Thursday, May 15, 2008

Further thoughts about my quitting - for the three of you who care

First, thanks for the comments about my decision to stop contributing to cycling magazines, except for the Bicycle Paper. All of the comments were kind save one - written by someone who elected not to identify him/herself. Write me again with your name and mailing address, Anonymous, and I'll send you a can of Proofhide. Can't have too much Proofhide.

I've felt for some years that as a writer I represented fewer and fewer cyclists. In the '80s and into the '90s, before cycling became popular among so many middle-class Americans, you could meet a rider and assume confidently that as bikies you had lots in common.

That's over.

Scarcely anyone waves back today. Last month a hipster on a fixie waved; I nearly hit the chain-link fence next to the bike path. Club riders don't point out holes and aren't aware that cycling etiquette exists. Guys buy Sevens and Madones and put hi-rise stems and three-speed bars on them. Many Colnago riders can't fix a flat. No one rides to rides.

No one sees anything the matter with the behavior described in the above paragraph.

It was time for me to quit. Certainly the frustration of dealing with editors over the years wore me down. I miss Rich Carlson of Winning, RIP, who cared about my work and tried to make it the best it could be. I knew even then that it would never be that good again...

One more piece of mine will run in the Rivendell Reader. VeloNews has a piece that the editor agreed, months ago, to use. Maybe it'll never happen.

Thanks for your support over the years. You too, Anonymous...

13 comments:

gewilli said...

Scarcely anyone waves back today. Last month a hipster on a fixie waved; I nearly hit the chain-link fence next to the bike path. Club riders don't point out holes and aren't aware that cycling etiquette exists. Guys buy Sevens and Madones and put hi-rise stems and three-speed bars on them. Many Colnago riders can't fix a flat. No one rides to rides.

So true...

saddly so true...

you might find this read a bit of an echo in the same vein.

Ya keep writing Maynard. There are enough of us (I hope) that are on a similar wavelength. If not, our 'sport' is doomed.

THANK YOU for all the stories you've written.

Thank you.

kalli said...

I have always enjoyed your pieces. Almost always they either taught me something I ought to know about the sociology of cyclists or they caught the light on aspect of cycling that I love or that I hadn't given enough thought to.

Thank you Maynard for enriching the culture of cycling and I'm sorry that we (the cycling community) have let you down. I knew that we were getting too big for our britches when I read an article in the NY Times a few months ago about how cycling is the new golf. ugh.

fixedgear said...

Fan mail for all the columns over the years, but I'm sure not gonna beg you to stay. 'Half Wheel Hell' is still a great collection of writing on cycling. Those pieces, along with all this good internets stuff is required reading for anyone trying to understand this thing.

But I go on club rides, and people do ride to the ride start (I'm guilty of driving there, nice hypocracy on my part). They do point out holes, and we do take newish people - quietly - aside and explain their more dangerous faux paxs.

Eh, stupid people riding expensive bikes set up in odd style - that's always been around. I saw two gents riding identical Hary Havnoonian ti English Roadster bikes on a local bike path. A guy came on our Saturday morning world championship ride on a brand new Colnagoand he flatted and of course he didn't have a pump or a tube. And yes, he was such a peckerhead that he didn't even offer to repay the guy who 'lent' him a six buck long stem tube. But that guy would have been a putz anywhere, so what's the difference.

Cycling is still cool.

Richmond Roadie said...

I feel your pain Maynard! However, there are still plenty of us "old school cyclists" left. I love reading your stuff! I always have! I'm simply not impressed with most cycling publications. They are overpriced in most cases, full of ads for bikes I'm not interested in and can't afford, and seem to cater to most of the folks you refered to. Hence, I read blogs like yours:)

I did the Capital to Capital century here in VA last weekend. I jumped into a couple of pacelines and was impressed by how many of these folks handled themselves. Yes, there was an assortment of folks who violated the rules of cycling decorum. However, I'm convinced many have never spent any significant time with a experienced cyclist. I gave a few folks some "pointers" on paceline rules and they picked up on it quickly.

As for the ones that want to cop an attitude, I have a good memory for such things and I'll avoid them. I'll seek out those who "know the way of the bike" (ha-ha).

Jmewkill said...

I've enjoyed your writing for what seems forever. Tales from the bike shop still resonates with me.

Your fans are still out there.

Good cycling

jim

Anonymous said...

Prophets in their own land...

Moving on and reinvention are all part of life. Some of us never understand. And now you are on the internets tubes. How cool is that?

One door closes, another opens...

Bobby Wally

club-velo said...

Your post happened while I was out in the desert (literally!) so don't take my delay in responding as anything but what it is.....I'm just behind.

I still use your stuff to further the education of new riders that I meet through the shop and whom I think there's hope for.
I still loan out both my copies of both your books (even the insribed one!) as often as I can.
I still try to make sure that our shop rides are ones that you'd enjoy, and Bob too.
I share your frustration...fewer folks wave and more are jerks but as somneone else beat me to saying here....."cycling is still cool."

I hope that we can still find a way to read what'cha have to say, be it here in the "blog-o-sphere"(can't believe I said that!) or in print. The bike mags have all pretty much sucked for quite a while, ever since the demise of the original Bicycle Guide, save for the Reader and (sometimes) Dirt Rag.

So...ride when you want to, write when you need to.......we'll find you.

I always wave...always will.
MC

Charles Pelkey said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Charles Pelkey said...

Well, as one of those awful editor types, MH, I am sorry to see you go. It does get a little frazzled at times, but it's generally fun work.

Here's hoping I didn't do too much damage to your prose. We always had fun getting to your stuff in the big stack of pages we had to get out the door.

All the best to you, and see ya on the road.

Steve Courtright said...

Maynard,
Some years ago I stopped reading cycling mags. I suppose I graduated to being a good-enough cyclist and no longer felt the need to fantasize about it during recovery or rainy days, etc. Still, I realized that I had not seen your name recently. And as one who has always looked for and immensely enjoyed your work and observations, I wanted to say, "Thanks Maynard, you will be missed."

Newmaforma said...

As one of the hordes of NorCal juniors in the 80's, I learned to read for pleasure because of your work. The back page of Winning was the most anticipated of every issue. Room of the Half Dream and 0013 License to Race are two of my favorietes to this day. Yes, much has changed and more and more riders every year can't wrap their own bar tape, but know that you have had an impact and made a difference to those who were fortunate enough to anticipate your stories.

Anonymous said...

I realize this is a month late... but I just read "If your momma knew" then came across this blog:

So, after reading your totally bias generalization on fixies then your "further thoughts on quitting" and how no one can live up to your self righteously high standards of cycling, I say Goodbye.
Why should everyone conform to you and your style of riding, bikes and clothing? Oh, I forgot, you were here first, all the way back from the 80’s when cycling first started. "That's the way it should be because that's how I like it." "These new cyclists and all these young whipper-snappers are ruining everything!"
I love how you assume all fixies are exactly the same and don't even get warmed up before the final destination. Allow me to set correct your thinking; I have done the STP (Seattle to Portland, 200 miles) ride twice, the Hotter than Hell 100 (Wichita Falls, TX), and countless 30+ miles rides all on my fixie... but wait, I also ride to work 5 days a week and run most errands on my fixed gear. But SO WHAT, even if I only rode it to the bar and back...even if all the hipsters want to just drop a grand on a bike to roll around to get coffee, Who cares! Two wheels = good, bikes = good. Why does this pose such a tremendous threat to your ideological bike haven?
Maybe its not that people don't say hi to you because you remind them of their parents, maybe its because you are arrogant and judgmental to anyone that doesn't look or ride like you.
"No interest in racing", what about alley cats? Im pretty sure that's a race. Now it's not YOUR kind of race, so clearly, it is unimportant.
You wrote a wonderfully bias and short sited article about fixies, why you don't take a look at the flip side. How many more people go spend top dollar for a name brand bike and make sure to get all the best and most expensive spandex just strap the bike to their new SUV and go the local park for a 2 mile ride. Maybe they even go on a group ride or two but alas, the bike ends up in the back of the garage or on Craigslist a few months later. Berate them for a while at least show your distain for all bike groups that you are far beneath you.
Sure there are snobby hipsters and just as there are arrogant squids and thats unfortunate. I usually see articles that are car vs bike, driver vs cyclist. I take those articles with a grain of salt, they don’t get it and they don’t ride, ok whatever. But superior cyclist vs inferior cyclist, give me a break.

Maynard said...

Always enjoy hearing from you, Anonymous! Keep ridin' and writing me these thoughtful comments!

Yours as a brother in cycling,

Maynard