After six years of written interviews and stories and blog posts and one year of podcasting, it’s time to close the book on The Bicycle Story. I launched this project on Nov 1. 2010 with an interview with Stevil Kinevil. I wasn’t sure exactly of the path forward for the site, but the late 2000s bike culture boom was reaching its peak and there were a seemingly endless number of fascinating characters in the bike world about whom I wanted to know more. Luckily, it turned out there were lots of readers who were also interested in the lives of bike racers, adventurers, advocates, industry insiders, dirt bags and wild women and men.
Over the years, the site grew beyond my expectations and gave me the opportunity to interview so many awesome individuals. Adonia Lugo, Oboi Reed, Ed Ewing and many others illuminated how race and class can remain barriers to cycling. Jeremy Powers and Stephen Hyde and Mo Bruno Roy gave readers a glimpse into what it takes to perform at the highest levels of the sport. Artists and artisans such as Brian Vernor and Martina Brimmer shared their craft. Adventurers such as Nick Carman, Jill Homer, and Alastair Humphreys took us along on their rides to the far corners of the globe.
When I launched the podcast last year, my intentions were threefold: breath some new life into the site, give myself an opportunity to experiment with podcasting, and create a revenue-generating product. The first two items were grand successes. The latter, much less so. In order for podcast sponsorship to work, the podcast needs a fairly large listenership. My hope was to sustain the podcast through listener support via Patreon pledges while building up a sponsorship-worthy audience. Unfortunately neither really happened. There were a handful of extremely generous listeners who made pledges and helped keep the project going for as long as it did. I am eternally grateful for their kindness and support! But ultimately the Patreon base and the overall audience remained fairly stagnant over time and never reached the sort of sustainability I needed.
I realize this might sound like sour grapes, but I promise you it’s not! I recognize there were plenty of things I did (or didn’t do) to help the podcast reach its full potential. More importantly, I am deeply humbled and have nothing but gratitude for all The Bicycle Story’s readers and listeners and supporters and interviewees over the years. It’s been a fantastic and satisfying ride.
Though there won’t be any new interviews or episodes on The Bicycle Story from here on out, the site will remain online. You can help me offset hosting costs (and clear out my closet!) by picking up a Bicycle Story T-shirt from the shop. They’re deeply discounted right now and shipping is free anywhere in the U.S.
So once again, thank you to all the amazing people who shared their stories over the years. And thank you to all the readers and listeners for your support. The Bicycle Story could not have existed without you.
All my best,
Lael Wilcox may not yet be a household name in the cycling world, but with wins and records in super long distance, self-supported bikepacking races such as TransAmerica and the Tour Divide, she will be soon. In this special episode of The Bicycle Story podcast, I interviewed Lael about her victory at TransAm, what it’s like to race across the country in 18 days, her roots as a dirtbag world adventurer, breaking into the mainstream, and more.
For more on Lael’s world travels, check out The Bicycle Story’s 2014 interview with her partner Nick Carman.
Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com)
Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0 License
Posted in Adventure, Bike Touring, Interviews, Racing, The Podcast
Tagged badass women cyclists, bike packing, bikepacking, bikepacking racing, gypsy by trade, lael wilcox, nicholas carman, specialized, tour divide, transam, transamerica race
Ian Crane. Photo by Matt Mills McKnight from the Denver Post
What if you worked for years to accomplish a dream goal and finally achieved it only to have it snatched away an instant later? How would you react? That’s exactly what happened to 25 year old Ian Crane. Last year was his first as a professional cyclist. He’d signed with the Jamis-Hagens Berman squad and was getting better results than he’d expected. His career was full of promise. Then, as the 2014 season wound down, he had a horrific crash that left him hospitalized, scarred, and unable to ride. Ian’s reaction? Unwavering positivity. The recovery process has been extremely difficult, but Ian says it’s had unexpected rewards that have solidified his love of cycling. I spoke to Ian a few days after the anniversary of his crash about his cycling life, his path to professional racing, the crash in Colorado, recovery, his new goals and more.
Davey Oil in front of his family cargo bike shop in Seattle. Photo by Josh Cohen.
If you ride bikes in Seattle, you likely know a bit about Davey Oil. As co-owner of the family cargo bike shop G&O Family Cyclery he’s played a critical role in Seattle’s family biking boom. As a longtime bike activist, he’s worked for and been involved in Bike Works, Cascade Bike Club, the Bikery, critical mass and more. Having straddled the fence between the radical activist side of the bike movement and the insider-politics advocacy side, he has a valuable perspective on the growth of cycling-as-transportation in the city. I sat down with him at a coffee shop next to the Family Cyclery for a wide ranging conversation about his roots in activism, the rise and fall (and re-rise and re-fall) of Seattle critical mass, the mainstreaming of bike politics locally and nationally, the advocacy world’s struggles with diversity, the family biking boom, and much more.
Posted in Advocacy, Bike Industry, Interviews
Tagged bike activism, bike equity, bike works, cargo bikes, cargo biking, cascade bike club, critical mass, cycletruck, davey oil, diversity in cycling, family bike boom, family biking, g&o family cyclery, longtail cargo bikes, seattle critical mass, seattle cycling, the bikery
Henry Gold, founder Tour D’Afrique. All photos courtesy Tour D’Afrique.
Most people facing unemployment at the age of 50 would turn towards the safety and comfort of what they know to get back on their feet. When Henry Gold was in that position, he decided to lead a four month bicycle expedition from Cairo, Egypt to Cape Town, South Africa and organize a race on the same route despite having never bike toured or raced a day in his life at that point. Gold thought his adventure was going to be a one-time thing. Instead, it gave launch to his bike touring company, Tour D’Afrique. Twelve years on, the company offers 10 expeditions and races on six continents. I spoke to Gold about his history working with NGOs around the world, the African bike-manufacturing project he tried to start that helped inspire Tour D’Afrique, the joy and challenges of leading multi-month bike expeditions, and much more.