All-City: The Future is Now (an overly sentimental holiday post)
It's the coming of a new year, and with that brings reflection. It's inevitable: year end best lists, resolutions, trying to finish the things that you said you were going to do this year, etc…
Well for me, one of those things is writing more on the blog. Not posts about events, races, bikes, etc. but actually writing, communicating; the thoughts and beliefs that make All-City what it is, and what is was, and what it will eventually become.
Our world is changing, we have grown larger, producing somewhere around 2500 framesets a year now. Still nothing in the grand scheme of the bike industry, but it's a bit like the old starfish chestnut, you know, the child on the shore picking up beached starfish and chucking them into the water. With so many washed up and dying an onlooker says “You can't make a difference.” The child then picks up one more, throws it back to the ocean and declares “made a difference to that one.”
The truth is we are hugely out of step with current trends and fashions in bicycle consumption. There are lighter carbon and alloy options, and there are cheaper steel bikes out there. You might be surprised to learn this, but not that many people really give a rip about a custom brazed on seat collar, internal routing, fancy dropouts, an ED coat, or high quality steel tubing. Which makes it a damn good thing that “bicycle consumption” isn't something that we are interested in at all. The big players in the industry can keep all that. What we're after is to make something that allows and encourages you to live a better life through the simple act of being on your bike more often.
I know every time I swing my leg over a bicycle I learn something new, see something new, improve my health, and feel a whole lot better about myself and the world. The bicycle is that tool for me in my life, and I cherish and deeply love the bikes that have carried me to that greater understanding and happiness. There just aren't a whole lot of things I've found on this planet that do that for me, because of this I want to own a bike that I find beautiful, evokes the great traditions of cycling, will last for years, and is practical for a wide variety of terrain.
And thankfully still, we seem to keep finding new shops and new riders whose values match up with ours, who are true believers, hopeless romantics, lifers in this game…
And getting larger means we can keep improving, making better bikes, better parts…
Our world is changing, and the way folks are riding is changing and we are so fortunate to be able to grow and change with them.
The urban cycling scene started with track bikes and now those riders whose first love was the fixed gear have completely embraced and become enmeshed in all facets of cycling. From racing road, track, crit, and mtb to multiple week trips, thrash rides, camping, and exploring. Our riders, shops, and love embraces them all. Which means we can continue to expand and develop as a brand and make the kinds of bikes we want to make for a wider variety of uses.
This generation is the future of the bike industry.
We are owning more and more of the shops, we've got jobs in the bike industry and are climbing the ranks at all levels and all sizes of companies, we write the blogs, take the photos, print the articles, make the purchases etc…
The bike industry will soon belong to us. Other generations had their chance, and they ran with it and did their thing. Now it's our turn to shape it, mold it, and model the way. We've come so far and things are going to keep getting better, there is no other way. Ideas and change come from the young, not the old. This is our time. We won't be stopped, and we won't back down. Take a look at what's happening in the women's market right now, and you can see how strong and fierce our generation's drive, determination, and heart is. We won't accept the status quo, or business as usual. Things will change. And they will get better.
As far as the year in review, we have a lot to be proud of and thankful for…
Our whole courier team is simply incredible as riders, brand champions, and most importantly, human beings. You inspire us all, and we were incredibly stoked that once again both Austin and Christina were crowned as Cycle Messenger World Champions. The best in the business. World Class.
The race teams we support, Koochella and AC X Fulton continued to do their thing with Koochella continuing their mission of advocating for and tearing down the barriers to get more women involved in cycle racing, even being named the 2015 USAC Track Club of the year. It's a BIG DEAL! The Fulton squad helped to turn out 1400 riders for their Gran Fondo this past spring, and has become the largest cyclocross club in the area, organizing three of this year's local races.
The shops who support us are some of the most unique, fully realized in the world. To a shop, they are built on the passion, heart and soul of the owners and workers and their desire to improve, change, and guide the evolution of the bike shop experience and industry. Some of them are new, small, and scrappy, and some have been fighting the good fight for years now and are established in their cities. They have all opened their doors to us and found room for our bikes and brand and we will be forever grateful.
Which of course leads to the riders, those who out of a sea of options have chosen to spend their hard earned money on an All-City. On a machine that is based on the simple idea that you should fall in love with your bike and ride it forever.
Thank you all for making this dream possible, we pledge to keep improving, using the resources of our growth to better serve underserved riders, to continue to support the communities around this country that make up the fabric of urban cycling, and to continue to stand behind the things we make and put out in this world.
Which brings me to the team behind the brand. I want to thank and acknowledge all of those who have worked on All-City and helped build it into what it is today. Thank you Lisa. Thank you Adam. Thank you Anna. Thank you Amy. Thank you Adam (there were two). Thank you Rusty. None of this would be possible without your hard work and dedication.
And then there is our current roster of Rachel, Saisha, Nick, Nathan, and Andrew. I could not ask for a better group of co-workers and co-conspirators. Obviously I'm biased, but I really do believe that we have built something special at All-City, that the work has meaning, that the smiles and miles of our riders has meaning, and that we are damn lucky to get to be able to do what we do. I'm so glad that we get to do it together.