It’s been a heck of a year – thanks for being here
2021 was quite the ride.
2021 was quite the ride.
It’s the end of the year, and time to look back.
There are a lot of ways to measure success (or failure) in this line of work. Most involve numbers, which are handy and informative but leave quite a lot out.
Our numbers are good, I’m happy to report. Since this is an end-of-year post, or close enough, I have a pretty good handle on how we did this year. How many millions of you clicked, what you clicked on, how many times. What other parts of the internet led you here. What worked and what didn’t.
What the numbers don’t tell me is why.
A friend told me the other day that he finally signed up for VeloClub (he said apologetically) after reading Dave Rome’s derailleur hanger straightener roundup and realizing that it was information that literally did not exist anywhere else on the entire internet. It’s 4,700 words. About derailleur hanger straighteners. Of course it doesn’t exist elsewhere. But even though the numbers suggest Dave is insane, they also make it clear that many of you are, too.
The numbers, as handy as they are, don’t tell me when one Abby’s Mickey’s podcasts creates a new Demi Vollering superfan. Analytics are ill-equipped to pick up on the mirth suppression required to read one of Iain Treloar’s pieces while half-attentively sitting in a cameras-on video call. They don’t differentiate between 40,000 pageviews on some piece of clickbait and 40,000 page views on James Huang’s attentive, intentional, honest assessment of the latest superbike. But those two stories are different and they are why we’re different, I like to think.
What the numbers struggle to capture is the humanity of any media title. This site, everything we make, is hand-built by less than a dozen people. You like it because those people are just like you. Their varied interests and unique styles create the spectrum of content that attracts all of you. CyclingTips is simultaneously a freestanding entity – it would go forth without any one of us – while also being a sum of the people who make it. It is us.
Andy van Bergen popularized Everesting and is Australia’s only backcountry snowboarder (fact check required here, but there can’t be many.) Ronan Mc Laughlin Everested faster than anybody, ever. He loves time trial bikes, for some reason. He built his own shed, which hasn’t fallen down yet.
Abby, in addition to podcasting, is gravel-curious and pavement-devoted and loves Zwifting even when it’s nice outside. She’ll be slightly annoyed at me for telling you that. Matt de Neef spent lockdown riding every street in his suburb, because he could, and wrote a really good book about Everesting (which features Andy and Ronan). Dane Cash loves the parts of bike racing even bike racing fans don’t love.
James Huang had to correct me twice as we made this geometry video because, of course, all of this nerditude lives so deep inside him by now that it’s actually become part of him. Kit Nicholson pulls better headlines out of (let’s be honest) somewhat redundant racing stories, weekend after weekend, than anybody else here. That’s an unteachable talent.
José Been’s combination of bluntness and accessibility and willingness to share her own trials and tribulations pulls us all in, because honesty in all facets of life does that. Phil Golston, a name most of you probably don’t know, is the reason why half a dozen untrained video presenters sound halfway intelligent and interesting in front of camera. Amy Jones isn’t afraid to opine, and in doing so captures the sentiment of many and kicks off conversations that need to be had.
We hit big goals this year. We grew on top of growth. Numbers, up. Plus we navigated an acquisition. We added a paywall and most of you don’t hate us for it. But far more important is that we continue to stand for something and have a style and substance all our own.
You know you can come to us for something different. That’s not thanks to numbers, it’s thanks to the talented, creative, and sometimes daring writers, podcasters, videographers, and photographers that make up CyclingTips. CT is what a group of people create every single day.
It was a heck of a year. Thanks for joining us.