How the Icebike Site Was Started

What seems like a life time ago, in 1996, a bunch of crazy people who rode bicycles in the winter happened to find ourselves on a mailing list for winter cyclists. The list was called the Icebike list, by its founder Joe Clark, a Canadian winter rider. And thus, the word was coined.

The mailing list grew in popularity, no doubt due to search engines. People were hungry to exchange ideas and tips, ride stories, race stories, ask questions about bikes and gear and clothing.

One day the someone on list opined there should be a website to help organize all the information which was scattered all over the mailing list archives.

I thought about it for a few weeks, and then started writing. Quietly, I built up a site on my own computer. I asked Joe if I could use the name Icebike, and he agreed. So I purchased a domain, contracted for hosting, and announced it on the Icebike list.

The response was immediate, and everybody jumped on the bandwagon, offering corrections to my spelling and grammar and participles dangling dangerously over verbs tensed mismatched (see what I did there?).

I’m a programmer by trade. Clearly I had worked too quickly. It was my first website. But all the suggestions were helpful and good natured. Soon others submitted articles, and the site was off and running.

That was in 1998. I lived in Alaska in those days. I rode a bicycles just about every day for well over two decades, both for fun and commuting. I had lots of time to evaluate what worked and what didn’t when riding in winter. I wore out 3 different frames, and 4 sets of studded tires.

Some years ago I moved out of Alaska, to a place where snow is seldom seen. Icebike languished. It was hard to maintain a site about winter cycling when it was sweltering hot outside.

One day I got an email out of the blue from Mads Phikamphon, from Copenhagen Denmark. He noticed that Icebike had gone quiet, and asked if I was still interested it maintaining it. I realized that I had drifted too far from winter cycling, and my age suggested I was unlikely going to return to the sport.

Mads already had a very impressive bicycling site, and clearly had the skills to carry on Icebike. It was a good fit. It was time.

I’m quite happy to see the Icebike move forward, and I wish Mads all the best. I’ll be peeking in from time to time.

Icebiker: John Andersen.

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