There is an argument to be made that I was never really in the loop. Despite working in the industry for more than a decade, I’ve always tucked myself away in a far corner. I’m not standing by as wind-tunnel testing is conducted. I’m not looking at clay models of aero frame designs. I’m not walking the corridors of velo-power discussing pro-team sponsorships or hydration aid tie-ins.
Still, when I was sitting at a desk and selling bikes across the globe I had to be tuned in to the latest component releases. I had to assimilate the marketing line on the best new stuff. Of course, I have a fairly microscopic bullshit filter, so the things I sold my customers were always things I believed would deliver a killer ride. The point is, I had to know what more than them. I had to have opinions and those opinions needed to be backed up with something like common sense.
When the pandemic struck, I stepped away from everyday selling and marketing. I had been carrying this stress burden related to the death of my father, and then my brother, and the simultaneous diagnosis of my mother’s breast cancer, and despite loving my job and the people I worked for, I had to take a break. People talk about what a hard year 2020 was, but my 2019 was a shit show performed at Mach speed. When the pandemic halted everything, I was ready to sit the f*$k down for a minute.
Of course, that pause gave me the opportunity to join in the launch of TCI here, and really to refocus my work on writing. #blessed and all that. Another unforeseen consequence of stepping back was getting out of the churn of product hype, release, and diffusion. No one is clamoring for my attention anymore, to sell their stuff.
I like it.
During this ontological reset, I’ve really enjoyed getting back to basics. Riding my bike. Riding my bike with friends. Riding my bike without thinking too hard about my bike and everyone else’s bike. Just feeling happy to feel the road and the dirt under my wheels, to exchange some (not usually very) witty banter, and to allow myself to be a cyclist, one among many.
Call me blissfully out of touch.
And so, at the risk of going back down whatever wormhole the industry has on offer today, this week’s TCIF asks, what’s cool right now? What are the hot bits of cycling equipment that have you plotting and scheming, and/or putting aside your hard earned? Did the industry just skip 2020 from your POV, so overwhelmed by demand that they told their engineers to take a breather and think about 2021 or even 2022. Have I actually missed nothing?