By Pico Triano http://frompicospen.blogspot.ca
Photos: Pico Triano and Shawn Whitelaw
Pico's Cycling – Tales of the Road is officially one year old with this issue and I think it is a great time to take a look at where were and where we are trying to go. This issue is offering more of the usual. Some stories, a book review and a little self congratulatory celebration.
A whole year of Pico's Cycling – Tales of the Road. There were times in past year where I really didn't think we were going to get this far. A big thanks to all our readers and another to Jack Hawkins who has made a huge difference here. He jumped on board almost from the start. Two articles from him each month elevated this above being just another solo effort cycling blog. He's helped round up other possible contributors. Hoping we will see more writing from other riders in the coming year. I'm not much of an arm twister, so gentle persuasion is all we've got.
From the beginning the primary focus was to tell cycling stories and I think we've stayed true to that. Articles on equipment, repairs, training, book and site reviews have their place here but the focus will stay the same. We want to be inspiring but we want to be useful and relevant as well.
Starting a project like this and keeping it going is hard work especially with some of the limitations we are working with. We started at the beginning of the winter. Probably not the best time to launch a webzine on cycling. We have no budget not even a shoestring one. I wish we had the means to pay for stories and pictures but at this point in time we don't. I assemble every issue on a blogger account with an old well worn IBM ThinkPad which was donated to me by a friend. We have a printer/scanner but rarely have any ink for it. Our Internet connection is through Xplornet and is at times little better than dial up (they will be upgrading the network in the area in the near future). I'm proud that a year later we're still here.
Behind the scenes we've been working to get useful advertising placed on our pages. Those efforts haven't met with the kind of success I'd hoped. Several of the larger advertisers don't seem to be interested because at this point we are still too small. We're growing though so that isn't hopeless. I'd love for our readers to be able to access bicycle and component websites directly through us. I have made progress toward links that would allow readers to buy books that we review in our pages. In the background I'm building a page where select books will be offered.
In the coming year, I will continue to work on improving the site. The whole right hand column needs to be redone. My ugly mug has to go. The about us can be moved to another page with just a link in a table of contents. My novel, which is related to the site through my name only, has to get moved to another page as well. This will give more space for advertising, links to additional pages and possibly a cycling news feed. We've got a year under our belt. Let's take this to a new level.
Most of our own advertising has been done on social media sites. I'm a total novice at that. I've been learning though. I think our month and a half long efforts on Twitter have been just amazing. Our pageviews have more that doubled since beginning of that. Best part is that what I'm doing is sustainable. We've hit roadblocks for sure but I see steady improvement on a weekly basis at this point. If you aren't following us there just look up @PicosCycling and hit follow. Except for end of month publishing time, I only tweet once or twice a day. We will continue with our efforts.
I do go to cycling forums to chat and to draw some attention. I do that infrequently due to time constraints. I don't want to be regarded as spamming the sites. You might see me on bikeforum.net, twospokes.com, cyclechat.net and a new one at bikeforum.com. The last one is brand new, still in development. The owner is looking for suggestions to make it a great site. He responds quickly, if he thinks you have a good idea. If you're looking to make a mark in a cycling forum, it's a great place to go. He needs members and content to get this rolling. Tough road and I'm pleased to be helping him along the way.