Publisher's Note: The Cycling Industry Must Stand Strong Through These Difficult Times
Our sport of cycling is facing the most surprising, significant and unprecedented challenge of our time, the COVID-19 global pandemic. In this article James Yaffa, Publisher of Bicycling Australia and originator of the Classics series events, discusses the global pandemic, the current state of cycling and the future outlook.
It feels like only days ago I was pleading with the Bicycling Australia family to visit impacted bushfire regions and lend support to fellow Australians so badly impacted earlier this year. We’ll never forget our fellow Australians and will return to these communities when we can, but for now another disaster is before us – the COVID-19 global pandemic.
One of the big lessons here is how rapidly things can change - these are indeed sobering times for Australia and the world. However I still argue that we are the lucky country. 2020 may not the best year to lay claim to that title as we are racing into unprecedented times … but, for the bold, those challenges bring opportunities.
Bicycling Australia has been around for close to three decades, and has experienced many challenges that have ultimately made us stronger and more positive about the power of our cycling community.
We recently had to break some bad news to the cycling community, the Clare and Mudgee Classics will not proceed this year due to government imposed mass gathering rules, and rightly so. These are tough and heartbreaking decisions, but buoyed by the passionate and heartfelt response from our loyal community. We’ve been flooded with positive feedback … in fact so much understanding and compassion it almost bought tears to my eyes.
However my angle here is not so much about you the rider, it’s aimed at the commercial side of our business … the partners who are advertising with us in print and online or sponsoring your next big cycling event. That might be the next 3 Peaks or one of our very own Classics, Noosa or Bowral. And for those that may think I’m a tad biased, I’m not. All cycling events are fantastic for this industry.
You are all fundamental to the sport we live for. Now, more than ever before, the brands in our magazine and on this website need your support.
Whether you’re going on your next solo ride, have plans for 3 Peaks in Victoria next year or our very own Noosa or Bowral Classics, please consider the major industry brands and products, service & support available at the local bike shop.
This is a fluid, dynamic and ever-changing situation – some outlets may be temporarily closed or open only by appointment. Whatever the case we urge you to pledge your support – whether it’s a purchase, an order, a deposit or a simple message to say ‘I’ll be back when life returns to normal’, and it will.
With that in mind we asked industry leaders their thoughts on the current situation -
Bianchi Australia are taking a responsible position in relation to the Coronavirus and will closely follow advice and directives from government agencies to ensure the safety of all staff and contractors.
We are working hard at maintaining our supply chain with our factories to ensure we are in a position to service the needs of our customers without disruption.
There is a real uncertainty regarding this pandemic, but it is clear that exercise, which can be achieved through cycling, can assist in the a person’s overall health and it is widely acknowledged that it is safer to be outside rather than inside. Getting 30-60mins of exercise can help your immune system, so we encourage all riders to get out, ride your bikes, build your immune system!
We ask all cyclists to continue to support your local bike shops and together we contribute towards keeping families employed and maintain our Australian businesses during this time of uncertainty. We are standing behind all of our bike shop partners to support them to continue to provide you with the services you need and partnering with other industry businesses, like Bicycling Australia who are keeping us well informed, to work together on getting Australian Cycling through this period successfully.
Bianchi is not just about bikes, it’s about family, it’s about food, it’s about passion and sharing time together with people you love, take the time now during this period to do these things and build stronger relationships.
George Nisbet CEO Bianchi Australia
BikeBox Orbea / Schwalbe
In these unprecedented times of challenge we are unsure how the coming days & weeks will unfold.
During this time, we have instituted all recommended hygiene measures and implemented social distancing protocols to ensure the safety of our employees & to allow us to continue to trade enabling supply to your local bike stores Australia wide.
I quote Orbea’s marketing manager Ander Olariaga, the cycling industry is…. “a huge peloton that needs more than ever to pedal together.”
We look forward to the time when it is safe to come together again riding our bikes for fun, for exercise, to be social & to race. BikeBox will be supporting all these endeavours when it is safe to do so – to help maintain & re-build our industry.
In the meantime, follow the recommended guidelines to keep you, your family & your community safe.
BikeBox Australia - Orbea / Schwalbe
PON ( Focus & Cervelo Australia)
PON Bike Australia / NZ, the importers of Focus, Cervelo, Kalkhoff and Gazelle, is staffed here in Australia and around the world by passionate bike riders.
We have all come from the sport is some way or another - be it racing, recreational cycling, retail or from a lifetime of using our beloved bikes for transport.
Our goal has always been to support retailers and riders and try to get as many people on bikes as we can.
The goal now is to support our dedicated retailers, the backbone of our industry and help ensure that we all come through this crisis the best we can.
Our message is simple, clear and decisive - get out there and ride your bike, alone and while you still can. We urge riders to support their local stores and help our economy to stay as strong as possible through this difficult period.
Collectively we need to be ready to come back together as a united community as soon as this crisis begins to lift.
The close-knit cycling family and community will again enjoy our fantastic sport, the camaraderie and all that goes with this most rewarding and all-encompassing lifestyle.
PON Bike Australia / New Zealand
Over the last few weeks Shimano Australia has made changes to the way we do work inside our building as a result of CORVID-19 related challenges. These changes will help us continue to support and supply our customers (bike shops) through these uncertain and difficult times.
Our customer service, sales, warranty and warehouse teams continue to work hard each day to service all our accounts.
Through our sales team on the ground around Australia we continue to listen to our customers and adapt what we are doing to help them continue to repair bikes and service the wider needs of cyclists.
My pitch to cyclists around Australia is to support their local Australian bicycle retailer today… Don’t wait another day, as now is the day they need your business.
As a rider you might be in a position where you can buy a new bike, or replace some worn out parts, or simply you might purchase a gift voucher to use for a future purchase.
If you’re not able to call in and see your local store, find out if they have an online store, or simply pick up the phone and support those passionate bike shop owners that make this industry so great.
If we all help each other however we can right now, we will come out the other side of this stronger.
The team at Specialized Australia said it was difficult to comprehend the extraordinary circumstances we are all facing right now.
“We wanted to take this moment to send our heartfelt thoughts and strength to all,” said a spokesperson.
“While we navigate such uncertain times, it is important to stay fit, both physically and mentally. As riders, we are lucky to be able to rely on our bikes for both transport and exercise to keep our bodies moving, whether it is indoors or outside. Government guidelines have also recommended that community sport and active recreation can continue where they do not constitute a mass gathering.
“We wanted to let you know that you can continue to access servicing, bikes and equipment through Specialized retail partners across Australia. Our retailers are following all guidelines and precautions to ensure a retail visit is safe for both you and their teams. If you are concerned, call your retailer ahead of your visit. You can find your local retailer via the link in bio.
“While we support one another through this trying time, we remain more confident than ever in the power of the bike to support our physical and mental health, stay connected and serve the local transportation needs of riders across the globe.
Together, we’ll pedal the planet forward."
This is the 6th feature article in Bicycling Australia's 'Ride Out The Crisis' series. Our goal here is to help make cycling stronger through this unprecedented, sudden and unimaginable crisis. We urge you to support the advertisers here on our website, in our print edition and the bike industry as a whole. Together let's #RideOutTheCrisis