Actions on the Bike, Both Big and Small
Building the self, building the community
From Everesting to really, really, really long rides – I saw a lot of cyclists taking up ambitious challenges this past season. It was great to see those riders pushing themselves and hitting some impressive numbers. The challenges could also be entertaining, like Bart Egnal’s half-everest (p.15). But I got a kick out of the small things, too, which is why I contacted the Contagious Mountain Bike Club when I had heard about the Whitehorse group’s bike bingo. It featured a simple card with 25 bike-related tasks. I especially liked the square that said, “Let out a joyous ‘whoop’ on the trail.” Participants were also encouraged to share photos of the bingo accomplishments online. It was a creative and fun initiative all riders could do that could keep them together as they stayed apart. I tended to focus on the little things. No big numbers for me. Well, I did have a ton of bikes and wheels to test. There have been so many compelling releases this year that have now filled the gear pages of this issue. But as for small things, I worked on my cadence. I expanded my local routes to include a variety of new roads. And all those wheels, and Nick Di Cristofaro’s advice (p.27) have made me less tubeless-tentative. Humble accomplishments, but accomplishments nonetheless. I followed Toronto rider Matthew Cuesta throughout spring and summer. His idea was simple: ride 46 km a day for 46 days in memory of George Floyd. The challenge was life-changing for Cuesta and, it seems, for others too. I’m thinking not so much of Cuesta’s meetings with Toronto police or members of Parliament or the mayor, but other connections he made. He inspired 100 kids to ride 4.6 km and talk about racism. I hope it’s those moments that will continue to resonate and bring about real, positive changes. I’m honoured that Cuesta has told his story in these pages (p.8).
Longtime contributor Melanie Chambers took on a tough topic: offensive mountain bike trail names (p.28). A trail name, which might start as a small thoughtless sophomoric joke, can grow to have a significant negative effect – creating a culture of exclusion. Finding solutions isn’t simple. But they start, I’m sure, with real conversations, away from social media.
Both Cuesta and Chambers have gotten me to look at big, important topics, which I’ll continue to do, bit by bit. Please join me.
“I hope it’s those moments that will continue to resonate and bring about real, positive changes.”