Time is a crazy thing.
I am writing this post in mid-July for a late fall release and I have no idea what will happen between me writing this and the date this publishes, but one thing is for certain, time will ever advance.
In July, we were hit with a second peak of the first wave of SARS-COV19 that was stronger than the first one during the spring. The only thing different is there is an overwhelming majority of younger people (18-40 YO) infected this go. The demographic with the most to lose took the highest risks and paid for it and in turn probably made life more difficult for others.
Those of us in the action sports industry, specifically the bicycle industry, has seen a significant increase in sales and demand. This increase has had the obvious benefits of increased revenue but it came with an unforeseen negative. Undue stress.
Stress from not having a product, stress from the throngs of customers, new and existing, stress from long hours helping all who need it, stress from not being able to help everyone, and most of all, stress from not taking the time to get out and ride. The single most important thing any of us can do is to keep riding, keep us connected to not just the products we sell and repair, but to keep us connected to the love of why we are in this business in the first place.
We here have seen an insurmountable increase in sales and questions about cycling. People pulling out old beaters, scouring Craig’s List and other online selling platforms, and even brand new on the sales floor. Bikes are hot, and not just hot but we are talking center of the sun, hot and we are doing all we can to keep up. Not get ahead but just keep up. Long hours in the shop repairing, countless emails, and phone calls begging companies to ship products they either don’t have or can’t get. Companies selling off their warranty stock and looking through every corner of their warehouses for products that sold already. It is endless for everyone on the inside of the walls of a shop.
Don’t take this as me complaining, nothing can be further from the truth. We have been sold out of mountain bikes under $1500 for a while and they sell as they are unboxed. The same goes for road and fitness bikes. This brings me to the point I am really pushing it, however. Though this global pandemic is the scariest thing humanity has dealt with in recent memory, especially here in the USA with a less than stellar response and action, it has brought something totally unexpected. A side-effect, a flow to the ebb if you will. It brought love.
For every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction. This pandemic has brought death, sadness, loss both emotional and physical on a biblical level. The antithesis of loss is love. The love of cycling has grown globally as a direct result of this pandemic. We have seen this not just here in California, not just across the US, but on a real, measurable, global scale.
This will not replace the hundreds of thousands who have passed away because of the disease, nor will it help the millions globally who are sick, but what it did is reinvigorate a love of an invention created in 1817. Over 200-years ago, a simple, human-powered machine was invented and it changed everything. In this time there have been ups and downs in what became a global industry that is billions of dollars strong. However, this industry, though sometimes cruel and often times unusual has done one thing constantly. For the last 207 years, the bicycle has remained steadfast, an investment into the human soul. An instrument of love that continues to bring joy to millions around the world.
So, in these dark days, we have a light. The light that comes from our own souls, something that anyone who has ever ridden a bicycle will see. That light is nothing less than love. Now the bicycle may not get us out of this pandemic and it for sure won’t issue us a cure. What it will do is shine a light for us when all seems darkest. When hope is at its lowest point, get on your bike, ride it – even if just around the block. Let the love shine from you and bring you hope and joy. Connecting you with the first riders back 200-years ago.
As I said, time is a strange thing. It is said it heals all wounds, it is never-ending and yet ever-changing. Nothing stays the same except one thing. Love.