Happy Birthday CyclingTips!
No, it’s not my birthday, but I just realised from all the “Happy Birthday CT” on Facebook and Twitter that it’s been exactly 3 years since I started writing this blog. What a journey it’s been!
Since CyclingTips’ beginnings when I was writing simple riding, training, strategy and nutrition tips I’ve been given some experiences that I never could have imagined. There are many more “tips” out there that I’ll get to posting, but a lot of doors have opened that have enabled me expand on the topics I can write about.
Some of the most satisfying posts I’ve written this year are “The History of Cafe Racer“, Cyclingnews, a Web 1.0 Success Story“, “The Geometry of Bike Handling“, “A Ride With Tim Roe“, and “A Brief History of Australian Cycling Coverage” and “Interview with Trent Lowe“. The thing all of these have in common is they’ve allowed me to interact with some inspiring people, hear their stories, and tap into their knowledge. That is what I love.
When I think about the topics I enjoy writing about and what is most important, it comes down to a few simple things: bringing issues to light, digging up stories that haven’t been told, showing how beautiful our sport is through photography and video, and helping to expand your cycling knowledge. And sometimes I simply just like to have fun with it.
Cycling can be a petty sport at times with everyone trying to bring each other down. At the end of the day, all I want do to is celebrate cycling and help it become as big as it can possibly be. I won’t ignore important issues, but I won’t get caught up in tabloid journalism and “the race to the bottom” by publishing something just because it will attract pageviews. Every morning before I post an article, I ask myself the question, “Is this good for cycling?”
I was originally inspired to create this blog by fyxomatosis and there are many unbelievably good blogs that have come along since. I encourage you to check out The Inner Ring, Cycling Inquisition, Pave, Velomonati, Bunch Ride Finder, In The Saddle, Big Ring Riding and the others on my blogroll. Not to mention the ones who have been around forever including Fat Cyclist and BSNYC. All of these guys lift the standard of cycling blogs and inspire me to chase back-on after I occasionally drop the wheel.
Where is it going?
I never had a master plan for this blog and if I knew what I was getting into before I began I probably would have never put pen to paper. It’s been a lot of work, but I’ve enjoyed it immensely. I’ve had lot of invaluable advice from friends who are a lot more clever than I am, and without that I probably would have gone ahead with some pretty silly ideas.
As the site grows, the more challenging it becomes to juggle my job, my family, and my cycling. I’ve switched careers from telecommunications engineering to now having a full-time job with Rapha which is a dream come true. The highlight of my day is still writing the posts and reading your comments. As long as I’m enjoying it and feel that I’m making a positive contribution to cycling I’ll keep doing it.
I don’t know if anyone has noticed but I’ve started posting local Australian race results at the bottom of the page. There isn’t anywhere that I know of which acts as an aggregator for race results from all over the country. Cycling clubs have been extremely supportive with submitting their race results immediately after they’re available and I look forward to growing this portion of the site. If I can help promote racing around Australia and give club races the attention they deserve, then I feel that I’ve done a good service for cycling.
I’m in the process of getting the Race Results section placed on a more prominent part of the homepage and having better formatting on each race results page. Since many race results come to me in PDF format this actually makes the process of posting results a very manual process and technically challenging. As such, my mate Jarrod Partridge has taken on the enormous task of posting results and making it the best it can be.
I’ve had the opportunity to work with some talented artists. Photographers and film makers such as Veeral Patel, Stefano Sirotti, Kristof Ramon, Mike Hone, Leigh Schilling, James Broadway, Wilf Sweatland, and too many others to mention.
Being able to step down from my soapbox and feature guest posts is also a pleasure. I sometimes get sick of hearing my own voice and it’s a gift to be able to publish other people’s stories and insights. Jamie Jowett’s “Where Are They Now“, Alan McCubbin’s nutrition advice, and Les Clarke’s “Girona Notes” are all regular contributions that help make the content so diverse and refreshing.
I’d like build our list of regular contributors as I find that it takes a few posts for people to get familiar with someone’s writing style and personality. I cannot afford to pay much, but what I can provide are things like media accreditation, access to interviews, and sometimes we hit the jackpot with opportunities like a hot lap in a team car. Drop me a line if interested.
There have also been some very interesting one-off guest posts such as Mark Kelly’s “NASA’s Hydration Formula” and I always welcome submissions like these. There are many of you reading with diverse knowledge and extraordinary points of view and I want to give you a platform so you can share that with us!
I’m a bit of a tech-head and always enjoy knowing more about new products in development or being released. I’m a big fan of tech blogs such as Engaget and would welcome someone stepping forward to keep abreast of these things in the cycling industry and writing about them on a monthly basis. Drop me a line if you’re keen on being that person.
It’s not a secret that this site survives on it’s advertiser’s support. I just did my taxes and the cost of running this site last year was staggering. Without the support of the advertisers I could never afford to keep this going. For example, the site redesign alone cost nearly $20,000 and it’s far from being complete!
Thank you for supporting our advertisers who pay the bills. I have turned away many advertisers who try to influence the content too heavily. The only businesses you’ll see here are the ones who are relevant, non-intrusive, and believe in what I do. I always disclose any potential conflicts of interest so that I keep the trust I’ve earned with you over the past three years. You readers are much smarter than I am and have more of a voice than I do, and I know that trying to slip one by you will not go very far.
From the bottom of my heart, thank you for coming here and making CyclingTips part of your day. This blog as given me the best and most fulfilling three years of my life and it would never of happened without your support and engagement!