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  • Sat May 08 2010
  • Posted May 9, 2010
Quick, what images come to mind when you hear the term “web developer”? Plastic pocket protector, wrinkled shirt, high water pants, mismatched socks, horn-rimmed glasses held together with white tape, unless you are an Apple techie in which case it would be a black t-shirt and jeans. Some of the more socially sensitive would call this type of generalized description stereotyping. I prefer to call it by its politically correct name, Profiling. The problem with system of identification is that it is not fool proof. Take, for instance, the person who is responsible for designing and updating the Bikeiowa.com website for the past ten years. His name is Scott Sumpter and he fits the above descriptions like a square peg in a round hole. In addition to web designing he is also an avid cyclist who participates in many rides and races around the area. So now you’re thinking he’s one of those type A personalities flying down the road on a sleek, lightweight carbon fiber bike, encased in skin tight Lycra with every hair follicle shaved off to make himself even more aerodynamic. Wrong again. Now if you said that he looks like someone that would be more at home on a 1970s vintage Harley Chopper, or as a stand in for Johnny Depp in Pirates of the Caribbean, you would be a lot closer. Here’s a sketch of him. You be the judge. [bikeiowa note: great post by Brian Duffy on someone who maintains this every website. I laugh every time I look at the character.] A life long Iowan, Scott grew up near Coulter, and attended UNI where he received a liberal arts education. While working at Principal here in Des Moines, first as an underwriter, then later in IT, he heard about RAGBRAI from a co-worker. She told him that he just had to experience the ride, but being a self-professed “total motorcycle guy” he didn’t own a two-wheeler that didn’t have an engine attached. So Scott borrowed a recumbent bike from a friend and headed off on what was to be his first of 15 RAGBRAI’s. After spending a week in the saddle using his legs to propel him across the state instead of V-twin engine, Scott was hooked on the cycling scene. He became, in his own words, a “bike-sexual”. Scott’s circle of cycling friends expanded to include Fred Collins, a fellow Principal employee. Fred had constructed a website that kept Iowa cyclists updated on news and rides throughout the state. The site was called CIBROC, which is short for Central Iowa Bike Ride Organizations and Clubs. Collins kept the site going for two years then dropped it. Scott, who by then had taught himself to write code, restarted the site and changed the URL to BikeIowa.com. That was ten years ago, and for all that time Scott has been the guy responsible for keeping Iowa’s premier cycling website up and running, informing riders of the latest’s news, along with a monthly calendar of all of the rides happening around the state. The site gets between 3000 to 4000 hits per day during the off-season with the numbers skyrocketing after May and staying up there through the fall. Last year Scott decided it was time to upgrade the Bike Iowa site. He wanted the site to become a more substantial aggregator of information important, not only to the cyclists, but to communities around the state that were interested in getting the attention of the riders. When it is finished, the new site will allow bloggers, ride and race organizers, and communities to self- post information about upcoming rides, trail additions, race results, and community rides and events, to name just a few things. Additionally, all of the information from the past ten years will be archived for reference. Scott said he has not seen any other site that has the tools that BikeIowa 2.0 will have when it is completed. There was one hitch though; revamping the site requires writing close to 60,000 lines of code. Scott shopped the job around to see how much it would cost to have a web development company do the work. The price quotes he got started at $70,000 and went up from there. So the self -taught programmer decided to do the job himself. After putting in a full day of work as an Applications Developer for Wells Fargo in West Des Moines, the Ankeny resident heads home for a night’s worth of coding. He has hired someone to work on archiving the past ten years of content. So what does Scott get out of all of this work compensation-wise? If we’re talking money it’s nada, or pretty close to it. He has advertisers that are friends of the cycling community that help him out, and he uses much of that money for site promotional items, like t-shirts, and stickers. His compensation comes in the form of fun times with friends that he and his wife, Julie Hugo, have made through the sport. If there is a cycling event around the area, be it a Mountain bike or cyclo cross race, or a party ride, you are sure to see the couple there. So the next time you are at a cycling event or gathering and see Scott, be sure to thank him for all he has done to add to the feeling of community that all of his hard work has brought and buy him a beer!

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