It’s a jungle out there, a blog-eat-blog world where only the strong survive. Over the years I have seen many come and go, and each day, frankly, is a new day over here at the California Division of Cycling in the South Bay. Were it not for my six paid subscribers, I’d have packed it in a long time ago.
What’s astonishing is how few long-running cycling blogs there actually are, depending, of course, on what you mean by “blog.” In their infancy, blogs were digital diaries written on a more-or-less daily basis by a sole author and directed at a relatively small audience. But what happened was predictable:
- Most died, unable to meet the crushing pressure of daily, or even weekly deadlines.
- Those that survived did so by becoming online magazines with multiple writers, photographers, and ad sales departments.
There are notable exceptions such as Bike Snob NYC, DC Rainmaker, and Dave Moulton’s Blog, but the single-grape varietal that gets picked, pressed, casked, vinted, bottled, and daily carried to market on a donkey cart seems pretty much over.
Cycling in the South Bay has been published continuously since 2011, with this issue being #1883. I’ve published a handful of guest posts, probably less than ten. The rest of the manure pile is mine, all mine. I didn’t know it when I started, but it turns out that my hero is Karl Kraus and his legendary publication record of Die Fackel, one man doing it all from 1899 to 1936, and even more incredibly, just as angry when he started as he was when he finished.
I had a conversation with a friend last night who asked me how I came up with topics.
“That’s easy,” I said. “I open a screen and start typing.”
Actually, I didn’t say that. I don’t remember exactly what I said as I was already on my fourth glass of craft water, but it was something like this: “Every day I wake up with the realization that I have to write something on that stupid fucking blog. So I try to pay attention during the day so that when something pops up I can nab it before it slips away, like one of Socrates’s fleeting words which always seemed to flit away just before he could nail down its meaning.” [I totally added in the Socrates part just now.]
And I guess the other two things, not so strangely, are reading and riding. The more I read and the more I ride, the easier it is to blog. Fortunately, I don’t have to read very much about cycling, and perhaps even more fortunately, I don’t have to cycle while reading.
What’s also interesting is that the blog format, which promised to be a free space where talented people could let loose with only the finest prose, unencumbered by page limits, nasty editors, rejection slips, publishing house politics, agents, and over-the-transom submissions, turned into a horrible 6′ x 9′ sunless room where people who thought they had something to say realized that they did, and once said, THAT WAS IT.
I’m one of them, I suppose. I just haven’t realized it yet.
One writer. Day in, day out for seven years. Bike politics, bike racing, bike training, Viennese coffeehouses, China adventures, home coffee roasting, it’s all here. Please consider subscribing … Click here and select the “subscribe” link in the upper right-hand corner. Thank you!