Our team of bike bloggers was happily blogging along at UtilityCycling.org and BikeTrailerBlog.com when Arleigh emailed us with the jaw dropping proposal for us to take the reins of Commute By Bike. We had heard about Arleigh’s recent bike commuting accident. Related to this, she explained her reasons for stepping back from running. Commute By Bike to us.
After having pondered the regrettable circumstances through which the offer had come up, the challenge of keeping up this active and thriving blog and the opportunity to explore new directions with Commute By Bike, we decided to take the plunge. Given the circumstances, we also wanted to help Arleigh as she dealt with the issues surrounding the accident. Now, as we move ahead, I hope that our experiences and resources will be worthy of the combination of Arleigh’s great work here and the community of readers and contributors that have come together to make Commute By Bike a great cycling blog and community.
As I titled this post “Thanks Arleigh”, I wanted to express our collective gratitude to Arleigh for all of her great writing and leadership here at Commute By Bike. Reading through comments on this blog as well as Arleigh’s personal blog, BikeShopGirl.com, her twitter and Facebook pages, it is quite evident that Arleigh has a huge network of supporters through thick and thin. Her work here has certainly set a high bar for us to clear as we move forward in keeping the bike commuting news, reviews and essays rolling in.. Our whole team here wishes Arleigh a speedy recovery from the physical, psychological and other burdens that have came up with the accident. I can say I was very encouraged to see Arleigh’s recent post about putting together a new mountain bike and feeling excited to ride, and I hope that she’ll feel recovered enough and ready to get back on the road bike in due course. I think I can say for everyone that we all look forward to her continuing to share her thoughts and perspectives on bike commuting with some of the sobering reality of the aftermath of the accident.
I could go on and on about Arleigh, but I suppose it is time for us to get started. So I figured I’d get underway by introducing what our team of bloggers has been up to, a little bit about our bloggers and how they will be contributing to Commute By Bike and some of our plans, thoughts and ideas as we get underway.
To begin, I am Josh Lipton, founder, editor and blogger at UtilityCycling.org. If you aren’t familiar with the site, an overall view of UtilityCycling.org is our mission over the last year and a half to define the overall spectrum that utility cycling encompasses by bringing to light all of its categories and sub categories in a quest to explore and show the connections between all of the possible ways that cyclists use a bicycle. Part of our ambition in defining utility cycling was an attempt to build a coalition among all of the various groups of cyclists that could be called utility cyclists. Looking around the cycling landscape, we’ve noticed the emergence of the bike messenger sect, the cargo bike clan, the die-hard bike commuters, the business-a-on-bike extraordinaire, and the list goes on. With all of this great energy swirling around, we were inspired to do what we could to add to the momentum of this energy by blogging about this as a combined and overall movement.
In researching the various aspects of utility cycling, it rapidly has become overwhelmingly clear that bike commuting is the vast majority of utility cycling. With this reality, a significant portion of our blogging ended up being either directly or quite closely related to a issues related to bike commuting. With this perspective in mind, the opportunity to bring together the writing, direction and administration of UtilityCycling.org into a shared space with Commute By Bike seemed quite natural.
As my ideas and perspectives about bike commuting have developed at Utility Cycling, I thought I would point towards one of my first articles: A Bicycle Advocate’s Call to a Transportation Revolution. Closer to the present, a guest post I wrote a few months back at Commute By Bike expresses my approach and philosophy when it comes to bike commuting gear: Tools for Normalizing The Bike Commute
Moving forward, I will be editing Commute By Bike. Along with my regular editing, I will be keeping an eye on bike commuting news, with the purpose of intermingling our more substantial essays and product reviews with quick, topical news posts.
Stacey Moses has been a core writer for us this year at UtilityCycling.org. Stacey has been helping us with our overall project of defining Utility Cycling. She focused on stories related to bicycle advocacy, social action and community cycling events. Stacey’s experience working as the buyer and communications specialists at Revolution Cycles in Washington D.C. is a central part of her involvement with cycling, lending towards great perspectives in all of the topics that she covers. Stacey also has been published in Bicycle Times and maintains a portfolio blog of her writing.
Moving forward, Stacey will be a core writer for Commute By Bike. We are looking forward to Stacey’s insightful posts on developments in bicycle advocacy as well as her bike commuter gear comparison reviews. Here are examples of Stacey’s work that stirred up a good deal of interest: What to Wear: Bike Commuting Clothing Essentials & Carrying Your Stuff: Bicycle Bags and Racks
Melanie Meyers got the ball rolling for us at UtilityCycling.org, and has been cranking out loads of great posts ever since. Melanie’s focus on the project of defining all things utility cycling has brought us close to our goal of completion with it currently about 75% complete. Melanie has covered the full gamut, covering topics in all of our utility cycling categories, from transportation to community building to mapping to bike delivery to bike services. The one topic she hasn’t got to is family cycling (a topic, by the way, with which we could use some help). Melanie also has kept our RSS readers happy with frequent updates to our Utility Cycling videos section.
A particularly interesting emphasis of Melanie’s has been bike mapping. Melanie is currently earning her PHD in geography with a focus on GIS. Her expertise in mapping has lead to some excellent posts on Google’s new Bike There feature as well as other examinations of the intersections between mapping technologies and cycling. Here are a few examples of Melanie’s best work:
Along with working towards her PHD, Melanie is also a successful road and mountain bike racer. This season she had one of her best finishes placing 10th in the Women’s Pro overall at the Tour of the Gila. Along with her UtilityCycling.org blogging regime, Melanie keeps up her personal blog and edits and writes for her cycling team’s blog, Womens Bike Talk.
Melanie will continue to be our core writer at UtilityCycling.org. She’ll also be contributing to Commute By Bike from time to time. As we move ahead, we’ll be looking for opportunities to share content between the two sites where appropriate. One obvious update we’ll do is feeding her Utility Cycling Videos through a video viewer into Commute By Bike.
Ted Johnson is the newest member of our blogging team and has been contributing with blog posts both in UtilityCyling.org and Bike Trailer Blog. Ted has been contributing his editorial touch and helping us to develop our overall blogging strategy. Ted’s background in internet marketing focused specifically in the non-profit sector along with his lifelong cycling and bike commuting habit has lent itself well to his humorous and intriguing blogging style. To get a sense of what I mean, have a look at these examples o. Ted’s work: 48 Hours in Austin & Cat Food Run with a Burley Travoy. Also, check out Ted’s personal musings at his blog Half-Hearted Fanatic.
Along with occasional full-length posts at Commute By Bike, Ted will be backing me up with editorial responsibilities and a steady flow of topical and news oriented posts.
Along with our team of bloggers, I should also mention our support staff. Our programmer, Frank Koenen, will be managing the technical side of Commute By Bike, moving it onto our server and keeping it running smooth and stable. He’ll be using his great PHP programming skills to craft the code behind our network of blogs, offering up new features in navigation and usability. Our photographer, Robin Carlson, is currently setting up a photo studio here at our office, which will be great for product review photos as well as with getting underway with some video production. Finally, our friends at Chicago Style SEO, Ben Robinson and Rod Holmes will be helping us keep an eye on our overall blogging strategy, keeping us updated with the latest in blogging techniques.
As we get going with Commute By Bike, our intention is to get comfortable with the pace and rhythm that Arleigh has set here. We’ve already got some guest posts that she’d organized waiting in the queue to be published this week. Our intention is to keep up the pace of around four or five posts a week with a mix of relevant product reviews, news, essays guides and other forms of inspiration for bicycle commuting. To help keep up this pace of blogging, we are excited about the opportunity to broaden our network of guest bloggers. If you are a cycling blogger and have any interest in contributing essays or review style posts, please let us know.
Beyond maintaining the current offerings, we are very excited to be looking at possibly increasing the pace and offerings of Commute By Bike. One of the first changes we are considering is a cross marketing and cross pollination of UtilityCycling.org and Commute By Bike. As I mentioned before, the most obvious first step would be to offer the Utility Cycling videos through both sites. We’re tossing ideas around about having the two sites share other projects such as our own video productions as well as possibly a podcast. In addition, we’re considering presenting Utility Cycling and Commute By Bike through a unified Twitter, Facebook and You Tube channels, presenting the sites into these social networks together as a unified entity.
So for those of you who have held on through this long and ponderous introduction (feels like a long role of credits before the movie starts) thanks for your interest and I hope you share our excitement as we get rolling. Please let us know your thoughts, ideas and suggestions for the Commute By Bike community as we get underway.
Thanks again Arleigh for all of the great writing here and hello Commute By Bikers!