body{background-attachment: fixed ! important; }

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Solar Cycle 2010: New Year Message and Thanks

Here comes a new year, and the only thing that guarantees is that I will not be getting any younger.

This blog is still relatively new as blogs go and I am still in the process of developing it to do what I want it to do...and...well...trying to make it better.

I would like to thank everyone for stopping by despite my personal and technical deficiencies.

I would especially like to thank the people who have taken the time to leave comments. The cycling community is one of the most welcoming and enthusiastic, if not obsessive, communities in sports.

This past year I hope I have been able to provide a wide enough range of information, topics, reports, and ideas that have, if anything, added to the current information about Taiwan and cycling. This blogging project is often a learning process for me too and I feel there are still so many roads to explore.

Let me just share a little more information about this space.

My readership has been steadily increasing on a month by month basis and I usually receive between 200 and 300 visitors per day. That number already blows my mind. I have also seen a few more surprises.

The top 5 posts of the year are:

1. Death on Wheels: A Guide To Taiwan's Most Dangerous Cars. I think the ranking still stands, but maybe the Toyota Altis has been replaced by the Vios, which is pretty much a new name for the same car.

2. The Price of Comfort: Bike Clothing For Taiwan. The popularity of this post has nothing to do with the article and everything to do with the obscenely fat guy in the Team Lampre kit.

3. Treatise on Superfluous Things: GIANT "Woos" Women. My article about Giant's sexist marketing strategy to turn the bicycle into a handbag. I still have a lot to add to this topic, but I need to put it aside for the time being.

4. Cycling Culture Is Something Shared: Ming-de Reservoir Reprise. Michael Turton and I did a wonderful ride and I wax philosophical on "culture". I think I should point out again that aside from being a cycling blog, this is also a culture blog.

5. Alishan (): Cycling Taiwan's Great Mountain. This is a very recent ride, so I am surprised how quickly it ran up the ranks. Wonderful trip!

Some other surprises come from the search words that lead people to this blog.

The Pistola Review was second, next to "Taiwan in Cycles". That was still a really great bike for Taiwan road riding. Would'a - Could'a, - Should'a!!!

Even more surprising... and disturbing is that the term "10 yo. boy" was my seventh most popular hit. I am sure NAMBLA was disappointed to find a story about a mother forcing her son to ride his bike from Nantou to Taichung.


The best development of the year was getting my wife on a bike. She loves her Colnago and now understands my passion/obsession for cycling.

I am also amazed at how many people around the world read this blog. I have regular readers from every populated continent and dozens of countries. Aside from the top English speaking countries, I am humbled to have readers from Germany, Netherlands, Brazil, Mexico, Japan, Malaysia (Truly Asia), India, Hungary, Pakistan and everywhere else. Even China lets Paul S. take a peek every so often.

What I am trying to say is... "Golly, I didn't expect all this and I hope my thoughts and experiences can be helpful."

I am pretty disappointed in myself for not taking more time to write longer pieces about the places I go that are not polemics. I have a lot of information at my disposal, but, unfortunately, not enough time.

Aside from the cycling, I am also trying to finish a new book. Yes, I write and illustrate my own English text books. Sometimes my own writing on this blog can make this idea sound like a sad joke, but it is true. These books are awesomely pulpy (Yes, it is supposed to be that way), with an underlying framework of grammar that allows Taiwanese students to build a solid foundation in English in a logical and progressive manner. When used correctly they have been shown to work wonders. Unfortunately, I need to do all the illustrations by hand and it takes forever as I am only a half-way talented artist beyond stick figures.

This effort has sorely taken away from my reading and writing time and this I do not have all the time I need to produce better posts. I am really sorry about that. I hope to get the latest... and possibly the last book in my series done soon... before I go back and edit the old ones. Then I can devote more time to producing better cycling info.

This year I also hope to do a better job documenting routes in greater detail. I would like to bring more information together so riders can more easily "follow the bread crumbs".

Soon, I will begin training for a new "project" for April as I re-do "My Sunday in Hell".

Most of all, I hope to get out and do a few more rides with some of you guys.

One of the best things about blogging has been the fantastic people I meet and get to ride with.

Thanks again!

Have a happy and safe New Year.

Ride Safe!