It’s that time again. Our annual awards for the most notable moments, people and products from the last year. We’ve been fortunate to encounter some real bright spots, even if some were unintentional—Padraig.
The Convenient Distraction Award—Sepp Blatter
FIFA’s septuagenerian dictator finally got knocked off his perch by US Attorney General Loretta Lynch, a quiet coup that has turned the world’s most popular sport on its head and made all the high-jinks that have gone on cycling’s provincial backwater look like so much splashing in the kiddie pool. Pat McQuaid, Hein Verbruggen, and the other protagonists of cycling’s lost generation should be grateful.
The Old Dog, New Trick Award—Gravel Bikes
Look, riding drop bars on sketchy roads and trails isn’t a new thing, and calling them gravel grinders isn’t exactly a marketing masterstroke, BUT mixed-terrain bikes are emblematic of a shift in the industry away from mimicking Euro pro race bikes for everyday riders. It’s a paradigm shift that will lead to better bikes for the way humans actually ride, and that’s always going to be a good thing.
The Slow and Steady Wins the Race Award—Advocacy Groups
Our friend, Richard Fries, executive director of Mass Bike and generally charismatic, spiritual leader of New England cycling will tell you how boring the day-to-day work of cycling advocacy is, attending urban planning sessions, lobbying for cycling infrastructure in active legislation packages, reviewing civil engineering plans for bike friendliness. And yet, cycling is in the conversation. Whether it’s as an answer to global warming, or the obesity epidemic, or as a transportation solution or part of the livable streets movement, cycling is moving forward with that slow, micro-incremental momentum that is at the root of positive social change. We have the advocacy groups, People for Bikes, the League of American Bicyclists, state organizations and so many more, to thank for it.