Another year means another year in review coming up! This time, I am reflecting on 2016, a year that we saw so many of my childhood celebrities pass (yes, I am older than I look).
As much as I want to forget about 2016, I can’t deny that this year has given me so much to be grateful for in my life.
My 2016 Highlights
- One of the things I wanted to focus on in 2016 was to produce more YouTube videos to help people get started on bike touring. As a result, I went from 43 subscribers at the end of January to 1007 at the start of 2017! All thanks to a few videos that showed what I brought to my bike tours.
- Like 2015, the MeetUp group has grown. We had 10 bicycle tours leaving the Los Angeles area and saw a 49% increase in attendance from 63 riders in 2015 to 94 riders in 2016. I maintained a 95% attendance to sign-up percentage for all my MeetUp rides. I had the largest group of 17 riders during our October bike tour.
- I presented my European bike tour in 2015 at Stan’s Bike Shop in the month of May once again to highlight the joy of traveling by bike even in an unfamiliar environment.
- I brought bicycle touring awareness to Los Angeles during the LA Bike Festival by representing Adventure Cycling Association.
- Even though my cross country Trans-American tour was canceled, I was able to salvage the bike ride by jumping on a trip that was half-way through the country in Colorado as a tour leader. This brought me through states like Wyoming, Montana, and Idaho in which I’ve never visited before. I even made it to the Adventure Cycling Association headquarters in Missoula, Montana for their 40th Anniversary celebration weekend. I ended up finishing that tour in Florence, Oregon and made my way to Portland, Oregon for my 40th birthday.
- I was then recruited onto another Adventure Cycling event tour along the Eastern Cascades called the Sierra Sampler. This would be my first event tour where we fully supported 60 riders. It was a great week of biking, meeting great people and visiting cool places, like Lake Tahoe for the first time and one of my favorite National Parks, Yosemite.
- After the Sierra Sampler, I was asked to deliver a van down to Las Cruces, New Mexico in 2 and half days. Mission accomplished, and I even made a vlog about it.
- Right after the van delivery, I made my drive down from Reno to Las Vegas in time for the Interbike show.
- I was then featured on an Adventure Cycling Association’s bike tour catalog as one of four tour leaders. It was an honor and privilege to be working for one of my dream companies and be recognized for doing what I enjoy doing.
What I’m Doing Right
Looking at that list and comparing it to my 2016 year in review post, I am on the right track. I am getting out there and taking on an active role to spread the bike touring love with people.
It all started with me focusing on 2 big things. The first is to continue to reach out to people in real life through my MeetUp. The other thing is putting out weekly videos on YouTube and growing my channel.
As you can tell, it’s working. While other “bike touring experts” out there are claiming to be experts by doing this alone and traveling the world, my strategy was to make an immediate impact by providing value to people in real life, face-to-face interactions.
Let’s bring it closer to home and actually have people take action and go on bike tours. That’s why you’re seeing a 49% growth in my MeetUp groups. Most importantly, I have inspired and fueled the interest from people who just needed a little encouragement to get out and bike tour.
I also discovered that I really enjoy making videos. From coming up with the topics, writing the script, working with my brother-in-law, Sang Hyun, to film and edit the film to releasing it onto YouTube.
Video is the future and I am planning to continue to keep pushing out valuable content in 2017.
My traffic has also grown exponentially in the last year. I went from 5212 page views in 2015 to 30,272 page views in the same period on December 29th. An unbelievable 581% increase!
Thanks to the huge jump in traffic from my YouTube channel, I am getting a lot more residual traffic to my blog as a result.
Lessons I’ve Learned
In last year’s review, I had alluded to my stagnant visitor numbers and was feeling a bit down about it. I didn’t feel melancholy too long as I picked myself up and committed to doing something that changed my trajectory of the site.
By deciding that I was going to make a video a week and remaining consistent with my content, this yielded great rewards- more engagement with my community and more traffic coming to my blog.
I didn’t just hope for things to go well. I took action to make things change for me. I made it a point to put those videos out and to have a bike tour setup every month when I was in town.
Taking consistent action and believing in my “why” (providing valuable bike touring information and keeping people motivated so that they can discover their own ride) has kept me going. It kept me motivated to continue marching down this path of passion.
I may not follow a content schedule (even though I said I would last year), but I still committed to producing consistent content that people enjoyed whether it be a product review, a tip, or an interview video.
Looking Forward to 2017
Last year, I said I was going to make more videos, invest in myself to be better at producing better content, and finally complete my cross country tour.
I only accomplished 2 of these 3 things. I made more videos and spent a little bit more money to educate myself and improve my content delivery. However, I didn’t get to ride across the country.
As a retribution, I am planning on fulfilling that dream to ride across the US and to do this self-supported on a bike via the Southern Tier bike route. Sang Hyun and I will step out from our front doors to St. Augustine, Florida starting in March until June. More on this in an upcoming post.
On top of this, I am also asked to be part of 3 different Adventure Cycling rides.
- Colorado Classic High-Country – July 22nd to August 1st
- Black Hills, South Dakota – August 26th to September 1st
- Vermont Inn-to-Inn – September 25th to October 1st
It looks like it’s going to be a good year to be bike touring, and I look forward to sharing our plans and progress with you.
Happy New Year, and I wish you’ll get to do as much bike touring as I will be doing this year.