This year, come October sees the 15th anniversary of the Muddymoles website, at least in it’s WordPress-based guise (we can actually date ourselves to September 2003!). Wow! That’s a long time in internet years, probably equivalent to a century in normal time? Well, maybe.
The thing is, we’ve just passed through a real Wild West of internet history, and it continues to this day. In 2005 Google was just 6 years old, Facebook had barely started hooking up bro’s in dorms and Twitter didn’t exist at all. Things were different then.
I like to think we’ve chiseled out a very small Surrey Hills flavoured niche on the internet. It’s not been easy to keep the writing thing going but there remains much satisfaction in being able to remind yourself what nonsense you were getting up to at various points in time.
As for cycling, the bike world evolves along with everything else. 26″ wheels – gone. Rubbish brakes – gone. Punctures – largely, gone (excepting my traumatic Muc-off experiences in 2019). Since 2005 we’ve pretty much binned XC and we’ve definitely binned the terror of steep Freeride head angles!
Now, we have big wheels, big tyres and bikes that can handle much more than we can throw at them; though in my case that’s always been true. We have Trail bikes. Enduro bikes. Gravel bikes. Adventure bikes. Bike packing bikes. All tout long geometry, short stems, wide bars and increasingly, dropper posts. The future is here, but it’s also just round the corner.
What’s coming is e-bikes. 130 million of them in the next 3 years if this Deloitte 2020 report is accurate. Or in other words, double the projected annual sales that electric cars will achieve in ten years!
So there won’t just be a lot more e-MTBs round here; expect e-bikes to become the vehicle of choice for a lot of journeys under 3-5 miles.
Being in the UK, we will see this trend at a slower rate; being in Surrey (and any other suburb) we will see this trend last but make no mistake it’s coming. I’m already thinking about using an e-bike in the next year or two for most of my commuting and am increasingly interested in cargo bikes; or at least, bikes that can carry stuff. It’s the way to go and I think many will agree.
What we need for it to happen is infrastructure. Real, serious prioritisation of walking and cycling over cars. That’s a big thing and something I’m getting more interested in – the environment doesn’t happen in a vacuum and I’d like to be involved. We’ll see what that means as the year progresses…
Elsewhere, my 2020 goals are coalescing around fitness and experiences. First of all, fitness.
There was a time when I assumed that if I kept cycling then next year I’d be fitter than I currently was. That’s… a little naive. None of us are getting younger and while we’re not over the hill, some of us have a clearer view than we’d like of the other side!
In my case, as with so many people, my back causes me issues. I’ve started a programme of work on this but will post updates as I go along about how things progress. What I can tell so far is that your back might hurt, but that’s probably not where the problem started. It’s all rather complex!
At least I’ve escaped Christmas without putting on weight, which feels an achievement. Too long I’ve been curating 5 or 6 extra pounds at this time of year which I spend the rest of the year trying to get rid of.
Second on my list – experiences. I didn’t manage a 100 mile ride in 2019, nor did I visit a Welsh trail centre. In fact, most of my riding was commuting (which I want to continue) but other Moles have explored much more widely around the South Downs on warm summer days, and I’d like to do some of that too. Sundays have lapsed a little at times for me and that’s another target.
As for kit, it’s evolution for me this year. I have stuff to tweak on the gravel bike but the Bird hardtail is perfect for the moment. The Jeffsy is also in good nick, with some great kit on it; there’s an outside chance I might move the frame on but that all depends on a lot of factors.
All in all, I hope to add considerably to the 1474 articles published on the Muddymoles so far, and would welcome submissions from others – please send me ideas if you have them. At 9054 published comments, wouldn’t it be great to move that total towards 10,000 this year?
Happy New Year to everyone – thanks for the riding, thanks for the chat and thanks for the laughs!