2016 has been another turbulent year (for us and the rest of the world) - I think it'll always be like this but sitting on the eve of 2017 it definitely seems like once again the ups have outweighed the downs and we're heading into a new year full of excitement and anticipation, here are some of our highlights.
After a few years' break we headed back to the big smoke to participate in the London Bike Show. While usually 4 days in an exhibition hall makes me exhausted beyond anything, this was a huge surprise. We met so many of our customers both loyal and new, saw people we usually only exchange emails with and both of us were thoroughly star struck - firstly when Rachel Atherton commented that she had been following our progress, leaving me with a face the same colour as my jumper. Secondly when Ben met Martyn Ashton, his childhood inspiration.
Once Spring/Summer prototype clothing had arrived we spent a great couple of days with some members of Team Flare (and some hangers-on) shooting around Sheffield and the Peak District. We rode bikes, ate delicious food and did the same again the following day and it was great to hang out with Ben, Nikki, Claire, Kelly and Darren (and his beard) and we're really looking forward to doing more of these in 2017.
Earlier in the year we were taken by surprise to be told we were finalists for Total Women's Cycling's prestigious award of "Best MTB Clothing 2016". We had keep this secret, though, until official announcements and reader voting opened. Then the Cycle Show rolled around and I was completely gobsmacked when we won! A highlight if ever there was one.
Not a business highlight, perhaps, but in October Ben and I got up, went for a bike ride with 25 of our closest friends and family and then just, you know, got married.
With even more plans for next year, we decided it was time to shake up the team. With an open application process we received over 200 entries and whittled it down to have 11 fresh faces join the ranks of #teamflare! We can't wait to see what they'll get up to and keep an eye on this blog where you'll be formally introduced.
Of course, it couldn't all be award wins and life-changing moments, but we're taking the highs and going forward to 2017 hungry for more. Some of the things to look out for...
New products and accessories as well as our core lines of jerseys and shorts in updated graphics and colours
Flare HQ moves to Sheffield
Supporting more grassroots racing
Links with other MTB businesses - Wheelers MTB in Portugal and Cafe Adventure in Hope
From the three of us here at Flare, Happy New Year, see you on the other side 🍾