It’s the time of the year again, when almost every company promotes a Black Friday deal. I have grown to dislike discounting to an extent that I deliberately unsubscribed to every newsletter with a Black Friday offer.
The reason why I dislike discounting is that best described with the words Tori Fahey, the founder of Apidura, used in her blog about the topic: Quality sells, mediocrity sales. For years I didn’t have anything to sell to you, the consumer, as most of my work is business to business. Or in the case of Bikepacking Scotland routes, has been available freely to the public. I was less impacted by the culture that drives events like Black Friday: the ever-growing suggestion we need to buy more, instead of buying the things we really need, when we need them. And at a price that is fair, both to consumers, and to sellers too.
But now I am in a different position. I have put a lot of effort and passion into my first book Great British Gravel Rides, my first book that was published in July this year. Due the complexities of the project I had to invest much more time than anticipated, but I also had the great backing of Schwalbe UK and Kinesis Bikes, which helped me to make it happen. In every piece of work (and in private life) I care more about producing quality than I do about profit, and therefore I wasn’t afraid to take on a project like this.
The book is selling well. While I am not perfect, I have applied all my knowledge and passion for gravel riding and cycling to make this a book that inspires adventures. I also take great pride in signing every book I sell through my website, or deliver to local shops. I care about the environment, which is one of the reasons I oppose events like Black Friday. Buying more means more resources are needed. And this will, no matter how advanced the technology we use, will have an impact on our surroundings. Without the stunning places we have to ride in Britain, gravel riding wouldn’t be even half the fun. And we have to play our part to preserve this for future generations.
Researching books and producing them comes with an impact, but there are measures to keep it low. I cycle to the post office, use (more expensive) biodegradable packing tape and the most environmental method of shipping (2nd class post).
Each book hopefully inspires adventures, no matter how big or small. And if it makes you pick up your bike more often than the car keys, this is a small, but important outcome. When I first moved abroad and spent almost two years in New Zealand I couldn’t have had so many great experiences without the help of the guidebooks by the Kenneth Brothers. Classic New Zealand Mountain Bike Rides was the best investment I made in my time in Wellington, and inspired my plans to write Great British Gravel Rides.
When thinking about Black Friday I saw the posts from Nils, who has recently founded Riders Resilience, a registered not-for-profit community interest company set up to draw on the strength and camaraderie of the bicycle community, to enable anyone in the face of adversity to ride through their hardship. For me Rider Resilience is so much more. Nils has advanced bowel cancer, stage four, incurable. It is a movement with the aim of turning the incredible community of cyclists into a force for the greater good.
I would like to do my bit, and will therefore donate 10% of each book sale from now until Christmas to Rider Resilience instead of discounting the book (or Big Rides, which I have co-authored). As an author I believe that both books are great value. You might think twice about making a purchase at full price as the books are £20 an £25, and that is more than ok. I would much rather you buy the book because you made an informed decision, instead of being driven by the suggestion that you need it because it is 50% off. And if you don’t have the budget the buy the books, then please ask your local library to order a copy. I have used the book request form from Edinburgh library, and it worked well. And some of the routes featured in the book are available to download for free on my Komoot profile.
I hope that Rider Resilience grows into something much bigger, and hopefully I can do a small, but important bit. If you want to support my work by buying Great British Gravel Rides or Big Rides directly from me through this form, I will make sure that 10% of the purchase price supports Rider Resilience. And say a big thanks to you!