So Long and Thanks For All the Rides

Yup, the time has come for me to move on. After nine years in Bozeman I have accepted the fact that despite the natural beauty here in Montana and the great friendships I'm part of and the amount I've been able to help with the cycling community here I need to move on. I've realized that for as much as I love this state there is limited opportunity available to me.

So what happened? In the space of three weeks I've gone from being “John at Bangtail Bikes” to “John at Specialized”. It's all very sudden and I'm still having a hard time wrapping my head around the amount of change in my life in such a short period of time. An opportunity came (partly from being part of the Stumpjumper Trail Crew) that would not be available to me if I stayed in Bozeman. With Specialized I will be doing a lot of what I have been doing here- working to get others on bikes, promoting bike culture, doing geeky bike stuff- but hopefully it will be on a larger scale.

I'll be part of Specialized's dealer education network. This pretty much is a position that is nearly custom-made for me. I'll be able to use my engineering background, I'll talk in front of people, do a bit of design work and write some. I'll be helping to teach bike dealers from around the country about Specialized product and help with media events and product launches. For the more skeptical of you out there, you can say that I'll be serving the Kool-Aid. And I'm okay with that. The people I've met at Specialized do not embody the stereotypical “Company Man”, rather they are people who are intensely passionate about bicycles and also happen to be quite competitive. They are people who believe that what they create is the best and have an intense drive to always be the best. This passion and drive is part of what is exciting about this new endeavor.

Perhaps fitting with this culture I start next week with a trip to Portugal. For a week I'll be meeting the European Specialized contingent and hopefully get out for a few good rides. Upon returning to Bozeman I'll pack my belongings in my trusty Honda Accord and head west to fulfill my personal Manifest Destiny. The future for me is scary and exciting, fraught with danger yet with rewards that can only come from taking a measured risk like this.

Bozeman, I'm thankful of the time I've spent here. You've invited me into your houses for parties, on your porches for beers, on glorious rides in your mountains. I've experienced the best skiing and snowboarding around and you even taught me that floppy heels on ski boots are fun. I've watched both your riding skills and your families grow. You've shared with me the sweetest and most succulent meat you've harvested from the wild. You've taught me that the things most valuable in life are within one's community and that there's no shame in driving a tattered twenty year-old Subaru. After your generosity I feel a bit guilty leaving for personal reasons but this is a mission that I must complete. I'll be back, I will have changed, but one thing I can say for sure is that I will always, always take with me a bit of Montana no matter where I end up.

Thanks for the good times and the memories, Bozeman. I'll always look at this chapter of my life with fondness.

John (aka Mr. DNA)


samh said...

You're always welcome back in Montucky, John F. So anytime you're feeling like shooting guns, or drinking beer, or doing both at the same time - remember us here in the big sky country.

Singletrack Mind said...

See ya brother.

LostGears said...

Boo hoo for Bozeman. Have fun out there in the big world beyond Gallatin Valley. California deserves you. And I think I mean that in the most loving and kind way. Try to get the big "S" to drop you by Traverse City sometime.

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