A Chat With BikeHugger.com’s DL Byron

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The ReGeneration is on the move! To make it easier for customers, Dell employees and stakeholders to find and participate in our conversations about the environment, we’re moving the best of our ReGeneration.org blog over here to Direct2Dell.  You’ll find the same great posts about what’s news in “green” business and technology, along with the green tips so many of you tell us you love. Join the conversation! 

Since April of 2006, BikeHugger.com has been a source for all news, opinions, products and musings about bike culture throughout the world.  Word on BikeHugger spread quickly, and the blog became well-known through the cycling world and beyond for its unique mix of insight, news and humor.  BikeHugger is prolific blog, with several postings going up every day, and it’s a site that I enjoy frequenting whenever I get a chance.  There is always something new up, often with great discussions going on in the comments sections for each post.

Bike Hugger will be rolling into Austin this week for SXSW, and will be hosting a Mobile Social, a meet-up and ride through the city, for the event. Lured by the promise of free BBQ and a chance to go on a ride with some new friends, the MoSo should prove to attract a wide variety of folks, cyclist and the bicycling-curious alike.

DL Byron is a Cat 2 Masters racer, Principal of Textura Design, Inc and the Publisher and Blogger for the site.  Byron is not only passionate and knowledgeable about cycling, but blogging in general.  So much so that he wrote Publish & Prosper: Blogging for Your Business, a New Riders book. I had the opportunity to catch up with him recently to talk about Bike Hugger and his thoughts on the future of cycling culture.

Why did you start up BikeHugger.com, and what are your big goals for the blog?

DL Bike Hugger is bike culture blogged. As a group blog, with different voices, we cover diverse topics, but all focused on bikes and we keep that focus. You won’t find a marketing box to put us in. We’re like the Boing Boing of bikes and we “do epic ***,” a mantra that I’ll talk about during the Try Making Yourself More Interesting Panel at SXSWi. What sets us apart is interestingness. You may not like what we’re posting today, but maybe tomorrow, or the next day. Didja see that we were in Beijing riding in traffic or flying down a hill in Tuscany? That mixes it up with the commute-to-work posts and gear reviews.

We’ve been blogging for 3 years now at Bike Hugger and it’s very much a lab. We test new design ideas, plugins, and various ways of sharing content that they may eventually apply to the enterprise or Textura Design’s clients (TDI publishes Bike Hugger and specializes in creative social media strategies). The key to successful blogging is to live it and we do that do every day with Bike Hugger.

Most interesting is our new activity page that’s published using Six Apart’s Motion app to create a single, one-page view of all of the latest Bike Hugger activity around the web, including Tweets, news articles and photos posted on Flickr.  Motion has the ability to import action streams from dozens of sites around the web, allowing community members to share content from a variety of networks, and allowing sites to evolve as technologies change.

There’s a lot going on with us and we’re publishing all of it.

Convincing people to commute by bicycle has huge benefits, not only for our own health, but for the health of the planet.  What are the biggest obstacles you see to getting more people to commute, and how can we overcome them?

DL.2 It’s not easy as driving a car. The industry also struggles with commuting as a term and the associated gear. A bike commuter, while not all kitted up in matching lyrca, is into gear as much as a racer and it’s a clique. What we need to do is promote the Plain-Clothes Cyclist and help those interested just get on a bike and ride to the store for groceries. We’ll make a far bigger impact with millions of people choosing to ride a bike to get groceries than expecting exponential growth in commuting. The industry also needs to step up to make bikes safer, a new safety bike I’m calling it. Built-in lights, tubeless tires, etc. A bike really hasn’t changed much since the 1800s when someone figured out you really hurt yourself falling off a penny- farthing.

Bike Hugger is going to be hosting a “Mobile Social” event in Austin for SXSW this year.  What is a Mobile Social, and what convinced you to come all the way down to Austin from Seattle to put it on?

The Mobile Socials are an intersection of bikes, technology, and culture. We ride, talk bikes, blog, party, and give away product. The events are for like-minded cycling fans of all types to get together and talk about bikes. In another industry, you’d call them trunk shows or coffee klatches.

We started the Mobile Socials at SXSW because it’s a creative nexus.  I’m there speaking, our brohams are there and most everyone else we know online. Also, many creative professionals are into bikes and bike culture is part of pop culture.

What’s next for Bike Hugger?

We’re adjusting to the economy like everyone else and are working hard to grow our audience into a critical mass. We’ve also got more MoSos planned for An Event Apart, Webvisions, and more.

About the Author: Todd D

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