Surfacing

Surfacing

RKP is a reasonably small operation. As a result, my desire to balance quality against output means that we publish once per day during the week. If things are going well, you get extra posts on the weekend, kind of a bonus. So for me to miss a day, nearly two, without a post, something is up. And now I’ve got time enough to come up for air and let you know why I’ve been MIA.

I’ve just finished work on a feature about the fires here in the North Bay for Bicycling Magazine. On the previous occasions when I’ve sold them a piece, the length of time that passes from first pitch to signed contract is about six months. This time, we went from emailed query to signed contract in less than 24 hours. What made this occasion different were two factors. The first was that these fires are timely and deserving of national attention. The other crucial detail is that a rider and RKP reader, Roman Cho, came up to shoot portraits of people who had been through the conflagration.

Roman contacted me by email and once I saw his portfolio at romancho.com, I was in. He specializes in portraiture. I’ve had the good fortune to work with some gifted portrait photographers, but Roman is exceptional. I directed him to as many cyclists as I could and after he shared his first three images of area riders with me, I contacted my editor at Bicycling. Truly, Roman sold the feature, not me.

The story will be dominated by his portraits, with a bit of window dressing from me. It will appear in the January/February issue of the magazine, and to give you some idea of how fast the magazine had to move to make this happen, they pulled a feature of mine we finished editing the same day I queried them for this story.

My life for the last two weeks has been largely receiving boxes of cycling gear, doling out their contents to friends and working on this feature. That I’ve managed anything else, like eating, riding or remembering my boys’ names is a mystery to me.

I suppose if you work for the New York Times, opportunities like this aren’t entirely uncommon. For me and for the editors I worked with at Bicycling, bringing this story to readers is a rare, if tragic opportunity. It is our hope that this piece will give the audience a greater sense of the magnitude of the fire, what was lost, and how a community rallied.

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