After a pause of usual cycling activity, it’s time to start riding again. This #RideDiary is a little update after a hectic couple of months of magazine production.
– A blog and video by Rob Arnold
Forgive me bike, for it has been a month since we went anywhere together. And even longer since our last decent ride. I’ve got my reasons and I hope you understand. It’s not you, it’s me. It’s nothing personal, it’s just that I’ve been busy. I had other things going on; a magazine to make and the distractions of modern life. It’s no excuse, I know. But it has happened, and I hope we can move on from this. I still love you. – Rob
I didn’t mean to stop riding. It just happened. When I’m on the bike, I like to be focussed on the ride. During the final weeks of production of the Official Tour de France Guide things get a bit hectic for me and I tend to get distracted. So, I made the decision: do the work, then ride again. It’s not a great idea.
By the end of April, I’d clocked up 5,500km, but in May I did just 100km on the bike. The rest of my time was largely spent in front of the computer.
Curiously, the week before stopping my regular riding routine of 2022, I had filmed a ‘Story Of My Ride’ video which included a sequence of random rants while on the bike (see link below). All kinds of subjects were raised, and it’s clear that I was in a happy place. At one of my turnarounds, I paused and reflected on what I’d achieved by riding, talking, and getting the day started on my bike.
I wish I listened to my own advice. I concluded my video by saying how much more productive you can be at work if you’ve had a ride, cleared your mind of clutter, taken in a few sights, gotten some exercise, and feel like you’ve done something… all before another day in the office.
Instead, I forgot entirely that I recorded that morning on the bike – and, evidently, also forgot about the point I was actually making to myself. ‘Rob, if you ride you feel better and get more work done…’ etc.
The to-do list grew. Pages needed to be filled. And work had to be done. So I stopped riding. Bad idea.
No indoor trainer. No commuting. No sightseeing. Nothing. For a month!
I know. I’m sorry. Thus the note to my bike to begin this #RideDiary entry.
There is some good news from all this: first and foremost, there’s a magazine coming soon. It has been printed and on Tuesday it was being bound, trimming and prepared for delivery.
It is the ‘Tour Guide’. If you know RIDE Media, chances are you know of this annual production: the Official Tour de France Guide (Australian edition). And, in 2022, a few extra words, ‘20th Anniversary’.
(Note: Pre-orders of the Tour Guide were lodged with Australia Post yesterday, 8 June. And you can find it in newsagents around Australia from 16 June onwards.)
* * * * *
Yep, I’ve been making this magazine for quite a while now. I was a young man back when it all began, and I’m happy to say that I still feel pretty fresh all these years later. I still love my cycling and I still want to be on my bike as often as possible.
But this May, it didn’t happen. I worked. I ate. I slept. And… I repeated that routine, stupidly without taking a moment to ride, reflect, recharge and enjoy all the things that a few hours on the bike can offer.
There’s other good news though, mainly for me in fact but there could be something in it for you too if you’re interested in cycling and, more specifically, cycling products. See, when you find that you need to speak with clients who have long helped make the ‘Tour Guide’ possible (ie. advertisers), then you also find out about some trends in the industry, and you learn about new product releases (or pending ones), and – crucially in 2022 – you find out how the supply chain issues are impacting the market.
Cycling products were very popular in Australia during the pandemic years. In 2020, for example, what was available often got sold as soon as it arrived in the shop. In 2022, stock seems to be arriving on our shores again (and, as seen at the recent Handmade Bicycle Show in Melbourne, some is even being built here*).
But there is still a considerable backlog of product, much of which has been paid for long before delivery time… and delivery is still pending for many customers.
Many of you are likely to be able to relate to this kind of issue. I just hope that the bikes (or bits and pieces) that you’re still waiting on are not essential items that have stopped you from riding your bike. That’d be terrible. If it’s something new, because you’re treating yourself to extra comfort, some watts-savings, a little more aero, or a change of colour, then there’s also good news. When it arrives, you’ll be very pleased… happy even. Frustration now, joy… later. (Silver lining thinking.)
I digress. Back to business, and talking to clients, and working on the magazine, and acquiring advertising support, and then finding out about cycling products… well, that links us to the other good news about me having been off the bike of late. (The good news for me, and possibly you.)
So… there are things you can buy, there is stock available and, in some instances, there are even media samples! After a couple of years of reviewing very few cycling products (despite having done this for my job for over 25 years) it is now possible to do some of the fun things that are related to my work. There are a few boxes of goodness that need opening…
* * * * *
Motivation was never the issue. That’s not what stopped me from riding. My desire was there, but the clock was ticking and the deadline was approaching. I kept working. The magazine was coming together nicely and, as a by-product of my client calls, the boxes I’ve just referenced started arriving.
Inside are cycling products and although I know the basics of what I will find, I’ve resisted the (extremely strong) urge to open them without recording my reaction. In other words, I’ve walked by a box labelled “Princeton Carbonworks” more often than anyone else I know would have been able to do without stopping and opening and… well, no longer getting any of the requisite work done.
It takes a lot of determination to resist that temptation but, because it’s not often that you open what are said to be “bloody expensive” wheels, I think it’s important to take the time to do so properly. Something like this shouldn’t be rushed. It should be savoured, and given the respect worthy of such an outlay of cash (or the cost of being so patient and focussing on the task at hand rather than simply responding to an urge).
There are other boxes too, and inside are items I’ll soon be using when I ride again.
The pause in riding, evidently has continued for a few days beyond the magazine production deadline. I’ve maintained my madness long enough, but when I ride again it’ll be with some amazing new wheels on my bike. And the good news keeps on coming…
Yes, there’s more. More good news (for me, and possibly you): there are other things in those boxes that are going to end up on my bike (or me) when I next ride.
Soon I’ll be filming and talking to the camera again. I’m finished with the big annual print production, for the 20th year in a row, and soon I’ll be riding again, and then editing videos for RIDE Media’s YouTube channel. There’s a lot of content already, but has also been a pause in the broadcasts while… yep, I was busy working on another job.
* * * * *
Sometimes there are rants about whatever comes to mind when I’m riding my bike. Other times there could be comments about the products I’m using. You may find that you see a few new places while I share with you the #StoryOfMyRide, or perhaps you’ll be engaged by an interview or two from the #TalkingCycling series.
Thankfully I’ll soon be riding again, doing what I love – what I’ve enjoyed doing all my professional life: sharing the joy (and frustrations, and other emotions) that come from being on the bike.
The Tour Guide is coming. It’s a big magazine: 212 pages of cycling goodness, about a couple of bike races this July – the 109th Tour de France (1-24 July) and the 1st Tour de France Femmes avec Zwift (24-31 July). There’s a giant pull-out poster featuring the route from Copenhagen to Paris and inside you’ll find stories about a race, its history, the places it visits, and the expectations of the riders who are going to feature on our TV screens from 1-31 July 2022.
It’s a magazine production that has kept me busy, but my bike and I will be together again soon and doing what we love.
– By Rob Arnold
*Certainly not a paid promotion. Alas, I didn’t get to the show, as I had just finished the magazine. I was very tired, but I’d liked to have gone. And I think that now is the time for the Australian government to invest in not just cycling infrastructure but also the cycling industry. Don’t get me started, I could go very long on this… a topic for another time perhaps.