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About The Bicycle Exchange
Introduction (August 1996)
Update (March 1998)
Update (July 2000)
Update (July 2003)
Update (June 2008)
Update (June 2009)
Thank you for clicking into The Bicycle Exchange. I hope this is the first of many visits to our site.
Why The Bicycle Exchange? Why Ohio, West Virginia and Pennsylvania? Why an online magazine, or "zine?"
I am a traveling teacher by trade and I often stick my bike on my car before I leave home. I work mainly in West Virginia and Ohio and occasionally in Pennsylvania. I live in West Virginia, most of my relatives live in Pennsylvania, but I have quite a few good buddies in Ohio. When I want a taste of the big city I zip into Pennsylvania but every once in a while I go a little further north or west into Ohio. A couple of years ago I cranked out a long, homemade solo bike tour that took me--you guessed it--from West Virginia to Ohio to Pennsylvania to West Virginia. Last year I completed a good chunk of the Cardinal Trail bike route in Central and Eastern Ohio. One weekend last month I stayed and biked at a state park near Philadelphia on a trip to the New Jersey shore. The next weekend I knocked off The Great Ride tour of 12 neighborhoods of Pittsburgh. Just a couple of days ago I watched fishermen in waders and kids on inner tubes floating lazily along Wheeling Creek as a pedaled a pleasant 24-mile loop from my home. I'm looking forward to some great organized tours in the next two months, especially my personal favorite--the North East Ohio Century--where I get to chow on scrumptious homebaked cookies and high five little Amish kids as I pass through a gently rolling paradise. But today, I'm heading up to Lake Erie with my brother and nephew visiting from California. Up there we plan to bike across the Ohio-Pennsylvania line a time or two. And still on my back burner is a trip to the mountains down south in my beautiful Mountain State to see if the ole legs are what they used to be as I try to climb my way out of a "holler."
Get the picture? Big cities, small towns, rural pastures, or posh suburbs. City streets, town squares, one-lane covered bridges, and strip plaza freeways. Giant mountains, flat plains, valleys, and gently rolling foothills. Lakes, rivers, streams and creeks. These are all in the great states of Ohio, West Virginia, and Pennsylvania. These are were I live, work, visit, play and bike. And if you live in or nearby this region, it doesn't take many hours of traveling before you slip into a town or valley quite different from your own. To me this is part of the thrill of riding, whether solo or group, whether self-charted or fully supported. Had he been in his youth today perhaps Jack Kerouac would have written On the Road about a couple of restless beatnik bicyclists, soaking in bits and pieces of Americana at 10 miles per hour instead of 60. Ah, now that's the way to see this great land. And no finer view of America is available outside our region.
A 'Zine is Born!
That's why The Bicycle Exchange was created--to serve as a cyberspace information, entertainment, and market source for cyclists living in or visiting the tri-states. We hope that very soon we will have a "fat" online publication where you can:
- Live in Columbus and sell an excellent frame to someone in Cincinnati or Toledo who will never see your ad in the Columbus Dispatch newspaper
- Call from the Flats of Cleveland to a Bed and Breakfast in the mountains of West Virginia that welcomes bicyclists for the weekend
- Get details on a smaller, unique tour near Harrisburg while living in the heart of Pittsburgh
- Ask Andy the Mechanic a personal question about adjusting your new component group on your not-so-new bike
- Contribute you own writings, artwork, or photos for the delight of our visitors
- Speak out about an important cycling issue in "Cycle Surfer Mail"
We Need Your Help
Without your information and literary and artistic contributions, we won't be around for long. Without visitors and ads, we won't get sponsors, and we won't be around for long. We'd like to be around for real long, so check out our "Contribution Guidelines" section and see how your works can appear right here and be seen by thousands. Let us know about your club's upcoming events. Be a part of The Bicycle Exchange.
My brother, Pete, and I hope to bring you a quality online magazine. We're far from seasoned vets on the Net but we're learning in leaps and bounds. Our brother, Bill, a transplanted tri-state native and avid century cyclist, will also be contributing. From the Joyces and The Bicycle Exchange, we wish you guys, y'all, and yunz many an excellent ride. And, go break a leg--I mean spoke--I mean...just forget it!
Jim Joyce, Editor and Founder
Update, March 1998...
Ah, I have just bid a sad farewell to by beloved, adopted city and state of 11 fine years--Wheeling, West Virginia. A new job opportunity and upcoming marriage have led me an hour across the border to my native turf of Pennsylvania. I'm back at the doorstep of the great city of Pittsburgh, poised to take on urban life as I happily continue my teaching career and website duties. Here's to my old home! A toast to my new home! Though my travels lead me in different directions, a strange gravitational pull anchors me near the hub of my three favorite biking states.
Jim Joyce, Editor and Founder
Another Update, July 2000...
Yes, we've survived and, in many ways, thrived during these four great years of existence in cyberspace. In that time, The Bicycle Exchange has collected a pocketful of awards and has grown from a trickle of visitors from our region to 13,000 unique visitors per month (of 50,000 impressions) from all over the world. Thousands of free classified ads have been posted as that section of our site has become the source of the majority of our site visits. Elsewhere, our most pleasant surprise (though we knew it all along) has become Andy Wallen's Ask the Mechanic column, which now fields 15-20 questions per week, and has become our most highly-visited page outside of the classifieds. Andy is an ace, a rare combination of wit, common sense, and abounding mechanic knowledge (better quit, don't want to inflate the guy's ego).
During this time, we've become as well known by the name of Bikexchange.com as by our official title, The Bicycle Exchange. This testifies for the general growth in strength and recognition of domain names.
In addition, we've remained diligent to maintaining seasonal and timely event and info links for our 3-state region, chiefly due to the efforts of my brother, Pete, who has also done bang-up work on periodic proofing and editing assignments.
We've published over 75 articles, many with action photos and graphics, and most of them appearing for the first time in print right here on this site. I've been especially proud to post well-accomplished writers, including several with published books and many who've frequently appeared in newspapers and magazines. We also have posted one National Catholic Press Award winner. Never mind he's my eldest brother, Bill, who wrote us an excellent narrative in the Winter 1999 Features (better quit on him, too, definitely don't want to inflate his ego).
We've had fun with our original cartoons and home-grown stuff for kids, though I admit we've been pretty lean on new stuff in these areas in the past two years.
...Which leads nicely into the purpose for "this here" update. It's great to be a "lean, mean, website machine" but, at some point, you've got to update, automate and invest to expand into the bigger leagues. In your personal life, you've got to have some free time to spend on matters other than your website hobby. And if you have a full-time, year-round teaching job which you love but which leaves you with very little free time--much less than in August 1996 when this webzine was launched--something has got to give.
This I why I am seeking a buyer for Bikexchange.com.
I'm hoping a new buyer can continue Bikexchange.com as a high-quality website or merge it with one of the many other respectable webzines that have an editorial, information, or free ads mission similar to ours. Piggybacking with or becoming a webzine partner to a commercial or retail site would also be helpful, as the actual sale of merchandise to new, prospective customers from our domain's traffic would be a great combination. Colorado Cyclist, for instance, though a giant compared to Bikexchange, has a pleasing combination of retail and well-written, respected articles. In any case, we believe our steady, strong traffic and high search engine rankings make us a viable site for purchase. If we sell, we hope to assist our new owner(s) and hope that the Bikexchange name and spirit will be well-served. I know for certain that the site would benefit from:
- More expertise in graphics and programming (a modest "facelift" with more automation--we haven't changed our "look" since our inception)
- More time spent in serious pursuit of advertising partners (though we've managed to stay in the black with our modest revenues during the past year or so)
- More marketing prowess and funding.
Until we find the right fit in a buyer, I promise to continue to maintain this website at a high level of quality and content.
Thank you all for stopping by our site. You, our visitors, have been this site's life blood. You are the greatest. It has been a wonderful four-year ride, seated in the saddle of The Bicycle Exchange.
Jim Joyce, Editor and Founder
July 2003 Update
Seven is a lucky number indeed.
After that many years on the Web, our luck shows no chance of waning. We were lucky enough to survive the "Dot Bomb" of the Internet business world, a catastrophic time that saw the disappearance of so many promising websites. We've been lucky to see our traffic continue to grow conservatively but steadily--recent months have consistently logged about 30,000 unique visitors and 60,000 page views. We've been lucky enough to hold on to a corps of seasoned and talented writers and cartoonists who contribute regularly to our site and make me very proud. This includes our "Guru of Grease," our "Boss of Ball Bearings," a.k.a. Mr. Andy Wallen, who continues to field scores of questions from around the world in his Ask the Mechanic column.
And we've been lucky and blessed in so many other ways.
Since my last update three years ago, much has changed in our country, our world and in the life of this online magazine. The massive grief and heroism of September 11, plus the illness and loss of loved ones in my family, have led me to appreciate the gifts of life and health, and of simple pleasures--like bicycling--that we simply take for granted far too often. "Carpe diem!" (Seize the day!) and "Don't sweat the small stuff" have become my dual mantras when it comes to managing The Bicycle Exchange. Despite a cooler approach, each season has added plenty of informative and entertaining content to our site. Within days, I will be launching a fully automated, free classifieds program from e-Classifieds, which will be far superior to our current, cut-and-pasted ads that are updated once per week. This marks a giant leap toward higher quality and better use of my time as editor. My next step is to post an efficient, interactive forum/message board program for individuals and event organizers to spread their news and views instantly. Not long after, I hope to update the look of our site, which has essentially the same appearance since our launch in 1996.
Finally, three words about the potential sale of our site--not a chance. While automated classifieds are here and an interactive forum is soon to follow, a bike repair book by Andy and a paperback anthology of our finest pieces and cartoons are now in the planning stages. This is no time to jump saddle.
It's been a wonderful seven years and I thank you all for your support, but keep an eye on this site, because the best of times are ahead.
Jim Joyce, Editor and Founder
June 2008 Update
It's a good thing my oldest brother taught me how to juggle!
This update--nearly five years since my last--finds me immersed in the promotion of a book that was spawned by this website, and features many articles and cartoons that first appeared here. It is entitled, The Bicycle Book: Wit, Wisdom & Wanderings, and it was released November 23, 2007 by Satya House Publications (www.SatyaHouse.com), who did an outstanding job on designing and building the book. It is a collection of 35 articles and 43 cartoons from a corps of 25 talented contributors. The book has been well received around the country and in Canada and Britain, where two of the 25 contributors hail from. Find out more about the book and see a sampling of our many reviews at my publisher's website via www.BikeBook.net.
For the past year, however, this has meant less time devoted to updating Bikexchange, though we've still managed to grow to 900 pages of content and our Free Classifieds now number over 700. Still, I haven't given our Features and Ask the Mechanic sections--and the overall look and content of the site--the time they deserve, as I've found getting out a book (and still being a full-time teacher) is overwhelming. But the book has been a thrill and an honor, and I'm tickled so many of our fine contributors to Bikexchange are part of it.
It is said, "All good things in all good time," and I vow to return to giving this website its due once my book events are in the rear view mirror, and that is soon. I must thank so many of my contributors for appearing to promote the book in their respective towns and cities. That includes Gianna Bellofatto, Andy Wallen, Ella Lawrence, Bill Joyce (my brother), Chip Haynes, Bradley Swink, Jim Brink, Neal Skorpen, and Cathy Dion. They have enriched the lives of many a cyclist.
And I must mention that we proudly celebrated our 10th anniversary on the Web in September 2006. You know, September 2016 isn't looking too bad, either!
Jim Joyce, Editor and Founder
June 2009 Update....
It's Father's Day and I write you this message with great joy and pride, but also with a tinge of bittersweetness. This is my very first Father's Day, as my wife and I were given the gift of a beautiful baby boy on February 27. Little Liam Paul, our adopted son, has brightened my life in wondrous ways I'd never imagined. (BTW, Liam is Irish for William, his paternal grandfather's name, and Paul is the namesake of his maternal grandfather.) He is napping now in his swing, which allows me to complete this important "send off" of sorts.
Liam's arrival has changed everything, including re-ordering of my time, of which I used to spend a great deal of on this website, which has been itself like a child to me since it was born in August 1996. First, my recent book, The Bicycle Book: Wit, Wisdom & Wanderings, mentioned in my June 2008 update (and selling quite well), kept me from giving justice to Bikexchange.com, and I fell behind on all updates. But the sections that have suffered most are our Feature Articles and our Ask the Mechanic column. I never had enough time to whip Bikexchange back into shape before Liam's arrival, especially since my wife and I immersed ourselves into fixing up our old house because we knew we'd have no time for that if and when a newborn baby arrived.
My year-round, full-time teaching job is another great love of mine, but it is more demanding on my time than ever, and my biggest wishes are the proverbial ones--more hours in the day, more days in the week, more of me.
And so I must announce today that I am suspending just about all of my work on Bikexchange indefinitely, as my family life and job no longer permit me the time to keep it up. While I will no longer post new editorial work, that is, articles, photos, and columns, I will leave all of those great writings and photos already posted to remain on Bikexchange, which will be left as is on the Web as a reference and library for cyclists everywhere. Many of the writings and photos herein are timeless, and I think it would be wrong to remove them from the world just because the website is no longer posting new submissions and updates. Our automated Free Classifieds section will remain active, and I will also try to keep our Ride Previews page of tours in OH-WV-PA updated every few months. Other updates to various pages of links will seldom, if ever, be made, but they will remain posted because so much of the information will be current for years to come.
With all my heart, I thank all of you loyal visitors over the years. It's been a pleasure and a source of deep, deep pride for me to be the creator and editor of this online magazine. And thanks to you who were kind enough to purchase The Bicycle Book. It really does represent the best of Bikexchange in content and spirit. And I will not--and cannot--ever forget our website's wonderful writers and cartoonists, so many of whom have contributed outstanding works for years. I know it sounds cliché, but I feel blessed to have rubbed shoulders with greatness! Your work has been unique and first rate. My greatest praise, however, must go to our Guru of Grease, our Chairman of Chain, our Director of Derailleurs, Mr. Andy Wallen, who did an extraordinary job of answering repair questions for over 10 years with wit, brevity and honesty in our Ask the Mechanic column.
Best wishes, my friends. Thanks again, and never forget to enjoy the ride!
Jim Joyce, Editor and Founder
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