FIVE THINGS WITH CYCLIST TIM JACKSON
Jackson caught the racing bug in 1982 as a high-school junior and baring injury, has raced every year since, He's been elite level on the track since since 1993 and continues to race and train to this day.
Jackson is also a "lifer" in the bicycle industry, gaining notoriety as a "blogger," marketing, and product guy. He's worked for a "who's who" of brands including NiteRider, Canari Cyclewear, Masi Bicycles, Fuji Bicycles, Pivot Cycles , BH Bikes (same company for both) and Focus Bicycles. He's worked freelance since 2016 as an independent marketing consultant specializing in smaller brands under the banner PowWord Communications.
The Banjo Brothers have history with Jackson dating back to 2009 or maybe even a little earlier, when Jackson was the main product and marketing guy at Masi and was blogging as "Masi Guy." We felt Jackson's perch as a longtime industry person and because he's someone who is still crazy about "the bike" would make for a great interview. He didn't disappoint.
Enjoy this week's Banjo Brothers Five Things.
BANJO BROS: WHAT ARE YOU RIDING?
TJ: Well, I guess you could say I’m still “The Masiguy”; spending the bulk of my riding time on my Masi Evoluzione and the Speciale Fixed- both bikes from my tenure at Masi. The Evoluzione was the last big project I completed at Masi- designing that frame was an exciting project. I was giddy with the outcome. The Speciale Fixed is the product that really helped us rebuild the Masi brand, on the waves of the “fixie boom” that brought the brand back in to contact with a lot of people. Frankly, it was the Fixed that essentially paid for us to be able to open molds for the carbon frame! Also still racing on my Fuji and Focus track frames on the velodrome. It’s still my passion as far as racing goes. But I’m spoiled, thanks to the years of being in the industry in various capacities, so I’ve probably got 20 bikes to pick from. Again, I’m spoiled and I appreciate that fact.
BANJO BROS: WHERE ARE YOU RIDING?
TJ: I ride anywhere and everywhere and as often as possible. My bike(s) is (are) my therapist. I’d be utterly lost without regular bike rides. I race. I train. I cruise. My daughters will ride with me, but it’s not really their thing- and that’s ok. I would love for them to love cycling too, but I’ve made it a point not to push it on them. Besides, both have visited me in the hospital after crashes … so they have that as their cycling experience too.
My bike is my therapist. I’d be utterly lost without regular bike rides.
BANJO BROS: WHAT ARE YOU LISTENING TO, READING OR WATCHING?
TJ: I am appalled to admit that I have become a genuinely terrible reader over the years. I spend nearly all day in front of my computer or on my phone plugged into social media- it’s an occupational hazard that has made me a terrible reader. I read lots of cycling magazines and sites, out of interest and for work. Can’t remember the last time I’ve watched TV. I cut the cord on cable years ago, and haven’t really regretted it. But I do hear that Game of Cards or House of Thrones is really entertaining. When I have the time or head-space, I try to write poetry. It’s been my passion almost as long as cycling, and like cycling I pursued it as a career at one point. I wish I could say that I write more often than I do, and my poetry site is way more neglected (as is my blog) than it should be- though I’m writing with my fountain pens on actual paper again and reteaching myself to type on my vintage typewriters. One day, I do plan to publish a book or two of various poems I’ve written over the years. All that said, as much writing as I do and have done, it’s a painful admission to confess to being such an awful reader.
BANJO BROS: WHAT ARE YOU COOKING EATING/DRINKING?
TJ: One of my biggest guilty pleasures, I have to admit, is local grocery store fried chicken over the kitchen sink. Often substituted with the rotisserie chicken when I feel guilty. I’m a total coffee addict. I drink 2 to infinity cups every day. I try to lie to myself that I like tea, and have some around all the time, but it’s mostly so I can pretend that I’m capable of cutting back on my coffee intake. And I have weird friends who prefer tea, so I have some around for them. I try not to make eye contact with them while they drink it though. It just makes me feel dirty. I’ve been sober for almost 5 years now and don’t miss it (thankfully), but was a huge beer and whisky/whiskey/bourbon/scotch fan. I’ve replaced that particular hydration with sparkling waters of almost all varieties, but recently rediscovered my lost love for San Pellegrino.
BANJO BROS: WHAT'S STUCK IN YOUR CRAW?
TJ: The bike industry has been flat or down overall for about 20 years. I’ve been in the industry since 1982. Yeah, I’m old. It’s been maddening to watch the industry cannibalize itself with creating new niches and slivers of categories to sell an additional bike to the same consumer, over and over and over. As an industry, we’ve done a shi--y job of bringing in new consumers. The N+1 theory eventually crumbles when money or garage space runs out. We need more new people to come to cycling.
The boom in e-Bikes has been met with so much breathless anticipation and outright hostility. It amazes me that a product category comes along and gets shunned and simultaneously heralded as the next savior of the industry. The reality is in the middle, but the one thing it does definitely do, is bring new attention to the world of two wheels, and I personally see that as a very positive thing.
Gravel bikes are fun. New enduro MTBs with new BB standards and rear wheel spacing are great too. But really, we need more people coming to cycling with zero preconceptions of what makes a bicycle a Bicycle. And kids! We need more young riders. NICA high school cycling is amazing and I love it. Now we just need more schools to allow their kids to ride to school and have safe bike storage/ racks. Here in SoCal, because of fears of cars, many schools have taken out the bike racks and openly discourage kids from riding to school. That breaks my heart. I don’t have the answer to the problem, but I’m gonna keep working on getting more new people to ride bikes as much as I can.
MORE ABOUT THE FIVE THINGS INTERVIEWS FROM BANJO BROTHERS
A big Banjo Brothers thank you to Tim Jackson for participating in this week's edition of Five Things. These short interviews about life and bicycles will appear every Friday on the Banjo Brothers Blog. If you liked this FIVE THINGS from Banjo Brothers you should check our full series of past five things interviews.
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