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ASSOS CEO Derek Bouchard-Hall looks back at 2020 and how this year has reshaped his relationship with the bike.
I’ve been a committed cyclist for over thirty years, and a retired pro for nearly 20, but never have I experienced a year in cycling like 2020. While the COVID-19 pandemic has raged, my cycling life has been fundamentally changed.
Gone are the group rides, coffee shop stops, fondos, overseas trips with friends to cycling meccas, and pilgrimages to watch the pro races. Instead I’ve settled into a more isolated and sedentary cycling life of solo rides close to home.
And while I miss that previous cycling life and look forward to its return — which it will — I’ve found my current cycling life no less appealing or meaningful to me. Partly because I’m naturally introverted. And partly because solo rides are so efficient and flexible. But also because it has allowed me to really explore my local roads and appreciate my local environment. Without the distraction of a pack of riders, I am far more observant of the outdoors around me and am able to appreciate the scenery much more. I’m also more likely to try new routes and to stop to check something out when I’m on my own. My focus is no longer on the chainstays in front of me — and that has advantages.
As for 2021, it looks like we will continue to face challenges to returning to our previous cycling lives at least through spring — and likely beyond. But news of a vaccine is very promising, and I think we can hope that by the time the years runs out, the worst of the crisis will have passed. We at ASSOS certainly aren’t letting the crisis delay us from achieving our goals. We are operating at full speed ahead — with remarkable new product development efforts coming to fruition in 2021. I’ll just disclose that we have new shorts and jersey platforms coming which you won’t want to miss. Yes, we are still finding ways to improve our bib shorts!
You have probably already seen that we have embarked on an enhanced partnership with the team formerly known as NTT Pro Cycling. Introducing, Team Qhubeka ASSOS! We are really proud to support this organization and their mission to support the Qhubeka charity, which is using bicycles to change the lives those needing increased mobility in Africa. An underdog team it may be, but with remarkable talent and dedication and a purpose which is absolutely inspiring. I think the whole cycling world will be cheering for their success next year.
So, join me in the months ahead continuing to enjoy cycling less as a social endeavor, and more as a personal adventure of your local outdoor environment. And before you know it, we all will be back traveling and riding together like before we ever knew what coronaviruses were.