“Hey, Will, what’s with T-shirts and route guides for sale on your site? Have you sold out?”
I’m glad you asked – grab a pew and I’ll explain. No, however much I might love it to, my site will never bring in much more than a small amount of pocket money. In fact, income from this site, for all of 2021, only just managed to cover web hosting fees, plus the cost of a return train ticket to and from Bristol (needed to go test ride my Somerset Circle route). And no, I haven’t sold out. I made a deliberate decision to monetise this blog, but not in an intrusive way. I have a long track record of freely giving my time. I was a guided ride leader for many years, and in addition, organised many other rides. My Drake’s Trail guide alone receives thousands of visits, and is obviously very popular. Please do go have a look at it, and ask yourself how much time goes into creating, and maintaining, such a detailed guide.
I have campaigned tirelessly for cycling, locally in Plymouth and Devon, but also nationally, for many years, and a senior police officer in Devon And Cornwall Police said I was instrumental in bringing about a U-turn in D&C Police’s stance to how they respond to reports of dangerous driving from police. So much so, that the police themselves nominated me for a Cycling UK advocacy award. I have a full-time job, and I fit all my cycling work in outside of that. If you’ve ever done cycle advocacy, you will know how tiring it can be to maintain, year in, year out.
A few years ago, I set up a “Buy me a coffee” link on my Drake’s Trail guide (since changed to a Donate button). I never expected every person visiting my site to thank me and buy me a (virtual) coffee, but in the four years it’s been up, until the end of 2020 only one single person ever bought me a coffee, and he’s a friend, who did so as a joke.
I genuinely don’t mind if people use my free guides (I created them for people to use) and I certainly don’t expect everyone to make a donation, but it’d be nice if perhaps as many as one in every thousand would do so. If I met you in real life, after you asked about a route guide, and I gave you a printed version, as well as a GPX file, you’d think nothing about buying me a coffee for real, to say thanks, but apparently, doing so virtually is too much to ask? Basically, using the Donate button to the left is your chance to be that one-in-a-thousand kind of person.
I recently(ish) completed my Somerset Circle route guide. To get it done done, I have cycled the entire route (large parts of it I cycled several times) I spent over 150 hours (including writing & researching, as well as travelling to and from the route, plus the cycling itself) and probably have spent over £300 of my own money. What this means, in simple terms, is that if I was paid at minimum wage rates to create that route guide, in total, the cost of creating the guide will be close to £1 800.
This blog will never bring in remotely close to that amount, but if it contributes perhaps £100 towards it in a year, then that’s a step in the right direction. You can get that route guide for £4. Sure, you can figure out the route yourself, and create a GPX file to use when cycling it, but you will miss out on the vast amounts of additional information contained in my route guide. My GoCycle guides consist of a PDF document, for people who prefer to print something off and take along, as well as a fully-loaded .TCX file, which acts like a digital tour guide, and a simple GPX. At minimum-wage rates, just creating the GPX file will cost you more than buying the complete guide, so I’m sure you’ll agree I’m certainly cheap with my prices.
I also sell T-shirts, and many more items, including mugs, baby wear and more – please do go have a look – and I sell route guides for the longer, multi-day routes, again, for basically the price of a cup of coffee.
I deliver enormous value for money, of that I have no doubt. If my free guides have helped you, I’m glad, even if you didn’t buy me a coffee. After all, I don’t do what I do for the money, but if you won’t buy me a coffee, please do visit regularly, as I post good and updated content often, and please tell others to visit, too? In fact, if you won’t buy a guide, a T-shirt, or make a donation, how about simply posting a link to my site to Facebook, Twitter (you can use the link towards the top left to do so), or some forums?
If you did decide that what I’ve done is worth you buying me a coffee, then I humbly thank you from the bottom of my heart, as you’ve directly helped ensuring I can create more route guides, and make more cycling content available.