everyone loves that. You need to have passion for your product or service. If your heart isn’t in it, you won’t compete at the level it takes to make it.
I always enjoyed designing and working on big projects, but after graduating from college, the thrill quickly vanished. I realized it wasn’t AutoCAD drawings that I hated; it was working the 8-5 grind for the benefit of someone else. Every waking hour at my day job was a vivid reminder of how badly I wanted out. When we finally pursued our passion with FLO Cycling, it no longer felt like work.
2. Devise a Plan B
You should always follow your dreams, but be smart about it. If you fall flat on your face, you need an exit strategy so you can move on to something else. Failing doesn’t mean you have to quit. Take those lessons learned and apply them to your next venture.
Our first business was a complete flop. We knew how to plan and design, but neither of us had the business acumen to run a startup. Without marketing expertise, proper accounting practices, and solid business operations and administrative knowledge, we simply couldn’t function. Recognizing when to cut and run gave us time to hone those skills before starting FLO Cycling.
3. Don’t Rush It
We took time to build FLO Cycling and nurture it the right way, but as an impatient person, this wasn’t easy. It took nearly five years of blood, sweat, and tears to get it right. People often go for low-hanging fruit, but nothing of value comes easy. You need to work hard, seeing minimal to no progress, before you can feel a hint of success.
Don’t quit your day job the moment your sales outweigh your salary. A secure paycheck is hard to come by, and the ebbs and flows of business can hit hard if you’re not financially prepared. Let a few steady paychecks come in before you cut off a source of financial support, especially in this tough economy.
4. Collaborate With Consumers
We’re so accustomed to hearing about confidential or proprietary company knowledge, such as Google’s SEO algorithm, that we try to keep our business a secret. But that’s counterproductive to your actual goal: to spread the word and build a base of potential customers.
If you have a great idea, ask people if they would buy it. Learn what features and benefits they look for in your product or service. Huge corporations pay an arm and a leg to collect and analyze market research, but you can go straight to the source. Gauge audience interest to determine whether you should build a prototype to show people a functional design.
It wasn’t until we sought consumer feedback and let people play an active role in the development process that we succeeded with FLO Cycling. By the time we went to market, we had thousands of interested followers.
With proper planning and a resilient mindset, my brother and I successfully steered our startup toward success. Our mutual passion for cycling motivated us to focus on the marketing and business skills necessary to bring our idea to life.
Executing those plans (and weathering the storms they created) is something only an entrepreneur can do. I couldn’t stomach another 40 years working in a cubicle. What inspired you to become an entrepreneur?
We hope you enjoyed this article. We'd love to hear your comments below.
February 24, 2015
Posted by FLO Cycling at Tuesday, February 24, 2015 Labels: Aerodynamics , FLO Research & Development , Tire Study
Over the last few days I've been able to get out on the road to test the sensors and my carpentry skills. Every thing has been going really well. Here is a quick update on what we've been doing.
The first ride was at a slow paced 8 mile trip. I wanted to make sure things were working properly before I spent too much time on the road. I wasn't using GPS or power for this ride. Below I've added a quick video clip of the ride.
The Results - Percentage of Time at Each Yaw Angle
The first thing I looked at was the percentage of time spent at each yaw angle. I started considering measurements at 3mph. The data logger records measurements every second so I counted the number of measurements in for each yaw angle. Once I had the number of measurements I could determine the percentage of time spent at that yaw angle. Finally I looked at cumulative amount of time in a yaw angle range. The bold section in the table below shows where the majority of the time was spent.
The Results - Average Yaw Angle at a Relative Velocity
The next thing I looked at was the average yaw angle for a specific relative velocity. I selected all of the yaw angle measurements taken at a specific relative velocity and averaged them. Here is what I found.
My first thought is that 8 miles is not going to tell us a ton. My second thought is that it looks like the rider/air interaction is different than I thought. Old studies we've read have shown the the average yaw angle is between 10-20 degrees of yaw. These results show something completely different.
We've already started gathering more data and are working on more specific tests to get ready for our tire study. Stay tuned for more updates.
February 21, 2015
Last year I spoke with Professor Georg Pingen from Union University in Tennessee. He mentioned that he had a class of students that wanted to study aero wheels on the road. I loved the idea and we sent a set of wheels to the university for testing. The results just came in and I wanted to share how they performed the test and what they found.
The Testing Procedure
Cyclists cycled along a 2 mile straight stretch of flat road. The bike was fit with the test wheels and an out and back was performed. When the cyclist returned to the beginning the wheels were swapped and the course was repeated. The order of the wheels was swapped from test to test to limit fatigue error.
Experiment 1 - FLO 60/90 vs. Alex 200
One student team (Team 3) compared the performance of FLO Cycling aero-wheels. At an average test velocity of roughly 20.5 mph, students found an aero-wheel advantage of approximately 15W with 95% uncertainty bounds of 14.96W±4.56W. Utilizing the equation relating velocity to power (P=Ka*V3+F*V), students were able to use the power savings to predict 40K TT time savings at difference cyclist velocities. The students’ experiments predict a time savings of 1.77 minutes at 20mph and 1.25 minutes at 30mph.
|Team 3 on the Course|
Experiment 2 - Front FLO 60 vs. Standard Front Wheel
One student team (Team 4) compared the performance of only the front FLO 60 against standard OE front wheels. The goal of the study was to determine if the front wheel makes a larger aerodynamic difference than the rear wheel, as often noted in the cycling literature. At an average test velocity of roughly 19.8 mph, students found an aero-wheel advantage of approximately 7.25W with 95% uncertainty bounds of 7.25W±5.89W. The average time savings over a 40K time-trial at that velocity was calculated by the students as approximately 50 seconds. This savings is roughly ½ of the savings obtained by using both wheels, thus not indicating larger savings from the front wheel.
Thanks to Union University
I love this stuff. I think it's great that Professor Pingen has allowed the students to learn by testing products in the real world. I want to thank Professor Pingen and all the students who were involved in the testing. Great work!