Climb to Kaiser is one week away from today. If all goes to plan, I’ll be on Big Creek Road climbing 2,000 feet in 4 miles before Huntington Lake and a short break. From there, it’s up to Kaiser Pass and its 9,700-foot summit, then a massive descent and flat passage through hell. The ride is an annual way to remind myself how lucky I am to pedal. To be in the mountains is to witness beauty, to share in the struggle. To come back to civilization is to have convenience. As we dig to make the goal to the top, we’re all insignificant on the mountain. The mountain doesn’t move for anyone. And each year, it seems bigger than we remembered it. Climbing high mountains on a bike is a high calling. I hear it in the distance. And I’m drawn to it.
I don’t want to monetize BikeCrave.
Seriously. No auto-reply DMs from me. No email spam. No ad sales. No affiliate links. I’m building the site with my own money. I’ve developed it with a blizzard of ideas, plus feedback from cyclists around the world.
No monetization? Are you nuts?
What I’d like BikeCrave to do is simple: Spread bike mojo. Coax a laugh. Help someone. Make people think. Maybe even be thankful.
I don’t routinely share this piece of personal info online. My wife is a cancer survivor. She’s been in remission going on 6 years. And believe me, I try to remember every day I’m alive to be thankful. The big “C” changes everything — even when you’re not the one wearing the scarlet letter. I will always wear a yellow bracelet.
Now it’s time to try and give back, to honor others who can’t (or couldn’t) pedal like I can — or pedal like you can. We’re fortunate. When I did the Ride for the Roses in 2003 and 2004 in Austin, Texas, I never witnessed such profound human bravery and compassion. I’m puny by comparison. Giving back. Tough concept to grasp? For some in today’s difficult world, maybe so. Pedal on, we must.
On a ride after work this evening, I chatted with a very fit guy. We met up on the bike path. He wanted to hammer it. I wanted recovery in the small ring. Yet we still had something in common. It’s how rides can go. All that’s required are two people, four wheels, and a conversation. Things were splendid.
But when I mentioned BikeCrave with excitement, the rider had questions. He was instantly skeptical. Rather than see a few altruistic possibilities, he saw barriers, and motives. “How will people find your website?” “Won’t people be skeptical that you’re trying to make money?” “What’s in it for you? There’s got to be something in it for you.”
The guy was an old-time salesman, so I dismissed much of what he said with a smile. He’ll never understand the Web and why people can connect without ever having met — if only out of passion for something. For him, maybe the day is primarily about money. I’m glad I’m not in sales.
My answers to him were very easy: “They’ll find BikeCrave through their friends and other cyclists.” “They can scour the site’s source code for affiliate links or Google AdWords, and they’ll find none.” “Purpose”
Every day, I happily work at a publicly held software company, helping position products and services for people who will pay more than half a billion dollars for them this fiscal year. I’m lucky. I’m not rich. Never will be. Not a goal.
The only money I want to see mentioned in the same sentence with BikeCrave are donations going to worthy causes. Donations that people decide to make privately on the basis of a “penny per mile” concept — in the privacy of their own lives. Donations that happen (maybe) because they provide people a bit more purpose in this world. You know, thinking of others. Trying to help out. BikeCrave is not my career. Social media is not my calling. Having a huge number of “Followers” on Twitter doesn’t interest me. BikeCrave is my way to give back and tap into my athletic passion and zest for life.
If someday BikeCrave enables me the opportunity to set up a local bike touring company in San Diego, I suppose I’d be lucky. But if that touring company also helped those less fortunate, I might just say I’d be the luckiest man in the world.
Climb to Kaiser is just four weeks out. Time to emphasize steep climbs and more weekly elevation before starting the taper June 23.
This afternoon was repeats on Highland Valley Road, which includes three main climbing sections as you roll east. The pro peloton gobbled up the first section of climb during this year’s Tour of California before turning left on Bandy Canyon Road.
I kept plowing toward Ramona.
Three repeats on Highland Valley easily gets you total elevation gain over 4,000 feet but not at high elevation. It also throws some 15%+ pitch in spots.
Such steepness is necessary to prepare for Big Creek Road, the most critical section of Climb to Kaiser. There’s no substitute, but try we must to prepare.
The site build of BikeCrave feels like a stage race.
There are the flat stages where you sprint, the mountains where you suffer, and the TTs where you reveal the truth.
Today’s a mountain stage, but it’s a sweet pain.
Only one repetitious word to share today on BikeCrave build:
Content. Content. Content. Content. Content. Content. Content. Content. Content. Content. Content. Content.
If you’d like to see the BikeCrave site map, pre-Web layout, drop me an email at bikecrave(at)gmail.com.
If you have something (essay, story, photos, tips, story ideas) you’d like to submit for publication, ditto.
Thanks, and have a great extended weekend. Stay safe. Pedal on.
The joy of technology. WordPress is a great platform. Loaded on a server through FTP (such a geek word). Must install MySQL database. All part of the program, and right on schedule. The real hard work lies ahead.
Hope you had a great Monday. I posted a few BikeCrave questions on Twitter tonight. Love the answers. People have so much great stuff. A lot.
Kicked off the build of http://www.bikecrave.com today. Official site launch is June 15.
BikeCrave is an idea that has been in my brain for over a year now. It’s become a labor of love and shared project (with cyclists around the world) as a place to celebrate all things cycling, and the cycling lifestyle. I’m providing blog updates here (and DMs and emails) as a way to share the “process” and demystify the “social media” thing. Too many buzzwords and not enough reality. Let’s strip it down to the pure essence.
BikeCrave? It’s real. URL secured. Host secured. Design direction and architecture complete. Brand guidelines done. WP template for customization complete. Plug-ins chosen. Designer and coder hired. Chief content producer (me) hired.
One thing I enjoy about cycling is the near-zero tolerance for fakery. You either climb the mountain, or you go back and reach a fitness level that will power you up the mountain. Or you pick a smaller mountain, also known as a “hill.” The point is, you’ve got to start somewhere. It doesn’t really matter where as long as you reach the goal, and you enjoy the journey. You may only want to ride flats in Tuscany and sip wine. Or work on your glove tan lines along Highway 101. Way cool, each.
But no faking.
We can’t talk ourselves up the mountain or down the coast in a 20 mph headwind. We can’t slog through a cold rainstorm without something deep inside. I’ve been there, digging about in an empty suitcase of courage, harkening back to times when the legs were stronger and the heart more capable of carrying red blood cells to hungry muscles.
Doing, not saying.
That’s top of mind this afternoon before I kit up and do my ride.
A tad cliche? Yep.
The best route? Always.
Hope you’re having a great weekend and doing what you love, which may even include two wheels.
This weekend I should have wrapped up:
(a) Brand platform, logo, tagline and color palette
(b) Web site architecture, layout and design
I’ve shared comps with several Twitter cycling compatriots. This comp is 97% there (minus the background).
I’m very jazzed about this project, and the conversations I’ve had with several folks. A heartfelt thank you to all of you who have given me feedback and been so kind to share you thoughts so far. It means a lot.
More to come soon!
I saw things yesterday during a recovery ride that I hadn’t before. Amazing how that happens when you’re thinking about something entirely new and feeding the brain more oxygen.
Yes, riding provides fitness benefits. Benefits we can track and analyze. The data reveals our progress, or lack thereof.
Perhaps more than anything else, though, what I enjoy about riding is the mental side. Riding is meditative and restorative. Riding removes clutter. Riding purifies thought. Going through a chilly headwind or up a hill is akin to going through the day. We start fresh with goals. We move forward. If we need help, we ask (or draft).
When we finish the ride (or day), we start the work of preparing for tomorrow and what may come. We learn from the past and focus on the possibilities ahead.
I’m thinking. I like the possibilities that thoughts produce.
I have a dream. It gets better when I’m awake.
With your help, I hope to build a community Web site/blog that blends the best of all things cycling–and the people who love the lifestyle. Newbies. Club riders. Cruisers. Ultras. Racers. Tourers. Roleurs. I’ve met you on the road (and dirt) and Internet. I think we all share something.
I have narrowed the site down to two names: BikeDesire or BikeCrave
There’s equal parts black art and metrics-driven rationale to starting a brand. Focus groups tell you a lot, but ultimately people shape community sites and why others decide to visit. Good ideas spread.
A brand is just one piece. It’s goes beyond logo, typeface or color palette. It’s what you feel. It’s why you pick Specialized over Trek, or Moots over Seven, or Colnago over Pinarello. It’s why you’re a Campy fan or a DA disciple. And vice versa. It’s why you made the leap to SRAM.
I’m working to turn on the BikeDesire or BikeCrave site in late June before the Tour de France. I hope it’s a compendium of what I like best about the Web: Ulility, Sharing, Helping, Experiencing, Going deep on a topic about which you’re passionate.
Cyclists desire or crave many things in the pursuit of cycling. Enjoyment. Fitness. Comraderie. Peace. Competition. Status. Belonging (group rides). Not belonging (going against the automobile grain). Exploration. Conquest. Of course, Bikes. There’s something that happens when we throw our leg over the top tube and start turning the pedals on these bikes. We can’t always articulate it. But we have the common bond. We desire/crave it, and it becomes part of our the fabric of our lives, mirroring seasons and establishing milestones. Our families and loved ones understand. They support cycling and the great things it can do–and does.
I’ll initially organize the Web site in 3 main categories:
- Need (topics, basics, things that cyclists need)
- Want (products, experiences, access to other things that cyclists want)
- Have (photos, tips, stories, races, routes, fundraisers that cyclists have)
As I go down this path, I hope you’ll join me. I plan to share the process so you can see and help shape the outcome. Visuals always help, so here are a few of some 20 logo comps (pre-color) that are on the wall for consideration. Thanks for the early feedback on naming through your tweets, and please be safe out there when riding.