Rowdy riding has become a movement around here at Panache. As we debate the virtues of road racing, (is it in rehab?) vs. gravel (why talk about the surface?) vs. cyclocross (expand it to more than 10 minute circles?) one thing becomes evident: riding is evolving.
The change is apparent. This evolution is refreshing, more about discovery than strictly about fitness. Even pro bike racers like Lachlan Morton and Taylor Phinney have ventured into this land of the exotic (as evidenced by their Therabouts short film). Instead of heading out on our go-to roads, we’ve been searching for the roads, paths, and tracks that we haven’t ridden before. You know that little opening in the trees you’ve ridden by day after day? Where does that path go?
Lately, we’ve been following these paths. Technology – disc brakes, durable wheels and tires, frame geometry – have allowed for this. It’s a new avenue (pun intended) to our passion. “Find your exotic” has come to represent that place at the end of the road; the place we haven’t yet discovered. Exotic is simply a word that represents something non-native, something unknown, yet something we envision to be special, new, and amazing.
Find your exotic is also a concept that meshes well with our mission here at Panache. We are dedicated and committed beyond category. This means that we go beyond what has been done. “Beyond Category” is an Americanization of the french term, Haute Category, which is how the Tour de France categorizes those climbs that are beyond and above categorization. At Panache, we are always looking to do better, go farther, go faster, and go beyond. Going beyond is not just about physically riding beyond a known point, but it’s about going beyond your comfort zone, going beyond into the unknown. Find your exotic becomes a fun manifestation of riding beyond category.
Why go beyond? Because it’s when you push yourself beyond what you thought was possible that you learn the biggest things about yourself and about life. Sounds deep, but it’s akin to that endless search for the ultimate wave that surfers so crave, a wave that is never caught because there’s always the search for an even better, more ultimate wave. That endless summer becomes more about a way of life and the journey you take to finding that ultimate wave. For us cyclists, it’s about finding that ultimate ride. And like the analogy for surfing, the cycling lifestyle is more about the journey than the destination. That ride is out there, even if you thought you just rode it.