Ten, as in years. It was ten years ago today that I launched Red Kite Prayer. As I’m not a particularly goal-oriented person, but cast in a more Buddhist mode in that I enjoy the journey, I couldn’t have told you then what ten years might bring. Sure, I could guess a number of different outcomes, but no one was more plausible than another. Still, there have been any number of twists and turns I didn’t see coming.
A quick inventory, more for my sake than yours: two sons, a dissolute marriage, moving from LA to Sonoma County and an existential depression. Oh, and then the bike stuff like the emergence of riding dirt roads as a pursuit in its own right, my inability to continue to write about pro cycling due to the powers-that-be insisting the sport was clean even as doping scandals remained recurring news, my longest-ever day on the bike, a return to mountain biking and the move to podcasts as way to chase long-form content in an easily digestible format.
Of all these developments, the two most pleasant surprises have been the podcasts. Working with Selene Yeager is truly one of greatest treasures of my professional life. We’ve created something that’s inviting, appreciable by any cyclist and emotionally honest and open in a way that is rare in any media. That we are able to make something that’s not so nichy as RKP itself is pleases me the way seeing one of my kids learning to ride did.
Working with Selene isn’t the only relationship I’m proud of: I’ve been exceedingly lucky to work with Charles Pelkey, John Wilcockson, Rick Vosper as well as names less known, but no less gifted as writers: August Cole, Michael Hotten and the man whose work has left an indelible stamp on this site, John “Robot” Lewis.
For as long as I’ve been writing about cycling, I’ve enjoyed writing about frame builders. The work is often solitary, requires a great deal of consideration, can be straightforward or surprisingly creative—so not unlike writing, which would be why I’ve felt such a kinship with them. Truth be told, as much as I wanted to write about frame builders, I couldn’t seem to find an efficient way to turn those conversations into readable content without it being a two-week process, and I couldn’t stand to do an 800-word profile. The Pull has allowed me to deliver rich content without needing an office staff.
When I think back on many of the pieces I wrote for Belgium Knee Warmers that helped bring the blog such a loyal audience, many of them concentrated on racing in specific or life in the peloton more broadly. I’ve gradually moved away from that focus, to looking more keenly into thy why of cycling, what it is that keeps us engaged, how it feeds us and how it allows us to connect with other riders in a way I can only term intimate.
None of this would have been possible without an audience. Judging from the comments we get, many of you have followed the site since the beginning, and when I meet readers I’m often amazed to find that you have been reading my work since the Bicycle Guide days. Knowing that people have enjoyed my work enough to bother to remember my name never ceases to amaze me. At Bruce Gordon’s memorial Sunday I finally met Ross Shafer, the founder of Salsa, someone who I’ve respected since the 1980s. When he said, “I know your work,” I was unable to hide my combination of amazement and pride.
Having an audience is a gift that comes with a remarkable responsibility. It is my hope that I’ve lubed this chain with due care. It continues to be an honor write for you. Thanks.