Four Years of Noobishness

Yeah, do you believe it? This marks the fourth anniversary of the Bike Noob blog. One thing I’ve noticed since I started writing in 2008 is that cycling seems to have gained in popularity, so much so that it’s now featured in one of those Internet “what they think — what I think” memes that’s going around:

Click to embiggen.

That fits me to a “t” — especially the chimp. I’m him.

I’ve been wondering what keeps bringing people back here to read my posts, and it occurred to me that if I just dig into the statistics provided by the fine folks at WordPress, I might get a clue. So here are the five most popular Bike Noob posts of all time:

5. Metric century. I hadn’t checked all time stats for a while, and this one surprised me. It makes perfect sense, though. A metric century is probably the first major mileage milestone targeted by noob riders.

4. The Selle San Marco Ponza. This is the racing-style saddle I rode for about a year, including on two century rides. I wonder now how I did it, it was so uncomfortable after about an hour. The Ponza is a fairly well-known saddle, and I seem to get lots of traffic from people looking for a review.

3. Triple chainrings — or compact double? For a long time, this was the number one post on this site. I think once new riders get a bike and ride it for awhile, they start to wonder about the advantages or disadvantages of whatever chainring setup they don’t have. To the point that…

2. Triple vs. Compact Double –Again! is the second most-viewed post on the site. Folks, I think we’ve run out our discussion on this one.

And the most-viewed post on Bike Noob of all time?

1. CO2 cartridges or a pump? This post goes back to the first few months of this blog, so its longevity has something to do with its popularity. It’s also one that I listed in my “Favorite Posts” tab, which undoubtedly drove traffic to it. But clearly, these kinds of basic equipment discussions pique the interest of the target audience for Bike Noob — riders who are either new to our pastime, or who are looking for straightforward information about the basics of our sport. And to the post itself, altho I carry a cartridge and an inflator, I will still rely on the pump in the event of a flat.

So — equipment and/or accessories tops our interest quotient. That continues on down the list. Other popular posts include a survey of Speedplay pedals, cleat position (under the ball of the foot for power, but all the way back for long-distance comfort), wet or dry chainlube, and cyclocomputers.

My guest posters, Jeff Hemmel and Don Blount, have also contributed posts on equipment. Jeff’s reviews of the Bontrager Inform and Bontrager Affinity saddles are right up there in page views, as are Don’s posts on trainers vs. rollers and the Bont ctt3 shoes with the moldable insole.

It’s hard to pigeonhole the least-viewed posts — they tend to be all over the map, although many of them were posted in the blog’s first year, before Bike Noob caught fire and rose to become one of the pre-eminent blogs in all of bikingdom. Several of them had to do with specific rides I took. Lots of bike blogs write about rides, so maybe that shouldn’t be a focus here. We’ll see.

I’ve taken down the tab for Favorite Posts, simply because I think it has driven traffic to those posts to the exclusion of others, and for that reason I think I’m not getting an accurate picture of what really interests my readers. We’ll see if the stats appreciably change in the coming year. Besides, if I were to list what I consider MY favorite posts, they’d probably be a different five altogether. (Remember “Smoked By An Old Guy?”)

And while I’m mentioning Favorite Posts, I should note that after two years, it’s time to redo the look of this blog. Nothing drastic, but enough to keep it fresh.

Anyway, in the coming year, I pledge to try my best to keep you interested and engaged with what you read here, as you follow the ramblings of an oldish and unmechanically-inclined cyclist of middling ability and an entry-level bike who just happens to love getting out on two wheels.


  1. says

    Maybe I’m biased, but I think posting about rides shows your character. I hope you keep talking about your experiences and maybe work them into the larger topics that you cover so well.

  2. Mel Hughes says

    Only four years? I really appreciate the effort and the dialog, Ray. It is always good to read about what works for other folks and why. That pertains to riding as well as equipment. Keep it going!

  3. johnt says

    When I first started riding almost 2 years ago these posts were invaluable for their insight, knowledge and support and a good way to familiarize myself with the nuances of this very enjoyable hobby. To this day I look forward to each post and the humor, wisdom, and information they contain. Thanks Ray

  4. Rick says

    It’s been a good story, very well told over the last four years. You’ve got the subject matter and the medium down perfect. Congratulations!

  5. says

    Congratulations! While I do not doubt your statistical analysis, I would also consider the possibility that you are simply an entertaining writer, and that people keep coming back because they enjoy reading “the ramblings of an oldish and unmechanically-inclined cyclist of middling ability and an entry-level bike who just happens to love getting out on two wheels.” That is an apt description for most of us and thus we can relate to (and learn from) your adventures. That is certainly the case with this reader, who is eagerly looking forward to more!

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