When I first got involved with Cycling in Christchurch back in 2012 (has it been that long?), I envisaged having a collection of different bloggers with different perspectives taking turns to contribute bits and pieces to the overall picture. To that end, I am inspired by the prolific work that the multi-faceted team at Transport Blog do discussing NZ transport and related issues, and the crew from Bike Auckland who also take it in turns to tell us what is happening bike-wise around their city.
We started off with about eight or so main contributors at CiC, and over the years a few others have come onboard as well. But the grand plan has never quite materialised as people have fallen by the wayside or been too busy, distracted by other endeavours (including sorting out earthquake repairs in some cases). So suddenly I find myself writing about 75% of the blog posts that you see.
Now I enjoy writing these blogs (and enjoy even more when they provoke a good discussion!). But it’s not my day-job, so I have to squeeze them in when I can (Sunday afternoons are proving quite productive…). And it’s nice to be able to deliver at least a couple of new items a week, if not more. Hence, I really love it when I receive an article and some pics from someone wanting to do a guest post, as that delays the need to write something myself!
To cut a long story short, this is (yet) another call to anyone who would like to contribute something to our little blogsite to please send us some stuff! It could be some text in an email or a Word document (or other writing app of choice). You might also have a few photos or other graphics to contribute as well; bigger is better (e.g. at least 800 x 800 pixels) but we’ll work with what we’ve got.
People often have some concerns about doing a guest blog post:
- I can’t write a lot of words: some of you will have noticed that I sometimes write quite long posts; I’m not even sure if people always read to the end (maybe I should start adding a TL;DR summary to them?). But that doesn’t mean that every post on Cycling in Chch has to be a long one (one of the reasons I started doing short “Photo of the Day” posts was to save myself some time!). You might have just one good point to make with a single photo to illustrate it – that’s absolutely fine. Some of our best discussions on this site have come from relatively short posts.
- My speling and gramer arnt grate: This is where I’m happy to help you! (did I mention my school Senior Literary Prize 1986?) Send in what you’ve got and I’m happy to proof-read it and tidy up those pesky little errors before publication. If you’ve saved me having to come up with some new words myself, it’s the least I can do…
- No-one will be interested in what I have to say: One of my concerns is that with only me contributing much of what you see on this website, you’re getting a fairly one-dimensional view of cycling in this city – basically that of a middle-aged white male traffic engineer and confident bike rider. It would be great to hear more stories from those who: are new to cycling, have quite different lifestyle and transport issues to me, have a passion for unusual kinds of bikes, are focused on getting kids cycling,… whatever! It would be really great to hear from someone who is too afraid to bike in Christchurch or even someone who hates bikes – it’s always interesting to understand what pushes other people’s buttons. But hey, maybe you just took a neat photo of someone cycling and want to share it – if you’re still worried about whether your contribution is post-worthy, send it in and let me be the judge of whether I think it would be a good article.
- I don’t have any technical knowledge about bicycles, cycle planning, etc: Again, I may have mis-led some people by posting about intricate design details, overseas planning practices, latest research, etc. That’s my thing; that’s how I earn my living – it doesn’t have to be your approach when talking about bikes and biking. The most important attribute that you have when writing a blog post is your own experiences (that, and the time to write about it). I’m always happy to add in an editorial note/reference if I think it’ll help your article.
- I don’t have any photos to go with my post: It’s nice to have at least one good pic to tie into a story (sometimes the pic is the story…) and so I encourage you to try to send something visual in too. But if you have nothing to hand (maybe you just thought of a good biking idea, but don’t have any local examples to illustrate this), that’s fine; I’m sure I can come up with something to complement your text.
- I don’t have the time to regularly contribute articles (or I’m not sure if I will): It’s important to remember that this is a voluntary exercise; even I have to remember not to beat myself up if I just get too busy for a week. While regular contributors are nice (even for a short period of time), all I’m after here are one-off guest contributions – no promises of follow-up articles needed. The key is in people power: if each month I had even 5-6 people send me one guest post each, that would be half of my work done…
The name of the website is “Cycling in Christchurch“, so ideally articles should be related to everyday biking in the greater Christchurch area (here’s a bit more detail on what we’re about). Sometimes we also post about what we’ve seen elsewhere in New Zealand and the world, although we try to tie it back to what we might learn from this for Christchurch. We don’t tend to focus too much on sport cycling (i.e. road riding, mountain-biking, BMX, or other interesting diversions like bike-polo) but are happy to hear a little bit about what’s going on in these worlds now and then. And we don’t tend to just point to interesting cycling-related webpages and articles from around the world, unless there’s an obvious Chch link – there’s already plenty of great social media sites for hearing about these.
Are there any other rules about submitting a post? In general, the same rules apply as those for posting comments on this site (outlined here); namely: don’t include any sexist, racist, prejudicial language and don’t make (serious) personal attacks on individuals. Also, no blatantly commercial posts if you stand to benefit from it (we’re happy to hear about experiences from “customers/users” though); if you want me to try something of yours and write a review, then contact me separately about that and I’ll consider it. Ultimately, if something is out of line, but the overall article is still generally good, I might edit it or ask you to re-write it.
I know that there are plenty of great cycling-related stories out there; last week I sat in a Spokes Canterbury monthly meeting where I heard about some interesting initiatives currently happening or coming up – all of them would make a good little article (and I’ve suggested that some of my Spokes colleagues do so!). But it doesn’t have to be some “official” or organised activity to be worth reporting – the perspective from the saddle of the everyday rider is just as important to hear about. Many thanks to all of our guest bloggers past, present and future. I look forward to hearing from some of you!
Would you like to contribute to Cycling in Chch? Contact us now!