Sea Otter 2024 Recap

Sea Otter 2024 is done and dusted and what a show it was! Perfect weather, great friends, two really fun rides, and a few cold beers after work each day made the time fly by.

The show dates for Sea Otter 2024 were 4/18/24 – 4/21/24 (Thursday through Sunday). However, the actual work for the show started way back in November of 2023 as bike frames were under construction, artwork for the frames was being designed, and parts were being ordered. We were also securing hotel space for our crew (as well as making sure our crew was ready to go) and getting everything sorted out with launch products for the show as well. Additionally, we needed to create new t-shirts (retro design- email us if you are interested in one as we have both men’s and women’s) and new decals (window style decals that look great on your car) to make sure those were ready for the show.

Of course, no matter how far in advance we plan things out for the show, some things just do not go smoothly and we end up scrambling until the last possible minute. Whether it was waiting on parts from certain vendors to show up (literally 4 days before we were set to leave and we still needed to build 3 bikes from the ground up) to photography sessions that required a lot of back and forth, we faced many uphill challenges that we were able to conquer.

On top of all of that, media outreach starts about 4 weeks out from the show so we can invite journalists, influencers, and photographers to the booth to check out new products and get exposure for the brand. Reaching out to media is always fun as we have taken great pride in developing good relationships with journalists and photographers over the last decade. Those relationships are part of what makes the event so much fun. The media presence adds to the buzz of the show and without them stopping by the booth we would just be talking to ourselves all day. Instead, through the reach of the media, we are able to reach larger audiences than just on our own. Thus, email invites are sent and fingers are crossed that they will come by the booth. This year went particularly well.

The weekend before Sea Otter is when the fun truly begins. We start loading up the van on Friday afternoon and continue to fill it up over the course of the weekend with the goal of driving down on early Monday morning. This year we were building bikes through Sunday afternoon so the stress levels were high to say the least. The good news is that we got it all done and were able to enjoy a little bit of relaxing time before going to be early in preparation for the long drive the next morning.

Monday morning we rolled out and 14 hours later we arrived in Seaside, California at our hotel. There were multiple stops along the way, fuel was refilled, fast food was consumed, and there may or may not have been some video blogs that may or may not see the light of day. When you are driving by yourself for first 10 hours and you have a video camera attached to the front window, things can get a little goofy when the radio is not quite “doing it for you” any longer….

Bike Build Time is one of the most fun moments of setting up the booth

Tuesday and Wednesday were setup days for the booth. Taking our time allowed us to not be stressed with booth prep and it also allowed us to sneak in some rides in the afternoon as these were the only days we were able to get out for riding. On Tuesday we rode the famous 17 mile road loop, while on Wednesday we rode one lap of the new gravel race course (24 miles with 2400 feet of climbing). The gravel race course was fantastic and definitely one I would be interested in racing on in the future but only if time allowed in the booth.

Thursday morning was show time and from Thursday through Sunday it was non-stop. Up until about 10 years or so ago, there was a show called “Interbike”. This was an industry exclusive event that took place once a year (usually in Las Vegas) where the industry gathered to launch products and for dealers to place orders. Sea Otter always functioned primarily as a massive weekend of racing with a great expo, but never really as “THE” industry event as that was always Interbike. Then Interbike went away due to a change in the business climate and there was a vacancy within the calendar year for some sort of trade show for industry people to gather and conduct business. Sea Otter evolved into that trade show.

While the focus is still on consumers and racing (thankfully), industry meetings and product launches are becoming the norm at the show. It’s not uncommon for product managers to be fully booked up with meetings for the first 2 or 3 days all the while consumers check out the latest and greatest products that brands have to offer. It really has become the perfect union for the bike industry: a consumer focused show with racing and events all weekend, while also becoming the perfect meeting place for brands to collaborate on new projects or keep existing business relationships going.

Booth tear-down begins at 2pm on Sunday and usually takes a few hours. It’s amazing to see this small city that popped up over the course of 2-3 days at the beginning of the week get completely torn down in a matter of a few hours. I guess people are motivated to go home as we are all exhausted. As for the Sage crew, we usually have a nice dinner to cap off the week and say our goodbyes before we all head home the next day.

Monday morning is travel day again and another 14 hour drive in the van. By the end of this drive, I will be thoroughly wiped out. Unloading and unpacking of the van will take place over the next day or two as well as catching up on emails and some well deserved nap time. After everything that happened during the week and in the lead up to the event, I am already excited to start planning for next year because it is never too late to start planning… Only 50 weeks to go….