For those of you who are devoted readers of Fatty, first, I want to say thank you for dropping by Red Kite Prayer and having enough interest in what we do to check out more than just Fatty’s posts. It means a great deal that you’re even giving us a chance.
Because we’re new to you, I figure the polite thing is to offer an introduction to the site—who we are and what we do.
My name is Patrick Brady and here at RKP I’m known by the monicker Padraig. I’ve been writing about cycling for 25 years. If you’ve read bike magazines, you’ve probably run across my work. I got my start with Dirt Rag, and went on to write for a New England regional called The Ride. Along the way, I freelanced for VeloNews, Outside Online and Bicycle Retailer and Industry News. I was a staff editor at Bicycle Guide in the 1990s and after it was shut down, I launched the super-premium all-road magazine called Asphalt. More recently, I’ve served as Editor-at-Large for Peloton and contributing editor for Road Bike Action. Last spring I did a big feature on neuroscience behind flow states for Bicycling. And in the coming months, my work will show up in Bicycle Times.
So what is Red Kite Prayer? It’s road-centric. That is to say, mostly drop bars, though we’re as likely to be on pavement as off. It’s also a place for introspection, consideration and analysis. We like to think about cycling. As a result, we also favor long-form work. Short for us is 600 words. Another reason Fatty fits in here, amiright? We don’t reprint press releases here. We do like events, going to them and putting ourselves out there. And like Fatty, most of us have families, so we tend to write about younger people and getting them into riding.
I started Red Kite Prayer after spending several years writing for the blog Belgium Knee Warmers. The experience was terrific fun and I only stopped because I saw the opportunity to do the same writing and get paid for it. That’s a bit of an oversimplification. Money was never my driving force. I began writing for BKW because I saw a way to write about cycling that was different than what most of the magazines were doing, and because many of what I thought were my best ideas were shot down by editors. BKW found a loyal audience, which told me there was room for an independent publisher, but as my previous experience had taught me, paper is damned expensive, while pixels are pretty much free. By choosing to start a blog and not a magazine, I could publish nearly 10 times as much material in a month as I could with a magazine, and do it without that onerous printing bill.
Our take on cycling is a little different, but I think a good fit for Fatty for a few reasons. First, we focus on the experiential end of the sport—your riding, not someone else’s. We used to write a lot about the pros, but after the Reasoned Decision and Armstrong’s televised train wreck with Oprah, we saw a great deal of pro cycling backlash and disinterest from our readers. And while we don’t chase clicks the way some sites do, if there’s no reader enthusiasm for a subject, we don’t cover it. So we focus on the experience, and gear is a fundamental part of being a cycling. We don’t advocate rampant consumerism, but we do like to talk about how better gear can lead to a better experience. A better experience can mean a better day … and if you have enough better days, that’s a better life. I truly believe that.
You’ll notice that I’m fond of using the collective pronoun, “we.” While I’m probably 70 percent of the site, RKP enjoys a number of voices other than mine. I vowed when I started the site that it would be a home to great writing, and I’ve been able to fulfill that promise over and over. I’m pleased to say that we’ve published the work of Charles Pelkey, John Wilcockson, Peter Flax, Rick Vosper, Whit Yost and Bill McGann, all lifers in cycling. We’ve also introduced the cycling world to new voices like August Cole, Michael Hotten and Robot.
Robot’s has been an important voice for us. He works in the bike industry today, but came from outside the industry. He pens our weekly Friday Group Ride. Because we’re a blog, all our posts are open to comments, but the Friday Group Ride is the round table where we really hope to engage the readers; the piece ends with a question and we want you to chime in. One other note on commenting here: We’ve worked very hard to make the comments section at RKP a place for civil conversation. We’ve even posted commenting guidelines. It’s my hope that you’ll enjoy this troll-free zone.
What’s the bottom line? Ours is generally a positive take on cycling. We like the people we meet, and love to discover new gear that makes our riding more fun. We love exploring new places to ride and thinking about how riding fits in a balanced life, why life would be so bland without it. We’re inquisitive.
So what’s in a name? The Red Kite Prayer is that moment in the final kilometer of a race when, after passing the flamme rouge (or red kite), you see a rider’s head go straight down. They aren’t looking ahead or to the side; they are staring—if their eyes are even open—at the tarmac. It’s a moment we’ve all experienced, that search for a little more grit, the effort to plumb new depths.
It’s where all the best lessons are found.
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