2020 was weird. 2021, so far, has been weird. We are all tired of hearing it but it remains true. And everyone has had their own way of dealing with the lockdowns, the zoom calls and the isolation; mine was riding bikes.
Rewinding a bit: I have always ridden bikes ‐ for fun as a child and then to commute while at university ‐ but it wasn’t until 2015 that I decided to take cycling more seriously. I had moved from Cumbria to central London and, as cliche as it sounds, I was really missing the outdoors. So, I picked up a basic road bike and went out every weekend, moving further afield with each week, feeling more of an escape as my distances grew. Yet, there was still something missing!
On a return home for the holidays a couple of years later, a friend took me mountain biking and that was it ‐ I was hooked. I bought a hardtail, tricked it out with some stunning Hope Hoops and escaped London to the trails whenever I could.
Fast forward to Pandemaggedon 2020, mid‐June, and my stunning HB130’s arrival. For anyone who loves rom‐coms as much as me, this was my meet‐cute moment; I was in love. The difference in geometry and having fast rolling 29er wheels was a whole new universe to my more basic hardtail. I was able to fly over obstacles and spin out those techy climbs that had once seen me pushing and panting all the way!
What does this have to do with 2020? 2020 was full of noise. Every time you turned a TV on, there was doom and gloom. Every time you turned your phone on, social media showed you everything you could or should be doing. Every time you opened your emails, another virtual meeting was booked in. It was, in one word, overwhelming.
Yet, when I was out on my HB130, there was quiet. So quiet I could hear my freehub following me down the hill and my tyres cutting through the mud. The brain fog cleared and my mind focussed on my bike and how it moved with me down the trail. I had escaped the noise and had found what made me truly happy ‐ my amazing bike taking me to these quiet places. I could get to the top of a hill and breathe fresh air, never having to worry about whether or not my bike was up to the challenge ‐ even if I wasn’t!
And this is what I call the HB130 effect: the combination of freedom and serenity with the tool required to achieve it. I guess what I’m trying to say is, I’m hopeful. Hopeful that 2021 might not be so bad if I just shut out the noise and do what makes me truly happy.
Words and Pictures by: Katherine Dennis