Rural Friendliness Pays Dividends

Feb 10, 2011

A couple of years ago, I received an email from a writer pitching me an idea that she thought our readers would be interested in. Seems the town of Twin Bridges, Montana — almost in Adventure Cycling’s backyard — was in the process of establishing some sort of accommodations for cyclists. At the time, it wasn’t a done deal and my response was that I might be interested once more details came to light. As those details began to trickle in, and it seemed like the bike camp was going to become a reality, I thought it would be a good idea to let Adventure Cyclist readers know about it. I wasn’t ready to dedicate the space for a full feature, but a Waypoint certainly would be appropriate, and an announcement about the camp was included in our May, 2009 issue. (It was also announced in Bike Bits Vol. 11, No. 4, February 18, 2009.)

As the bike travel season’s of 2009 and 2010 came and went, it was apparent that they’d created something pretty special in Twin Bridges and that cyclotourists along our TransAm and Lewis & Clark routes were very much enjoying the bike camp and facilities made freely available to them in this rural Montana town. Okay, I thought, now that this looks like something of substance, it might be time to cover it as a feature in Adventure Cyclist, problem was, we had already booked every issue solid through 2011. Once our plans are made, it’s not easy to make changes or adjustments so it was looking like we wouldn’t be able to cover the Twin Bridges bike camp until our 2012 volume. Decision made, I put a note in my “2012 and Beyond” folder and moved on to our more pressing upcoming issues.

So I’m in Bozeman in October of 2010 visiting with my in laws and on their coffee table was a copy of Montana Quarterly, a beautifully-done magazine that publishes four issues per year and covers many subjects of importance to Montanans. As I’m reading the table of contents, I notice a story about Twin Bridges so I flip to the appropriate page and begin to read, and do so until I finish the piece. We’d been scooped! What to do? Settle down, that’s what. I figured there probably isn’t too much overlap between the readership of Adventure Cyclist and Montana Quarterly so we were probably safe to run a story in 2012. My next thought was that MQ had done a pretty damn good job with this story, why would we try to recreate it? We wouldn’t. Upon returning to Missoula, I shot MQ an email and suggested that we reprint the story, something which is a rarity for us. They agreed, based on certain conditions, but we still didn’t have room in the 2011 volume but how about making it an online-only feature? Then we wouldn’t have to wait a year and we could also dip our toe in the online-content waters to see if we could drive enough readers to a web-only story that, in essence, is additional content. Consider it an experiment of sorts. If we see that it’s worth doing, we’ll do more of this in the future.

So there you have it. On our website, you can now read an excellent story about the Twin Bridges bike camp that was originally published in the Fall issue of Montana Quarterly. If you’d like us to publish more content than we can fit in the pages of AC, you’ll flock to www.cyclecamp-twinbridges.com and find out the more about how this very cool bike camp came to be, and then tell your friends to go there too.

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AND THEN, THE MENTAL CALISTHENICS is written by Mike Deme, editor of Adventure Cyclist and publications director for Adventure Cycling Association.

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