When I first started this blog, two years ago today, I wasn't at all sure what I was expecting to get out of the experience. My main aim at first was that I could share my bicycle-related experiences for the benefit of others, such as places which were good for cycling or tips for maintenance. What I did not expect was for it to be a way to make new friends with like-minded people from both Manchester, the UK and the world beyond.
Blogging led me to the Wheelers' Brunch, where in January of this year I got to meet a lot of the other local bloggers and other like-minded people who read them face-to-face for the first time. It was great to be able to put names and faces to blogs. It has also led to some interesting opportunities, including collaborating with LC and Jacky on Manchester Cycle Chic, testing Ian's tandem out for a weekend (in return for lending him the Brompton) and fencing a drum-brake wheel to Jim.
On a national level, the founding of The Cycling Embassy of Great Britain, which itself is a product of the UK blogging scene, has allowed me to get to know like-minded folk from around the country. At the meeting in Manchester back in May, I met a large number of people whose work I had been reading for quite some time, and it was great to be able to get to know them all face-to-face. It also provided a chance to show off Manchester's particularly eclectic selection of cycle infrastructure, and support a great local pub too.
Perhaps most impressive of all (and I apologise for how long it has taken me to post this), is the wonderful gift I received from Shawn Granton, who writes the always wonderful Urban Adventure League. I received a package from Shawn containing one of the posters produced from the Rose City three-speed ride, which includes a wonderful graphic of an exploded Sturmey Archer AWC hub, which is currently hung on my wall.
He also included some bicycle artwork and a cycle touring primer containing useful advice for potential cycle tourists, knowing that I have yet to undertake a cycle tour myself.
Also included were some cool badges based on the artwork from the poster, which currently reside on my Brompton bag.
Based on my own positive experience, I'd urge anyone with a strong, specific interest in a subject to give blogging a try. Who knows what kind of friendships, opportunities and experiences it will open up along the way?