I’m not sure I’ve shared any of these tidbits yet, but a couple of events recently made me think I should put them down for the record.
I am watching the news religiously each night this year for the first time ever, so I have a lot of information on other people, but it’s kind of astonishing how little I know how this intermission in our lives is affecting people I actually know. I assume all my friends still have jobs, for one, since not one of them has told me otherwise. If I lost mine you’d know it, I promise!
Well actually, I guess I have lost my job, at least for this year. We have only one tour (of 3 days) still on the books and we think even that one is 50%. It’s a sabbatical, whether we deserved it or not.
So that’s me. My friends in the business are in the same position, especially since we all rely nearly exclusively on foreign riders to fill our tours. The tour companies we know well are mostly like us; small, with little overhead, so we think that they’ll all be around when the smoke clears.
Our hotel partners are of course suffering and we know at least one who has decided that it’d be best not to even open this season. Another has said that she might have to ‘put the keys in the door’ (close down) for good. One more has sold their property recently and another is trying to do the same.
We’ve been contacted by a couple of people looking for work as a guide/mechanic, one because his usual employer (one of the big American tour companies) is not coming to Europe this year.
And that’s just stuff that’s come into our inboxes. I’m sure the list goes on and on and on.
But not everyone is doing badly. John visited a bike shop in town the other day and they are going nuts at the moment with sales, but also repairs (the gov’t is offering 50€ to get your bike fixed up right now). My LBS had 4 mechanics working when I visited two days ago (I’d never seen more than 2 till then) and they have never been as busy. It’s not all doom and gloom in the industry.
You all may have experienced this as well, but this ‘breather’ seems to be a time of reflection for many people, unsurprisingly. After all, only Bill Gates and Anthony Fauci imagined that a respiratory virus could have stopped the world like this – in my most negative moments at the end of last winter I still couldn’t have envisioned closed borders (for most of our clients anyway…) for the entire summer season.
But times of crisis (or ass sitting, as the case may be) are often times to reassess and make long-needed changes to our lives. I think we all have friends who are going through this right now and change can often be positive. Me, I’m taking the armadillo approach to crisis and burrowing in a hole (with a beer) next to my computer till this goes away. Knock on my shell when it’s safe, will ya?
And how are things going with you, by the way?