As a cyclist, I’m always a bit uneasy when not looking forward. As soon as you take your eyes off the road ahead and look back, bad stuff can happen. But every once in a while you need to look back - on the bike and in life. Now’s one of those times.
With 13 days left in 2013, I’m taking stock of what Richard and I have done this year at Road Holland, our 3rd full year in business, and wanted to share it with you.
2013 marked the first time we departed from our Merino / Poly wool blend material to make a 100% polyester cycling jersey. Whether they were allergic to wool, felt it would be too hot, or just scared of it, many customers clamored for a lightweight 100% poly jersey for a long time. At the beginning of the summer, the new Hilversums and Aalsmeers launched using a spectacular American-made and super stylish 100% polyester knit fabric. Judging by sales, it’s been a big hit and we plan to re-make these jerseys in 2014 in several new colors.
We also introduced 2 pieces of outwear. The first was a lightweight cycling vest (or “gilet” as the Europeans call it) for men and women. Again, customers wanted this product for a long time but it took us a while to find the right fabric. The Noordwijk and Kinderdijk represent a re-thinking of the traditional biking vest. We designed them to work when worn but be forgotten when not. We were tired of carrying around big bulges of fabric during our rides after it was time to remove our vests. The Noordwijk and Kinderdijk ball up to next to nothing. With their understated stylish good looks, they can also turn some heads.
The next outerwear pieces - the Amsterdam and Rotterdam - are the culmination of all that we have learned about how to make cycling gear. The new long sleeve jerseys utilize a new Merino / Poly / Spandex blend that is heavy enough for the coldest of rides. They also have features galore - huge cargo pockets, storm panels to block the wind, and a cinchable waist just to name a few. Though a traditional cycling color, Celeste green is noticeably absent in bike apparel. We decided to buck convention and use it for the Amsterdam and Rotterdam colors. Customers dig it. A lot.
Finally, on our already popular clothing front, we also introduced new colors for our Utrechts and Montfoorts, both of which use our signature Merino wool / polyester blend. We suspect there were many riders around the country sporting their USA-edition Utrechts on July 4th and looking very patriotic.
We amped up our custom program and worked with a number of organizations including Rivet Cycle Works, AdventureCORPS’® Furnace Creek 508, Simetri, River Dunes, and UC Bike Ride. It’s gratifying to see that organizations realize a kit can be much more than a plasticy pair of cheap shorts and a shirt. Whatever you can imagine, we can embroider and do it on all of our jerseys to keep you and your crew looking your best.
It’s nice to get noticed and in 2013 we received a huge amount of press coverage. Websites such as Bicycling, VeloNews, and Red Kite Prayer, as well as many of our favorite cycling blogs all wrote glowing reviews of our products. In November, the Miami Herald profiled Road Holland and gave the full story on how we came to be and how we are truly “American Made.”
We also continued our commitment to supporting our local cycling communities - whether it be through independent bicycle shops, an epic charity ride, or just camaraderie amongst cycling groups. Road Holland believes in giving back and we have our customers to thank for including us in many of their cycling related adventures.
It’s cliché to say, “the best is yet to come,” but sometimes clichés fit the bill. In 2014, we’ll be at the North American Handmade Bicycle Show in Charlotte, NC from March 14 - 16. We will also be sponsoring and riding the Bike Virginia tour from June 20 - 25, 2014. Best of all, we have a slew of new cycling gear to launch that will continue to be USA-made and of course, serious and stylish.
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