signpost chipps singletrack world magazine

Cost of living crisis and Singletrack – An appeal

by 260

We are under some pressure and we thought you should know about it now before it gets worse and things get harder.

mark headshot staff

Estimated reading time: 8 minutes

The cost of living crisis is affecting everyone and the cost of doing business here at Singletrack is not immune. Postage costs and print and paper costs have risen as have all other aspects of the business. Don’t worry! We have no plans to stop printing Singletrack, despite the fact the costs of printing have jumped up almost 20% in 18 months and are forecast to go even higher over the next 12.

What this does do, of course, is apply a great deal of pressure to the eventual price we sell everything from memberships to merch. That pressure is becoming pretty unbearable. We haven’t put up any of our prices so far and we are trying every trick in our arsenal of cunning to avoid doing it going forward. Putting up the cost of a membership across the board will be hardest felt by those of you who can afford it the least and so we want to do something else instead and we need your help.

First of all, if you can afford to then we appeal to you to become a full member. Digital or print & digital, it really makes little difference. The more members we have the more of the price increases we can absorb. In short we can afford a smaller margin on each thing we sell if we sell more of them.

Secondly, and again, if it’s affordable, have a look through our merch and know that every t-shirt sold helps us keep the rest of the business running. 

And thirdly, and only for those that can really afford it, there’s the simple act of making a donation. 

You can make a simple one off donation by clicking the button above or, if you like, you can add a regular donation of your choosing to your existing annual payment by dropping Zoe an email at..

Singletrack is a community that has grown over 21 years to become more than just a business. It’s a place where many of you come when things are tough and the compassion that we have all witnessed over the years when one of us is in trouble is truly humbling. It feels like it’s not just ours and hasn’t done for a long time – and that’s the mark of a real community. No one can own a community. By definition it belongs to everyone who supports it.

We have never been driven by making a profit. We’ve been driven to be sustainable and just to continue to exist – Of course, profit is necessary in order to exist but to me that just means profit is a tool to be used in order to reach the main goal of sustainability – profit is not the ultimate goal here. Over the years Singletrack has employed several dozen people, providing a steady income. For me personally as a co-owner of the business that gives me a great sense of satisfaction. My greatest wish right now is that we continue to be an employer. That we don’t have to downsize and cut costs in order to continue to exist. That we continue to be a different business to all the others in our market and that we continue to be a community of people who love what we do day in, day out.

If you are in the position of having to cut back on your outgoings then we do not want to be a contributing factor to the position you find you are in through no fault of your own. Cancel your membership if you have to. You will always be welcomed back if you choose to return when things are more comfortable and the community will be there for you whether you pay in to it or not. If it will help then speak to Zoe who can help with downgrading from print to digital to save you some cash.

But if you can, then we urge you to join us – we need you. We need more people like you and so if you could spread the word and encourage others to come and pop by that would be brilliant too. And if you spot a newbie to the community, help them out. Welcome them and make them feel at home.

We have plans.

The best way to ensure sustainability is to adapt and there are changes on the way. First of all, there’s a new look to the website coming. The decorators are in and in the next few weeks we will be launching the new site theme. We hope you are going to like it – it will organise our content better and make it easier to find stuff.

Then come some technical developments including fixing the site search, some nice new features for everyone and a bunch of full members only benefits and very useful products. 

We are already migrating our downloads area to a new, much more streamlined system that will not only make it easier to find archived features and issues but also improve the speed and stability of the website.

The magazine itself is going to change. For our loyal print fans we think we have found a way to make it not only better but also more sustainable. We have some paper changes coming that we think you are going to like and Amanda is already working on a new layout and design that we are all quite excited about.

We have more plans in the pipeline too for you all, but rather than leave things until they are a major financial problem I thought I’d avoid that awful moment down the line where I have to make some really tough decisions only to have you guys say things like, ‘Why didn’t you say something earlier?’. That’s common in business. Things get left until it’s too late because of things like shame, or fear of looking weak. Well, I think over the last 21 years we’ve come to know each other well enough that I can avoid that. And so I’m speaking up now, while it’s not too late to do anything about the tough times ahead.

We appreciate every one of you, from casual visitors to our squad of life members. Everyone who visits Singletrack is a contributor to our future. 

Cheers

Mark

Publisher/Co-founder on behalf of the whole Singletrack team

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Viewing 40 posts - 161 through 200 (of 260 total)
  • Cost of living crisis and Singletrack – An appeal
  • johnjn2000
    Full Member

    @tomhoward, this is a very good point.


    @mark
    , I was going to donate something earlier but then wondered if actually gifting someone a digital membership would be a better way to spend the cash? Is having more members better than cold, hard, cash?

    MoreCashThanDash
    Full Member

    Can I just ask if I anyone is having problem with the merch pages – doesn’t seem to want to show me very much – have you all bought the coffee and beers already?

    leffeboy
    Full Member

    Can I just ask if I anyone is having problem with the merch pages – doesn’t seem to want to show me very much – have you all bought the coffee and beers already?

    I suspect that is exactly what has happened.  Stock does seem very low now

    MoreCashThanDash
    Full Member

    Which is a good sign I hope.

    Jigsaw in my basket for Dad’s birthday present 👍

    johnjn2000
    Full Member

    Can I just ask if I anyone is having problem with the merch pages – doesn’t seem to want to show me very much – have you all bought the coffee and beers already?

    Sorry, i bought some coffee

    reeksy
    Full Member

    A ‘thumbs up’ reaction is coming in an upcoming release (After the theme update). If that had already happened I’d be clicking the ‘thumbs up’ icon on lots of posts on this thread 🙂

    👍

    reeksy
    Full Member

    However, my input was to be the first contributor under the nom-de-plume ‘Amanda’ in order to stimulate submissions from genuine partners.

    Were you in that VW advert too “At weekends my name is Mandy?”

    reeksy
    Full Member

    I like the idea of a regular ‘everyday’ ride section. It would really highlight the diversity of geography and styles of riding.

    I know some don’t like the first person stuff, but I think a “How I got to here” concept would be fun. There’d be people who’ve only just found the sport and others that pre-date Sturmey Archer. I recently went back to the woods I first rode an MTB in 30 years ago (still not on Trailforks) and it certainly made me reflect.

    bearnecessities
    Full Member

    Oh Mandy well
    You came and you gave without taking
    But I sent you away
    Oh, Mandy
    Well, you kissed me and stopped me from shaking
    So I “P”d you today
    Oh, Mandy.

    chrismac
    Full Member

    @mark

    If, as you said earlier on the thread that, you have no problem getting mtb product to review hence FGF why are you reviewing deep fat fryers in the article? What mtb products got bumped to include the cookery section?

    If I want to learn about cooking equipment I wouldn’t be on a mountain bike website?

    BruceWee
    Full Member

    I guess you’re not a fan of chain waxing?

    BruceWee
    Full Member

    @Mark Why did this weeks FGF only contain a passing mention of Brie? I’m sure some readers are interested in shoes made of questionable mathematics but I only buy the mag to read reviews of creamy dairy products.

    Mark
    Full Member

    @chrismac

    I guess you are new to FGF. We’ve always thrown in the occasional curveball to FGF. Nothing got bumped because we have infinite space in a web story. We were once sent 48 boxes of chocolate biscuits – We put them in FGF.

    We also post music videos in every FGF too although occasionally one or two may have a passing The Chain style link to riding bikes.

    FGF is a fun bit of editorial that we use to show off the new stuff that’s arrived. Charlie this week has been very vocal about his new toy to the point where on his stag do last Saturday outside a pub in Todmorden one of the group said, “Hey Charlie, do you think that bloke over there has an Air Fryer? You should go and ask him!”.

    Oh, and if you click the links underneath his contribution this week and buy one we get a commission 🙂

    Most of the chat in this forum has nothing to do with bikes – Sometimes FGF likes to reflect a little bit of that.

    Apologies for annoying you with this.

    BruceWee
    Full Member

    Here’s an idea for an article. Which kitchen appliances can be used to wax your chain?

    Bonus points if you manage to get pictures of someone being spoken to sternly by a fireman as smoke pours out the kitchen window.

    ton
    Full Member

    just re subscribed to digital membership. i love this place. dont come on so much nowadays, but would hate to see it go.

    ps, can charlie source some XXXL stw t shirts ?

    Mark
    Full Member

    He’s listened and he’s busy sourcing.

    🙂

    gauss1777
    Free Member

    I was about to subscribe for a year, but it appears to suggest an automatic renewal in a year’s time. Is that correct?

    neilo
    Full Member

    STW is ace, been a full subscriber for years and would have no stress paying what I need to in order to get that fresh magazine smell and feel of the paper every few weeks. The stories and images are full of inspiration and unrivalled!!

    Mark
    Full Member

    I was about to subscribe for a year, but it appears to suggest an automatic renewal in a year’s time. Is that correct?

    Yes that’s right. Once you have subscribed you can go to your subscriptions settings n your account and click the cancel button. That will cancel the future payment but you will remain a members until then.

    alanclarke
    Full Member

    I think we all know prices of everything have gone up – so if you don’t put subs up you are effectively cutting them, which is nuts. I don’t actually know what I paid last time but adding the cost of a pint once a year is not going to break the bank – I suspect I’m not alone in this here.

    Personally I prefer digital – there’s too much stuff piling up in my house as it is. This also means for me I’d favour cheaper production quality on the paper mag – I don’t want something that looks too posh to chuck in the recycling when I’ve read it – hence I don’t buy it.

    palookah
    Full Member

    You’ve got three devs, I’ve got that for an entire university, with one of the posts that I can’t recruit to.

    I’m going to buy a sub and FML.

    ok, **** this, just had the popup every few minutes and also whilst trying to typing this.

    get a grip you fannys

    paulshack
    Full Member

    Hi Mark, thanks for a very honest update of where things are at.
    I have been a reader since issue 1, a subscriber since 2006 and a lifer since 2016 and still look forward to the next issue dropping through the letterbox.
    I was wondering if it’s possible to promote and make it easier to use the Singletrack links to on-line retailers? It’s not until I read posts like this that it occurs to me and I’m sure, like me, 90% of us buy stuff on a regular basis without using your links. I’m not sure I even know where to find them or who you have links to?
    Just a thought.
    Good luck in these tough times.
    Shack

    jonnyboi
    Full Member

    Klean Kanteen (I had to typed that bout 10 times bloody autocorrect) arrived today, very nicely made and will come in handy. water tight with only a half turn. well worth a look if any left in the merchandise shop

    bikesandboots
    Full Member

    @Mark

    Perhaps worth having a buyer’s guide section, unbiased but with the affiliate links? There’s the review section now (the link to older pages has disappeared though) and you can click the tags for products in certain categories, but it doesn’t cater for “I want a tyre for winter / I want a bike but not sure what” kind of things. It would be great if it included all top products in a category even if they haven’t been reviewed (to be unbiased and maintain credibility), e.g. don’t (like other sites) do a buyer’s guide for dropper posts and not include 2 of the best sellers.

    Mark
    Full Member

    Many thanks to whoever bought an Air Fryer off the links in last week’s FGF. That’s bagged us £10 in commission 🙂

    Mark
    Full Member

    An update on work behind the scenes:

    The new site theme is almost ready for release. Today we are hoping to get our hands on it on our testbed server to make sure it’s fully operational (It’s been built and tested so far on our techs’ dev area). If all goes to plan we could be ready to launch it tomorrow.

    Although this is a seemingly cosmetic/design update it’s far from a simple task. Our site consists of a complex mesh of multiple systems and databases from the forum integrating with our membership system to our API connections to outside servers (Pocketmags is just one example). We have a great many plugins that need to be checked to ensure that play nice with our theme, not just in our dev areas but when they are actually put under the load of 50-60k visitors a day.

    What I’m saying is we expect bugs. Bugs that may not exist on the dev site and may also not show up on the testbed site but annoyingly could turn up when 50k people are hitting it right after launch. We have stress test tools but as is the way with complicated software there’s nothing quite like the ultimate test of letting the masses kick the crap out of it 🙂

    The forum software itself is one piece of software out of more than 30 individual pieces of software that make up the whole site. All that software is a combination of proprietary and commercial systems that have to manage everything from the icons next to your username and the ads to the payments gateways for the shop and our membership system and paywalls.

    So, we expect some glitches. The entire team is on standby to spot and fix them. There is nothing else our tech team will be doing other than that once the new theme launches.

    the-muffin-man
    Full Member

    The new site theme is almost ready for release.

    Praying for a full Lings-style makeover! 🙏🙏🤣🤣

    Can we have a wobbly Mark head in the top left corner!?

    https://www.lingscars.com/

    Mark
    Full Member

    FFS @the-muffin-man! It was supposed to be a surprise!

    the-muffin-man
    Full Member

    Soz!!! 🙁

    reeksy
    Full Member

    Pocketmags is just one example

    Hmm, I never did get that to work 🤣

    nickc
    Full Member

     If all goes to plan we could be ready to launch it tomorrow.

    Exciting!

    Mark
    Full Member

    I know lots of people have asked lots of questions about what we do and how we do it and also loads of you have suggested things we should maybe try. Lots of things are already on the list and others are not. This has got me thinking about maybe doing a live Q&A about all things Singletrack over something like Google Meet.

    If I scheduled something like that, would anyone turn up? It would probably be at some slightly out of office hours time to allow as many people a chance to tune in. Is that something anyone would be interested in?

    nickc
    Full Member

    Yep, I’d be interested

    blokeuptheroad
    Full Member

    Mee too, time dependant I’d be up for it.

    Made a couple of donations

    bikesandboots
    Full Member

    Why do it as a meeting, requiring people to be available for a specific time period, and taking up everyone’s time with topics they might not be interested in – when it could be done as a forum-based Q&A? Make the thread members-only and delete it after a few days if you want don’t want it sticking on record. Just a suggestion to consider the format to improve participation. I know some people love a meeting though, even if it’s an online one 😉

    Mark
    Full Member

    Face to face questions and answers can sometimes be better. Just a thought

    Mackem
    Full Member

    Do a Saturday or Sunday ride, then Q & A in a pub. – Can be streamed.

    Cougar
    Full Member

    I’m in for that mark, so long as it’s not in the next three days as I’m on hollibobs with limited net access.

    simonstilts
    Full Member

    … any idea when either of the shirts will be back in stock?

Viewing 40 posts - 161 through 200 (of 260 total)

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