Over the past year, a number of budding bike bloggers contacted me looking for advice on how to grow their sites and build an audience. Each time I said essentially the same thing, and each time I was left feeling they didn’t like the answer much. To use a favorite analogy, growing a blog is like filling a swimming pool with a teaspoon. You start with one teaspoon; 768 teaspoons later you have one gallon; repeat 15,000 times and you have one average-sized swimming pool full of water (and hopefully, a handful of readers). It’s a slow process that takes dedication and perseverance. In my case, I published my first blog post on March 25th, 2005. It was a tentative start, but I fairly quickly reached the point of posting at least once a day, and I’ve rarely missed a day since. Eventually, if you’re lucky, that sort of stubborn indefatigability starts reaping a few rewards. I’m sure there are bloggers more talented than I who have progressed much faster, but for me, it’s clearly been a story of the tortoise rather than the hare.
I think advocating for bicycles is not unlike blogging. It’s easy to expect too much, too soon, with the danger being discouragement resulting from the interminably slow pace of progress, discouragement that may very well lead to abandoning the cause altogether. As transportational bicyclists and advocates (every transpo bike rider on the road is an advocate for bicycling), the most important thing you and I can do is just keep at it. If we all stick with it and keep riding and advocating everyday, I firmly believe we’ll make the progress we’re hoping for over the long haul. Then, one day, if luck is on our side, we’ll look up and notice that the swimming pool is brimming over the top.