The Industry Insider series is a peek behind the scenes at the men and women of the cycling industry who deserve a little time in the spotlight. This week we profile our good friend Jeff Lockwood.
I’m in kind of a weird, lonely and transient place between: Antwerp, Belgium; Wayne, Pennsylvania; and Tempe, Arizona.
What do you do for/with/to bicycles?
I’m the marketing director for Pivot Cycles and BH Bikes. Pivot Cycles makes some of the best-performing full-suspension mountain bikes on the market…and that’s not marketing speak. BH Bikes produces some seriously high-end carbon fiber road bikes. They’re a very large, 100-year-old company based in Spain. We’re the US arm of the company. Among other things, we’re responsible for marketing and distributing BH in the US. I’m in charge of the branding, publicity, marketing, sponsorship, advertising, catalogs, promotion, web site, talking to magazines…and all that other fun stuff for both brands.
What’s the best thing about your job?
Pivot Cycles is enjoying a lot of very exciting momentum right now in that our bikes are becoming extremely popular with consumers as well as the media. I’m excited that I’m a part of that. Pivot is a lot bigger than most people think, and I’m stoked to be able to help it grow even more. Everyone in the company seems really cool so far. Otherwise, I wouldn’t be even be trying it. I really like the idea of having such a visible influence on the branding and visibility of these bikes and the company. The fact that we also have a very high-end road bike company under our roof is also way cool.
What’s the toughest part of your job?
I’m very new to the company…so I haven’t really found anything to annoy me too bad yet. In fact…I actually don’t mind going to an office every day. The one thing of concern out of the gate is that I’ll be on “the other side” of the bicycle industry. I’ve worked on the magazine side for 14 years. Being part of the magazine side is highly visible and somewhat influential. Me and my ego liked that.
What was the path that led you to work with bicycles?
I have a history of taking what I love to do…like riding bikes, skiing, etc…and making it a profession. I was very into skiing when I was young, so I went and got a job as a ski instructor and then as a lift operator while in high school and college. After I graduated college, I worked as a child counselor and then as a police dispatcher, though I didn’t really love that stuff. It sucked, so I decided to go back to grad school. I was kind of just going through the motions of grad school, not really into it. I was very into mountain biking at the time, and picked up a few issues of Dirt Rag at Blue Mountain Sports in Jim Thorpe, PA. One particular issue had a help wanted ad for Distribution Manager for the magazine. I immediately sent a really creative cover letter and resume. Basically it was only about two weeks from the day I sent the resume to the day I was in the office working. Mo and Elaine gave me a huge chance, and I just went with it.
What was your first bicycle?
My first proper two-wheeler was a blue Sting Ray-like Schwinn. It just went from there. Got another Schwinn and a couple other BMX-style bikes. From the start I was always into tinkering with them, jumping and racing. Kind of odd since today, I really don’t like the whole idea of racing my bike…I’d just rather enjoy my riding for what it is. I do race, but it’s always a more celebratory kind of competitive spirit.
What bike do you currently ride the most?
Living in the center of Antwerp for the past two years, I’d have to say I rode my Surly 1×1 the most…every single day. It’s my “city” bike, and it’s rigged as such. But that bike, along with the rest of my stable of bikes, is on a ship on the Atlantic ocean right now. So I pretty much just grab a Pivot Firebird or BH Prisma out of our demo fleet when I go out for a ride.
Where is your favorite place to ride?
There’s a location right in Philadelphia. I’m not so sure it’s too legal to ride there, so I won’t mention the name here…locals know it very well. It’s more of a “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy between the people who build and ride the trails, and the city…but everyone is cool. There are a series of extremely technical and tight singletrack trails in there. I’ve ridden all over the world, but this place is easily my most favorite place to ride. Then there’s the Broad Mountain Loop up above Jim Thorpe, Pennsylvania. It’s not the most technical trail, though there are a bunch of options to make it technical. But I love it there. It’s where I first got into mountain biking, and there is a great spot along the trail perched high on the mountain, giving great views of the Lehigh River below. Very peaceful place for me.
What music goes through your head while you ride?
I’m not into riding with music in my ears. I’d rather enjoy being outside by hearing the wind and all the other ambient outside noises. I also feel like it won’t let me concentrate on the ride, and that I might miss some sort of warning sound…like an approaching rider, a car or a bear. However, I do sing the occasional punk rock and children’s song to myself while I ride.
What are your interests aside from bicycles?
Traveling with my family. Soccer. Beer. Snowboarding. Reading. Music.
If you weren’t working around bicycles, what do you think you’d be doing?
I don’t know, and I shudder to think what I’d be doing. I gave the true corporate world a spin for about two years, and it totally blew. Though I concede I learned a TON while doing it. I’m pretty sure I’ll always be involved with the bicycle world in some manner, much to the financial dismay of the rest of my family. If I truly get sick of the bike industry, I could see me in some other parallel industry like outdoor sporting goods, music or…digging ditches.
Please share one of your favorite stories you’ve seen or been a part of while involved with the bicycle industry…
I originally wrote this question, and wondered why not a lot of people would write answers. And now I see how difficult it is…there are a million crazy stories I can come up with…a lot of them from within the walls of Dirt Rag, of course. But it’s better to tell them in person.
Who would you choose for the next subject for the Bicycle Industry Insider Profile Series?
Daniel Powell of Portland Design Works
DPow is an extremely intelligent, well-read, confident and creative personality who had the balls to pick up everything and move to Portland, Oregon to start his own business in the bike industry. Bikes are obviously a huge part of his life, but there’s much more to him than bikes. I think it’d be interesting to hear his story.
Photo: Lockwood climbs the Koppenberg on a singlespeed!