My name is Patrick Brady and I took the nom de plume Padraig when I began contributing to Belgium Knee Warmers because I wanted the reader to focus on the quality of the writing, rather than being distracted by the identity of who the author was. In a sense, I wanted to prove to myself that if the quality of writing were sufficient, it would draw an audience even if my name wasn’t attached. And we did okay—in fewer than three years more than one million people visited BKW. Rather than cause people to wonder if I’m trying to hide something, I decided when I launched RKP it was time to reveal my identity.
I’ve been an active cyclist for more than 20 years. I cut my teeth working in bike shops in Tennessee and Massachusetts. I spent some time working neutral support and even did a short stint working for the Junior National Team.
I raced road, off-road and cyclocross. Collegiate racing was a particular favorite for me; the friendships I forged with my UMASS teammates in the early ‘90s endure to this day. I’ve toured all over, both unsupported on my own and with fully supported tour groups.
I began writing about cycling in 1991 by freelancing for Dirt Rag after meeting Maurice Tierney at Mount Snow. My first article was about riding the trails at the Northfield Mountain cross-country ski area. It was an inauspicious start. The next year I began writing for the fledgling regional, The Ride. I became friends with the publisher, Richard Fries and in addition to my writing, I did copy editing and sold shop subscriptions for him. I’m pleased to count both Maurice and Richard friends to this day.
I gradually amassed a number of freelance credits including Bicycling, VeloNews and Outside. The big break came when I joined the staff of Bicycle Guide; a magazine I admired as much for its editorial standards as its subject matter. While at Bicycle Guide I was given incredible latitude. I wrote about cycling from every angle I could imagine: I turned out race reports, in-depth bike reviews, first-person travelogues, strongly worded columns and even some behind-the-scenes ad copy. Then the magazine was folded.
Within 48 hours of cleaning out my office I conceived my next move—a super-premium magazine for roadies called Asphalt. After a number of hiccups, I launched the magazine in 2002. It was extremely well received; many people called it the greatest bike magazine ever. It’s influence can be seen today in the design and evolving editorial of several cycling magazines on the market.
In 2007, Menasha Ridge Press published my guidebook on Los Angeles, the aptly titled Bicycling Los Angeles County. I think cycling in Southern California gets a bad rap; this was a great chance to show the incredible diversity in riding the area boasts. MRP indulged me and allowed me to include a half dozen different group rides that are among the diverse area’s jewels. But my greatest affection is for the routes in Malibu; the Santa Monica Mountains are like no place else I’ve ridden and the descents there will give you the skills to take on any paved road in the world. Los Angeles has something for everyone, and while it can be dangerous during rush hour, not all hours of the day are life threatening.
Also in 2007, I wrote an op-ed for the LA Times that suggested a South African-style truth and reconciliation commission for cycling. It was the first time the idea had been put forward, and it is an idea that took root, culminating in the CIRC that is investigating cycling today.
In addition to my work here at RKP, I stay busy with freelance work for Bike Hugger. My freelance work has also appeared in Bike Monkey, Paved and Road Bike Action, and occasional contributor to VeloNews, Slowtwitch and the trade publication Bicycle Retailer and Industry News. I also served for several years as editor-at-large for Peloton Magazine. While there I penned a travel feature that won a Lowell Thomas Award from the Society of American Travel Writers.
Other media outlets like to quote me from time to time. I’ve been a guest on Warren Olney’s “Which Way LA?” as well as “The Michael Smerconish show.” I’m a regular guest for Diane Lees on her show, “The Outspoken Cyclist.”
Menasha Ridge Press published my second book in 2011, which is a how-to guide for new roadies called The No-Drop Zone: Everything You Need To Know About the Peloton, Your Gear and Riding Strong; it was released in May. Writing The No-Drop Zone has been a more than 10-year odyssey for me that began with articles I wrote for beginners while at Bicycle Guide. Most how-to books for cycling either cover working on your bike or training.What makes The No-Drop Zone different is that it goes inside the mindset of a roadie and breaks down the sport to give any aspiring cyclist the skills to ride with a group. From why roadies shave their legs to how to hold your line, the sport is explained in clear terms.
Chances are, though, if you’re reading this, you’ve been around the sport a while; I’ve included information for you, too. Because I wanted the book to serve as a fundamental reference text, it also includes information on what makes for a good fit, a primer on frame material and an explanation of how frame geometry determines the character of a bike as you ride it down the road. My teachers in this sport were many, and they were thorough; if you have any nagging questions, I’m willing to bet The No-Drop Zone answers them. You can order it from Amazon, Barnes and Noble or Powell’s Books, but I’d love it if you asked your local shop to carry it. They deserve the business.
More recently, I’ve publishing a collection of my best work, drawn from Belgium Knee Warmers, RKP and Peloton. Why We Ride is a work I’m immensely proud of and is likely to be the most enduring of my books. You can order it from the RKP store.
A writer is nothing without an audience—thank you for reading.