By Pico Triano
Photos: Shawn Whitelaw, Francine Bolduc
I'm sure most of our regular readers and followers at this point have noticed that we haven't published a new issue in a few months. We have not closed up shop but it is important for our future to reassess how we are doing things and make some changes. For the time being we will be publishing quarterly instead of monthly. This article is here to outline what exactly is going on with us and how we intend to proceed in the future.
From day one, the focus has been bicycling touring stories. The intention was not to create a blog focused only on my own riding experiences but those of others as well. I never wanted this to be a personal cycling blog but a real web based magazine. I think we came pretty close to those ideals. Not only that we proved that there is a place for us in cyberspace. With no budget and minimal experience we had a growing audience and for that reason I have no intention of abandoning our creation. I think we have a bright future, but I can't keep doing things exactly the way I have been.
I am not very good at soliciting other writers to contribute. I've gotten some interest but I don't have the time or personality to twist arms. Jack Hawkins has been a huge blessing for the magazine here. We certainly wouldn't have gotten this far without his regular contributions. His writing career has been steadily growing. While we're happy for him, it means he has less time to spend with us. I wish his nothing but the best and look forward to whatever contributions he is still able to make. Drawing from my own experiences isn't going to be enough though. I knew from the beginning that my own riding would only carry this so far. While I still think I have something of value to contribute, I don't think I have enough to live up to goals of this website. I also don't think that would be fair to our readers.
Coupled with that is my own personal situation. This has been a labour of love and while it does make a trickle of earnings, it hasn't hit payout on anything yet. In other words I have not personally gained financially from this venture at this point. That in itself doesn't bother me. Money wasn't what this was all about. My family and I have, however, experienced a series of financial setbacks that have made money an issue. My current job is not really earning us enough to survive. I have to use my skills somewhere to bring in a side income. I'm not saying that to try and get sympathy from our readers. I'm only explaining why I have far less time to devote to this project at the current time.
I'm not disheartened. We've been publishing monthly for a much longer period of time than I ever thought I'd manage from the beginning. In many ways for me this has been about learning on the job. I've learned a lot and I believe there is a way forward. I even believe that we could go back to publishing every month again in the future.
The plan going forward is to do three stories each issue drawn from actual tours. Jack has interviewed several cyclists in the past for his articles. My intention is to do the same. I have been trained in college to do live interviews so I just have to review what I've learned and adapt to using the phone and email. If necessary I will set up Skype on one of our devices because that would work internationally for some people. How well that works remains to be seen. I don't think we'll have any trouble producing an issue quarterly or more often. I'm still of course interested in writing submitted by other writers. That will always be welcome. The remaining two articles each issue will cover various touring related subjects. That could include book reviews, product reviews, advocacy, safety and the list goes on from there.
I don't have any problem writing the articles within a month time frame as long as I have material to write about. I think the future is bright, if we can get ourselves past this hurdle.