For quite some time now I’ve been struggling with the question of how to move forward with this website restoration.bike.
In this article I want to commit my thoughts to paper around this online endeavor and come up with tangible and measurable next steps moving forward.
I recently sat down with three of my friends I met while at the university roughly 20 years ago. One’s an investment manager, another an IT specialist, and the last one a senior executive for an insurance company.
All three of them are financially well off. Big houses, multiple income streams, jobs that pay good money, you get the deal.
We hadn’t seen each other for a very long time. Partially because of the pandemic. Partially because that’s how things go when you’re “busy”. Three out of four have families to take care of.
We discussed multiple subjects, mainly centering around work, family, money, investing, crypto, that sort of stuff. And I found myself feeling detached from the conversation. And I think the reason for the detached feeling is because of the following.
Especially after my mother died I’ve taken a more critical look at what I have been doing, and what I’m going to do in the coming years. Because of the nature of my job, which is purely online, I have a lot of time and flexibility.
Now that I don’t take care of my mother anymore, I only have more time and she has left me with more money as well.
I think we all feel that “working hard” is necessary to pay the bills. But oftentimes after the bills are paid we still work very hard to support a lifestyle that sits in the way of a goal that resonates more with who we really are.
I had dinner with my friends on Friday night. And the following Monday, some would consider a “normal working day”, I found myself riding in the woods, gathering content with my GoPro for the next YouTube movie about a tire review.
And this is what I saw and experienced…
It’s very hard to convince me that working on somebody else’s investment portfolio or thinking about a company’s insurance policy product strategy is more exciting than simply riding a 30-year old bicycle in the woods.
And anybody has the right to disagree with me.
But if I get more joy out of fixing and riding my bike in the woods, the next question then becomes: what do I need to do so I can ride my bike more often?
Reach out and touch
It’s not that I haven’t reached out to people in the past around the subject of cycling. I know and have spoken with the owner of my LBS, and have discussed adding “online” to his very offline business strategy. I also frequently ride with a bike mechanic for Van Moof, a hip Dutch brand of e-bikes.
Next week I’m going to have coffee with the guy who fixed my leaking Headshok. As a suspension specialist he knows next to nothing about making money online. I think that with his knowledge about everything suspension-related alone, you could fill an entire YouTube channel.
But at least for the first two guys things just would achieve lift-off, because frankly… well, they were busy. Family, kids, work, stuff.
I need to look further. I can’t wait for people to un-busy themselves, that’s just not going to happen.
One thing I realize is that my vision of bicycle restoration is very narrow. What I mean by that is that I do my thing a certain way, I like a certain type of bicycle and that I probably don’t offer value for a lot of other people who like to do things in their particular way with their particular bike.
For instance, I recently sold my road bike, and in general am less interested in that category of bicycles than I am in mountain bikes. So anybody who would like to see more vintage road bike content is probably not going to find that on either my website or YouTube channel.
The other thing is that, on my own, I can only do so much on any given day. Even if I could buy more bicycles and could be working on them non-stop, I simply don’t have the space anymore to store them.
I already have three of my bikes in the attic and have to carry them down two flights of stairs each time I want to ride them.
Product promotions / discounts
I also want to be able to provide value in the form of product promotions and / or product discounts. I have written down all of the bicycle components I’ve purchased and I’m nearing €3000.
I realize not everybody is spending thousands of euros on parts for their project, but if you’re into bike restorations you’ll need to have money. And wouldn’t it be great if I could lessen the pain you feel in your wallet.
But I know to be able to get on the radar of the big names in the online components market, you need to reach “influencer” status. And a website with 35K page views per month is nice, but 1M or more is better and gives some social clout.
Anyway, I guess what I’m trying to say is that I’m limited as to what I can and want to achieve all by myself.
I believe that the way to move forward is to get other people involved as well. So I’ve made a decision that for the next step of restoration.bike I will reach out to fellow bike (restoration) enthusiasts and see if they want to participate.
So let’s get cracking!
Johan van Seijen is the founder of restoration.bike. His cycling career has seen him at the starting line of classics such as the Amstel Gold Race and Liege Bastogne Liege. Realizing his racing capacity would fall short of what was needed he obtained a MS from the University of Amsterdam in engineering. His love for cycling changed into riding in an amateur capacity with his local cycling club TFC Weesp as a roadie and supporting MTB Noordwest as a mountain biker. He repairs, restores, and builds bicycles and shares his knowledge on YouTube, Facebook and this website.