When I started this blog in January 2012, it appeared only on the Kirksville Daily Express website. After a few months, other communities picked it up; then a few more. I wrote about bicycling and walking around Kirksville as well as places that I visited: Montreal, Phoenix, and Kansas. I even have a handful of readers from other states--not just my parents. A Philly bicyclist happened across my blog, contacted me, and now we're good Facebook friends. An Omaha bicyclist overcame the hurdles of the unfortunate web interface and left a comment on my blog.
As my readership and my scope expanded beyond Kirksville, The Daily Express editor suggested I change my title from "Bicycling and Walking Around Kirksville" to "Bicycling and Walking Around". I made the change and at the same time endeavored to be less Kirksville-centric. I had modest success, such as a series of articles about candidates for city council in several other communities, except I kept forgetting to explain things like Baltimore St.
When I learned we'd be moving from Kirksville back to Columbia, MO, I notified the editor. I was overjoyed that he wanted me to continue writing. "You're already writing about other areas," he reasoned, "and your readership isn't restricted to Kirksville."
I plan to keep my focus on bicycling and walking in small town Missouri, despite living in Missouri's 5th largest city. The newspapers that run my blog are all small town newspapers, while none of the Columbia newspapers run my blog (in fact, the Columbia Tribune has its own bike/ped blogger), so my audience will primarily be small town Missouri readers. My interest in small town Missouri will continue, because during our 3 years in Kirksville, I developed a surprisingly strong attachment to the community and, thanks to social media, I don't see this attachment diminishing.
Keeping my focus on small town Missouri while living in Columbia won't be difficult. Bicycling and walking in Columbia is relevant to small town Missouri because small towns can follow Columbia's lead for bike/ped activities. Columbia's experiences can offer an interesting contrast to the different challenges encountered in small towns. My connections in Kirksville, my interest in small town Missouri, and my involvement in the Missouri Bicycle & Pedestrian Federation will keep me informed about bike/ped developments that affect small town Missouri.
A similarity and a contrast between Columbia and Kirksville is the walk to the grocery store. In Columbia we live a comfortable 1/2 mile walk from the nearest grocery store, the same distance that our house in Kirksville was from its nearest grocery store. When we walk to the store in Columbia, we cross a busy street with no crosswalk. In Kirksville, we crossed a busy street at a pedestrian light that was routinely ignored by drivers.
Once we get across the busy street in Columbia, we walk on a smooth, wide sidewalk that passes by the beautiful Shelter Insurance fountain. After crossing the busy street in Kirksville, we walked in the grass because there is no sidewalk on that street. As we were not the only ones walking in the grass, I would not be surprised to see a sidewalk installed in the next few years.