Mpls Bike Love creator Jeremy Werst's vicious cycle

Zen and the art of bicycle maintenance

"I no longer feel like I can be trusted having the keys to the megaphone," Werst concluded. "It's true I could keep running the forum for free, for nothing, forever. But I don't want to do that."

When Bike Love hit eBay, it quickly caught the attention of Ben McCoy, the co-founder of Bicycle Theory, a Minneapolis-based graphic design and web development firm that serves a nationwide client base.

"The planets sort of aligned, as they say," explains Bjorn Christianson, a staff member and close friend of Werst's.

After four years, Jeremy Werst  sold Mpls Bike Love in September.
Tony Nelson
After four years, Jeremy Werst sold Mpls Bike Love in September.
Mike Kooiman

Bicycle Theory purchased Bike Love in late September. Due to the terms of the agreement, McCoy can't say how much they paid for it. Christianson and McCoy say they have some ideas in mind for the forum, but all are too premature at this point to mention. They hope to a find a way to make the forum financially sustainable without drowning the content in advertisements.

But for the most part, they just want to continue to let the site evolve naturally. Being a marketing firm, they have no interest in pushing a political agenda with the forum like Werst did.

"While we fully support bike advocacy, that's not really what we want to do with it," says Christianson.

When the conversation shifts to the topic of his future, Werst leans back and relaxes. He stops shaking his foot against the chair.

Werst is in a transition period. He is now receiving treatment for his condition, and he's in a much better place mentally than he has been in years. He hardly even looks at Bike Love.

Between selling the site and occasional freelance work from his new web design business, he has earned enough money to live on for now. But he fears that if he doesn't find something sustainable soon, he may have to move back to his hometown of Missoula, Montana.

Though Bike Love is behind him, Werst still rides his bike every day. He has not budged on what became the central message of the site.

"Bicycles can totally change everything about our world," says Werst. "If there was one thing that was going to fix most of our problems, it would be getting rid of cars and bicycling more, just because of the way that it changes people's perceptions." 

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