September 02 2013
I was lost again. I like to think I’ve a reasonable sense of direction but the constantly whirling crowd, perpetual white noise, bright lights and endless rows of exhibits and exhibition halls had got the better of me. Again. When people tell you Eurobike is huge they aren’t lying. They also aren’t really conveying it’s true size. Eurobike state, with a great deal of pride, that they are the world’s biggest bike show. With 12 halls that add up to 85,000 square metres of indoor floor space I don’t doubt them. But even those numbers don’t give you an idea of just how incredibly, mind-blowingly big the show is. You can very easily get lost in it. More than once it seems. With all that floor space, all those stands and all the people milling about tripping each other up with roller bags you get the impression the bike industry is, like Eurobike, pretty huge.
The truth is while the halls and stands are certainly jaw-dropping in their scale they aren’t the bike industry. They are just peacock feathers; alluring displays to catch the eye and inflate the real size. The bike industry is the people within it. Although it would be a bit much to say everyone knows everyone there’s a very small degree of separation between us all and a great deal that brings us together.
Traditionally Friday night of Eurobike is the night the bike industry collectively leaves their stands, sprays some deodorant under their t-shirts and drinks beer together, all the while listening to a covers band playing all those anthems that appear on ‘Best Of Ultimate Driving Tunes’ compilations. The guys at German magazine Fahrstil put on their own party on the Friday; anthem free and a welcome break from the crowds. As well as offering refuge from the wurst and beer fueled storm they put on a display of some of the most noteworthy bikes from the show. We were honoured when they asked if they could display our Five RS and humbled when we found out the reason they asked.
Michael Staab has been at Canyon bikes for years, he worked for them when they were a bike shop and has stuck with them through their expansion to attain the title of ‘Teamleader Product Management’, according to his business card. As a veteran of the industry, and as with most people who have worked with or around bikes for any period of time, it’s not surprising that Michael had come to know our Michael. Michael Bonney.
Staab had talked to Gerolf Meyer at Fahrstil and asked if they would be willing to display an Orange bike at their party and allow him to talk about Michael to the guests, to explain to those who didn’t know him about his situation, but more importantly who he is and how much he means to the bike industry. Gerolf was kind enough to agree and to see that a proportion of the profits from the sale of Fahrstil magazine that night went to the Ride For Michael fund.
Staab’s speech was in German and beyond ordering a round of drinks my German vocabulary is pretty limited, but I didn’t really need to know what he was saying to understand what was being said, his passion did the translation.
This is our industry. As Staab put it, “We battle our competition for sales but we all have the same nail in the head.” A competitor is still a friend, we may ride different brands of bikes but we ride them together. We all want the same thing, more people to love what we love; riding.
While Michael Bonney might not have been at the show he was not, and will not be, forgotten by the industry. His industry. Our industry.
Here at Orange we would like to thank Michael Staab and Fahrstil magazine for being so kind as to tell Michael’s story. We are humbled by your compassion and generosity.
And, last but not least, how's MIchael doing?
Many of you will be following Michaels' progress via his facebook page as well as his community initiative Ride for Michael, so please forgive us if you already know what follows. As you can imagine Michael faces an uphill struggle to find his new version of normal life since his accident. He left hospital at the end of June to move to a care facility in Peterlee, County Durham in the UK. This is a stepping stone on his way back home. Michael's own home is undergoing modifications to allow him to move back hopefully as soon as late autumn this year.
During September Michael's friends and many people from the bike industry are gathering for an evening to raise money for further funding of projects to help Michael in his future.
The Ride for Michael initiative is Michael's idea. In an interview with BikeBiz he said:
"I don't want anybody to stop riding bikes because they think they might injure themselves. I want people to get out there and ride bikes. I've spent all of my working life getting people excited about bikes and even though spinal injuries happen to cyclists, and especially to mountain bikers, it's very rare. I was unlucky, shit happens. Get out there and ride, for me."
To that end various events have been organised and many more will follow in support of Ride for Michael.
If you would like to participte or get involved, here's a couple to get you started:
No Fuss Orange Tour of Ben Nevis - 21 September 2013 - Event Details
Epic Events - The 'Ride for Michael Bonney Cycle Sportive' - September 29th, 2013 - Event Details
Michael's strength continues to inspire us all and we hope it does you to. Get out there and ride for Michael. #ride4mb.