This website is in celebratory mood…
Much of what you can find online is ephemeral; here today, gone tomorrow and, often, that’s no bad thing. I note, in passing, that the list of antonyms of ‘ephemeral‘ include words such as ‘permanent‘, ‘perpetual‘ and even (goodness!) ‘eternal‘. Well, CyclingEurope.org claims none of those, but in a virtual world of people, places, concepts and ideas that come and go, this particular corner of the World Wide Web has survived to celebrate its 10th anniversary. Happy Birthday CyclingEurope.org!
The first post, published on August 6th 2008, was titled ‘La Via Romea Francigena‘ and, in a few words, described the ancient pilgrimage route from Canterbury to Rome and its modern-day cycling equivalent: the EuroVelo 5. In the last ten years, just 111 people have visited that post; no one has ‘liked’ it nor commented upon it. (Perhaps one of you will now do so.)
The post you are reading now is number 2,838 and the website welcomes thousands of visitors every month from all corners of the world; already today there have been visitors from 16 countries. The majority tend to come come from the UK and other English-speaking countries or from within Europe but I note with a smile that one person from each of India, Singapore and the United Arab Emirates has seen fit to come this way in the last few hours. If you were one of them, you are just as welcome as everyone else.
World domination has never been on the agenda for CyclingEurope.org – just one continent will suffice – but it is rather nice to look at the following world map generated by WordPress, the people who do the data-crunching, to see how the cycling love has been spread across the world.
The people of Western Sahara, Niger, Chad, The Central African Republic, South Sudan, The Congo and Turkmenistan haven’t so far joined the club (perhaps they will now that I’ve mentioned them) and Svalbard has yet to be conquered, but with a population of only 3,000 and polar bears to keep an on, they perhaps have better things to do.
Those 2,837 posts and the 200 or so pages have been visited 1.3 million times since August 2008 (I’m beginning to wish there was a pay wall…) and of the 3,600 days that CyclingEurope.org has been online, July 28th 2015 was the busiest. That was the day I arrived at Nordkapp after cycling nearly 8,000 km from southern Spain. If that is news to you, you should read the book: Spain to Norway on a Bike Called Reggie.
OK, as I’ve just proved once again, there is, at times, a commercial nature to what I post here. The site helps promote the three books that I have written but of those nearly 3,000 posts, only a minority refer to them. There are also, occasionally, posts that have been supplied by marketing companies but I stipulate that they must be relevant to the general theme of the site and the money that is received helps cover the cost of running the site which, with a vast library of images and videos stored by WordPress is, alas, no longer free. These ‘sponsored’ posts are small in number.
You’ll perhaps have noticed from the list of dates at the top of this article that after 38 posts in August 2008, things went quiet. Well, things didn’t go quiet, they went silent, until April 2009 when I once again started posting about my plans to cycle from southern England to southern Italy in 2010:
Since April 2009, every month – there have been exactly 100 of them – has seen new material uploaded to the website; words, images and, increasingly, video, both hosted and embedded from YouTube or Vimeo. The start of The Cycling Europe Podcast in 2017 has even added an audio aspect to what you can find on the website. That said, the word remains king and is even on the rise. Back in 2008 the average number of words per post was just 121 reflecting my attitude towards the site; it was primarily a place to collate my pre-trip notes that would subsequently be easily available as I cycled in 2010 without the need to carry physical notebooks. Ten years later, in 2018, the average number of words is nearly 500 per post.
This post is now approaching 700 words so I may have lost you somewhere above; we have all become accustomed to reading tweets and Facebook posts that revel in their brevity. If you have made it this far, however, thanks for doing so. If you started reading today, welcome. If you started reading in the early years of 2008 and 2009, thanks for still being here. But whoever you are and whenever you started reading, watching and listening, thanks. Please say hello below or ‘like’ the post to show me that my efforts are not in vain. And if you happen to be passing through Western Sahara, Niger, Chad, The Central African Republic, South Sudan, The Congo, Turkmenistan or Svalbard, spread the word.
Happy Birthday CyclingEurope.org! Here’s to the next ten years… Keep reading and, hopefully, cycling.
Here’s a few images to show how the look (and even the name) of CyclingEurope.org has changed over the years. Remember any of these? Some didn’t last very long…