The website cyclefar.com was registered on the 13th of June 2010 and began it’s, so far turbulent, life as a WordPress blog. I remember being pretty pleased with it, after all I had no formal expertise in anything IT related, but there were some features that either didn’t exist at the time or I just could figure out how to use. After talking to a friend about my new website’s shortfalls it was recommended I try Joomla. This seemed to offer loads of features on paper but the end result looked pretty ugly in my opinion and after some time I realised that WordPress was in fact the platform for me. What an expensive lesson right? Well I don’t think it was terribly bad, I’d learnt a great deal about the world of personal websites and blogs and was no longer afraid to get my hands dirty with custom CSS and other teky necessities but much of my time had been spent fiddling with code and not building a blog.
Now I know what some of you might be thinking;
if I was really serious about CycleFar I would have got someone else to do all that stuff and focused on content and marketing and etc. and of course you’re right. But CycleFar slowly became something much more personal and, as I’m still in my final year of my degree, it hasn’t ever been my main focus, or even close to my main focus. It’s been a labour of love and a welcome distraction from study, a tool for procrastination and relaxation.
Through uni I’ve been primarily rock climbing, swimming, running, cycling, El Presidente of the art society and the photography society, although not necessarily all at the same time, cycling mini tours around Europe in the breaks and holding down a job in attempt to fund it all. But most of this is about to change as I career into the last 6 weeks of uni and on towards, what I’m certain is a misguided belief of, everlasting freedom and flexibility. Whether that freedom is just a fantasy, or something more probable, the way I’ve chosen to exercise the prospect is by planning a bigger ride, the ride I call ‘The Longish One’.
The Longish One is the tour I’ve always knew I would do since I loaded up my first pannier in Carcassonne, southern France at the age of 19 and set off down the Canal du Midi towards Montpelier with Michelle. It’s the adventure I’ve been, with an attempt at subtlety, recruiting a sidekick for at every opportunity with questions to friends such as ‘what do you think of cycling?’ and ‘do you think you’d enjoy cycling very far?’; often carefully measuring responses when broaching the subject before working my way up to a full sales pitch and finally, in desperation, to the point of contemplating bribery, hypnosis or a duel of some kind. The Longish One is the ride that now involves four people, that have either been successfully coerced to ride at various stages or near enough the whole thing, and will commence in just 6 weeks time leading from Leicestershire in England to China and southeast Asia, it’s what I think about at work, it’s what I think about when I should be working (like now) and it has occupied my thoughts to an ever greater extent over the last 12 months slowly building to a crescendo of excitement and anticipation.
As an aside to my cycling plans I also want to keep CycleFar growing and hopefully at a much greater rate than has been possible so far. Google Analytics, which is widely used by anyone with a website, tells me that people do visit from all over the world but I’m sure they (you) must get frustrated with so few updates to the site. That too will change with the end of my formal education and the start of this ‘university of life’ thing that every one raves about. Frankly I can’t wait, it sounds ace!
Just one question though; how exactly do I keep a website alive when on the road? I have the netbook (small laptop) sorted and I have electricity by the way of a solar charger but what’s the best option for a data connection or do people generally use WiFi hotspots and pretend they want to buy an item of ‘food’ from Mc Donald’s?