This is sort of covered in my portfolio but actually it makes rather a nice, in my opinion, story for a blog post. It is about web development but it also has to do with how interesting and diverse life can be if you let it. In the spring of 2010 I was cycling north through the baking hot, barren deserts of northern Argentina. As a consequence of being there I made the acquaintance of another cyclist.. an English chap, David, who had made his home in southeast Asia. The reasons for our meeting are as far from anything to do with web development as you can imagine.. I was pondering a choice of route either over the high (4700m) Paso San Francisco into the Atacama desert of Chile and hence north into Bolivia that way, or to continue north in Argentina and cross the border into Bolivia at the La Quiaca - Villazon border post. In the event I decided I was keen to enjoy a few days off and some cold beers in Salta so I kept going north in Argentina. It was super... I digress however... through subsequent conversations I discovered that David had been working as a guide for a large cycling holiday operator and had become somewhat disillusioned with the way those tours were run, and instead was keen to start a business of his own that would allow him to run some thoughtfully designed, small group tours exploring the lesser-touristed backroads of his favourite part of the world - Southeast Asia. All that was missing was something of a catalyst.. and our meeting turned out to be that catalyst.
On my return to the UK we put our heads together and made a business. After much head-scratching we called it Painted Roads Cycling... it seemed appropriate.. "colourful cycling tours". I got my paintbrush out and scribbled a rough logo that has endured to this day, put together a business plan, a simple website to get things off the ground, and some brochures... and that was it.. it just happened and all worked out brilliantly. Having helped to get the business off the ground I took a step back to pursue the business that is mikesimagination.net, and now, 6 years later Painted Roads has matured into a rather lovely little business with a reputation for personal service and a portfolio of really special tours.
Back in the summer of 2016 David asked me if I could build him a new website that could support a whole bunch of features he wanted and that would give his customers, both new and loyal existing customers, the best possible experience and that could differentiate him from the large, corporate cycling tour operators. So I did. It's here: http://www.paintedroads.com It's built using my modular CMS and hence can integrate new features and functionality effortlessly. I've just finished building a new module for creating promotions with landing pages and that can issue user-specific discount vouchers for different campaigns. It didn't take long and hence has worked out stacks cheaper than using a subscription service for creating promo landing pages as many businesses do. The CMS is also highly optimised for search engines so despite Painted Roads being only a very small business in Google searches we've been able to get it to rank alongside the large, industry leading tour operators with very little effort for a range of key queries.
Enough rambling from me.. I thought I would write it up as one of the things I enjoy most about what I do these days is the sheer diversity of businesses and individuals I've been able to develop long term relationships with, and to be in a position to use my skills to make a real difference to those businesses.
As the owner of Painted Roads Cycling I am delighted with Mike's work. The new website is not only beautiful from the outside, it's simple and efficient behind the scenes, and Mike is always happy to go the extra mile to make things work just so. And the real beauty is, my input was minimal, all I needed say was "time for a new website Mike", and this is what appeared!
- David Walker, Painted Roads Cycling
As a footnote I still want to go back and ride the Paso San Franciso. Perhaps in 2018.. if I do it'll be over on my personal blog at http://www.seasurfdirt.com