A Letter from the Editors

Man, are we having fun! That’s the good news. Padraig and I are bursting with ideas for TCI, more ideas than we have the time or resources to chase. This is a good problem to have. Readership and listenership are both growing, and that remains a steady motivation for us.

The One and Only Cush

Unfortunately, our friend Cush (Mike Cushionbury) left TCI to become Editor-in-Chief at Mountain Flyer, a return to his print publishing roots, and while we were sad to see him step away from the project, who could deny him what looks like a bit of a dream job? Hopefully you’ll see some TCI x Mountain Flyer collaborations in the future. Cush’s exit made us both more busy, and we lost his Rolodex, which is a who’s who of fun contributors, but, and this brings me to the elephant in the editorial room, we have not grown our subscriber base quickly enough to be able to pay ourselves salaries.

The subscription model is, as ever, in a transitional phase. Today, everyone is competing for your monthly dollar. Apps like Photoshop, iCloud Storage, DropBox, et. al. have moved to a monthly payment model. Content providers like Netflix, Hulu, HBO, etc., etc., etc. are all taking a bite. It’s as though the revenue generating mechanisms of humanity have all discovered that, if you ask folks for just a little money, more often, they’re more likely to say yes.

Of course, many of these entities ALSO sell ads or supplement their revenue in ways we might term “double dipping,” but no one consults us on the ethics of such things. Like you, we’re beholden to the powers that hold the keys to the best tools. The message we take is, “be better at what you do.”

Fair enough.

Our own experience is that the true-blue supporters of what we do, the folks who came with us from Red Kite Prayer, as just one example, got on the subscription bandwagon early, and that has allowed us to pay for the day-to-day operation of the site as well as some fees for contributors. It has not, unfortunately, replaced the ad revenue we got from RKP, which let us pay ourselves. And we have a seemingly devoted, larger group of readers/listeners who are not interested in another subscription. This is understandable, if disappointing.

At least, when you’re involved in a labor of love, it’s good that you love what you do.

We have begun putting out feelers out to companies within the industry whom we admire in hope of securing some simple sponsorship for our podcasts. This is a first step, to see how it works. We remain committed to keeping the operation as simple and content-focused as possible. We don’t like ad-cluttered websites, and we don’t want to operate one. It requires energy and compromises neither of us is interested in. You will remain, as ever, in the loop.

Meanwhile the creative engine is purring along. You’ll see a new, short-form podcast soon, “The Crash” which will collect stories of pivotal bike crashes with bright silver linings. “The Crash” will feature personalities from our bike world, and maybe even beyond. Look for it next week (or maybe the week after).

If you’ve read this far. We thank you. And if anything above inspired you to subscribe, you can do that here.

Join the conversation
  1. jlaudolff says

    You gotta be able to pay yourselves! No one can ever begrudge you taking necessary steps toward that. Best wishes and I hope the TCI project continues.

    1. Emlyn Lewis says

      Thanks, man. We have a lot of fun doing this. We’re going to find a way to make it work. Definitely appreciate your support.

    2. Bruce Pierce says

      I’ll second that! Ads don’t bother me, but I get that there’s a level of overhead (for yous) that comes along with them.

  2. bart says

    I have no problem with ads. I think it’s best if the advertiser is paying to be part of what you’re creating rather than to control the thing that you create. That is how I interpreted the ads that were on RKP. Maybe that is a bit naive of me. Not sure.

    To any potential sponsors: Please come and be part of TCI – it’s a great community! Participate with us in a way that helps us learn how your products and services can add to our enjoyment of cycling or expand how we think about “how cycling fits in our lives”. (Also, I’ve bought many products based on Patrick’s recommendation. I read all of his reviews carefully and learn a lot from them and identify things that will help me in my adventures.)

    That’s what I have to add to this conversation. Hope it helps in some way.

    1. tommilani says

      I have to second this. I’ve bought tires and a bike computer solely based on Patrick’s reviews on Red Kite Prayer. I think you’ve established a large amount of trust with your readership, and I think that would carry over if you were to run ads on the site—I’d assume they reflected the quality and value you continually promote. You gotta eat. Best of luck.

  3. Barry Johnson says

    When all forms of entertainment and media move to paywalls and subs, you have to draw the line somewhere unless you are flush with cash. Few of us are. It takes multiple streaming services to see all the hits, multiple cycling sites to get all the news and info. It’s exhausting and expensive. Please go back to the old ad based way of doing things. We are smart enough to see through the ad bs btw.

  4. Jeff vdD says

    While I applaud your giving “true” independence a go, the presence of sponsors won’t erode my trust in your work. Cycling Tips, of which I’m an equally big fan, seems to be succeeding with a hybrid model, and my trust in them hasn’t taken a hit.


  5. Mike Cushionbury says

    Thanks for the kind words, TCI will always be a part of me. We’re all chasing independently owned media outlets like TCI and Mountain Flyer, keep up the great work!

  6. khal spencer says

    Do what you think is best. My hope would be high level sponsors who earn a banner on the home page rather than cluttering up individual articles with flashing pictures of tubeless tires or other tchotchke. But keep the lights on.

    A subscriber.

  7. Dan Murphy says

    Do what you gotta do. You can do something for the love of it only so long, then you have to pay the bills.

    There are ads, and then, there are ADS. I trust you in being selective and tasteful.

    I feel that media is hitting a turning point now with reality hitting and sites having to figure out their revenue stream. More and more places (Outside, AJ, etc) are employing subscriptions and I don’t blame them. You gotta eat.

    Do what you gotta do.

  8. Hautacam says

    You gots to get paid. Full stop. I trust you guys to make good choices about how to make that happen.

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