|So, this was the week I finished up my first big bike review for Twenty Nine Inches.|
Basically, there were two big posts from that time back then. One was an "open invitation" for Giant, Trek, and Specialized to hop on the 29"er bandwagon "before the train left the station". Actually, what I wrote was this: "The danger here for these three companies is that the train is leaving the station........now!" Well, Specialized hit the 29"er market the following Spring at Sea Otter. Trek simply absorbed Fisher Bikes and re-branded them. Dumb move in the end due to the loss of the equity of the Fisher brand name, but whatever. They survived okay. Giant, on the other hand, completely missed the boat by waiting until 2010 to introduce a token hard tail bike and an "okay" full suspension rig. By that time, those introductions were just more noise on an already full bandwidth of 29"ers from every other brand you could think of. Hey! Someone has to be last, right?
The other big post was something about how the UCI was planning to stick their fingers into the endurance racing scene. The situation then sounded much like it does today with regard to USA Cycling and gravel events. At the time, the UCI was losing money due to all of the bandit organizations doing big time, and big money, endurance event weekends. The thing lost in that mix then was that many of the events were smaller, grassroots events that didn't necessarily make a ton of revenue. But whatever, the UCI was going to start offering titles and points, and that was going to cost the promoters freedom and cash. Certain criteria had to be met to join up, and some of that was regulatory nonsense and some of that was guaranteed money from the promoters for prizing.
Seems that nowadays the USA Cycling organization is creeping in to the gravel scene, trying to figure out a way to get into it. It is no secret that USAC is bleeding cash, with a report from this time last year saying the organization was down about a cool million in revenues from 2014's take. Now they are asking promoters to get under their umbrella by offering insurance to the events in case of rider mishap. Basically fear mongering the promoters into submitting to buying into their plans. As of now, there are "not many regulations" for accepting the USAC insurance plan, according to one promoter I exchanged messages with. But ya know, that's a slippery slope, if history is any indication.
So, anyway, a similar situation from ten years ago is popping up now. A form of cycling free from traditional oversight gets big and traditional organizations get crafty and wheedle their way in to "make the scene better". Hmm..... That hasn't worked out well in the past, and I see no reason that it would in the future.