The reason this post is entitled 86 is not because it’s the country telephone code for China, nor is it because 86 is the atomic number of Radon, and neither is it because there are 86 metals on the modern Periodic Tables. No. To date, I have hammered out 86 blog posts since I launched the first one into cyber space on the 5th April 2018.

I was never naive enough to think that I would stop the whole WordPress platform with traffic as I and readers of my stuff were consuming the company’s enormous bandwidth. Innocently, I thought I would tackle the bicycle derailleur as a first subject, as everybody likes derailleur stories don’t they? Apparently not. Anyway, I didn’t give up and flew onto the next post.

Whilst my Diary of…..brand has provided me a creativity fix of my own, it’s the experiences I’ve had, the bikes restored and ridden, and particularly the people that I have encountered, which have all been the drivers for content. So, nothing new there then.

In the global blog market with my 35,000 site and post reads from people in 108 countries, and in two and a half years, I might just be a legend in my own lunchtime, but not on a mega-worldwide scale. This is fine, as I never expected my Diary of…..brand to be able to pay the mortgage. However, it’s fast-tracked my learning about SEO (Search Engine Optimsation…..obviously!) stuff and the use of site analytics. Very interesting.

Content deadlines are easy to meet, cos’ I make them, put them off, and decide when it’s right to launch. Please now note, that from this point on in this celebratory post, there will be some photos that were never included in the posts and with the story behind the photos, just like these below……

These photos above were taken by my work colleague, Rodrigo. Post work, we jumped in the car on a hot summer evening and drove for 50 minutes to a Swiss mountain Col at 1776 metres above sea level. I wanted a photo of a washing line full of colourful, vintage cycling shirts with the magnificent rock face of Les Diablerets in the background. There was only one road sign to tie one end of the washing line to…….

My site advertising strategy isn’t based on sound commercial logic. It’s much more emotional. For example, my friend Terrance Malone has gone solo to provide a tyre that is a modern response to a classic MTB profile and specifically for vintage (Duran Duran era) MTBs. I applaud this innovative, start up approach (and so should you in my view), so Terra One tyres is the only thing advertised in the homepage sidebar. Any other company who has provided a great product or service gets a mention and their link in the appropriate post. Simple, but again, it won’t pay the mortgage.

The minimal marketing budget was stretched to get a few t-shirts, which makes them ‘limited edition’ I guess, and some stickers. The T-shirt transaction went well and all 20 of them ‘flew off the shelf’, such was the demand. As I’m a self-confessed sticker-aholic, I (probably unwisely) chose a sticker maker on eBay to commence production. Maybe I had pushed the boundaries of the supplier who clearly had a small sticker machine in his bedroom, because it all went pear-sticker-shaped. I asked for some motorcycling blog and cycling blog strip stickers in both white and black. Simple huh? This turned out to be not so. What I actually got was a handful of black cycling stickers and load of white and black motorcycling stickers. I provided feedback and requested my original order again. My sticker manufacturer must have been evicted from his bedroom because he vanished from eBay-world and all I got was email-silence from him. However, and luckily, Mr sticker maker made the mistake the right way around, because with a bit of cutting of the motorcycle sticker, I can make a cycling sticker. It’s a good job it wasn’t the other way around or I would have no motorcycle stickers. Maybe I expected too much from a crappy marketing budget.

Two stickers for the price of one.

I wrote a post, which I am proud to claim, has been well read, and concerning the ‘special tool’. As a ‘sequel-in-a-sentence’ to this post, I have now found the ultimate special tool, and there’s a picture below of me looking particularly pleased with it.

The ultimate special tool! A Swiss 1930s work stand that’ll hold two bikes. It weighs nearly as much as me. Nearly anyway.

Inspiration for posts come from the strangest places, and I can’t even articulate the thinking and writing logic, partly because it would be boring. Full stop. My most favourite-ist post of the 86 ever, is this one……Mysterious address plate

My learning curve has been a bit ‘hockey stick’, which is a common term marketeers would use to describe some successful product or service launches. My bestest bike of all is the Cannondale Raven as it does everything brilliantly (shod in a pair of Terra One tyres obviously) and it inspired an ornithological thread to a post as well. It’s in this link if you haven’t read it…..

This bike was well balanced for a great atmospheric, seaside photo, and then a wave came in and knocked it over 🙁

The music, food and drink links continue to weave their way throughout the posts. My big hit (maybe) was creating a whole Cannondale Super V music track list. The criteria demanded the song title or band name to have the word ‘Super’ in it.

So what’s the future look like then? I hear you think. Well, there will be some great interviews, more epic rides, different bikes to play around with, and all set to music whilst eating good food with occasional wine, beer, homemade cider etc.

In the two pictures above, I wanted to capture that great railway, arch truss suspension bridge picture on the left, through the trees and frame of my 1911, equally arch truss framed, French Labor racing bike. I had to hold the bike up on an old pallet so ace photographer, Rodrigo could snap away.

Oh yeah, welcome to post 87………

Photos by Rodrigo, my Wife and me

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