Seattle Bike Blog turns 4! A look at site growth and what lies ahead

Our first official post!

Our first official post!

Seattle Bike Blog officially launched July 8, 2010. Since then, I have learned so much about bicycling, advocacy and all the wonderful things Seattle residents are doing to make streets safer and spread the bike love around this beautiful city we call home.

While reading some of my earliest posts can make me cringe (lots of “bikers” vs “drivers” talk), my introductory post is still pretty much spot on. I still consider myself a journalist who rides a bike, not an expert (and I still ride the same old bike and don’t know a whole lot about bike gear). I am still focused on reporting about bikes as transportation, and I still hope to provide a forum for discussion that can “dig deeper than the typical car vs. bike debate that takes over so many online discussions elsewhere.”

That last point could not be more true, and it’s due to all you wonderful readers who bring compassion and an open mind to the blog comments. To date there have been more than 18,000 of these comments. You might be surprised how often people, especially story subjects, will tell me they were surprised by how helpful and thoughtful the comments are on the blog. You don’t always agree, of course, but the level of respect and quality of content provides a much-needed safe online space for talking about biking in Seattle. So thank you all for being so awesome.

analytics-sbbTraffic has been rising steadily since we launched with no signs of stopping. In fact, we crossed the 3,000,000 page view mark in June. One great thing about being an independent, local journalist is that I feel no need to chase after viral hits. Sometimes they happen organically, which can be fun (like when Rep. Ed Orcutt said that people who bike emit more carbon dioxide than a person driving because they breathe harder).

But I aim to report stories how I feel they are most accurately represented, even if that means going with a less sensational angle. That means SBB posts are less likely to go global, but hopefully they also provide a more reasonable and grounded lens into important transportation discussions.

One year ago, I made the leap from reporting part-time to full-time, and has been one of the best years of my life. It’s a dream to be able to write about biking in Seattle as my only job, and I believe the quality of the reporting has risen. I could not have made it until last year without the continued support of some early advertisers, including John Duggan, Swift Industries, Hub and Bespoke, Ride Bicycles and Chris Thayer. Other great advertisers joined up later to help me make the jump to full-time, including Cascade Bicycle Club, Washington Bike Law and Zipcar.

But the biggest single piece that helped me make it through the past year is the support from 100 paid “subscribers,” readers who pitch in between $5 and $20 every month to help keep the blog going. That’s people’s hard-earned cash going to support bike news in Seattle, and I am eternally grateful for the support. If you are a subscriber, sorry I’ve been slow on care packages recently. I have some more stickers and stuff in store for you soon! If you’re not a subscriber, you can join them by signing up on our Subscribe page.

What’s next?

In short, the next big thing for Seattle Bike Blog is: Bike Fun. A key sponsorship from Verity Credit Union this summer has provided the resources to throw more events, going beyond the computer screen and into the city’s streets. We already held one new event this year: Bicycle Sundae, an ice cream scavenger hunt.

I’m working on the details for more events, so stay tuned.

I’m also going to keep working to grow the business and our site traffic so I can afford to pay for high quality content from other journalists in town. The site could benefit from having more voices and perspectives, and it’s a long-running goal to get to a point where the site has a budget for freelance work. We’re not quite there yet, but it’s within sight.

Of course, you can help me get there by becoming a subscriber today!

Otherwise, I just want to say thank you to everyone who reads. I look forward to covering some very exciting advances in Seattle cycling in the next year, including the launch of Pronto and the city’s first protected bike lane downtown. See you there!

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14 Responses to Seattle Bike Blog turns 4! A look at site growth and what lies ahead

  1. Marcia Mullins says:

    I would like to contact the event organizers. Can you help with info.

  2. Janine says:

    Tom, huge congratulations for all you have done and are doing. I know it makes a difference in people’s lives! As someone trying to make my community safer and more friendly for people moving in all modes, I appreciate your news, dips into neighborhoods, calls to action and education. I admire, most of all, your thoughtful but never shy advocacy.

    Lastly, that you have provided a refuge for online comments that don’t ruin my day is gargantuan. Iloveyouman.

  3. Lisa says:

    Thanks, Tom! I don’t know where I would get my news (because all I seem to care about is bike news) if SBB didn’t exist. Coincidentally, Verity also sponsors the Girls of Summer alleycat. I may have to reconsider my banking options.

  4. Gene says:

    Congrats on your 4-year anniversary. Your blog has proved to be a steady and informative look at the Seattle bike scene. I refer to it often, as I’m sure many other do as well. Keep up the good work!

  5. Ben P says:

    Bravo, I wish I would have discovered this blog sooner. I hope to see more great articles.

  6. Zach Shaner says:

    Love the blog, and keep up the good work. And thanks for, ahem, reminding me to renew my subscription after I let it lapse!

  7. dave says:

    Congrats Tom. I love the blog — I check it every day.

  8. Gary says:

    Congradulations Tom on making a passion into a “paying” job even if it isn’t a huge financial success, it’s a huge political success. As opposed to that printed rag, “The S*Times” the opinions expressed here don’t start with.. “I hate you all and your freedoms to ride a bicycle tax free on my roads.” It’s a breath of fresh air, which I swear would improve the attitude of those other people.

  9. Ben L says:

    Would love to see Mike Logsdon back on here for some more frequentist statistical analysis

  10. David Boneham says:

    Well done Tom.

    I appreciate your blog very much. It is educational, helpful and has helped me transition to a full time bicyclist this past year.

  11. Virchow says:

    love the blog, Tom! keep up the good work.

  12. Morgan Wick says:

    What’s the third-ever official post on SBB? A post on Ballard businesses suing to block the Missing Link. The more things change…

  13. djw says:

    Happy birthday!

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