John Wilcockson Joins RKP [UPDATED]

I began RKP for two reasons. The first was because I was tired of people telling me I was doing a good job but the guys in sales hadn’t hit their numbers and someone needed to go home. And it sure as hell wasn’t going to be the sales guys because that would be stupid. The second was to create a place where I could follow the pieces my heart told me to write. Why was that so hard? I still don’t know. One of the first pieces of advice I was ever given by a master poet was to follow my heart. That if I thought something was interesting, I was absolutely on the right track.

I’ve worked for a lot of different editors and only one—Brad Roe—trusts my gut without exception, so until peloton came along, I’d had a lot of ideas never find a home. What Brad did for me I’d like to do for some other folks.

Wait, let’s back up a sec. I thought this would be just part of my income stream. That it would be a modest little thing, but that I could make a home for a few writers where they could do good work guided by their guts.

As it turns out, things have gotten (note my use of the passive) decidedly less modest as of today. I’ve hired John Wilcockson.

You read that right, but go ahead and reread that last sentence. I’ve had to, myself.

John has covered an incredible 43 Tours de France. His career spans from Jan Janssens’s nail-biter of a finish to the present, with no interruption. Think about that. Merckx? He was there. Same for Hinault and Indurain. And Armstrong. How many other people know exactly what they are doing in July as clearly as John does? (Well, for the record, photographer John Pierce does, but he’s an exception.) His experience among English-language journalists is unparalleled and that’s a word that is frequently overused. In this instance, it’s not.

I can even credit John with being part of the inspiration for my desire to write about cycling.

Okay, so a bit of clarification: John has elected to work for both peloton and RKP. He’ll be splitting his time between the two entities. The story here is that two small (okay, one small, one tiny) companies coordinated efforts to give one of the gems of the cycling world a reasonable income. Neither one of us could have done this on our own.

People say opportunity knocks. I’m here to say that if it does, the tapping is very light. Stuff rarely lands in my lap. All the great things that have happened in my life—my wife, my work, my son, whatever passes for fitness these days—I’ve had to chase down. I’ve been working behind the scenes for weeks to make this happen.

That promise to make RKP a home to great writing has played out in a surprising way. I didn’t expect anything like this would ever happen. But a promise can hide ambition within it, so I’ve found. I’m excited to bring you a great voice. Watch for John’s posts on Tuesdays.

[UPDATE] I thought it might be nice to check in with John to get a statement from his perspective. He had this to say:

“I first heard about RKP from Boulder videographer Brian Patrick, who said it was the coolest cycling site he’d seen. So I checked it out and thought, anything that has ‘red kite’ and ‘prayer’ in its name has to be aimed at true European bike-racing aficionados, perhaps with a spiritual bent. Nice!

“So here I am, ready and excited to clip in to the pedals and begin this new challenge. My first RKP column will appear next Tuesday. Thanks, Patrick, for the chance to reach some new readers!”

24 comments

  1. Jesus from Cancun

    Wow, the heavy hitters keep coming! I have been a Wilcockson fan since the very first Winning Magazine. Charles Pelkey is here too… I have been impressed by Padraig and Robot…

    You guys are becoming a blockbuster, kind of the BMC or the Mapei of cycling websites. Who else is coming, Pat O’Grady or something?

    Great news, Thank you for bringing Master Wilcockson on board. I am already looking forward to his insight of the newborn season.

  2. Dan Wildhirt

    It’s starting to look like VeloNews circa 1991 around here. You know, back before it sucked (to work there). Nice to see some of my old colleagues landing where they’ll be appreciated for doing something other than rewriting semi-coherent press releases. Best of luck to all of you.

  3. Michael

    I just subsribed to Peloton. Add a donate button to RKP and I’ll
    contribute. People will pay for quality. Winning and Bicycle Guide
    have been missed.
    Cheers and Good Luck !

  4. Souleur

    wow…this group ride is getting packed with talented legs..er..brains

    being a poor cat 4, 42y/o, singlespeed mtn biker, dirt road rider/racer…I just hope to hang with you guys:-)

  5. Philippe

    This is not a good development, IMHO.

    Is RKP going to turn into another outlet for the same blah-blah from the same writers already filling up the pages of Velonews, Bicycling, Versus etc…? What is even more troubling is that John W. is one of the worst “offenders”. And by “offender”, i also really mean offender. I, for one, am not looking forward to reading an n-th article from John W. telling us how anglo riders are so much better, anglo riders never dope, only anglo riders know how to train etc…

    RKP has managed to provide quality, unique content. Bravo Padraig et al. You don’t need John W.


    1. Author
      Padraig

      Everyone: Thanks for the kind words!

      Dan Wildhirt: How great to hear from you! Thanks for the kind words.

      Jank: Thanks for supporting peloton. You won’t regret it.

      JB: Thanks and wow. The nuances of grammar are great fun. Even when I’m wrong.

      Michael: “Donate” feels too much like charity. We’d rather you get something out of it; order a T-shirt or some embro!

      Philippe: I knew there would be some pushback. Thank you for speaking up. I respect your skepticism. Let me say that I’ve given John the freedom to write pieces that wouldn’t have appeared at VeloNews. RKP absolutely will not turn into VeloNews for the 21st Century. We’re meant to be an alternative to the big outlets like Cyclingnews and Bicycling. And we’ll stay that way. We’re going to stick with (as you put so well) “quality, unique content.” And I’m convinced that John can provide pieces that no one else contributing to RKP could write. I’m excited to see his work.

  6. John Larscheid

    RKP, congrats. You’ve managed to slot in the best of VN, I would imagine their advertisers are as impressed as the rest of us. Keep growing the quality while keeping your ’boutique’ roots. Thanks for stealing yet more time out of my day. I wonder which website I will have to strike from my daily reading to compensate…hmmm.

  7. John Neugent

    Patrick – Congrats.

    Charles – That video is one of my favorites.

    John – I have been a follower of yours for a long time.

    Most people don’t understand that advertisers (Neuvation is a small player for sure but it’s not small to me) are directly affected by the success of failures of the sites they advertise on. I started with Velonews.com in Dec 2004 and can say it was probably the single most important reason for the success of my company (outside of my 70 hour workweeks) .

    But change is what life is all about.

    With Charles and John you have two of the most compelling writers in the industry today. I know because I scour online sites for the best content and I consistently go back to their articles.

    News is news. Creating good content is about the ability of the writer to relate to people. To be not only human, but maybe a little superhuman. Both John and Charles have that ability.

  8. Suzanne T

    So glad I found this site! I love peloton and formerly enjoyed velonews. So far this is so much better: better articles (properly written), etc. And all my favorite contributors are here. Yay!


    1. Author
      Padraig

      Again, thanks everyone for all your kind words. If you’re following the comments, you might check back at the bottom of the post for a quote I got from John on his arrival.

  9. SWells

    Excellent!

    “What are we going to do today, Padraig?”

    “Try to take over the world!”

    Seriously, congrats. My new favorite all-things-cycling, uh, medium, just got awesomer.

  10. rick

    Sorry, I have to loudly agree with Philippe above. JW’s soft pedaling man-crush on Armstrong have erased any claim of objective reporting on what is really happening in the pro peloton. Charles was a great add but Mr. Wilcockson adds nothing to your quiver.

  11. S

    Is there really any true objective reporting in any medium about any particular subject? Aside from printing a page and half of stage and GC results on a daily basis. But who really wants that? To me one’s opinion of what “objective reporting” is is purely subjective. I for one savor the thought provoking writing of truely knowledgable individuals who have “been there done that” regardless of how much I may disagree with them from a philisophical stand point as long as the discourse is genuine and civil. Padarig,continue to follow your gut! I for one am very excited to see where RKP will go from here!

  12. Hautacam

    Chapeau to you, Padraig!

    Looking forward to seeing what JW can do now that he is freed from any velosnooze corporate rev-limiters.

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