This has been a strange time to publish marketing content for Campfire Cycling. As a business we’ve been blessed by a strong surge of e-commerce orders since Coronavirus began. We’ve been so busy in fact that we’ve had no time to invest in continuing to create content and stoke the fire. And while we’ve been busy fulfilling orders for bicycle camping gear, our events and rides, the main source of our content, have obviously come to a screeching halt. In this balance, we haven’t had much to say or time to say it.
Having just launched Campfire Cycling over the course of 2019, developing our connection to our customer base was a critical part of building a sustainable business. So while business has been good for the moment, it is also making us nervous to let this side of things slide. In other words, while we are grateful to be busy shipping gear, we really miss building the Campfire Cycling community with you.
When Coronavirus first shut things down, business was initially very slow. We thought we had some trouble ahead and also plenty of time for content creation and maybe even some creative online community building. I surveyed all of you asking what direction you’d like us to take things in. Thank you for all of the support, we did get some great feedback and inspiration. But as things evolve and we ended up finding ourselves squeezed for time, its been almost impossible to put in the necessary effort to do anything worthwhile. So, until we slow down or adapt to our new rhythm, I figure I have to wing it with whatever inspiration I can summon.
Looking through the pictures on my phone over the last 2 months gave me the opportunity to relive my own particular transition into pandemic life. It seems odd to share my own not particularly remarkable story when there are 7 billion other versions of this story to be told.
But, this is the communication bridge that I can muster at the moment. It is all that I’ve got left in the tank. I hope the admittedly everyday story of what its been like to run Campfire Cycling over the last 2 months at the minimum lets you know that we’re still here. And better yet, I imagine there is value in the simple sharing of stories, sharing a prism on our lives, reflecting on what is shared and what is unique.
As the Coronavirus loomed over the US and large events were being shut down, we had a bikepacking trip planned around the Arivaca and the Buenos Aires National Wildlife Area. It was the same weekend as the “Last Gravel Race on Earth” the Mid South 2020. It was an awkward affair as we attempted to social distance and wondered about where things were headed, but it was also a beautiful adventure.
From the time that we left on our bikepacking trip to the time we returned, everything seemed to change. Everything was fully shutting down, so we did too.
As the parents of an 8 year old and a 5 year old, the prospect of full-time, non-stop child care loomed large as we wondered how we would navigate work. That first crazy week of quarantine where the news cycle never ended and panic was thick in the air, we had this stunning double rainbow come out to shift our moods.
Life continued on at the shop as we evolved through various phases of shut down. Lucas Winzenberg (behind the camera), an editor at Bikepacking.com was stuck in town and Greg helped him with his very customized Cross Check build.
My wife Melanie and I experimented with various ways to handle child care. I started coming home early. The weather was nice and we spent lots of time at the park. The scooters became a mainstay as we explored every park in Tucson, became connoisseurs of the smoothest pavement and discovered they worked quite well on grassy hills.
It’s been a time to reconnect. Here’s a selfie I took to send to a Facebook thread of my college buddies having a virtual reunion.
Our kids ruled over us. Parenting during Coronavirus has been both wonderful and exhausting. We attempted to restore a fountain in our backyard to use as a pool. We discovered it doesn’t hold water for long, so that project is unresolved.
While we wanted to go on real camping trips. The demands of our jobs + childcare meant we could only manage to get out for one full day a week. So instead we went day camping and cooked our brunch in the forest..
Meanwhile back at the shop, business continued on, propped up by our month long sale of Ortlieb and Tubus. With all the seismic shifts going on throughout the world, it has been good to see so many people embrace cycling during this time.
Greg managed to find some time to prototype a new version of our BOB Trailer Liner. This has been out of production for the last couple years and with a bag maker like Greg in the house, we thought it would be a good idea to bring it back.
For us, the pandemic life experience all keeps circling back to the kids. Here we are exploring the canyons of U of A. It has gotten hot around here, and figuring out how to get outdoors has been tricky. But the U of A has plenty of large buildings which create plenty of shaded pathways to explore.
While our pandemic life has been exhausting and oftentimes overwhelming, we’ve also been fortunate in so many ways. As pretty pictures tend to do, they don’t show the hard part, but the fortunate part shines through. Perhaps the most daunting aspect of pandemic life is this great not knowing of where things are headed. It is hard to leave the past behind and accept this new normal of shifting sands.
Between the demands of family and business, getting out on bicycle campouts has not been in the cards for me during this time. Its been tough to accept that. But I know that it will come back soon enough. We’re working on a better arrangement for child care and shortly, I should have some time to get away.
We’re also working on getting geared up for some family backpacking adventures. Family bikepacking in the Tucson area during the summer months is not that feasible without a long drive to the high country. But our many Sky Islands do present great opportunity for family backpacking.
I hope you are finding fortune and solace in your pandemic life. And I hope you are finding some time to get out on your bicycle and enjoy some time in the great outdoors.