The year 2023 is already becoming the distant past, so it’s high time for a few words from behind the editorial scenes, while the memories of the first Spring days have not entirely faded away. Since I’m writing this text as editor-in-chief for the tenth time, it is, in itself, a slight challenge not to constantly repeat the same things.
Fortunately, I am aided by an excellent editorial team. Last year, Martin Šnobr completed the post-election surveys among councilors for transportation in Prague’s districts. In the end, we published 21 out of the planned 22 surveys on the topic of what the city districts are planning for cycling transportation. Some responses were richer, some very brief. In the end, however, Prague 13 was the only district we couldn’t interview.
The concept significantly expanded, and in the case of Prague 1, Prague 2, Prague 5, and Prague 6, a full interview took place. An interview with the councilor for transportation, Zdeněk Hřib, has more or less become a routine.
I must admit that I found the whole series quite enjoyable. Each interview brought some detail I was not aware of, and at the same time, it revealed the problems that the development of cycling transportation is facing. Although sometimes, the topics deserve even more direct menntions. This series also inspired me to conduct my own interviews. Despite appearances, last year saw a big boom for this format on Městem na kole. For example, I had conversations with Lucie Krahulcová, then still with Bolt, Jakub Voverka about his cargo bike, or Vítek Ježek for the anniversary of Rekol.
In addition to interviewing representatives of city districts, we tried to give space to individual cycling associations and outside opinions.
Another great content contributor was our collaborator from Hradec Králové and Pardubice, Filip Moučka. He not only shot videos from Munich and Rotterdam but also brought a lot of insights from Pardubice and Hradec, which we subsequently reported. The trip to Munich was made possible by the Bike to Work challenge [In Czech: Do práce na kolo – DPNK – editor], of which MNK became the official media partner and which organized the whole trip. In cooperation with DPNK and, above all, the Plzeň na kole association, we also prepared a CykloRank analysis.
Another significant addition to the team was Suzanne Verhaar, who approached us with a desire and an offer to translate our content into English. It is worth noting that she launched this project on a large scale. We are still dealing with certain technical complications, but thanks to Suzanne, most of our content will have improved machine translations, which hopefully contain only a minimum of inaccuracies. As Suzanne herself reflects, while the machine can translate news texts quite easily, opinion pieces require a lot of editing and consultation.
Of course, we cannot forget to mention 2046, who helps us with the technical background of the website. Stealthily and in the background, after a series of adventures in December, the fine-tuning of a new anti-spam filter took place.
The year was truly long. We are still battling on the intersection between the fashionable imperative of infotainment (we do receive reminders in the editorial office that we missed covering some topics, even if they are already over three days old) versus the effort to provide deeper insights at the cost of missing the moment when a topic still interests someone. In the case of Ziková Street in Olomouc, we ended up writing about it almost a year after someone in Olomouc introduced the issue. Similarly, we covered a verdict by the Supreme Administrative Court in detail, albeit belatedly. We wrote two articles about Dědina a month after the opening of the tram route. In Radotín, the attempt to prioritize speed did not pay off, for which we apologize. The article was practically entirely rewritten within 24 hours.
And yet, we didn’t stop there. A reminder is the first article with a historical perspective, which also became the last one on this topic last year. There was only an absolute minimum of time available for this project. I would need several days where I would essentially not move from the archives.
I could continue with articles we didn’t manage for various reasons. Perhaps the longest overdue is a more detailed look at the new Danish cycle lanes on Smetanově nábřeží. The question is whether its release after almost two years would still make sense. Similarly, we didn’t attempt to interview transportation councilors from other cities in the Czech Republic. We didn’t even manage to significantly commemorate the anniversary of Městem na kole; in April and May 2023, it was precisely fifteen years since the publication of the first articles on this website.
But enough with the skepticism. The ten most-read articles of the past year have already been introduced [they were all in Czech – red.]. Let’s look at other numbers. In 2023, Městem na kole was visited by 213,000 users (over 200,000 for the first time in history), with a total of 573,000 views. Overall, there is a 40% increase in visits compared to 2022.
The year was indeed hectic. Who would believe that the ‚uproar‘ around one of our Instagram photos truly happened only last year? It already feels like a long time ago to me. 400,000 views on Twitter and the deputy mayor commenting on the suitability of the street for small children to ride. Yet, it is a scene that would be entirely ordinary just a few kilometers away (greetings, for example, to Dresden).
I used to conclude these columns with a look into the future. When I look at my first text in the role of editor-in-chief, I promised improved functionality of the map on mobile phones, which has never been fulfilled since then (although this goal is now getting very close). Although I have some plans, a lot depends on our time and financial possibilities.
Therefore, I would rather like to express my gratitude primarily to all of you who read, comment on, share, or even write to us with your suggestions for possible topics. Great thanks go to our donors, without whom we couldn’t operate independently and with only a minimum of advertising. At the same time, I would like to encourage further regular support because only regular donations truly allow us to plan and develop our activities on a long-term scale. Our financial situation cannot be considered comfortable, and our operation is subsidized by the AutoMat association. It is also possible to arrange individual sponsorships that can be combined with supporting a specific current or upcoming project.
If you feel that you want to contribute to the further development of this online magazine along with us, do not hesitate to get in touch. Our editorial team is open to both new individuals and new activities or ideas.
On behalf of the entire editorial team, I wish you a most successful 2024.