What's Cool In Road Cycling

Hello 2011: Let’s Get Personal

The internet – a bunch of wires, signals, bits and bytes that’s often accused of pushing people away from each other and into their own little ‘cyber-worlds’. But like everything else, it really depends on what you do with it…

I recently saw the film Social Network, which portrayed Mark Zuckerberg as a computer geek with pretty limited people skills who wanted to be cool, and wound up inventing Facebook (at least that’s how I interpreted the film), and I couldn’t help but compare it to what I started here at PEZ back in 2002.

Both our sites shared the milestones of pushing the go button, waiting for that first reader, then watching the readership grow to, and grow beyond a size neither of us could imagine. Maybe the similarities end there, and maybe they don’t.

Of course PEZ would not have happened without the constant and loyal support of the PEZ-Crew – the guys who’ve helped shape our identity, and even influence opinions of cycling fans all over the world. And they all used to be PEZ-Fans before they jumped on board.

Where we are today is testament to what a great team can achieve, especially when we stick to what we know best, and just keep on doing it – in our case that’s reporting on ‘what’s cool in pro cycling’.

My log files say we’re now reaching over 357,000 readers each month (a 6 month average), that 75% of you live in the US, 10% in Canada, 6% in the UK, about 2% in Australia & New Zealand – and all points in between.

That’s a lot of people for sure, and I do get a thrill at the end of each month as I compile the stats and see how we did. But the thing about the internet is that it’s as personal as it is… impersonal.

The internet has allowed us to reach thousands of readers thousands of miles away and at any point on the globe. So while we do make connections with readers all over the world, and the number of readers and pages we serve is pretty amazing (to me at least), those numbers pale in comparison to the impact I feel when getting a simple email from a reader who’s taken time from his or her life to say hello or share an opinion.

But even better, is actually meeting someone who reads the site. I never get tired of a fan saying hello and calling out a particular story, review, or photo we’ve posted. And I’m pretty sure the rest of the PEZ-Crew feel the same way.

I still remember a fan stepping out of the crowd at the Tour of California TT in Solvang a few years back, and telling me that my Perfect Apertif story was his all time favorite on PEZ. That one never gets old for me.

I can speak for us all when I say we are humbled, grateful, and flattered that so many of you read us each day, and consider what we do worthy of your time an attention. But we still don’t ‘know’ each other…

If all 357,000 of us got together in one place, trying to find someone you know would be like searching for a needle is an haystack – surrounded by unfamiliar faces, it might even feel a bit lonely. But consider that we’re all bonded by one similar interest, (more of a shared passion really…) then you realize we’re all kind of the same, and pretty soon you’re surrounded by more friends than you ever imagined.

Publishing this website has allowed me to see some pretty cool stuff – cover the world’s biggest bike races as a member of the press corps, ride my bike with some great champions, ride some of the very best cycling gear on the planet, and travel to exotic places to see history being made at the races we all revere.

But what stands out for me more than all that, is that it’s afforded me a circle of friends much more diverse – geographically, culturally, and across more age groups – than I’d ever imagined I’d be so lucky to have. And if things keep going the way they are, I’m betting there are at least a few new best friends out there I still haven’t met.

For something as impersonal as the internet, perhaps we’ve done not too bad a job at making it a bit more ‘personal’.

So thanks again to everyone for reading, and making 2010 our best year ever at PEZ, and here’s to 2011 – may it be full of great racing, sunny ‘wind at your back’ rides, and the chance to meet a few more of you out there on the roads.

Happy New Year from all of us at PEZ.
– Richard Pestes

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