Though The Bicycle Story is four years old, 2014 was a bit of a rebirth for the site. For the past couple of years, the project took a serious backseat to my day job, other obligations, life in general. This year, with the flexibility of full-time freelance journalism, The Bicycle Story was once again a high priority. We published new interviews nearly every week, readership grew, and fascinating bike people shared their valuable perspectives on adventuring in far off places; the growth of American cyclocross; women and Afghani tribal politics; long distance randonneuring; race and poverty’s intersection with urban biking, and so much more. It was a good year.
Year-end retrospective lists are kind of hokey and as much an attempt to squeeze a few more page views out of recycled content as anything. But they also provide a moment for valuable reflection on the year. Looking at The Bicycle Story’s top 10 most-read interviews of 2104 helps sheds some light on what you love to read and some of The Bicycle Story’s coverage gaps. This year’s most read are:
- Austin Horse: From Courier to Career Adventurer
- Nicholas Carman: Pedaling the World as a Gypsy by Trade
- Cosmo Catalano: The Snarky, Outsider Voice of Professional Racing
- Dan Malloy: Slow is Fast When You’re Surfing by Bike
- Casey Greene: Mapping the Future of Bike Touring
- Ed Ewing: Race, Equity, and Empowerment by Bike
- Mary Gersemalina: Coffeeneuring, Community, and Some Seriously Long Rides
- Mike Curiak: Finding the Edge of Human Endurance
- Jeremy Powers: Life at the Top of American Cyclocross
- Mike McGinn: Fighting Bikelash with Seattle’s Former Mayor
It’s not surprising that more than half of the year’s most popular interviews feature bike adventurers. Austin Horse parlayed the popularity of bike messengering into opportunities to travel the world and ride. Nicholas Carman scrimps and saves for half the year, then spends six months touring around the world. Pro surfer Dan Malloy rode the coast of California surfing along the way. Mike Curiak’s wilderness adventures are both impressive and a little terrifying. It’s inspiring to read about other peoples’ adventures. I know I’ll never do a 1200km ride like Mary Gersemalina or follow Curiak’s tire tracks across Alaska’s Lost Coast, but reading their stories gets the gears turning about what’s possible on two wheels.
It’s exciting that several of the other most popular interviews are about bike advocacy. Biking-as-transportation in the U.S. has a lot of momentum right now. Cities are recognizing the need for better infrastructure. More people than ever are getting around by bike. But, there are still huge gaps in our infrastructure networks, far too many people are dying on the road, and there’s real inequity between those neighborhoods that support bicycling and those that don’t. It’s helpful to tap into the insight of advocates such as Ed Ewing and former Seattle Mayor Mike McGinn to think about the problems we’ve solved and the fights yet to come.
From the outset, The Bicycle Story’s mission was to capture the incredible breadth of the bike world. There are so many people involved in bicycling for so many different reasons. And while I’m proud of the project’s work in service of that mission thus far, I recognize that there’s a ton of room for improvement. It’s telling that eight of the 10 most read interviews of 2014 are with white men. I will work harder in the coming year to elevate a broader range of voices.
Thanks so much for reading. You, the readers, make The Bicycle Story possible and I thank you for your support. Looking ahead, I’ve got a few plans in the works to help reflect The Bicycle Story’s growth and evolution. Keep your eyes peeled for details soon. In the meantime, keep coming back weekly for great interviews with the best adventurers, advocates, racers, industry insiders, and frame builders the bike world has to offer.
Happy New Year. See you in 2015!
Posted in Everything Else, Interviews
Tagged austin horse, bike advocacy, bike interviews, casey greene, cosmo catalano, cycling interviews, Cyclocross, dan malloy, ed ewing, jeremy powers, mary gersemalina, mayor mike mcginn, mike curiak, nicholas carman
This past Saturday, The Bicycle Story hit it’s four year anniversary. The project launched on November 1, 2010 with the Stevil Kinevil interview. I didn’t have much plan for the site when it kicked off. I just knew the best part about cycling is the interesting people involved and I was pretty sure there were readers out there who agreed. It turns out I was right on both counts. The project has continued to grow beyond my expectations (I never would’ve guessed I’d some day be chatting about the intersection of cycling and women’s rights in Afghanistan). And the audience–you great people–has grown right along with it.
Over the years, The Bicycle Story has become a platform for elevating unique voices and insider insight. The interviews have delved into critical social justice and equity issues with people such as Adonia Lugo and Ed Ewing. They’ve served as an oral history of cycling culture with Jacquie Phelan and Steve Garro. They’ve gone deep into the lives of cycling’s best athletes such as Jeremy Powers, Mo Bruno Roy, Barry Wicks, Ted King, and Elle Anderson. They’ve looked at the important work of advocates such as Aaron Naparstek, Nelle Pierson, and Noah Budnick. Many great adventurers have shared their epics including Nicholas Carman, Mike Curiak, and Jill Homer. Artists such as Brian Vernor and Emily Maye have shed light on their process and creative eye to the world. And the list goes on and on.
So thank you for reading and sharing and appreciating and supporting this work. It means a lot and provides the motivation necessary to keep the project rolling. If you want to lend some financial support and look great doing it, buy one of The Bicycle’s Story’s brand new t shirts. In the meantime, I’ll still be seeking out and chatting up the best, most fascinating, raddest people the cycling world has to offer.
Luke Allingham. Photo by Carole Snow.
For most people, big accomplishments at the age of 12 amount to a trophy won on a sports team, a project aced in middle school, or maybe making out with someone for the first time in the park. When Luke Allingham was 12, he decided he wanted to break into cycling journalism by writing race reports for an unofficial Leopard Trek fan site. Now at the ripe old age of 16, he has interviewed some of cycling’s best athletes, racing legends, and even the head of the sport’s international governing body. I can’t decide whether Allingham’s gumption is inspiring or distressing, but either way he is seriously impressive. I spoke with him about his early foray into writing and interviewing, his love of bike racing, creating these opportunities for himself, his longterm plans for cycling journalism, and more.
Correction: An early version of this interview implied that Allingham was writing race reports for the Leopard Trek team. He was actually writing for an unofficial Leopard Trek fan site.
Thank you Internet for having a picture of everything anyone could ever imagine.
Today is The Bicycle Story’s first birthday. Technically the site went live in late October 2010, but it was a year ago today that the site really launched with its very first interview, “Stevil Kinevil: Bikes, Booze, and the Art of Heckling”.
Since then, it has chugged along, sometimes with very consistent content and others, not so much at all. But hey, it’s impressive a one year old can write anything at all, let alone do so without ever pooping its pants, right?
The Bicycle Story is still very much a side project for me and will still take a back seat to the full-time job when it needs to. That said, I will still be bringing you interviews with cycling’s most interesting adventurers, advocates, industry folks, racers, dirt bags, and more. I also have some ideas for some good projects that could branch The Bicycle Story off in some relevant, but new and exciting directions. Hopefully those make the transition from ideas-I-had-while-laying-in-bed-unable-to-sleep to fruition before too long.
Cheers to all the readers, commenters, interviewees, and friends that helped make The Bicycle Story’s first year on earth so great. Here’s to many more!