The History: Bikejournal's origin stems from the joy of biking and all of its accompanying benefits. My first adult experience on a bike happened shortly before my first year of college. After several adolecent years of forgetting how fun it was to skid to a stop with pedal brakes or drool over the latest mag wheels, I found myself shopping for a "grown-up" bike as no cars were allowed for Freshman at my college. My friend Pitt helped me find a good deal on a year-old Diamondback Apex rigid mountain bike and off I went to re-discover the excitement of cycling.
It didn't take long. Short commutes to class turned into longer sessions with friends trying to balance on curbs, fly down stairs, or hold wheelies. My career as a trials rider was not too promising as my roommate Paul would probably tell you, but it was a lot of fun. The bike buzz continued thru the summers where my friend Get_Bent and I spent many hours hammering around rolling singletrack in the red dirt of Oklahoma. About this time mountain biking was really becoming popular and I found myself outfitting the bike with a front shock, which made a world of difference on those rocky and pitted trails.
As my last year of college loomed, I had become engaged to my wonderful wife, kitkat, and my days in the humid Oklahoma sun were replaced by the slightly less humid summers of Chicagoland. Because our riding time together was reduced to a few rides, if any, a year, Get_Bent, in his MIS-minded (Management Information Systems) brilliance came up with a simple web page we could each edit to log and compare our rides. I was becoming more involved with road rides via some roadies at the workplace, namely my boss Turkbiker, and started to grow more interested in developing the site further. After a year or two of development, in 2000, we landed a great domain name, bikejournal.com.
After two more years of development and a small group of family and friends using the site, I decided to unleash it to the biking populous at large. I had continued to hold back to this point, wanting to complete my long list of to-do's first. But my wife finally helped me came to the conclusion that I would never get everything done to my satisfaction, so...I emailed hundreds of clubs in early 2003 and a membership boom ensued. Parrothead's newspaper article about bikej in October produced another local spike of rider membership. I continued to develop the key parts of the site throughout the year and my todo list went from long to longer.
In December of 2004 we received a large influx of new members due to New Years' resolutions. Over 1000 members joined within a period of a few weeks and as a result, some weaknesses in the original database design were exposed. SouthernYankee and SombraGato were kind enough to lend their technological expertise and advice to teach me how to optimize the site. After putting their principles into use and updating the nearly 200 pages of code on bikejournal over a period of several months, site performance was back up to speed and actually faster than ever before despite the increased load.
Membership continued to grow through the summer however, heading toward the 10000 member mark, to the point that our server was reaching its physical limits. We made a decision to build our own servers and find a local hosting company that would house the new equipment. Members generously gave additional funds to supplement some of the costs of the two new machines and we were able to put them into place in September of 2005. These servers were able to handle the additional load for a few years, but 2010 found us re-investing in a new, powerful server to keep up with demand.
The Future: The site is continuing to grow at a rapid pace. With this ever growing membership, I have found less time is available for developing new features. As a result, I have started to develop a plan to take the site to the next level via a project called "bikejournal 2.0". The additional features and upgrades contained in bikejournal 2.0 will change the look of the site in many ways and hopefully enrich your experience here. I think bikej has found a niche in the biking community and I hope I can continue to provide improved services to all of its members! The participation of everyone here enriches my life and makes the development process a real joy.
Thanks: I want to give a big thanks to everyone who has brought suggestions forward, pointed out bugs, voiced their opinions, donated their time and money, and, most of all, logged their miles at bikej! Special thanks to my wife for graciously giving me time to work on the site and supporting me despite my late nights. And also to my parents who are a constant source of encouragement and support. Many thanks to the technological help from the aforementioned programmers, database admin dallasbikr, and everyone that helps to moderate the forum. And I thank God most of all for blessing me by bringing together two joys in my life, biking and programming, in this unique situation. Without Him I could do nothing. -- John 15:5
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