I'M MOVING FAST SUMMARY: Help me get my birthday wish by joining our club on Strava. It's free.
SLOW RIDE LONG FORM: It's our birthday and I want to talk to you about community and why... Read on.
5 FREAKIN' YEARS! SERIOUSLY? SERIOUSLY!
This August marks 5 years of one amazing ride for Dispatch. We started with a vision of getting more people, on more bicycles, more often. Which we neatly wrap up into the slogan: Ride Your Ride!
We do this through our custom bicycle headset caps, bar end plugs, spacers and cycling lifestyle soft goods. It's my belief that a custom bicycle part is more likely to make a rider feel more attached to their bicycle and happier when they ride it.
Happy riders ride more often. Science!
I'm happy to say we have served over 15,000 customers in our time. Many are part of a very loyal group I like to think of as our community. Our true fans. It's an incredible privilege to lead this company and serve this community.
As I look into the next 5 years of Dispatch, my big goal is to find a place where we have the opportunity to grow this community. I looked at a lot of different platforms. Discord, Discourse, Facebook, Instagram, Burning Man. They all have tradeoffs.
My first preference for community is and always will be in-person events. In-person events will be the keystone of our community. We'll have an annual event where all are welcome. It'll be focused on bicycles, but also on like minds coming together to talk about whatever we decide is worth discussing.
As an aside: At one point I wanted to own a beer pub for this very reason--to foster community and collegial conversation. Cycling seems like the healthier lifestyle option for the long term.
Creating in-person events of the type this community deserves will take time. We'll start planning on something for 2023 now, but in the interim I have a goal to build a virtual community on a platform that is not Facebook or Instagram.
I'm happy to say we're taking our gang of Dispatch community members over to Strava, the largest online community of cyclists. It shall never be the same once the Dispatch party shows up.
While Instagram and Facebook have a place in our society, if I'm honest, spending endless hours on these sites and thousands of our own dollars on advertising there is the antithesis of Ride Your Ride.
In short, pumping time and dollars into social media ads violates our mission.
So, one day while riding, it finally hit me: There are millions of cyclists already on Strava. We should do what we can to align with this specialized social platform filled with people who love riding bicycles.
Of course, since I was on a ride, it couldn't just be "let's start a Strava club." No way! One of our core values is BE BOLD. And so we are.
JOIN THE LARGEST (TO BE) CLUB ON STRAVA
I want you to join Dispatch and your fellow riders on Strava to create the largest club on Strava. Big goals.
Strava is free. Strava offers us a place to hold conversations, encourage and reward riding your bicycle and also a place where we can hold challenges. We're not just talking about going fast either. Look for a Last Ass Over the Pass contest, as well as many other contests that aren't focused on fastest guy/gal.
I have had a tough time figuring out just how large the largest club is on Strava, but I know we have our work cut out for us. So join the club. (It's free. Just click the link.)
Let's Get This Party Started!
So here we go. Join us today.
Here's what I'm offering up:
-There's going to be a random giveaway for club members on August 1st. This will be a Dispatch goodies package.
-We'll give away 4 Strava premium memberships in August (one a week, random pick)
-On an ongoing basis, we're going to establish Strava Challenges that anyone can participate in. We'll have winners across a variety of categories.
-Someone is going to get a Dispatch Challenge Coin. These are rare gems at this point. You want one.
-This will be the place we organize our big in-person event in 2023.
Wrapping it Up
So that's it. In summary, this is our platform of choice for community building in the virtual world. It's healthier for our customers, it's healthier for Dispatch's mission. It's going to be fun. Go join!
There's one more thing I think is probably most critical: My admission that your being on Strava helps me ride my ride.
You see, there's a dirty little secret about the cycling industry. It's that a lot of us who serve the industry don't actually get to ride often. In fact, until this summer, I hadn't ridden my bicycle in almost 2 years. It's my fault. I got so focused on developing Dispatch that I let one of the most foundational activities in my life get away from me.
I recovered one night, not long ago on a night ride (2AM) back from a Dead & Co concert. It was a glorious evening/morning. Perfect temperature. 15 miles of riding with only the light off the tip of my wheel. Less than a half-dozen cars passed by. It was there that I rediscovered my love of riding and remedied the offense of not having ridden in so long. The wind, the sweat, the exertion, all combined to refresh my mind and leave me fully satisfied after what was already arguably a great night.
So in joining me on Strava, you also help to keep me honest and balanced. To me, that's the most valuable thing I can get from a community.