One of the best things about being involved in bike advocacy has been the great people that I have met. I’ll be writing a bit more about the people I have met over the past couple of years as a result of my advocacy efforts.
Laird Knight is the pioneer of the 24 hour racing format and the man behind the Granny Gear Productions. He is a gentleman and has been honored by his peers by being inducted into the Mountain Bike Hall of Fame.
I met Laird in Washington, DC during the Bike Summit earlier this year. I was really interested in his talk about the economic impact of his 24 hour event on a local community and how these races provide memorable lifetime experiences for the participants. During an evening walk to a DC restaurant for Tapas and beer, I talked to him about bringing a 24 hour race to Santa Cruz and discussed the possibility of using the Coast Dairies property as a future venue. Laird was interested in this proposition and we have kept up correspondence.
He flew out in August and stayed with us for a few days for a BLM meeting and a peek at the Coast Dairies property. He was a great asset in the BLM meeting since he has a long term relationship with the BLM near Moab. He is a articulate advocate of mountain biking on public lands and he made a great impression with the Field Manager.
He has the curious mind of an engineer/scientist despite the fact that he has no formal education as an engineer. He is interested in science and keeps tabs on technology and knows how to leverage technology to improve the race experience. Laird is the inventor of the 24 hour race format – which has been copied by many race promoters. However, he doesn’t seem resentful about the fact that others have stolen his ideas. He seems amused and flattered. Having more promoters do the 24 hour race format increases the market (and racers) for 24 hour racing and that can only benefit all the promoters. The competition doesn’t stop him from innovating. He continues to dream up new ways to improve the experience of Granny Gear races.
Laird is an amazing guy to know. I am really happy to have him as an ally partner and friend in advocacy.