Combining work skills with a favorite hobby works well for two former Faithlife employees.
Earlier this year Scott Alexander and Bryan Smith left Bellingham-based Faithlife to focus their attention on 99 spokes, an online site for cycling enthusiasts. With their knowledge of computer programming, they wanted to create a website that would provide detailed analysis of bicycle brands and help people find parts. According to the website, users can search over 63,000 different bikes, including mountain bikes and e-bikes.
What started as a lunchtime project for Smith, Alexander and Jacob Carpenter at Faithlife now has more than three million monthly page views and several part-time employees, Alexander said. Smith and Alexander began focusing on full-time 99 Spokes in April.
“We are software enthusiasts, but we also love bikes,” Alexander said in an interview, adding that the company was a perfect playground for them.
99 Spokes began after Alexander struggled to replace a bent part on his bike. He soon learned that parts information tended to disappear quickly on the internet as companies updated their sites when they released new bikes for sale.
As parts information drives traffic online, comparing new bikes has really taken off. In addition to bike comparisons, 99 Spokes can help customers find the nearest bike shops to purchase the one they want.
Along with advertising and affiliate marketing, the website generates revenue by reselling the information it has archived to bike manufacturers. They also plan to expand the website further, eventually becoming a site that also sells bikes.
The website has now gone global in scope, which means a lot of information is now on the website about bikes from other countries. However, the company’s aim is to have an authentic flavor of Bellingham on the site. Many images, for example, show bike testing in progress on Galbraith Mountain.
“Everyone (in the cycling community) knows Bellingham is the place to go mountain biking,” Alexander said. “I love this city and how much it has embraced cycling.”