Back in June 13th, 2007, my life changed forever. Bored at my job and desperate for change, I started a smartass bike blog. People liked it, and I haven’t shut up since.
And here we are.
The Internet has changed a lot since those days. Now, blogs are hopelessly old-fashioned, and today people consume their content via…I dunno, podcasts and Instagram and TikTok and stuff? Also, I hear newsletters are a thing. And the kids today sure love the YouTubes, don’t they? But blogging is how I started, and I’ll probably still be blogging when we’ve all got brain implants and communicate instantly via some sort of dystopian hivemind.
For me, blogging is the perfect medium, and here’s why:
- It’s prose-based
- It’s essentially serialized, yet each post can stand alone
- You have plenty of room to be descriptive and nuanced on a blog, and yet it’s fundamentally unpretentious, which means you can be as serious or irreverent as you feel like being on any given day
- You get immediate feedback from your readers in the form of comments, and interactions are generally positive, as opposed to social media which is like the world’s worst comment section metastasized and ate every decent website in the world
While obviously a product of the Internet Age, the fundamental concept of the blog is essentially timeless; just someone cursed with a never-ending narrative and sharing unceasingly with whoever can be bothered to listen. So for a not-particularly-tech-inclined writer like me who’s got way too many opinions concerning a highly specialized subject, it’s the very best way to share what I have to say
Over the years, besides this blog, I’ve published four books, contributed to lots of different magazines, written regular columns, and even had my own radio show for awhile. All of these endeavors have been rewarding, including in the literal sense, because I was fortunate enough to get paid. (Well, except for the radio show, which I did for free in the naive hope it would somehow lead to getting paid.) I both love and depend on writing for other outlets, and I’ve been lucky to work with some great people. Unfortunately, the business of writing for others is also a mercurial one: editors come and go, companies buy other companies, and so forth. (For example, you may have read about all the drama concerning Outside Media, who have acquired a number of cycling titles and recently laid off a big chuck of their staff.) Additionally, you’re often one more step removed from your readers, since it’s not your platform, it’s not your timeline, and your voice isn’t completely your own.
I’m deeply grateful to all the publications I’ve worked with and continue to work with, and I’ll keep doing so for as long as they’ll have me. At the same time, given the unpredictability of the business, it’s essential that I rely on them less than I do. I’d also like to bring more–and more ambitious–content directly to readers. When I’m compelled to tell a story I’d like to be able to “greenlight” it myself and bring it right to you in a timely and unadulterated fashion. I’d like to be able to cover costs related to the telling of such stories and the upkeep of this blog. I’d like to be able to produce more video content, or even e-books. I’d like to make this site look and work better, or at least find someone who can help me do that. Perhaps most importantly, I’d like the freedom to ridicule all the stuff in the bike world I’ve been remiss in ridiculing. Ad hoc writing for others has the unfortunate by-product of relegating this blog to an afterthought, when it should instead be a going concern.
Smarter, cooler, better-looking people than me are able to create revenue streams by selling you bike stuff in addition to creating content. Not only do I lack those attributes, but I’m cursed with the belief that there’s already plenty of bike stuff in the world, so it’s very hard to think of something to add to that. Sure, I’ve sold caps and stuff here and there, and I have nothing whatsoever against commerce, but I’m the last person in the bike world who could pull off a “capsule collection,” or some gizmo to store weed in your handlebar, or yet another $75 rebranded Panaracer.
I have always been very reluctant to attempt some sort of paid subscription model, in part because I like people being able to read for free, and in part because I suspect this place would clear out faster than a room when the dog farts. As long as I’m doing this, you’ll always be able to come here and find stuff to read without paying. At the same time, given all of the above, the Board of Directors is currently exploring the possibility of carving out some portion of this blog for “subscriber-only content.” Certainly that could also trigger a dog fart scenario, but if I remain beholden to the bike media to the extent that I am then the person who is ultimately forced to leave the room could be me. Given this I have to at least entertain the idea of something that could give me some much-needed independence and you some much-needed bike content that doesn’t revolve around how awesome crabon gravel bikes with electronic shifting are.
In the meantime, below you’ll find a donation button. Every once in awhile someone reaches out and asks how they can support this blog directly, and for the first time in 16 years here’s a way to do that. I’ve got no expectations here, and if anything it’s just me testing the waters, but if this crap is worth anything to you then think about what that might be. And who knows, maybe some gazillionaire is reading and will drop enough in the pot to end any talk of paid subscriptions once and for all.
Thank you for reading,
TLDR; I want to keep creating more and better bike content, and I don’t want to have to suck up to anybody except for you people in order to do it.
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