The Adventure Trend…
Let me tell you what I'm stoked on... This whole adventure / exploration thing that has absolutely exploded in the last few years. Now I'm sure you didn't just spit out your coffee in amazement (Oh really? No way!) that 'Ol Jeffy is excited about the trend that everyone else in the industry is also excited about right now and using to hawk their product. And I realize that bike industry trends are often viewed with suspicion, as in "They're just trying to sell me something new." Or perhaps you rolled your eyes because, All-City is about to jump on the bandwagon too...
Anyway, hear me out about why I think this is one of the most exciting and sustainable trends/movements to come down the pike in like forever... (and yes, I'm going for a world record of "..." in one blog post)
Basically I see this the whole adventure / exploration thing as incredibly healthy and incredibly important for a number of reasons:
1. It essentially is just about more people doing more cool things where they live and making the most of what they have rather than dreaming of what they don't.
I was out in Colorado recently and a dear friend and resident of that mountainous state told me that he'd really like to come to Minnesota to ride gravel with me. Now for those of you keeping track of such things, I can almost guarantee you that this is the first time in the history of the world that someone from Colorado has actually been covetous of the riding we have in the Midwest.
Photo by Craig Lidner
Why? Because he's seen all the photos of our gravel races and roads and has gotten stoked on them. And why not, there are some absolutely gorgeous inspirational images our there, and the free gravel racing scene is absolutely unbelievable. It's riders encouraging and helping each other out for 100 miles and the positive energy needs to be experienced to be believed.
Do you know why we ride gravel? Because it's what we have. We don't have world class downhilling, or road climbs that go on forever. What we have are farms and corn. And we've made the most out of it by celebrating it and throwing some amazing events around riding what we have. In finding the beauty in our own regional fare.
How cool is that? What does your area have that's unique to it? What can you find?
This movement has sparked new interest in finding the secret roads, the secret dirt, the secret spots in your city, your county, your state. It's going farther, opening yourself up to new experiences, and riding your ass off in the name of seeking something cool for the sake of finding something new.
2. It's not elite racer Europhile worship.
While we absolutely love cycle sport and top level elite racing, the fact is that very few, if any, of us are ever going to be top level racers. It's just not attainable and the equipment those riders are using just isn't that applicable to what we actually do with our bikes. Until recently, almost all of the development and marketing being put out by the big companies were of the Professional, lighter, stiffer, faster, variety. And I could give a rats ass about it. The latest carbon wunderbike doesn't mean shit to me or the way I actually use and operate my bike on the daily. I don't care what the pros do, because those pros aren't doing what I'm doing.
Recently we've seen all the big players jump onto the adventure bandwagon, and they're actually putting out some pretty cool functional bikes and supporting cool projects being done by "regular" people with a dream and a vision. And to me that's progress.
Rather than showcasing something that you will never be, the adventure thing helps showcase what you can become and actually achieve. Anyone can go out and do a sub 24 hour campout, or go for a short tour, or explore an unknown jeep trail, or just spend a whole day getting lost and learning something new.
Even Shimano has jumped on board selling Adventure derailileurs and shifters!
3. More practical bikes.
B-Road, Gravel Grinding, Bike Packing... etc. The latest buzzwords to sell you the newest bikes based on ideas that have been around forever. As someone who cut their teeth on the wisdom of the old Bridgestone catalogs, and as the leader of a brand who has made it their mission to produce fast, functional, racey bikes, that you can actually ride and live with everyday, this is the biggest hallelujah. Riders are demanding more tire clearance from their bikes, they want fender mounts, they want to be able to carry stuff, they want durability, they want to take their experience farther. Yes, yes, yes, yes, and hell yes.