What will change?

Mike is away in the hinterlands this week, and he's doing the whole series on the survey, so we'll have to wait for the remainder of those posts. We appreciate everyone who took the survey, it is a very interesting look at the market. I'm also leaving it to Mike to announce the contest winner (I don't even know who it is), but one of you lucky people will get $100 off a set of wheels. 

So, Mike's on vacation, and as he went we talked about how weird it will be to not want to go into restaurants or shops or really anywhere except the great outdoors. The GF and I are planning a mountain biking-centered thing next weekend and we face the same deal. You go out and smash it on the mountain bike for a couple of hours and you want nothing more than to go to American Flatbread and stuff your face and have some beers. And maybe being outside there is all cool and everything, I don't know. But the place where we'd normally stay is closed, so maybe we'll camp, but I don't know it's very confusing. 

That's the here and now. What I'm more interested in is what kind of change this longer experience that we're all going through will have. Specifically, what will the aftermath of COVID be on how we use our bikes and who we ride with and how we think about cycling? I think the social justice part of it will have an enormous long term effect (at least I hope it does), but that's not why we didn't have the Ronde and P-R and the Giro thus far, and that's not why basically no one who's reading this has raced this year. Or done group rides. So as societally critical as that part is, I think it has less of a first-order effect on cycling.

Does gravel gain or lose after this? Man was there a lot of focus in the US on gravel this year, and how former pros like Pete Stetina stepping away from the ProTour to do privateer gravel programs, and how ProTour teams like EF had planned to showcase a bunch of gravel and alternate events. I know that the people I ride with have got most of their enthusiasm put into the mixed media events rather than strict road stuff. Will absence make hearts grow fonder?

What about ProTour stuff? Those teams are all hanging on by a thread in the best of times, and now is not the best of times. Will there be some massive reorganization of that whole thing? On the one hand, if they're able to actually run and televise races, the revenue model doesn't change that much because the spectators that aren't allowed to fill the stadiums that cycling doesn't use still aren't buying the tickets they never did. But it's far from certain that the pro race calendar is going to happen this year. I think what a lot of events right now are showing is that COVID can reignite into high gear at almost any time if it's not closely managed. 

With bike shops having sold through like every bike that's under $1000 that would have been available this year, and the supply chain kicked into overdrive to try and refill the inventory, are we about to see the mainstream-i-fication of cycling? Or are the world's garages about to have a whole lot of barely-used toys to grow dust on?

For us here at November, it's actually been a solid year. The bike industry and market is so fluid that ascribing any change to COVID is a useless exercise. But we can say that COVID has not killed our market. Our inbox is somewhat more than full, our order book looks great, and that's about that. It could be that our pattern of slow growth just continues and that's what we see, or we've passed some threshold of awareness, or people need to buy wheels to ease the ennui of so many other things sucking. Hard to say.

How has your riding changed, and what kind of changes do you expect you'll see in the future?


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  • Patrick Carlin on

    I had a full calendar of events planned for 2020 that included some out of state travel and that’s all canceled now. The only upside is that I currently have the best fitness of my life. Amazing what a little extra fee time can do. However, I’m back at work now so I imagine that peak fitness will soon slowly trickle away. I’ll resume doing large events/races and air travel once it’s safe to do so but that’s not looking like anytime soon.

  • Jon B on

    Our charity rides are all cancelled until the end of August. Our local century training team (for fall centuries) starts July 11 with small 5-6 rider groups, rest stops where you pack your own stuff in a bag and SAG has it at the stops, store water in bottles with hydration tablets rather than the large coolers with self serve, and mid week Zwift training rides tailored to the small groups. In Virginia our local club can have outdoor group rides, but we don’t have a sign in sheet anymore. The club also has Tuesday and Thursday night group Zwift rides with Discord.com chat, and that has been a lot of fun. In Richmond, one of the local bike shops was looted completely during the protests, and that business is not coming back, nor are the customer’s bikes that were taken. My whole neighborhood is out riding new bikes. My son in DC has a new commuter electric bike (Gocycle). He is home with us for a few weeks, and we’ve been riding together after work. My wife got the 3 month free Peloton deal and now rides in the attic and quit the gym (which still is not open). My mileage is way up this year. I will be in the market for new wheels in the next year, too. Was going to visit November Bicycles in Newport for my nephew’s wedding in May, but that is postponed until next May. I will visit you then. :) I am now really interested in the 3T Exploro Racemax new frame. If I go that way, they recommend 42 mm tires for the road, and I will look to you for wheels. Our local shops are backed up at least 3 weeks for repairs. I think there are a lot of converts who will continue to ride at least in good weather.

  • Pete on

    I feel herd immunity is our only way out of this, it will take considerable time and probably come at a very high cost in lives lost.

    I’m not a racer and loathe anything having to do with a trainer including Zwift, so nothing has changed for me in those regards. All the “event” rides I’d planned for 2020 have either been canceled, postponed, or will be cancelled. Solo rides have been the overwhelming majority of my miles for the year thus far, but I do sneak in some very small group rides hear and there. Regular club rides are just now starting back up, but I’ve not participated yet. I really do miss those rides and my cycling friends. On a positive note, my son has decided he doesn’t like his dad bod causing him to rediscover his bike, so we’re getting some evening rides in together.

    Be safe and stay healthy!!!

  • Dave on

    Yeah, I’m generally on the same path – we need a vaccine or some sort of mass resistance (the correct word escapes me now) to it (which may come at terrifying cost) in order to not just flare it up all the time.

    Online racing is a funny one, its own topic for sure. I did Zwift for a while and lasted a while but ultimately it wasn’t me. I could see a situation where a bunch of people get scorching fitness on Zwift and then go outside and they’re like “oh wow, outside is SO MUCH BETTER” and never go back (which was somewhat my story), and I can also see a situation where a ton of people overtrain into oblivion racing 5 days a week.

    For pro online racing, that is a thing in which I personally have so little interest I can’t tell you. Maybe I should watch one before going down on my ship, but ugh. I don’t want to.

  • Joe on

    Only three outcomes to this thing, vaccine, eradication, or we all get it and survive (or not). All of the efforts we are doing now are just slowing it down. Hello online racing!


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