For Fatty’s Readers: an RKP Introduction

For Fatty’s Readers: an RKP Introduction

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.

I’m the author of three books: Bicycling Los Angeles County (a guide book to road riding in LA), The No-Drop Zone (a how-to for new road riders) and Why We Ride (a collection of my essays).

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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    1. Richard S

      Great post idea. It lets me get up to speed and transfer easily from Fatty’s blog.
      Elden, I look forward to your posts here as well as the rest of RKP. Might we see some of your guest posts here as well?

    2. Author

      Any time Fatty wants to host a guest post, we’re happy to play along. We’re not gonna clip his wings now.

    3. Jeff Dieffenbach

      Great welcome, love the new digs! Of all of the great things about, one of the best had to be the fantastic spirit of the Comments section. Looking forward to that here.

  1. TomInAlbany

    For those Fatty fans, you’re going to learn stuff here and think. It’s pretty cool, actually.
    For Padraig’s regular readers, I dare you not to laugh at some of the things Fatty will write. I double dog dare you!!!

    Now I only have to monitor one site! Hurray for efficiency!!!!

  2. Dizzy

    Thank you for the introduction to you and your site. I’ve been reading Fat Cyclist for years. While on the bike, I think a bit like Fatty; every ride is a race of some kind; can I go faster, farther, take that corner better, what food works for me, when do I rest? Since Thanxgiving, I’ve spent many hours combing your articles to get a feel, the flavor if you will, of what Red Kite Prayer is all about.
    I back tracked until I found your original article, “The Red Kite Prayer” (29 June, 2009). I also liked how you explained your philosophy for the site in “Collision Course: Advertising and Enthusiast Publishing” (30 June, 2009) and followed that with “The Rules” (30 June, 2009). The “soda” line is a great quote. I’ll be sure to give you full credit when I use it!
    I also appreciate that all of Fatty’s postings have been transferred over to the RKP site. To me, that represents an endorsement. An endorsement of Fatty as a person and a writer and therefore me as one of his readers. I look forward to good times to come from RKP. Rock on! Dizzy

  3. Rick

    Hey Padraig-
    Since your talking about writing, how about doing an article on your favorite cycling blogs and websites? I love RKP but there’s not enough of it! I know you can’t put up new articles everyday, so how about a guide to other blogs and sites you admire and respect- things that have a more or less non-commercial approach like you do. The psychology of cycling, amateur events, noteworthy gear, cycling history, and all of the nitty-gritty about cycling. I’d love to find more high quality stuff like RKP to read on a daily basis.

    1. Author

      We try to post six days a week. Not all of those posts are mine, but most are. I’d have to say my favorite work of late isn’t to be found on blogs. The feature writing in Bicycling is top notch. I generally read anything written by Vernon Felton, Kurt Gensheimer (the Angry Singlespeeder) and Yuri Hauswald. My former coworker Joe Lindsey (at Bicycling) remains a fave as well. Honestly, there’s not a lot that takes a non-commercial approach because so few advertisers understand it well enough to want to advertise, which is why we mix the commercial with the non-commercial.

      For pure reading enjoyment, even though I’m not a motorhead, I read Dan Neil at the Wall Street Journal. He’s a car reviewer, and arguably the best in the biz. His work inspires mine.

    1. Author

      Our policy is treat treat all dogs as new friends, unless otherwise warned by the nearest human.

    2. Jared13

      As soon as I read this question, I knew who the “friend” was. Thankfully, no one in the office heard me laugh out loud.

  4. GenghisKhan

    Padraig – thanks for the intro. Nice to find some new friends! Question for you. You said:

    “Any time Fatty wants to host a guest post, we’re happy to play along. We’re not gonna clip his wings now.”

    Just when are you going to clip his wings? :o)

    Happy Trails!

  5. Doug (WAY Upstate NY)

    Glad to know this isn’t really the end of the Fat Cyclist!

    Is the “road-centric” thing negotiable? All those things you talk about do transfer off road 🙂

    1. Author

      Very negotiable. I just mean that we lean road, but I spent a fair amount of time on bikes with knobby tires, some even with flat bars.

  6. Pingback: Fat Cyclist » Blog Archive » Thank You

  7. Christina

    Can you make a subsection for 100MoN guest posts? Because I like seeing the craziness of the Fatty community and we all just finished that ride, but we didn’t get to see all the posts.

    And thanks for the intro! I’ve always wondered about the name and only briefly have ducked in.

  8. ClydeinKS

    Padraig – thank you for the intro for all the Friends of Fatty. I’m looking forward to stopping here as often as I had to fatcyclist. I believe all the content will be just as stellar, it just seems that the curtains have changed! 🙂
    I saw Fatty wrote in as Elden, are you ditching the nickname now? Patrick isn’t posting as Patrick. I just feel that “ClydeinKS” brings more interest than “Jeff” – are FoF’s ditching our brat and pie loving name tags? Surely not!
    I’m very glad to see Leroy’s dog is welcome in your parlor.

    1. Author

      We’re not ditching the “Fatty” monicker; by that I mean, boss man ain’t letting him. 😉

      All his posts are slugged as “Fatty.” How he wound up commenting as Elden, I’m not really sure. Maybe we can correct that.

  9. Stephanie Hughes

    Such a fan of all of you guys. Love the Paceline Podcast, Fatty, Padraig and Hottie. RKP is a true shear enjoyment to read. Keep up the great work and congrats on the new merger.

  10. happycamper

    I have to admit I haven’t done much reading on RKP or FC, but I’m an avid listener of the Paceline Podcast. You guys (and Michael) are doing a great job with that. I look forward to it every week. Thanks guys!

    1. Author

      And even if you never do, we’re still grateful to have you as a listener. In our book, that’s enough.

  11. Eric S

    So I found RKP a few years ago, from a pair of bibs being sold on eBay of all places, but I was a dirt rider only back then and kind of shuffled it off to the “Cool, but I’m not into asphalt” website file. This past summer however, I picked up a late 90s Cannondale Silk Road at a yard sale and I really don’t understand what took me so long. I love mountain biking but now I really (really) love the road. So now I’ve returned. Having it happen the same time fatty decides to join you works out well because I JUST discovered his blog. Bad timing? I think not, since I get to become acquainted without having to mourn the passing of his site. So the intro is well timed for me, and I really love the long form over the hit and run of conventional writing. So thank-you, I’ve found a place to feed my addiction.

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