Pinkbike Editors’ New Years Resolutions for 2021
It’s always good to have a great big lofty goal to aim for, even if your resolution ends up being abandoned by mid-January. If you could accomplish anything in 2021, what would it be? We put that question to each member of Pinkbike’s editorial crew and some regular contributors:
Keep it Together
This year, I’m going to really focus on keeping my head in a good place while doing a lot of new things. As always, there are some exciting project ideas involving Pinkbike. Then, we’re expecting a new roommate in our house in a few months so I’ll be working on figuring out how to be a dad, which is really exciting (and a touch intimidating). I’m also going to be helping out more with some local trail advocacy to help improve what’s already great around Western North Carolina.
I love having my plate overly full with everything from work to house projects and I often cross the line and become a little too focused on details that don’t really matter. Obviously, having a tiny human somewhat depending on me is going to be quite the adventure and adjustment. For me, with everything, there’s a fine line to managing it all and keeping a good headspace rather than going down the rabbit hole of “I have to do everything and if I don’t the world will end and we’ll all die.” Some things just don’t matter, and no matter how important I think it is to get another load of gravel spread on the driveway and tamped down with a plate compactor in the next 24 hours before we get into a freeze-thaw cycle is… it can take a backseat to just chilling the hell out.
For now, I’m going to spend some extra time deep in the woods without distractions whenever I have the chance. I’m going to work on staying organized, looking at the big picture, not giving energy to things that don’t matter and I’ll do my best to not forget that a quick bike ride can be the best way to help keep it together.
Why So Serious?
It’s with great sadness that I look out of the window to a snowy Champéry. While I really do love going for a dance with the man in the white coat and the way that snow transforms the mountains into a completely different beast, this past riding season has been one of the best in recent memory and has led to many a recent minute pondering while gazing out of the window.
All too often we can get a bit ahead of ourselves and lost in our own little worlds, forgetting that quite simply, we work with bikes. In the words of a famous motoring journalist, we’re not curing diseases, and we really shouldn’t take ourselves too seriously. That schoolboy excitement we once had as kids for our two wheeled accomplices should never be lost or forgotten.
So, to 2021 with that sentiment in mind. I already know CAD software so I predict a long year of 3D based questions from Mr. Park. But I’ve taken on a bunch of engineering projects that, for me, helps keep me humble and honest by getting my hands dirty in development and enjoying that journey from idea, through all the hard work, to something you can actually take for a spin in the woods. It’s not exactly the bullet point list of clear resolutions as some of the others and I don’t know how other people keep their heads screwed on. But for me dirty hands, keeping my head down with hard work and jumping around excited like a dog at the mention of a walk seem to help.
And I’d really like to go ride in Scotland again.
Stretch More & Learn to Ride a Motorcycle
Last year I resolved to stretch more, and that went about how I expected. I wouldn’t say I broke my resolution, but I also wasn’t very pro-active, typically remembering to stretch only after my body started getting angry at me. There’s still lots of room for improvement, so I’ll carry that resolution over in to 2021.
I’ll also add another one to the list – I’d like to learn how to ride a motorcycle. I really haven’t spent time on anything with a throttle, other than riding sketchy scooters around Taichung. Better late than never, right? Don’t worry, I’m not planning on going down the crotch rocket route – I’ve seen how that ends, and it’s not pretty. I think something slower and older is more my style, and then I’ll have another mode of transportation for when my van inevitably breaks down.
Explore BC More
As a resident of Vancouver, I’m lucky enough to find myself riding 3-4 times a week in peak summer. With some of the world’s best riding on my doorstep however, it’s hard to venture further than my favourite local loamers and weekend trips to Whistler. Since moving to BC three years ago, I’ve ridden some amazing features and trails I wouldn’t have dreamed of having access to back home and it’s all on my local hills.
But it takes a different kind of commitment to get out and explore BC’s wild side and hidden gems. From doing the research to working out what bike packing is, there’s a lot more effort involved than party laps down your local trails. But that old saying about it being the journey, not the destination certainly rings true with areas like the Chilcotins, Vancouver Island and the Sunshine Coast within arm’s reach. In 2021, I plan to do some bike packing trips, visit some new bike parks in BC, and work on declining laps of the favourite locals in search of exploring new zones.
Ride More and Use Less Plastic
My resolution last year was to learn some new bike skills and as you can probably guess given the year we have had, this didn’t really go to plan. After lockdowns and restrictions throughout 2020, my riding skill has definitely dropped but at least my bread-making skills have seen a big bump! For next year my main aim is to simply ride more, as the past twelve months have seen me not get out on the bike as much as I hoped. My local trails are currently under a ton of mud and water at this point of the year, so it might be more indoor focused until things get a bit nicer on the trails.
Straying away from bikes, my other resolution for 2021 is to use less plastic. While I probably won’t be going completely plastic-free, the challenge of having to find alternatives to things I use every day that are more sustainable should help me to think more about purchases and hopefully force me to make better decisions about what I buy.
Move somewhere with better riding
The pandemic and its resulting lockdowns have given me the opportunity to reassess what’s important. In the deepest lockdown, when Brits were only allowed an hour of exercise, this left me unable to access any off-road riding beyond muddy park paths for the best part of two months.
While I don’t expect those restrictions to return (I’m touching every bit of wood within reach after typing this), it has made my partner and I realise that being nearer mountains, greenery and trails is more important to us than the sights and sounds of city. It’s been fun London, but it’s time for me to head to the hills.
Change It Up
While living right next to some of the world’s best mountain bike trails is amazing, it’s also made me a bit lazy with ride planning. I always revert to my favourite trails instead of trying new ones and I usually make last minute ride plans with the same people since it’s easy. Strava keeps calling me a “Local Legend” but I think that’s a nice way of saying “hey, you’re stuck in a rut”!
This year, I’d like to plan my rides further in advance, or at least try to meet up with someone every week or two so that I end up riding different trails in different places with different people. Often, when I ride with new people, whether they’re faster or slower than me, it takes me out of my comfort zone. It turns out that’s what it takes to improve as a rider, which I enjoy.
And yeah, 2020 was a bit of a weird year and I didn’t end up taking a Wilderness First Aid course, but I’m still planning on it. In the meantime, I’ve really been enjoying the Search and Rescue: North Shore TV show, which further reinforces the need to get Wilderness First Aid training. For now, I’m resolving to take a basic survival and first aid kit with me alongside my Garmin inReach on rides and make sure that I tell someone my ride plan if I’m out on my own.
Be More Better
New year, new me? Hardly. We’re all going to keep on keeping on in 2021, most of us doing the same shit we did over the previous twelve months. So instead of telling everyone that the coming year will see Levy 2.0 emerge as a fitness model on my way to a PhD in physics with an astrobiology side hustle, I’m just gonna continue doing what I do… Only, I’ll try to do it a bit better. If we’re talking Pinkbike, that means you’ll hopefully see the podcast grow into something more refined and, well, more better. That might entail industry guests answering the real questions you want us asking, in-depth coverage of events and gear, and better storytelling. Oh, and more Pinker callouts, too. If for some reason you want to not only hear us but also see us, 2021 will also see a renewed focus on video content. That not only means you should (patiently) expect the next chapter in the Grim Donut story, but also a new gear-focused video series and plenty of other fun projects.
Away from Pinkbike, my only aim from 2021 is to simplify anything and everything. That means more to me than just buying less stuff – I already don’t spend on much besides food and car parts – I’m talking about fewer distractions, less noise, and more calmness. And yes, I know I can come off as a ball of outgoing energy on camera, but I crave quiet solitude IRL and actually live as a near-shut-in. But while I daydream of living with my partner and three dogs in an off-grid cabin that’s hours down some gravel road, the reality is that I need to create that quiet life in a different, more realistic way. Anyone have a cabin or yurt they want to sell me?
I know I said running last year, but this year I have learnt that consistency is key. During the first lockdown we were banned from riding bikes here in France and as I hate turbo trainers, running was the main exercise left. In honesty it was a shitshow for me. I was doing 3km runs around the road then struggling to heal after, which meant I wasn’t doing more than 6km a week. By the end of lockdown I had lost almost all of my fitness and instead of celebrating my freedom I was stuck suffering trying to get my endurance back.
I went back to the drawing board and tried to stay motivated through the summer. I failed, so come Autumn, I have picked things back up again. The big thing I have learned is that running is going to hurt. To build strength and fitness you need to be running twice a week at least and although the constant feeling of “oh shit, am I dying?” is fading, it still isn’t what you’d call pleasant. My new goal is to be able to go trail running. I love the idea of being able to head off running in the mountains, but the reality is that it’s going to take a lot more persistence and pain to get to the point where I can have a nice run amongst the peaks.
Train + Learn + Travel
First off, I’m going to flex a little. Maybe for the first time ever, I actually accomplished all of my resolutions from last year. I made more time to be a proper fan of the sport again this year, I dialled in a slick little Pelican case tool kit (Dave Rome would be proud), I did a ground up custom build Raaw Madonna V2 (spreadsheets and all), and I got my mangled arm working again (mostly).
So for 2021 I’m going to try to keep the streak going. First off, new-dad-life kicked my ass this year and I’m probably slower than I’ve ever been on the pedals. I’ve got to put some time in over the next 6 months to get my fitness to a less embarrassing level; I know I know, this is a boring one.
Second, I want to know more about the manufacturing side of the bike industry. I’m really interested in the future of manufacturing—especially in localization and new production workflows. So, I’m going to take the time to learn some basic CAD/CAM software (recommendations? Fusion360?) as well as do some 3D printing and some CNC work. Thanks to some friends at Matterhackers and Pocket NC, I’ve got some loaner equipment to learn with. I’ve got a lot of undeserved overconfidence here.
And finally, I’d like to make at least one big trip happen in 2021. Never thought I’d miss trade shows, but I’m definitely feeling cooped up right now. So as soon as things open up, we’re going to get out of town for a while.
I’d love to say get fitter, faster, land a cork 720, and solve perpetual motion but let’s be honest here. Those things might happen and I’ll do the best I can to steer this mass of skin and bone in that direction, but I’m going to aim a few rungs lower on the life ladder.
I’d really like to just keep being a creator and continue making bigger and better things that people can watch and enjoy. Like, if I can inspire someone, make them laugh or maybe make them forget about something negative in their life for 10 minutes and 1 second (good length for YouTube, ya know?) then that’s pretty damn fulfilling for me. I’m super fortunate to be in the position I’m in currently so I want to make sure I’m taking full advantage of it.
Either that or travel to Southern Italy. Why? I’ve never been and it looks nice.
I want to volunteer more in not only 2021, but the years to come. I always loved the people I’d get to interact with when volunteering for various events, mostly sport related. In a time when many organizations and people could use even more support, I feel like my time could be better invested in the community that serves me, far and wide. It always makes me feel so great too. I’m keen to see what 2021 holds and what sort of gems I can get out there to meet and interact with!
360s are the one trick I really miss being able to do. If I have a bike dream, you can bet that I am leaning back off a lip and dropping my inside shoulder for a comfortable feeling, slightly off-axis spin. The landing comes into view and I’m diving in front-wheel smooth. No panic, no sensation of being lost in the air, and no over-rotation. This summer my muscle memory kept tempting me to just let one fly but the alarm bells in my head told me I wasn’t ready for the potential crash.
It took seven years after my back surgery to be able to hit jumps again. Now at ten years post-surgery, I can enjoy a short dirt jump session as long as I don’t try to go too high. My brain tells me to take it easy and that’s fine with me. I have no aspirations of making a “comeback” and no desire to reopen my old bag of tricks. I just want floaty 360s over a decent-sized jump. Those nice controlled spins that I used to be able to effortlessly throw into any dirt jump line felt so amazing that the memories are still echoing in my head today.
I reckon I originally learned 360s in 1987, and in 2021, I’m going to relearn them again.
That’s an extremely broad and vague resolution which will mean different things to different people but for me it means stop buying shit you don’t really need. I’m typing this out in my office surrounded by so much… stuff that I barely use. My guilty pleasures are technology and camera gear which are purchased with the best intentions yet are so often left to collect dust.. To my right is a full green screen setup I purchased after seeing Joe Barnes use one to great effect in his lockdown bites video series (still unused). To my left is a cinema lens I bought for my camera for an obscene amount of money only to figure out it was cumbersome, didn’t suit my use case and no one wants to buy it off me. Behind me is a drone that was going to help me get all the sickest tracking shots while out self shooting but I’ve been too busy to make proper use of it.
Our industry is fuelled by consumerism and while it seems hypocritical to be going against this I’m not going cold turkey. The focus is going to be more on NEED rather than WANT. I WANT an electric motorbike but I really NEED to be saving up for a deposit on my first house. I WANT to buy a new PS5 and 4K HDR 120HZ TV but NEED to get a new editing laptop as this one keeps choking on HEVC video formats. My reason for this isn’t so much about saving money and reducing clutter as it is about reducing waste. This planet’s only got so much to give so if I can consume a little less that can only be a good thing.
Be like Gumby
I turned 46 not too long ago, and let me tell you, all that stuff you hear about what happens to your body when you get older is not a myth. I may be older and wiser, but I’m also slower, I lose fitness faster, I put on weight easier, and everything just generally hurts more than it did even just a few years ago. I thankfully have always had above-average flexibility, but even that’s been slowly going away, and along with it my performance on the bike and how quickly I recover from injury.
I used to attend yoga classes somewhat regularly before I became a parent, and always marveled at how much I got out of them, both physically and mentally, and on the bike and off. I had more power, my riding position was better, my head was less scattered, and I just felt better overall. In-person classes obviously aren’t an option now, but seeing as how I’m not sleeping very well these days, anyway, I figure I may as well make use of those early mornings and the big TV that’s sitting in our quiet basement.
What is your resolution for 2021?