Basic Bicycle Maintenance at Home

Thursday, January 28, 2010 4 comments
Borrowed from our friend James at Jack & Adams...

Even though the mechanics at Jack and Adams are more than happy to work on your bikes, there are a few things that you can do at home to keep your bike in good working order. One of the most important things is to keep the proper air pressure in your tires. If your tires have the right amount of air in them, not only will it be easier to ride, but you will get less flats and your tires will last a lot longer.

Another important thing to do is to keep your chain properly lubricated. If you keep your chain properly lubed it will not only work better but your bike will run smoother and the life of your chain will be prolonged quite a bit.

The easiest way to make your bike last longer and look better is to keep your bike clean. Not everyone can use a hose and bucket at home, but anyone can at least wipe down the bike with a Grease Monkey Wipes if it is just a little dirty. When you keep your bike clean, everything not only works better, but it will help lengthen the life of your drivetrain and help you to find any issues with your bike whether it is finding a crack in your frame or simply keeping your hands clean when you have to change a flat. I try to wash my bike at least once every couple of weeks under normal riding conditions and after every ride that is wet or muddy.

Shark Tank: Erin's Experience

Sunday, January 17, 2010 15 comments
Do you have any idea how hard it is to keep something as fantastic as Shark Tank a secret for 5+ months? Especially when it includes an outcome such as ours? Well, I can tell you.

Near Impossible.

But we did it. Which means that we have 5 months of catching up to do! To start, I thought I'd give my version of preparing and being in the Shark Tank.

In June 2009, Tim saw a post on Twitter about a tv show looking for new companies. He sent in an application, and then got a request for an audition video. That video will probably pop up at some point, but basically - Tim & I filmed while on our bikes, conversing about our company. The timing was great because I would have to ship my bike off to Idaho for my first Ironman Triathlon a few days later. The producers liked our video and sent us a more detailed application. To be honest, I never entertained the fact that we might be chosen until we received an email saying we were a semi-finalist. At this point, we got excited.

A few weeks later, Tim got the call saying we were chosen to go to LA and film for the show. When Tim let me know, I was so excited that I jumped around the parking lot outside my gym for about 5 minutes. I'm sure I looked pretty crazy to anyone driving by, but little did they know I had just gotten one of the most important phone calls of my life!

Soon after, we had our first conference call with our amazing producers, Bill & Matt. This is when the work began. Tim & I have been running Grease Monkey Wipes for over a year and felt like we had a good idea of our market and a good grasp on our company. However, we wanted to be sure we had answers to everything the sharks might ask us. You might remember that Robert said we had all the answers to his questions. That was not a mistake. We researched and practiced and researched more. In fact, I felt like I was back in business school doing case study after case study. Of course, this case study would be the most important one of my life.

Then there was "the pitch." We knew we had to have a solid, compelling pitch to interest the sharks. Producers Bill & Matt gave us so much important feedback. They listened to us for weeks until they felt we had the best pitch possible. I can still remember Tim & I practicing it over and over. We paid attention to the smallest details, even taking note of where each of us felt most comfortable standing relative to one another!

Before we knew it, our big weekend arrived. Everything sunk in once we arrived at our hotel and were given instructions on how to proceed for our stay. Meetings + practice + post-practice meetings. Tim & I continued to rehearse our pitch and go over all the possible shark questions we could think of. I will say - we were ready!

Fast forward to us waiting behind the big wooden doors... opening them... and walking down the hallway towards the sharks. I never really had time to get nervous until we stood before them and waited for our cue. My heart slowly made its way up towards my throat and I was sure the microphones could hear it thumping! We heard the cue, and Tim started our introductions. Believe it or not, all the sharks were smiling at us! At that point, I realized, "this is fun!" and the nerves started to fade. As we continued our pitch, I became completely focused on showing the sharks just how great Grease Monkey Wipes are. Tim was phenomenal at answering the shark's detailed questions, and together we did our best to prove ourselves and our business.
Yes, it was disappointing when Kevin O said he was out. Then Kevin H also said he was out, followed by Daymond. At least Daymond said that he like us and he liked the company. Then Barbara said no. Still disappointing, but at least so far, no one thought Grease Monkey Wipes was bad business - instead, we just weren't the business for them.

At that point, all our hope was on Robert. I felt deep in my gut that he wanted to be part of our team, but I knew we had to prove to him that WE were worth the investment. We had proven our business acumen, but now it was time to prove our HEART.
Robert asked, "Erin, in one sentence, why should I give you the money?"

I will take that question with me to the grave! This is when I gave it my all, and Tim backed me up. Then we waited as Robert thought and thought... and then we heard "I'm on board."

YES!!!!! We did it!!! But it got better.... before we could even realize what was happening, Barbara was on board too! We had hoped for one investor, but to get two? It was all I could do not to jump around again! We shook their hands and then made the return trip down the hallway. It's possible that Tim and I were so excited that we actually floated back down that hallway.

Fast forward again to this past Friday night. Tim and I held a watch party in Austin. It was surreal to see ourselves on TV, and yet we still couldn't share what happened. Our friends cheered and cheered (and boo'ed whenever a shark said no.) Then it was over, and we could FINALLY talk about our experience and celebrate!
Here we are thanking the 130+ people that came to the watch party. Meanwhile, our website was crashing because we had so much traffic. (A 4700% increase to be exact!) Emails & orders were piling in!

It's been 2 days since the show, and I am still floating on air. The response and feedback has been amazing. When Tim told me about Shark Tank, I never thought in a million years what it would mean for us. Now, we have two amazing partners that will help us create the "Global Wipes Empire" we have always wanted. (So much thanks goes to Barbara & Robert for believing in us!)

So... thanks for sharing this experience with us! Please continue to follow along and see what happens in Grease Monkey World! Expect Grease Monkey domination soon!
Cheers & Thanks
-Erin

Lastly, if you haven't checked it out yet, please visit us at http://www.greasemonkeywipes.com/!

Sneak Peek: Behind the Scenes at Shark Tank

Friday, January 15, 2010 85 comments
Today is our big day! We are so excited to that our friends, families, supporters, customers, fans, etc. get to experience what we experienced back in August 2009.

Here's a sneak peak!

Tim is far and away the "numbers guy." Ask this guy how many bike shops there are in the US, or what annual sales were in 2005, or exactly how many Grease Monkey Wipes we sold in July 2008... he knows it. Here he is studying during our flight to LA.
We got to spend Saturday wandering around Los Angeles. We found this shirt for Tim, which had the perfect message, but just didn't seem his style.
Now for a little secret about Team Grease Monkey Wipes. In order to mentally prepare ourselves for big meetings, we find a nearby deli. In LA, we studied our Yiddish at Factor's Deli.Onto Sunday, which was filming day. Here is Erin hanging out in the trailer. What you can't see is her token trick of staying calm by doing crossword puzzles.

This is Matt, one of our producers, taking the cruiser bike for a spin around the studio. We had 2 of the most amazing producers you could ask for. Every week we had phone conferences with them as they helped us, guided us and fought for us. We were lucky to have Matt & Bill on our side throughout this experience.


Here we are hanging outside the trailer with Producer Bill. We seem to be in an unintentional "Power-Stance" gearing up for our pitch.



And that's about all we can share for now. Please tune in tonight to see how it all turns out. Again, we want to give a HUGE thank you to everyone has has supported us along our journey. We couldn't do it without you!

Grease Monkey in the Austin Business Journal

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Grease Monkey to appear on ABC’s ‘Shark Tank’
By Laura Mohammad

You have a great start for an entrepreneurial business. But you need venture capital. So you prepare and make the pitch. That’s nerve-racking enough, but imagine making that pitch in front of millions.

That’s what cyclists Erin Whalen and Tim Stansbury did before the five millionaire panelists on ABC’s reality show “Shark Tank.”
“Shark Tank” features entrepreneurs pitching their businesses to five megasuccessful businesspeople in hopes of landing venture capital for taking their companies to the next level.

The drama and humor flow from the panelists grilling the pitchmen and, in some cases, engaging in hardball negotiations. The show featuring Grease Monkey was scheduled to air at 8 p.m. Jan. 15.

Whalen and Stansbury are the founders and owners of Austin-based Kong Concepts LLC. The company makes Grease Monkey Wipes, which are individually packaged, moistened citrus wipes that they say attack grease, oil, tar, ink and adhesives. With a nontoxic, all-natural product, the owners hope to expand beyond the cycling community to moms, the messes their charges provide and beyond.

Whalen and Stansbury saw a Twitter post about “Shark Tank” and decided in June to try out. They went through the application process, which included a five-minute audition tape, were selected as semifinalists, did more paperwork, and by Aug. 16, they were taping at Sony Studios in Los Angeles.

Whalen and Stansbury practiced their pitch together. It took them two weeks to get their material ready, including information on the company’s history, sales projections, how much money they needed, how much ownership they would be willing to trade, and every facet of the product.

“It was like a crash course in business pitches,” Whalen said. “We gave a pitch for three minutes. Then they barraged us with questions.”

Potential investors want to see two things: compelling marketability and assurance that the management team is the right one, said Rob Adams, director of the Moot Corp program at the University of Texas McCombs School of Business.

The inexperienced pitch focuses on the product and its features — “the comfort food of entrepreneurs,” Adams said.

For Whalen and Stansbury, the sharks asked about historical financials, how Whalen and Stansbury came up with the idea, the process of going from idea to having the product in hand, and their intentions for the investment funds.

Whalen said the two would like money to land a national distributor. Right now, the business partners are doing all the sales themselves. They also would like money to travel to trade shows.
“And having their insight would be valuable,” Whalen said of the sharks.

What has Whalen learned? “I can give an elevator pitch off the tip of my tongue really well,” Whalen said. Having done her homework, she can present quickly and effectively now.
While Whalen is obligated to remain mum about the outcome of their “Shark Tank” episode, things are going well for the company.

Whalen and Stansbury have sold 15,000 units, which retail for $1, since June 2008, with a focus on the cycling market. They recently announced that national cycle accessories retailer Paceline Products will begin selling their product this year, increasing distribution from 45 stores to more than 4,800.

Meanwhile, they want more. They see their future in mechanics, moms and motorcyclists.
Whalen and Stansbury met a little over three years ago through Austin du Athletes, a group that focuses on biking and running.

Whalen, an Ironman triathlon alumnus, said the two friends came up with the idea during the summer of 2007. They were fixing a flat tire on a charity bicyle ride in Katy, and they were covered in grease by the time they finished. “And we still had 60 miles to ride,” Whalen said.
The two, both with business backgrounds, started talking about developing a durable wipe that would clean grease and grime — “pretty much anything gross you would get on your hands,” Whalen said.

Whalen said she would do “Shark Tank” again. Riding 150 to 200 miles a week while in training, she hopes to gain nationwide exposure and spread the word of the wipes beyond the cycling community.

“The show might expand our market for us,” she said. “And we hope they decide that we are a viable company and they want to invest in us.”

The triathlete shied away from choosing a favorite shark: “They were definitely intimidating, but I respected the questions that they asked. They were very nice,” she said.

Copyright © 2010 American City Business Journals. All rights reserved.

Shark Tank Tomorrow

Thursday, January 14, 2010 11 comments
Just want to remind all our readers to tune into ABC's Shark Tank tomorrow, Friday, January 15 at 9 PM EST/8 PM CST.  See if Erin and I can swim with the sharks or become chum. Below is an image of Erin's first dive into the tank...



Jerseys That Make a Statement

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The other day I was reading some tweets and the twitterverse seemed to be all aflutter about the site Share the Damn Road.  So being the curious sort I had to take a look.  They have some really cool jerseys that really get point across.  Here is what they say about themselves...

Share The Damn Road was created by professional cyclist Phil Gaimon. Phil was tired of being honked at, buzzed, and cussed out while he trained, and frustrated that the speed of motor vehicles made witty and insulting replies impossible. To solve that problem, he set out to create a line of jerseys that express what he's always wanted to say to passing cars. Get one yourself, and finally experience the joy of having the last word.

The goal is to convey messages of safety and cyclist's rights, but there is an element of humor and frustration, which we feel cannot be denied in the cyclist/motorist relationship, so these jerseys are not for wimps.

So if you are not a wimp and want to wear a jersey that makes a statement check out Share the Damn Road.


Awesome Photos from DCM Photography

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The Grease Monkey Wipes team is so lucky to have amazing friends that help us along the way. Most recently, our friend and fellow cyclist Dave McLaughlin, owner of DCM Photography, did some photo shoots for us, our products and for some fabulous models (fellow triathlete friends Lindsey & George.)

He deserves a big shout out, and a huge recommendation from us in case you are looking for a photographer. Thanks Dave + Lindsey + George!

(Of course, if you like what you see here, make sure to visit our online store because it's all for sale!)








Strolling into the Tank

Wednesday, January 13, 2010 3 comments
Finally it is getting real.  More and more promos are coming out about our journey into the Shark Tank.  Check out the clip here for another peek into our upcoming episode.  Daymond promises to make someone "filthy rich."  Could it be us?  Tune in Friday, January 15 at 9 ET/8 CT to find out.

Tim's Tips: Proper Air Pressure

Tuesday, January 12, 2010 6 comments
There are a lot of questions out there about how much air a road bike tire should have.

This has been a hot topic among wheel and tire manufacturers and most of the major companies have put a lot of time and money into testing what is really faster. Nearly every test had the same results. Most people were a little surprised about the results. The tests showed that the pressure that had the least amount of rolling resistance was actually around 90 psi. The general rule of thumb up to this point was the higher the pressure, the less resistance you had. Most people simply aired their tires up to whatever the tire was rated to. What the tests showed was that when the tires were aired up to more than 120psi the tire actually bounced on the small bumps that all pavement has. This bouncing caused the tire to lose momentum and it took more effort to keep the tire going at the same speed. When the tire was aired up to 90psi the tire deformed over the bumps and kept the momentum going.

This same result also showed up when using 23mm tires versus smaller "faster" tires. The 23mm tires deformed over the bumps and the 19mm tires bounced on the bumps. If you want to know more about these tests, here is one that is pretty good and it shows you how to figure out exactly what your perfect pressure is for you weight and tire size.

http://thelazyrando.wordpress.com/tag/bicycle-quarterly/

Sneak Peek

Sunday, January 10, 2010 5 comments
Here is a top secret image taken from this week's episode of the Shark Tank.

Epic battle of monkey vs shark. Who will win?

Simply Too Funny...

Wednesday, January 6, 2010 5 comments
Every now and then I find myself taking cycling too seriously, and I have to stop and remind myself I ride because I love it and when you strip it down like that it becomes fun again. I found this great blog post over on the Jack & Adam's blog that really made me laugh and brought it all into perspective. Great post Sam.

Tim's Tips: Eating

Tuesday, January 5, 2010 6 comments
The biggest food mistake recreational cyclists make is eating too much on short rides, says Allen Lim, chief of sports science and technology for Slipstream Sports. On rides that last less than two hours, leave energy foods at home. You're not burning enough to warrant the extra calories.

Eat complex carbohydrates with fiber and protein two-and-a-half hours before riding. Try oatmeal with yogurt and eggs, and steer clear of sugary foods like doughnuts. "They give you an insulin spike," says Lim. "Your blood glucose levels rise, and an hour later you get a sugar low and feel like total dung."

If you're riding long, don't try to subsist on energy gels, sports drinks and bars, which consist primarily of processed sugar and aren't meant for sustained energy. A savory snack, such as a turkey sandwich, provides a break for the palette and the stomach (remember, at lunchtime it's expecting a meal), as well as some needed protein and fat.

The ultimate on-bike snack: potatoes, which are an abundant source of potassium, sodium, fluid and carbohydrates.

So get your potato on and jump on the bike and ride.

See ya Trek...Astana's riding Specialized in 2010

Monday, January 4, 2010 4 comments
Alberto Contador and his Team Astana mates will be riding Specialized bicycles as he strives to win a third Tour de France in 2010.

“It is very important to have the best if you want to win the Tour de France. This is why I made it a requirement to have Specialized as the team bike for my return to Astana,” said Contador during a video conference with the company’s founder and president, Mike Sinyard.

Chief brand officer Ben Capron said Specialized was “totally committed to supporting Alberto and the rest of the team in their pursuit of another Tour victory.”

“Winning the Tour has been a dream of ours for many years, but even more important is the opportunity to work with riders like Contador and (Alexander) Vinokourov to help us create the best bikes possible and bring them to riders everywhere.”

The company has already worked with Astana’s general manager, Yvon Sanquer, when he was with Team Festina during 1999-2001.

“I could see the professional attitude that animated the company; they never stopped developing and improving the material they supplied to the riders,” he said at the team’s training camp in Pisa, Italy. “Since then, Specialized has continued its progression to become the reference point in road bikes.”