10 Ways to Use Your Smart Trainer Demo Center to Create a Cycling Community

The fact is: you’re at ground zero of the cycling community. Every day your shop’s doors are open, your staff sell bikes, provide services and chat with fellow cyclists. Maybe you sponsor a local team, host group rides or have route maps readily available.

In addition to helping staff sell more trainers, the demo center can also help you create and grow a community of cyclists connected to your shop.

1. Get a Smart Trainer

If you do anything off this list, make it this one. Set up your demo center, keep it running at all times and provide any rider the chance to “feel” how a smart trainer works. Why? Because it creates an in-store experience that the Internet simply cannot replicate.

2. Invite Riders to be a "Demo Rider" on Weekends.

This could be a seasonal shop employee with low winter hours, a shop sponsored team rider, or a good customer who rides a lot. Invite them to do their Jan/Feb base miles in the store on Sat/Sun so customers can witness another’s experience on the trainer and ask questions.

3. Host a Virtual Shop Ride.

Invite customers to join you on a ride from the comfort of their own home using CVT or Zwift to host a virtual ride. Use web and social media to promote the event, invite customers into the store to demo smart trainers and related apps so they understand what a virtual ride is.

4. Create a Strava Club for Your Shop.

Strava provides a weekly ranking of club members by miles ridden, longest ride, and most climbing. Every Monday morning you can check Strava to see the top 3 club members for each category. Host a virtual Tour where Most Miles, Longest Ride, Most Climbing get the “leaders jerseys”. Offer swag or product prizes to the winners each week.

Plus, CVT and Zwift can be synced with your Strava account, which means you can use Strava to run store club promos all winter- or year-long, even if it’s snowing, cold, and riders are forced inside.

CycleOps indoor trainer

5. Connect with or Host a Virtual Charity Ride.

In December 2016 Zwift partnered with World Bike Relief for their 2nd annual Zwiftathon. There’s no reason you can’t get in on the charity ride movement.

Host a virtual ride for a local charity or a bikeathon fundraiser for a cycling-focused organization like Ride 2 Recovery or as part of a GoFundMe for a local rider who is recovering from an accident. Make it your own. Bring it local.

6. Create an Online Race Series.

From weekly crit training series to base mile prep, these week day training races can bring in riders from across the country on either CVT or Zwift.

7. Virtual Time Trial with Entry Fee.

Using the in-store demo center, charge $5 for unlimited entries into the virtual time trial on either a weekly or monthly basis. At the end of the week or month the shop totals up the entry fees and offers gift cards to the Top 3 winners. The gift cards are already paid for and the shop generates store visits. Win-Win.

8. Winter Solstice Ride.

Just as there are the "Longest Day" rides for the Summer Solstice, do a Virtual “Shortest Day” ride from sunrise to sunset using CVT or Zwift. Bonus points if you tie to the shop’s Strava Club.

9. Virtual Tour on CVT.

Run a Tour De France style race or ride using routes around the world. Have the tour last through the month of January or February as prep for moving to outdoor riding in March. We recommend incorporating two rest days per week and offering swag as prizes.

10. Show a Local Blogger the Ropes.

Does anyone in your shop know a blogger? Invite them to do one of these events in store using your demo center, welcome them into the community and ask them to write about their experience.

Cyclist on indoor trainer