How did we get here?

To understand what Escape Collective is and what we aspire to do, you need to understand where we came from.

My dad used to ride rollers to the Talking Heads when he was in college: something about the tempo worked, and when he played it around the house when I was growing up the band worked its way into my consciousness, too. Sometimes a line from Once in a Lifetime pops into my head at random moments. And you may ask yourself, How did I get here?

This is a good question.

It’s been quite a year for our small band of merry content miners. As a group, I’m still not sure we’re exactly sure how we got here. But some things have come into focus. One of those is the origin story before the origin story, the business before the business. All the way back to Wade Wallace’s kitchen table in 2008. Back to a laid-off engineer in a foreign country with a love for bikes and just enough know-how to be dangerous.

It’s a tricky thing, drawing a solid line between that kitchen table and today. CyclingTips and Escape Collective are two distinct businesses, built in vastly different ways, in different eras of media, with different goals. But they incorporate many of the same people. It would be foolish and disingenuous to pretend that the years many of us spent building CyclingTips into what it was didn’t shape what we want to build now. We cannot unlearn things we discovered, often through brutal trial and error, over a decade. I’m not talking intellectual property, for any lawyers sniffing around out there. I’m talking simple intellect. Our understanding of the cycling world, the media world, and our place in it.

Wade is often asked to tell the story of CyclingTips. I’ve asked for it, because I wasn’t there for the first nine years. But the story never felt complete, Wade said. He didn’t know how it ended so it felt odd telling it. But now it is complete. CyclingTips, as an entity, is dead. So let’s talk about it.

To help us do that, we pulled in Mitch Docker of Life in the Peloton. Mitch is a skilled interviewer and pulls the story out of Wade, early employees Matt de Neef and Andy van Bergen, and a bit of myself, in a way that feels and is genuine.

It’s a fascinating tale. And it’s proof that combining the right moment, the right people, and a healthy dose of humility can take a business far.

I still wear my CyclingTips kit. I didn’t for a while, given how things ended. But it feels increasingly like an homage now, a time to be celebrated instead of buried. We built CyclingTips, and now we’re building Escape Collective.

Same as it ever was.

– Caley –

If you would like to learn more about our story, you can read more here. To help us continue to build, please consider supporting us as a member. You can find more information and support options here.

You can listen to the extended version of our story here:

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