Goin’ On Three

Wow, how time flies! Today marks two years to the day that we published our first blog entry. We wanted to take this opportunity to take a look back and reflect upon what has been an eminently enjoyable 24 months of serving up your daily dose of EcoVelo.

Stats
We posted 1,781 articles over the past two years, with 14,412 comments on those posts submitted by our readers — that’s an average of over 8 comments per post. Our post “More Sam H. Pics” from September, 2009 received the most traffic. It still receives quite a few visits every day, with some coming from the Rivendell website, and others from various forums and photo sites from around the globe. Right behind in the number of visits was “Gallery: Alan’s Surly Long Haul Trucker” from June, 2008. Like the Sam H. post, this one also receives a lot of incoming traffic from bike forums and photo sites. Apparently, people like to look at photos of pretty bikes! The top Op-Ed piece was on helmets (an always controversial topic), and the number one off-topic post was about bike cameras; not surprising considering what appears to be our unusually high percentage of readers/riders who are also photographers.

Speaking of photographs, our two photo contests were successful beyond all expectations, with somewhere around 700 photos submitted (my wrist was sore for weeks after processing those photos… LOL). With the help of our generous sponsors, we were able to award nearly 50 prizes to the winners in our “Endless Summer” contest. Look for another photo contest later this year.

Our overall site visits have been on an upward arc from the beginning, growing by 843% in 24 months and 39% in just the past two months. This is the most powerful affirmation possible that we’re headed in the right direction. Thank you!

Challenges
As the site has grown, spammers and trolls have become quite a challenge. The number of what we call “drive-by” trolls has increased exponentially (drive-by trolls are people who visit the site for the first time, leave a snarky comment to pick a fight, then leave as suddenly as they arrived). While we like the concept of open forums, history and experience have shown that it takes fairly aggressive moderation to maintain a safe and friendly discussion environment on the internet. This is a top priority for us, so to get a handle on the situation we implemented full comment moderation earlier this year. Moderation slows down the discussions a bit, and a small number of legitimate comments end up getting filtered, but we think the unusually positive discussion environment we’ve created speaks to the fact that it was a good decision.

We switched webhosts this past year. After traversing a very rocky road with a highly-regarded, boutique web host who grew way too fast and suffered for it, we switched to a smaller, but lean-and-mean web host, and in the process cut our latency and load times by 50% while reducing our monthly expenditures. Moving an active website is never a pleasant process, but it was well worth the effort.

Rewards
We’re still amazed by the number of comments we receive from readers who were inspired to give bike commuting a try after reading our blog. This simple fact is what we’re all about and it explains why we maintain a strict focus on our core mission. Many, many thanks to all of you who have written us personally to share your stories. Keep riding and writing!

Personal Highlights
We feel extremely fortunate that we were given the opportunity to shoot the lifestyle photos for the 2010 Breezer catalog and website. Our trip back to Pennsylvania for the photo shoot was a crazy adventure that will remain in our memories forever. Many thanks to our friends at Breezer!

We also mustered up the courage to enter a few photo contests this past year and were pleasantly surprised (shocked was more like it) when we took first place in both Princeton Tec’s “Got Lights on Bikes” photo contest and Wend Magazine’s “Friday Photo” contest (twice). We are sincerely grateful that we had these opportunities to stretch a little; the positive feedback provided much needed encouragement to keep moving in this direction and step through those doors when they open up.

Acknowledgements
We’d like to extend a heartfelt thank you to all of our faithful readers. Without you the site would have no reason for being. Your participation in our community is a major reason why we keep plugging away at the rate of 3-4 posts per day despite busy careers and family obligations.

We’d also like to extend a sincere thank you to all of our sponsors, without whom it would be very difficult to justify the amount of time and effort we put into the site. Our sponsors provide many of the bikes and accessories featured in our product reviews, so please support us by supporting them!

And, of course, we’d like to thank our family and friends for their unending support and encouragement, both of which are vital in making it possible to do what we do.

Looking Ahead
Even though we’ve made good progress, we feel as if we’re just now getting our feet under us. We have a seemingly endless list of ideas and new features we plan to implement in the coming years; we hope you stick around to see what we have in store for you!

All the best,
Alan & Michael

25 Responses to “Goin’ On Three”

  • Jeff Lock says:

    Congratulations on two years Alan and Michael. You are very popular on the other side of the world. I check ecovelo out every time I log on to see what is happening. I did not even know you were moderating comments so it appear the change was seamless to me.
    I love your site and your photos. I pass on your link to my friends who are not even into bikes but are photography nuts.
    Alan you capture something special in your photos about bikes.Those of us that are passionate about cycling and transportational cycling in particular find them so appealing.
    I hope you continue to grow and share your ideas and cycling passion with us.
    Thanks from Port Lincoln South Australia.

  • Alan says:

    Thanks so much for the kind words, Jeff. It’s still always amazes me that the internet allows us to reach out and share ideas with folks on the other side of the planet. Thanks for participating and being an important part of what we do.

    Best regards,
    Alan

  • Rob Mackenzie says:

    Congratulations to you to Michael… I do understand it is ALWAYS a team effort! Your blog has grown exponentially in this two years and deservedly so. It is just a rare pleasure to read and to view.

  • DerrickP says:

    Thanks for all you do! You are both inspirational and informative. It helps us newbies find the path a lot easier!

  • Rick says:

    Alan, it goes without saying that if not for your blog, I never would have found a dear friend; what you and Michael have created is a haven for intelligent and spirited conversation, a throwback to the literary salons of yore, and the world is a better place for it.

    Congratulations on your first two years, and here’s to many more.

    Love,
    Rick and Erin

  • Steve Butcher says:

    Alan and Michael-Happy Ecovelo second anniversary! I am so glad I happened upon Ecovelo; which, for me, has been a source of information, inspiration, and pure enjoyment. I appreciate the dedication and “elbow grease” it must take to be faithful to your website and readership. I would have actually guessed Ecovelo had been around longer than two years based on the quality and functionality of the website. This can only mean the future for Ecolvelo looks very bright as practical transportational bicycling continues to evolve and more readers discover Ecovelo. Many thanks and blessings to you and your family. I encourage you as you continue.

  • sbcommute says:

    Congratulations Alan!
    This is a great blog and I have come to check it about three or four times a day. I’m glad you have provided an outlet to talk many things “bike commuting” because my wife was tired of hearing me yak all day about this subject. Here’s to another great year. Cheers!

  • Logan says:

    Hi Michael and Alan, :)

    The Ecovelo blog has become a tremendous resource that a growing number of folks use daily. Tammy and I read Ecovelo because it helps us broaden our perspective on issues that extend beyond the city limits of our community :). What makes Ecovelo special I think is that it glows with a quintessence of your personalities. The modest candor and beautiful generosity you both radiate in person also comes through in the words and images of Ecovelo. Additionally, your sincere interest in the opinions of your readers fosters sharing in the comments section and regularly catalyzes an expansion of dialog on the issues at hand. Your contributions through this blog yield an ideal example of how this amorphous internet medium can be used in a positive and constructive manner. Thank you for investing your life energy in such a dynamic and inspiring way!

    Cheers!
    Logan and Tammy

  • AdamM says:

    Two years?! Well done to both of you. My only disappiontment is that I only ‘discovered’ Ecovelo 4 months ago.

    Keep up the great work.

  • Lovely Bicycle! says:

    Congratulations and thank you for your effort and commitment. This is one of my favourite blogs and a daily read.

  • Supp Suppinger says:

    hi, so how many visits do You have? is there a counter somewhere? it would just be interesting to know how many people are interested in eco friendly cycling … thanks!

  • Dottie says:

    Happy blog anniversary! I appreciate all the love and work you put into creating one of my favorite places to visit on the internet. Here’s to many more years :)

  • Chandra says:

    Many more years of great blogging to you!
    Peace :)
    -Chandra…

  • Ryan says:

    Chapeau on two years! Your blog is a daily pleasure to read and enjoy. Finding your site corresponded with a change in bike “attitude” for me from its “all about getting faster stronger etc” to a steel bike with 36 spoke wheels & bar end shifters and actually stopping on rides to take pictures and enjoying the ride without too many glances at the cyclometer. Thank you for the affirmation your site provides of that choice. And for all the wonderful photos.

    Ryan

    PS hope you had fun watching the ATOC in Sac town today. Manx Missile in a sprint finish, very TdF.

  • ibikethecity.org says:

    Happy blog-birthday and congratulations for your work and ideas. I think this blog is helping a lot of people to decide finally to take the bike as a commute vehicle, instead of using the car.

    This is also what we would like to achieve, and from here we send you our best wishes and our support!

    Cheers, and keep on riding!

  • RDW says:

    Congratulations on the anniversary. Your blog is one of my favorite reads on the net and I love your photos. You manage to be informative, entertaining and inspiring all at the same time. Thanks!

  • jerry'sdaughter says:

    Congrats and thanks for this great blog. I love the photo accompanying this post!

  • bongobike says:

    Congratulations, Alan! You have one of the best bike blogs on the internet, and certainly my favorite. Keep it up!

  • Sharper says:

    Congratulations, Alan and Michael, and I’m very glad Sacramento turned out the bike events in force to help celebrate…
    –Ryan

  • Cullen Carter says:

    Happy Anniversary! I look forward to many more, too.

  • Dolan Halbrook says:

    One more congrats! I don’t always get the chance to check the blog as frequently as I’d like to, but I’m never disappointed when I do. Thanks for all the effort you put into keeping it so great.

  • Bryan @ Renaissance Bicycles says:

    Without a doubt, EcoVelo provides some of the most thoughtful and insightful bike-as-transport information on the Web. I hope the recent 39% growth represents the ground-swell of folks (re)considering the bike as a simple and elegant form of transportation.

    And as an avid reader and sponsor, we appreciate your praise … but really you both deserve all of the accolades.

    Bryan

  • Michael (Mrs. EcoVelo) says:

    Thank you all so much for the kind words and encouragement. It seems cliché to say it means more than you could know, but it really does mean more than you could know! :)

  • Alan says:

    Thanks so much, everyone. As Michael said, your kind words mean more than you could know!

    All the best,
    Alan

  • Jerome says:

    You guys are doing a great job. I am inspired to ride to work more than ever and you have been really good at capturing the essence and the feel of riding a bike. Keep on riding and writting!

 
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