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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.

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24 comments

  1. Kathy

    I am so glad I found your show and site. Both you and Selene have really helped me to get and stay motivated. This has been especially helpful to stave off falling into deep depressions. Congratulations on your non-goal oriented milestone!!!! Please keep up the great work and great vibes.

    Thanks!
    Kathy – Philly

  2. Jay

    I don’t remember exactly when or how I came to RKP, but it has become a familiar place that I visit regularly.

  3. Neil Winkelmann

    Weird. I have never met Selene, and only chatted with Patrick briefly, but I actually count you guys as friends. Here’s to another 10 great years for RKP. One of the best sites on the internet.


  4. Author
    Padraig

    Everyone: thank you for your kind words. That so many of you feel that what we’ve shared has made me a friend for you I take as the highest possible honor.

  5. Jon

    Congratulations Padraig. I started following you on BKW and have enjoyed the development of this site since your first post. The podcasts are a great evolution and you have helped me feel relevant in cycling as it has changed from being competitive to being my identity and sanity. BTW, the “killer kit” is still my favorite kit in the drawer. How about a new 10th anniversary edition?

  6. Jim

    Congrats!
    I think I read off and on when you started the site. Then took notice when your son was born and in the hospital. Started reading full time just prior to the start of the podcasts. I enjoy the reviews, really love the essays, and listen to all the podcast on my bike commute. Those Hottie segments were golden! Your involvement with NAHBS is very interesting to follow and conversations with all the builders are fantastic and so interesting to hear about all those brands.


    1. Author
      Padraig

      Hearing your gradual evolution with regard to our content is really gratifying. Thank you.

  7. Hautacam

    I’m at or near the aphelion of my roughly decadal cycling orbit and this site is one of the gravitational centers that keeps me coming back when I might otherwise go all Major Tom on the whole bike thing. I enjoyed Bicycle Guide way back when, and I really liked BKW, but I love this site. Chapeau to Padraig and the whole team.

  8. Dan Murphy

    Man, 10 years? That went fast, and that’s a good thing.
    Thanks for producing good stuff, and the podcasts are great. I loved Fatty and Hottie (still love ’em on their Leadville podcast) and Selene is a great addition. Robot is always a great read. Good info, no bullshit.

    Saying that, I tried to contribute to RKP months ago and had issues. I sent an email, never got a response, and forgot about it. Need to resolve this. I think the issue is that I wanted to make a one-time contribution.

    Best to all, looking forward to what’s next,
    Dan Murphy

  9. Jason Hamlin

    Congrats! I have and continue to enjoy your podcasts and find your blog as the best in cycling. Keep up the great work.

  10. TomInAlbany

    I heard about RKP when news started to travel about your crash in SoCal. I donated to the beer fund because, cyclists..

    I began to read some of your work and then came The Deuce. I’ve been hooked ever since.

    I’m willing to bet that the X years has seemed like a stage race. I wish you many more stages and tailwinds!

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