18 years ago today, I wrote my first post about the Portland bike scene. It was an innocent few words, but it was the start of something that I would end up devoting much of my life to almost every day since.
In those days I wrote my posts in emails that I would send to someone at OregonLive.com (the website for The Oregonian) and they’d make the words magically appear on what was called the “Bike Fun” blog. There were no comments allowed, no outbound links to other sites, and no photos in those initial posts. I could only do that for about three months before I realized I could do something much more interesting on my own and launched the site as we know it today. Not long after, I quit my other job because I was so excited about what was happening on BikePortland.
My oldest daughter was just two years old when I started doing this. Now she’s in her second year of college. I know it’s not a long time in the grand scheme of life; but as I always say, in Internet years, it feels like a very long time.
I have had a lot of ups-and-downs. A few times I really thought of walking away from all of it. One time I even applied for a job. I am so glad I didn’t get a call-back! I love doing this work and I love being a part of this community. Through all the changes we’ve gone through, I’m so proud and excited that BikePortland is still here. And in my very biased opinion, we are doing our best work ever.
This site would not still be alive without the support of my wife Juli. She understands how important this work is to me and she has held our family together with what she says has been “a lot of smoke and mirrors” just so I can continue to do it.
After Juli, the most important people that have kept BikePortland alive are all of our wonderful subscribers and financial supporters (especially the folks at Thomas, Coon, Newton & Frost who’ve been our longest advertisers). Without your monthly subscription payments, Juli would have forced me to pull the plug a long time ago. I am also extremely grateful for the financial investment of Mike Perham, my partner in co-ownership of this weird business.
When it comes to the future of BikePortland and whether or not we’ll make it to year 20, that is still up in the air. Honestly, the business and revenue side remains a very difficult challenge. I’m hopeful, but I know enough to be realistic. I’ll be pushing very hard in the coming months to boost our revenue through subscriptions and advertising sales so that I can rest a bit more easily.
There’s so much work to do. And I’m eager to get to it.
If you haven’t already, check out the video below that features a conversation between Clarence Eckerson and I. Clarence launched Streetfilms the same year I launched BikePortland and it was fun to chat with him about our experiences making community and advocacy-oriented transportation content for the past two decades. And don’t forget to swing by the Bike Happy Hour this week — 3-6:00 pm at Gorges Beer Co on SE Ankeny and 28th! Hope to see some new faces.