What a Year!
By Brandon Castelli
As we release our latest issue, I’m happy to say the year 2020 is behind us. While things got a bit hectic, some good came out of the year as well. I want to take a second here to highlight the ups and downs the year 2020 had to offer.
LENDING A HELPING HAND
Some of the most inspiring moments of the year were when I saw companies helping in every way they could during the COVID pandemic—from clothing companies like Dakine and Kitsbow turning their sewing efforts into making masks for first responders to eyewear companies like 100%, Fox, Fly and Giro donating eye protection. Industry Nine offered to retool its CNC machines and make them available to assist in components for ventilators. Even Muc-Off found a way to get involved by offering lotion to first responders suffering from rashes due to extended time wearing face masks. Of course, many other companies helped in this global effort, and for those not mentioned here, I apologize and commend you for your great work.
THE RISE OF ZOOM CALLS
Although we weren’t able to gather with our cycling industry friends, it was nice being able to see and discuss new products through video calls. Okay, maybe “nice” is an overstatement here. I’m sure many of you cringe at the words “Zoom call,” but I found it quite helpful having these opportunities to discuss and connect.
A few companies even came up with creative ways to keep their products hidden from the media by sending boxes with locks on them, along with a message saying to call them on a specific date. Once we jumped on a call with the companies, we were able to unlock the box they sent us and see the product for the first time in front of their marketing team and designers.
The best perk of being a magazine editor is flying out to meet with companies and ride their new bikes before they are launched publicly. Seeing trip after trip canceled was crushing; however, I learned a new appreciation for the trails that are within riding distance from my home. I know many people who aren’t that lucky when it comes to local trail networks, so I’m forever grateful I was able to keep my two-wheel passion alive during the height of the lockdowns.
MORE PEOPLE ON BIKES
Bike sales were at an all-time high this year, which is a great thing for the sport of mountain biking. As more people hop on bikes, even low-end department-store ones, they’ll hopefully catch the same spark you and I have for this sport. Hopefully, many of these new riders discover just how fun riding a bike can be and may upgrade or want to learn more as they grow into the sport. Although our trails have been busier than ever, it’s heartwarming to see families spending time together outdoors.
The year 2020 brought some interesting technology and ideas to the cycling world, such as virtual races and events. The biggest, of course, being Sea Otter Play, but that’s not all. Many riders discovered the power of Swift, a stationary trainer you place your real bike on and race with other riders from your living room, garage or home office. Sure, it’s not the same bar-banging action you get while riding side by side with other riders, but the technology makes riding indoors way more social and a lot more fun.
RETURNING TO NORMAL
As we work our way through 2021, I believe we will see a larger and more exciting cycling industry than we’ve ever seen before. I truly think our favorite events will be more special and our connections more meaningful. I think racers will push that much harder, and freestyle riders will impress us with tricks never thought possible. This unfortunate event may have ruined our plans for the year, but I truly believe it’s the catalyst to bigger events, stronger athletes, and greater camaraderie within our cycling family.
Mountain Bike Action is a monthly magazine devoted to all things mountain biking (yes, that’s 12 times a year because we never take a month off of mountain biking). It has been around since 1986 and we’re still having fun.