A lightbulb went off in my head when I saw Nate Hills mountain biking Lower Hangover Trail in Sedona on YouTube.
He's sitting on the bike, with handlebars out in front, riding through the beautiful Sedona desert in 4K. The video was not shaky at all, which I didn’t think was possible with a GoPro. The sound was almost as impressive as the video, as I heard tires slide against red rock and the guys joking with each other.
I was right there riding along with Nate and I was loving it.
From there I watched all of his videos and sat awestruck. What kind of black magic had he conjured? There was a hint in the comments, as time and time again people asked “What kind of gimbal are you using?”
At that point I didn’t know what a gimbal was, so I went off searching. I landed on a handful of other silky smooth mountain biking videos.
At the same time I had been wanting to build a business online and become my own boss (so I could spend more time riding my bike). I was starting to get some success by reviewing smart sprinkler controllers on my blog and YouTube, but it’s a small niche.
Then the lightbulb clicked in my head. If kids playing video games and grown men playing with Legos could make a living on YouTube, why couldn’t I make a living riding my bike?
This lightbulb also answered the cliche of all cliche questions: “What would I do if I had all the money in the world?” I would ride the best trails in the world.
There are thousands upon thousands of mountain biking videos on YouTube with shaky camera views and techno music playing in the background. These videos have very low quality and very little personality.
And even though there are millions and millions of mountain bikers in the world, only a handful of YouTube channels are serving them with quality content. I saw this as an amazing opportunity to bring something new to the table.
But just riding my bike with a smooth view wouldn’t be enough to bring in an audience. I’m a fan of Jay Leno’s Garage and Matt Farah’s The Smoking Tire on YouTube, and both of those guys do “test drive” videos where they drive around in a car and talk about it. Jay Leno tells stories and Matt Farah talks specs.
I figured I could do the same thing while I was riding bikes. I could tell stories about the trail and I could talk about the feel of the bike I was riding.
I could also do product reviews and have affiliate marketing links in my descriptions to fund the channel.
So I ordered the Feiyu Tech Wearable Gimbal, GoPro and even a DJI Phantom 4 drone and got to work.
I called it BKXC because I thought it sounded cool and was four simple letters that stood for Brian Kennedy Cross Country. I've gotten away from cross country riding these days, so I like to say it stands for "across the countries".
My first video was a simple product review of a bike stand. As of July 26, 2016, it’s my least popular video, with only 10 likes and 0 comments.
My second video was a too-long product overview of the Wearable Gimbal. As of July 26, 2016, it’s my most popular video, with nearly 25,000 views and 336 likes. Even though I would love to re-shoot this video and make it shorter, I’m proud of it.
The video didn’t start out with much traction, but it has gained an amazing amount of steam over the past few months.
Then I did my first of many “test ride” videos. The Giant Trance Advanced video really put me on the map. This video was the first iteration of my signature format, where I give a running commentary about the bike and ride hard on awesome trails. The gimbal and GoPro combination made some amazing footage and had much better sound quality than I would have guessed.
I didn’t realize that “Giant Trance Advanced” was a heavily searched term on YouTube and Google. My video began popping up in search and people started liking and commenting pretty quickly.
Once YouTube sees you can produce good videos it will start serving those videos to more and more people.
I just kept making videos and my channel has kept growing. I think I discovered the three laws of YouTube along the way.