People have been asking what I’ve been up to since my unexpected departure from Serotta, the company…. So here’s an update!
First I have to say that I continue to be amazed and appreciative for the outpouring of support for my family and me along with the accolades for past accomplishments. Collectively, these gestures from friends, family and fans deliver a potent life fuel at a critical juncture for us. We are all the more determined to convert this fuel into future exciting and rewarding projects.
When I was asked to leave Serotta it took more than a few days to put the concept of being disconnected from a 41-year effort into a past tense mindset. Actually, it’s a process that I am still working on. It reminds me of rides I’ve had, when my initial in-the-zone tranquility was suddenly broken by a fury of horrific weather- wind, rain and fog to the point you can’t really see what’s ahead. Looking for options, I instinctively take whichever road looks most likely to lead to higher ground so that I might have better perspective on the best route to take. It’s usually a good decision. And it’s an apt metaphor for this moment in my life.
The good news is I see great opportunity in many directions. At the moment I’m in the process of whittling down a list of about 20 ideas into no more than 9 options- three each in short, medium and long-term projects. Although challenging, it’s an energizing process.
My three short term projects are: re-engage the bicycle fitting community in which I had played such an active role in creating; launch a personal, non-commercial blog site; and provide consulting services. The medium and long-term lists are still too lengthy and undefined to risk sharing. What I can say is that there will be incredible bikes and transformational ideas about business and I’m looking forward to partnering with a handful of like-minded people. I know it may sound brash, but aiming higher is how I roll.
The world of bike fitting has quietly transformed how the industry approaches its customers. Instead of “how can I sell this product to a customer?” we now ask: “how can I provide the best cycling experience so that my clients want to ride more?” It’s gratifying to be able to look in from the sidelines and see the progress, yet there’s always more that can be done. In the coming weeks I’ll be participating in the Medicine of Cycling Conference in Colorado Springs and later will address the ISCO symposium in Munster, Germany. In addition I’m hoping to able to be more directly supportive of SICI, the school that launched the new age of bike fit.
Now in its 15th season and under the stewardship of Christopher Jacobson, SICI is still one of a very few- perhaps the only- teaching organization within the cycling community that remains completely brand-neutral, just as it was when I first founded it. Its transparent philosophy and ever-evolving, effective hands-on approach to learning continues to draw students from the cycling and medical communities who come from around the world for its programs.
Blog site, BenSerotta.com
My personal blog site is getting its window dressing as I write. The genesis goes something like this. I’ve had my psyche beaten down by a rough couple of years in the business. There’s a lot that needs to be said at the right time in the right medium, but for now what I have realized is that in the midst of all the negativity, every time I get out on a good ride, or reconnect with great people, the poisons drain out and I rediscover the positive.
Actually, in fairly short succession I’ll be running two blog sites. BenSerotta.com is where I’ll talk about what I am doing and a second site, which will come on later this year will be a running celebration of the positive-people, places and things connected with my cycling life. You can think of it as a cross between the Robb Report and Conde Nast for cycling. I’ll also be inviting some of my trusted friends to participate as contributors. I expect to launch that site by the end of October and will announce on Facebook, Linkedin and in a general media release.
A long time ago I’d had some inadequate advice from a Harvard MBA turned professor and advisor. Later on, I was introduced to a consultant who was pretty much on it, but I ran up a pretty good tab by first teaching him about the bike industry before we really got down to my business. Both times what I needed was someone with cycling industry experience who could efficiently and effectively evaluate my business challenges and offer fresh insight, helping me identify realistic options. At other junctures what I could have used was a short term or part time champion executive to help implement a strategic initiative or to help evaluate potential investors. After serving as an officer in the Military, Bill Watkins, built a highly successful business career primarily in medical compression garments where his executive and leadership skills built an International success story. The point is, over our years in business, we’ve made plenty of mistakes to go along with the good decisions, and have learned from them all. Together, with our combined 70 years of business experience, we can provide a broad range of support services from short term assessments to direct engagement while implementing solutions including advising on capital resources and M&A on either side of the table.
That’s all for now. It’s another glorious September day here in the Northeast so I’m taking my daily dose of saddle time. So thank you again for your interest and support,…and as always keep your ideas and comments coming.
Hope to see you on the road,
Ben – You are an inspiration sir. I am looking forward to following your transition! Fair and following winds!
Good to hear from you Ben. The high road is almost always the best road.
Wonderful to read this. I’ll be waiting for further updates as the pages turn. Best to you and yours, Ben!
best of luck and riding!
ole uncle pete
I recall a similar sense of disconnection after my short stint at Bicycle and Mountain Bike. There are great things up that high road. Rock on!
The high road is the least traveled one for a reason… congratulations…. I can’t wait to be on your wheel for this adventure!
I will be a regular here, good luck in what ever you do….. ever thought of doing a “How to Build A Bike” Course, From fit to end product? Crazy idea probally….. but i think there are lots of people who like to learn how to build a frame from a master :-)…..
Each industry has its challenges and you’ve probably learned more than you ever wanted to know about how you can be manipulated out of your company by people who promise much but deliver little.
I sincerely hope you can still make custom bicycles bearing your own name.
Business is a crazy thing. It is always hard to combine it with our passion. The best of luck, but then, one creates one’s own luck and you are good at that! I will be watching with my stable of 20+ framesets all branded the same.
I was very disappointed to hear what happened at Serotta. I wish you the best.
Best regards ,
All the best Ben!
Certainly an exciting time Ben, times are ripe for positive change and the industry needs people with the right motivations and ethics. Looking forward to seeing this all develop.
Sounds like a Steve Jobs moment….We shall see where you pop up next, can’t keep an amazing mind away from creation. We appreciate your role in the exposure you have given to the art of crafting custom bicycles. We have been building custom bikes in Florence Italy for 25 years, using the Italian method of measuring bone lengths, body proportions and determining the geometry of a custom frame based on this information mixed with our ingrained Italian bike building intuition to finish off the final geometry. We started offering our frames for purchase outside of Italy 4 years ago. If you ever want to chat we are at formigliusa.com
I have long focused my attention on the hand, handlebar interface regarding bike fit. I will be very interested to see what you develop regarding the total bike fit experience. Good luck.
After a serious cycling accident, I wanted to get back in the saddle and overcome lingering fear from it. I selected an Ottrott to help me on my journey. I visited your factory in Saratoga and enjoyed your hospitality. It has been a total joy to ride that bike, and a very successful comeback. I wish you well on yours and hope someday I’m able to get another Ben Serrota bike! Best wishes, look forward to following your future projects.
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Ben. Great to see you with your head up. Similar experience. I paid for the Mad Fiber prototype – the rest is venture history! Dan
I wish you and your family the vey best with whatever the future brings. Your cycling innovations and personal integrity are second to none.
I purchased a Serotta Colorado last spring. It is a beautiful riding bike and I have enjoyed putting on the miles. The bike is a replacement for a lugged Peter Mooney bike that was stolen from my home. Unfortunately, the bike was not recovered.
Again, best wishes to you and thank you.
Thank you very much for your kind words Patrick…
Sorry to hear of the demise of your great company. Back in 2002, through a local bicycle store, Kingston Cyclery (in Kingston, NY), I ordered a custom built Serotta titanium mountain bike frame which I have enjoyed over the years and will not depart from.
Recently, I have been interested in upgrading the current caliber brakes up to disc brakes. When I brought the frame into Kingston Cyclery yesterday, the head mechanic told me of an issue with the 22 mm. ports on the chainstay and that adaptors for that design are obsolete.
I was wondering if you could lead me to a source that would possibly carry this after market item.
Thank you in advance.
Hello Mr. Serotta,
I hope I’m not imposing by seeking you out about one of your bikes from the 80s, but I’m a non-recovering bike addict who recently bought one of your frames(I think) and would love to find out more about it if possible.
When I started racing in the 80s in Bloomington IN to get ready for the Little 500 bike race, I had a limited budget and limited knowledge about your bikes. I then moved to San Francisco and met a rep for your company who was once part of the 7-11 team, and it was then that I started to appreciate your frames.
I now have a frame with serial#81122 (frame & fork) that could be the 22nd frame built in Nov 1988, according to what seems to be the accepted naming convention used by your company at the time. It has a tab on the underside of the top tube for mounting a racing number, is built with Columbus SLX, and has Shimano dropouts, the rear is semi-vertical. The ends of the seat stays and chainstays where they meet the dropout are not filled with brazing material, which I’ve read was a somewhat common feature of your frames at the time.
The seller got the frame in the late 80s or early 90s from a friend who worked at Specialized in Morgan Hill, CA at the time, and he was told that it was built by you and was a backup team frame that was never used.
I was wondering if you by chance might know anything more about it, or how I might be able to find out more about it. I could send you some pictures if that would help (and if you have the time to look at them). I plan to ride it in the Eroica California ride next year and would really appreciate knowing more about it if possible. It rides like a dream.
Thanks for your time and hope all is well,
Hi Hal, I apologize for the delay in getting back to you. I;m happy that you treasure this older bike, but I’m not in a position to do a look up…. the old production records went along with the hoodlums that bought the company and closed it. Your serial # decoding is pretty accurate though! If I ever do recover any of the production records, I’ll post them….