Wednesday, 28 January 2015

On Turning Two

Yes, the vélovoice blog is two years old! And thanks to all of you who read and comment and share, it's been a very good year indeed.

I don’t care all that much about stats – I care far more about interaction, conversations, engagement. Nonetheless, it’s gratifying to see that pageviews the past year were double what they were the first year, with most visitors hanging around to read more than one page each time they drop by. The split between brand new first time readers and returning ones has shifted slightly from 70/30 to 65/35, which suggests more “retention”, in which case I must be doing something right! The British audience has dropped from 50% to 40% while the American audience has grown from 20% to 30%, with the remaining 30% coming from all over the world (Germany, Canada, Australia, France, Singapore, Japan, Netherlands and Spain filling out the rest of the Top 10).

As ever, I am always thinking about ways to reassure people who visit vélovoice for the first time that they are “in the right place”, i.e. that they will find the information they were looking for and hopefully other things of interest as well. With that in mind, I find it illuminating to see what Google search phrases lead people to this blog. Other than searches on the word “velovoice” (gratifying in itself!), more visitors arrive here for the first time having asked Google for information about the Ortlieb Zip City bag, the Brooks Swallow saddle, the Trakke Bairn bag or the Carradice Stockport bag for the S-type Brompton bicycle. Why? I think because there is so little customer-driven information out there about those products. Manufacturer advertising and press releases can only go so far. People want to know “what is X really like to use?”, if at all possible, before committing to purchase. I hope what I’ve written about those four products, both the good and the bad, is helpful.

Saturday, 24 January 2015

The Week Of Rollers

I've not been on the bike much in the past month due to sinus problems. I've been running recurring lowgrade sinus infections since last April but at the moment am not taking any medications, just avoiding (to the degree possible) having icy cold air blasted up my nose. This has meant: (a) no cycling when it's windy and (b) even on still days, no cycling outside the village because every road out goes downhill... fast. 

I'm been trying instead to get to grips with riding my bicycle on my new Tacx Antares rollers. In the first 10 seconds of my first attempt, I was confronted with a shocking truth: I don't know how to ride a bike!  No, I didn't fall. But I can hardly pedal. The only strength in my legs seems to be brute downward force through my quads, one leg at a time, which on rollers basically causes my bicycle to behave as it is being ridden by a drunk. 

Glamorous work out location in the garage!

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