Welcome home, everyone.
I wasn’t sure I would get to write this letter. There’s a screenshot sitting on my desktop of most of the Escape Collective crew on a Zoom call minutes before we hit go on the initial launch, two weeks ago now. It was 10 pm in Europe, 8 am in Melbourne. Tired eyes on both sides of the world. I wanted to save the moment. I thought it’d be full of smiles and cheering, but it was quite the opposite. Not fear, per se, but worry. We were, at that moment, only a few minutes from the seismic, existential shift from fucking around to finding out. Would this work?
Everybody signed onto this thing based on vague promises and a lot of hope. There’s a deeply held belief that what we do has value to people, too. But there were about 10 of us on that call and not a single one was sure they’d have a job today.
Yet here we are. Thanks to you. Thousands of you. We’re humbled and inspired and feeling the love. So thank you, sincerely, from all of us.
Now we get to the fun part.
We have a website. Holy cow.
This is an incredible moment. We finally have somewhere for you to bookmark and open up every morning and scroll through and, hopefully, find a bit of inspiration or enjoyment or simply some information you didn’t have before. This is the start, the very first day, of a vision we have for what bike media, and outdoor media more broadly, can be. It’s a vision many of you have literally bought into and one we cannot wait to bring to life.
We built this thing in a ridiculously short timeframe. I guarantee there are some broken bits, and we have purposefully turned off some parts of it to keep things simple at first. But it’s here. We can write stories, we can post podcasts, we can make huge beautiful photo galleries from the Grubers and Kristof Ramon, we can speak to you and you speak to us in a place we all enjoy and will soon find comfortable. We can finally, after months, get back to doing what we all love to do, which is making stuff you all love to read.
There are about 10 stories up right now. We have many more waiting in the wings for the coming weeks, and we’re going to dive immediately into some familiar beats. Milan-San Remo is this weekend, and with it the greatest 30 minutes in bike racing. I can’t wait for Kate Wagner’s recap, Andy McGrath’s dive into how motos affect the outcome, Kit Nicholson’s tactical breakdown, and Ronan Mc Laughlin’s deep look at whatever the heck Matej Mohorič lines up riding this time. The Pretty Serious Bike Racing Podcast will break it all down on Monday. What a perfect weekend to launch.
We’ve got a Dave Rome how-to manifesto. We have a bit of inspiration from bikepacking in Baja and, if not right this second then very soon, the first installment of Dictator Watch, long may Iain Treloar reign.
We’re producing all this with your dollars, euros, pesos, and pounds. This is only the start, too. The more of you that sign up, the more journalists we can hire, the more beats we can cover. It’s that simple.
I can’t always guarantee we’ll be better, though we will try. I know you won’t love everything, even though everything is made with love. What I can guarantee is that we’ll be different, and that we’ll always be us.