A look back at the year known as 2020

Self-portrait, 29 November 2020. Olympus 35 RD, Kodak Colorplus 200.

Hello, friends! It’s customary for me to have an “end of year review” post on this blog. And man, this was quite the year. I don’t think most people would call 2020 their best year unless they were some sort of sadist/masochist, or perhaps they’re in the toilet paper industry. Yes, 2020 was a pretty sucky year, a year where “get through this” was a mantra. Yeah, it wasn’t fun nor easy of a year for me either. But I survived, and for that I’m grateful.

And I’m not going to dwell on the bad. Let me break character and talk about some of the better things that happened to me in the dumpster fire of 2020:

  • People like challenges, especially when they are in an analog format. It’s probably got something to do with the isolation of this year (and exhaustion with Zoom meetings), but there has been quite a bit of participation with the various bicycle challenges I’ve had this year. I got good feedback from the (basically) Instagram only Three Speed April Challenge. But I knew that I wanted the October Challenge to be “report in a journal and send in the mail”. I was worried that I’d get push-back, especially since it required payment to register. Nope! 63 people total registered, and about 3/4 of those finished. I’ll have a full report soon. And the Midnite Bicycle League is going strong, we have over 100 participants and there’s still time to register!
  • My Etsy Shop is doing pretty well. I had used Storenvy as my online marketplace for about six years, but this year I decided to switch. So far, so good. I’ve had much more success in selling comics, zines, and the like through the new platform. I’m planning on writing more about the switch in a blog post soon.
  • Despite “stay at home”, Emee and I managed to get out of town quite a bit. This of course was not the year of epic trips, but of staying local. We didn’t leave Oregon or Washington, whereas most other years there would be a visit or two to British Columbia, California, Minnesota, etc. Thankfully, being “stuck” in the Pacific Northwest isn’t so bad as there’s a lot to see and do here. We went to the coast three times (once to Manzanita and Newport in February, twice to the Long Beach Peninsula in August and October). We also went out to the Columbia Gorge several times and up on the northeast side of Mount Hood once. I did go to Seattle by myself right as pandemic was hitting. That was eerie.
  • And I got in two bike camping trips. Two is the lowest number of bike overnights I’ve had in a year since I started touring in 2005, but this year two were better than none. My overnights to Barton Park in July and Ainsworth in the Columbia Gorge were enjoyable and needed. I had patched together a small Willamette Valley Tour for September, but the fires and “worst air quality in the world” put the kibosh on those plans. At least I now have the info for this tour and hope to do it in 2021. And after a year of pandemic, I think I’m more comfortable with what to expect for bike camping in the new year.
  • I also managed to have three bike events before pandemic hit. If I knew how 2020 would have turned out, I probably would have put on a bike ride every weekend in January and February. I’m glad that I got to pull off a Palm Tree Ride, a Slough Country Ramble, and a Three Speed Pub Crawl when I still had the chance to do so. I don’t know when I’ll be able to lead regular rides again, which leads me to…
  • I started working on a “self-guided tour” book/zine project. Since group rides have been nonexistent, the importance of people doing rides on their own is more important. Since spring, I’ve been working on compiling some of my rides into book format. It’s a lot of work, since I have to test and retest each route I do, and then have to find folks willing to test them as well. But I’m getting somewhere. I had hoped that I’d have something by the end of this year, but my enthusiasm and energy levels for the project come and go. I hope to have something by spring of 2021, summer at the latest.
  • And I found a passion for film photography. Something as unsettling and disruptive as a pandemic requires things to occupy your time and mind. I found that in rediscovering film photography. Yeah, I got the Minolta Hi-Matic 7s in January, but when pandemic really hit in mid-March, I had a new hobby to pursue. Taking photowalks around the neighborhood sure helped things. It’s been great learning as much as I can about the dark art of film. Now I have five decent 35mm cameras to enjoy. In the new year I’ll be exploring home development.

2 thoughts on “A look back at the year known as 2020

Add yours

  1. Nice 2020 recap, Shawn. I’ve enjoyed getting to know you over the years through your blog, Flickr, and IG (when I was there). After we get our COVID-19 shots and the pandemic cloud lifts, perhaps we’ll be able to meet in person. As I’m guessing you’re aware, I regularly ramble through your neighborhood.

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