Seriously, I’m doing this for free. . .

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?

Hardly.

What I’d like BikeCrave to do is simple: Spread bike mojo. Coax a laugh. Help someone. Make people think. Maybe even be thankful. 

Why?

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.

Seriously.

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TT tunneling…

When I saw Lance Armstrong “tweet” that he was flying down to San Diego from Santa Rosa today, I thought I’d give it a go.

My wife Therese and I are fans. We’ve ridden in the Ride for the Roses in Austin, Texas. We donate to Livestrong. We love cycling. 

Lance coming to San Diego on a rainy, windy Saturday gave me a longshot chance to meet him and get his signature for two personal keepsakes:

  1. The February 2009 Outside magazine featuring him on the cover
  2. A 2004 Ride for the Roses jersey

 

If you’re mellow and keep a respectful distance, I figured I might just have a chance. It would be for my wife. It would go up on the wall in our house as a daily reminder about the preciousness of life.

Liz Kreutz, Lance’s photographer who has a beautiful portfolio of  work here, lent me a hand on the Outside magazine cover effort. As Lance worked his BlackBerry in the backseat of a rented Chevy Suburban before his wind tunnel testing, she asked him on my behalf, handing him the Sharpie and magazine.

All of sudden, there it was. The cover signed to “TB”, my pet nickname for Therese. Liz was smiling. I was stunned.

Later, after taking an afternoon break and chatting up the Cervelo technicians assembling bikes for testing in the same wind tunnel facility this coming week, I gave it one more go. Lance was finished with his work for the day. His bikes were being packed up by the crew, including two Belgiun Astana soigneurs with great rapport. People suddenly got quiet and serious.

This time, I would ask personally. You only live once.

As Lance bounded toward the caravan, including Johan Bruyneel, Steve Hed, Liz and  Trek folks, I showed him the Ride for the Roses jersey and asked if he might be able to take a moment and sign it for Therese. 

Lance didn’t hesitate. Every second counts. 

You might wonder how a grown man becomes a fanboy. Silly, right? Wrong. It’s simple. I’m a cycling nut. I’m an enthusiast of the human species. 

But I’m also the husband of a cancer survivor, a person of incredible courage and heart who has taught me much about how to Livestrong.

Thank you, Therese, from the bottom of my heart. I’m so happy you’ve been able to move with a clean bill of health beyond the difficulties you had to experience in 2000, 2001 and 2002.

And Lance, I know you may never read this, but I have to let you know that you made her day. I just want to say to you, and to Liz, many, many thanks. 

Livestrong. 

 

To TB

To TB

For Therese

For Therese

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