Splendid Cycles

Thank you! Your (ongoing) support is exactly what we need

Posted by on September 4th, 2015 at 4:21 pm

Last Friday I did something I’ve never done before: I made a request for your support and I got real about the current state of BikePortland — and what it means for our future.

Your response has made me very happy. I asked you to step up, and you did. So far about 340 of you have contributed over $13,000. I have been smiling all week as I see all these new and familiar names come across my desk with supportive words and contributions.

I had no idea what to expect when I published that post; but that response, combined with all the supportive emails, hand-written letters, comments, and phone calls I’ve received is exactly what I needed to keep moving forward.

A big part of how I feel about this site comes down to faith and confidence — or lack thereof. Do I really believe I can do this? Is it possible this thing I’ve toiled on and fussed over for 10 years will ever become the news outlet and community resource I envision it to be? Is it time to be grateful for the good run we’ve had and walk away to something that is more stable for me and my family?

In this strange, independent advocacy news business I’ve gotten myself into, keeping the faith is one of the hardest things to do. And believe me, I have doubted myself and my future with this site many times in the past year or so. The constant controversies, meeting your always-growing expectations, the financial instability, the endless work… It takes a toll.

Remember this story in the May 2013 edition of the Portland Business Journal, Why BikePortland.org’s future is far from certain. In that story I told the reporter I was giving myself a year and-a-half to figure out what our next step would be.

Now, thanks to your support, the path ahead is much clearer and I’m more confident than ever that we’ll be able to ride down it.

Your investment in this site is the start of something new and exciting here at BikePortland.org. A future where you have even more ownership of this resource because you directly support it. And with your support, we can build on the unbelievably strong foundation we’ve established and do things you might have never thought possible for “just a bike blog.”

Thanks to your support, in the coming weeks we will polish up our subscription program that will be released next month along with some new site design enhancements. We can also now put a down payment of sorts on the faith of the most important behind-the-scenes player in this business — my wife and accountant Juli. She’s the one who’s been on this wild ride with me for the past decade, holding on over all the bumps and crashes, hoping the smoother section of the ride would finally arrive.

This last week has been such a relief. We’re not across the finish line yet by any means, but the route doesn’t seem nearly as tough as it once did.

To celebrate the past and the future, I hope you’ll join me on October 2nd for our big birthday bash at Velo Cult. I’ll share more details on that and our subscription program and other new feature next week.

Stay tuned… and thank you!

NOTE: We love your comments and work hard to ensure they are productive, considerate, and welcoming of all perspectives. Disagreements are encouraged, but only if done with tact and respect. If you see a mean or inappropriate comment, please contact us and we'll take a look at it right away. Also, if you comment frequently, please consider holding your thoughts so that others can step forward. Thank you — Jonathan

30 Comments
  • tedder September 4, 2015 at 4:28 pm

    subscription ftw!

    juli ftw!

    big party.. I’ll be cycling out of the country. damn.

    Recommended Thumb up 3

  • PNP September 4, 2015 at 4:57 pm

    I was hoping your readers would step up. I made a small donation, and I’ll be happy to subscribe, too. I read two “bike blogs” every day, and I frequently check yours more than once a day to see if there are new articles. The articles are great, and I like the comments section, too. Unlike so many other sites, those who comment here are usually civil, even when they disagree. I think you’ve got a great thing going here, so I hope you’ll be able to continue for as long as you want to.

    Oh, and thanks for giving me a reason to finally visit Velo Cult! I live in Beaverton, so I don’t often get over that way. Now I have an excuse.

    Recommended Thumb up 4

  • Pete September 4, 2015 at 5:11 pm

    Great to hear! I figure I use enough of your bandwidth so I should pony up.

    Also good to know a date. I suspect I have business travel that week so it may be a case of rerouting a return through PDX. Maybe I can finally buy wsbob a drink for all the beating he’s taken through the years here (sometimes from me)… 🙂

    OGBP unite!

    Recommended Thumb up 3

    • 9watts September 4, 2015 at 7:47 pm

      Ditto. 🙂

      Recommended Thumb up 2

  • Adam Herstein September 4, 2015 at 5:13 pm

    Woo hoo!

    Recommended Thumb up 2

  • Anne Hawley September 4, 2015 at 5:22 pm

    This makes me so happy.

    Recommended Thumb up 2

  • kiel johnson
    kiel johnson September 4, 2015 at 6:19 pm

    One month! I’ll be looking forward to the subscription service!

    Recommended Thumb up 5

  • peejay September 4, 2015 at 6:43 pm

    Glad for the subscription plan! I would love to sign up and not worry about remembering to pay on a regular basis. keep it up!

    Recommended Thumb up 3

  • SM September 4, 2015 at 6:44 pm

    I live out here in Hillsboro and your blog is the best source of information I have for all things related to cycling in the Portland metro area. I’m very thankful for all the effort and sacrifice that makes bikeportland possible and wish that this keeps going strong (and stronger) for years to come. I’m certain that every penny of my donation is going to enable something good for our society.
    Looking forward to exciting new services!

    Recommended Thumb up 2

  • hotrodder September 4, 2015 at 7:51 pm

    🙂

    See you in a month at VC – or the week before at the “In Search of” century!

    Recommended Thumb up 1

  • Chris Anderson September 4, 2015 at 7:55 pm

    I am super excited about the subscription plan!

    Recommended Thumb up 2

  • q`Tzal September 4, 2015 at 10:35 pm

    Marry the accountant: always a cost-effective business move.

    Keep the accountant happy at all times and your business should live as long as you do.

    Recommended Thumb up 5

  • Tony T
    Tony T September 5, 2015 at 7:44 am

    Whoop, whoop!

    Recommended Thumb up 1

  • Zimmerman September 5, 2015 at 9:10 am

    The offer to buy 4 subscriptions in exchange for one specific commenter’s inability to do so still stands.

    Recommended Thumb up 2

    • 9watts September 5, 2015 at 9:17 am

      I think you’re missing the spirit of this thing.

      “A future where you have even more ownership of this resource because you directly support it.”

      I don’t read that as an opportunity for Citizens United style disfranchising of others.

      Recommended Thumb up 5

      • Zimmerman September 5, 2015 at 9:23 am

        Knowing that JM would never agree to such an arrangement makes it a bad joke. Then again, serious cycling blog is serious?

        Recommended Thumb up 0

        • 9watts September 5, 2015 at 9:25 am

          Why would anyone agree to that?
          What if I decided I was going to buy ten subscriptions so you couldn’t participate? That would just be obnoxious and mean.

          Recommended Thumb up 4

          • Zimmerman September 5, 2015 at 9:32 am

            Joke, it was a joke. One more time, it was an outrageous proposal I knew would not be taken seriously, except for maybe you. Please continue with your incredulity though.

            Recommended Thumb up 4

  • Brian September 5, 2015 at 9:28 am

    Great news all around. See you on Oct. 2nd.

    Recommended Thumb up 1

  • Cheryl September 5, 2015 at 6:51 pm

    Glad to hear this news. I’m in California and find BikePortland a helpful resource for advocacy work. My latest favorite: http://bikeportland.org/2015/09/01/three-non-obvious-reasons-bike-commute-challenge-great-idea-157714

    Recommended Thumb up 5

  • Scott September 6, 2015 at 5:24 pm

    I’m glad you received $13K so quickly. That is very encouraging. But I’d be hard pressed to live on that amount for very long. Are you willing to share more generally what you think you need to succeed? For example a budget of $110K/year with 70% coming from ad revenue and the remainder from donations. I think that would help set the scope for donations and subscriptions.

    Thanks for all your hard work. The site is amazing.

    Recommended Thumb up 3

    • Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) September 7, 2015 at 10:51 am

      Hi Scott,

      You are right on the money with your analysis. We do not expect reader contributions and subscriptions to support the site… At least not at the start. Advertising partnerships will continue to be our primary revenue source. On that note, if you know any local business owners who want to partner with us please give them my phone number and tell them to give me a call – 503-706-8804.

      thanks.

      Recommended Thumb up 1

  • Kathy September 6, 2015 at 7:17 pm

    I’m in central New York. I grew up in Portland in the 60s and 70s near SE 26th and Clinton. In high school and college, my bike (red Gitane 10-speed) was my transportation and freedom. Now I am semi-retired, living on a shoe string, but doing what I love, which includes riding my bike and bicycle advocacy. BikePortland is a wonderful resource for bike information in general, advocacy work, and keeping tabs on my beloved Portland. You give me hope and vision! I will happily figure out a way to subscribe. I want you to succeed as long as you want to do this.

    Recommended Thumb up 3

  • Riversiderider September 7, 2015 at 8:57 am

    Great news! Will be signing up for a subscription when they are offered. Bikeportland deserves the success. Keep up the great work.

    Recommended Thumb up 1

  • Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) September 7, 2015 at 9:55 am

    Thanks for all the words of encouragement everyone. It’s so nice to know that many of you plan to become subscribers! Can’t wait to launch everything. Soon. Soon.

    Recommended Thumb up 2

  • Bryan Hance
    Bryan Hance September 7, 2015 at 10:30 am

    Happy to hear the fundraising panned out, hope it continues to do so in the future. The NYT surived a subscription move, I’m sure BP can too 🙂

    FWIW: I’m surprised nobody has created an ‘umbrella’ advertising bundler/agent for all the great bike-centric blogs out there like BP. Combine a dozen of the local bike-centric sites like BP out there, and you’d probably be able to chase some larger ad accounts by selling as a combined whole instead of lots of little independent guys chasing individual ads …

    Recommended Thumb up 1

  • Eric Iverson September 8, 2015 at 10:28 am

    All of the positive superlatives! Sign me up!

    Recommended Thumb up 1

  • rachel b September 8, 2015 at 6:52 pm

    Agh! Blissfully offline for a few weeks and I only just saw this. Count me in, please!

    Recommended Thumb up 1

  • Frank September 8, 2015 at 10:13 pm

    I see unsold ad space – I wonder if an auction approach that filled all that space, at a rate buyers would pay, even if at lower than your current asking cost, might help.

    Google has used that approach to selling ads with good success.

    Recommended Thumb up 1