Sea Otter, you are beautiful

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I’ve attended hundreds of bicycle events the past 23 years, and the one I’ve grown to enjoy the most is the Sea Otter Classic, held at the Mazda Laguna Seca Raceway near Monterey, Calif., every April. When the weather cooperates, it’s heaven on earth.

Industry and consumers share space on dirt and grassy space in the middle of a world-class automotive and motorcycle race track, and this year there was a tangible excitement in the air.

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Gone are the days when Sea Otter was only about mountain bike product launches and watching the pros race. The bike industry has broadened its scope, and the early April timing of the Sea Otter Classic has prompted several companies small and big to introduce new products to the world. Sometimes the media is privy to things before the public, and Sea Otter is the ideal launchpad for this relationship.

This year was different for me. Taking the editorial reins at Bicycle Times in late March didn’t allow me much time to prepare for Sea Otter, and with the world-class editorial duo of Adam Newman and Eric McKeegan handling the lion’s share of new product reportage for us and Dirt Rag, it allowed me to network more and test-drive some new sections of the magazine to the industry.

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The popularity of fat and gravel bikes is not to be ignored, and the budding e-bike movement doesn’t look to be slowly down either. As Bicycle Times aims to become the go-to resource for these three categories, I trotted out some ideas and left Monterey feeling good about our new direction. The team and I discussed what it means to live The Manual Life, where taking a break from smart phone, tablet and computer screens can lead to a healthier outlook.

My sales team asked me to encapsulate my editorial vision for Bicycle Times, and after a few minutes, this rolled off my finger tips:

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Who are we?

Adventure-seeking cyclists with outside interests and a love for The Manual Life.

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Who are the readers in our neighborhood?

Fun-loving Unracers and explorers who wear suits, pants, baggies, Lycra, skinny jeans, chinos, and sundresses to pedal through life.

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What is our mantra?

We are living in bicycle times!

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What is our objective?

Bicycle Times is the voice of the Manual generation: travel, gravel, fat, electric, fondo, ‘cross, food, drink. Pedal it!

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Sea Otter 2014 reminded me there’s more to cycling than gear, gadgets and racing. The people in my neighborhood cherish the face time and saddle time with friends, and that’s what The Manual Life is all about. Bicycle Times aims to up the ante in 2014, so no matter how much work or family life gets in the way, take time to pedal, and enjoy the ripple effect.

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