This web site was launched in January 2008, and that’s practically an eternity ago in web-years. I’m not going to get into all that was good or bad about that design, but suffice it to say that, while the original design served its purpose admirably, after 3+ years, it was time for a refresh.
Here’s a look at the site before (on the left) and after (on the right):
Obviously, the appearance has changed, and you’ll notice the spiffy new logo and header (thanks to Eric Benjamin at Adventure Monkey for helping me to work through some ideas there), but there’s a lot more new goodies than just that, so I thought I’d introduce you to some of the new site features:
This is, I think, is going to be a really useful tool. It makes it easy to find bicycling resources near a given geographic location. Go to the Geo-Search page to try it out (or use the search box located in the sidebar).
Type in a city and state (“salina, ks”, for instance) or a ZIP code (e.g. “67401”), and it’ll show you all the upcoming events, bike shops, bike clubs, trails, and other resources within about 25 miles of the city. You can refine your search by specifying a greater or lesser distance.
This feature should be extremely handy when you’re planning a biking trip, or when you’re on a trip and need to find the nearest bike shop, or hit up bike trails in the area.
The new Guides section of the web site takes advantage of this geo-search capability to provide bicycling guides for all Kansas counties, as well as many Kansas cities. You can even select the cities and counties visually, on maps. The city and county guides show bicycling resources, maps, and links to other information such as city and county web sites, tourism web sites, historic bridges and landmarks, and more.
In addition, the new site also provides guides to Kansas Bicycle Routes, including recommended cross-state bicycle routes, national bicycle routes through Kansas, scenic byways, and historic trails through Kansas. You can also check out the nice selection of Bicycling Maps for Kansas and neighboring states.
This is also a pretty cool feature, built on the geo-location data. With this, you can visually see upcoming events on a map, with a marker showing the location of each event. Just click the marker to learn more about the ride. There is a Kansas Ride Map, as well as maps for each neighboring state, as well as the region as a whole.
The new Gear section of the web site will feature a selection of bicycling gear, apparel and accessories, as well as camping and outdoor gear, from leading online retailers. This section is not yet complete, but will be built out over time.
Note: While I strongly recommend that you shop at your local bike shop, not everyone has access to a real bike shop, particularly cyclists in much of western Kansas. Nor does every bike shop have access to all the gear you might be interested in.
So I hope you’ll consider making some of your purchases through the retailers listed here on Kansas Cyclist. This will help to support the site, and keep this valuable resource online and up-to-date.
The new Alerts page on the site will help to keep you informed about upcoming advocacy events or deadlines, and ongoing deals — for example, special sales, discounts or promotions.
You can find these on the Alerts page, or site-wide at the bottom of each page.
You can now leave comments or questions about events, shops, trails, and other resources on the site. These discussions will, over time, help your fellow cyclists, and build up useful supplementary information about each resource.
Submit Your Event
I get the question “How can I add my ride to your event calendar?” quite a bit, and up until now, there wasn’t a clear explanation of the process.
Now, you can Submit Information to Kansas Cyclist using a short form. Information can include a link, an event, a shop, a club, news, whatever.
I’ve deliberately kept the submission process rather free-form, but if you look at existing listings on this site, you should have a pretty good idea of the type of information that I need. The form also allows you to include an image, which can be a screen shot, logo, a picture of your shop, etc. Please limit your image sizes to no more than 1024×768 or so, since it’ll need to be resized for publication anyway.
Obviously the transition to the new site design won’t be entirely seamless, so if you notice any problems with the site (missing pages, missing images, broken links, etc.), please be patient, and let me know about them.
I do have a few additional upcoming features in the works, but I’ll leave the explanation of those for if and when they see the light of day.
Hope you enjoy the new site!