I’m very, very lucky. I’m embedded in the bike trade. I’m the executive editor of BikeBiz magazine; I get to play with lots of shiny new bikes and bits; I get taken on brilliant bike-themed press trips; I write books about cycling like the Bike to Work Book and Family Cycling for Snow Books; I get sent new bikes when the existing ones are ‘last years’ models’; I get to meet and ride with pro cyclists or legends such as ‘the cannibal’.
Sounds peachy, if you’re a cyclist.
But if you’ve got a well-paid job you could afford to fly around the world playing on bikes, too. You could buy the latest machines, you could luxuriate in Rapha underpants, were such things made available. You could pay to be on training camps with the pros.
My bikey lifestyle is available to buy.
I’m multi-skilled, I could probably shift to a different sector and make a lot more money than I make in the bike trade. I could then buy what I currently get free as part of the job.
I stay put. Partly this is because the bike trade is what I know and I know how to make money from bikes (it’s mostly by selling magazines, books and websites I’ve created) but it’s also because I really love the bike trade. Everybody thinks their trade sector is special.
But perhaps the bike trade – selling such a great life-enhancing product – really is special?
On page 68 of the current BikeBiz, in page flippy mode above, Jason Leavy, associate publisher of Future’s MBUK and What Mountain Bike magazines, writes a farewell letter that claims the bike trade is “genuine” and doing “fantastic work” and has a one-of-a-kind “sense of character and decency.”
He didn’t have to write this, he’s leaving for a new post in Dubai. As a relative newcomer to the cycling industry, and with experience of many other industry sectors, he has a good handle on why the bike trade is different.
“Those of us who have worked in different sectors of business are, in many respects, better placed to judge a sector than those who’ve only experienced the one they’re in.
“Therefore you’ll have to trust me when I say that the cycling business really is as good as it gets.
“I want to use this as an opportunity for people in the industry to accept praise from somebody who can talk objectively and with no agenda to push. You really are all doing some fantastic work, day in, day out, and while still retaining a sense of character and decency that I haven’t encountered anywhere else.
“Keep setting the standards that others should be measured by.”