Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Oku/The Secret

I realize now why my blog is a failure. Why it hasn't made me rich beyond my wildest dreams.  It's not me. Really, it's not. It's the market.

No, actually it is me, but I want to blame someone else. I spend a bit of time reviewing other bike blogs and there are some traits that cut across most of them.

First, they have lots of pictures. Of bikes. Bike porn is good. I like it. I also notice that few of the shots that show up on these sites have much actual bike riding going on. Mostly they are shots of bikes out in the woods or in some urban setting. Perfectly clean and posed bikes. Bikes that look like they've never been ridden. I'm still looking for that elusive shot of a crank arm with signs of wear.

Second, the authors of these blogs seem to have a different bike for every possible riding situation and they're always upgrading or changing parts. I like parts and bikes. I really do. I just don't understand how someone can afford, let alone justify having multiple 4K+ bikes in the garage. You can only ride one at a time.

Third. Well, the third is really an extension of the second - there's this strange belief that each riding situation requires a specific bike - the perfect commuter, the perfect trail bike, the perfect training bike, the perfect beer run bike.

Product review shots are likewise stationary and full of products that look brand new, never worn, directly out of a catalog. (See: http://cyclesinlife.com/gore-alp-x-2-0-gore-tex-active-jacket-review/) Seriously, I don't believe you actually ride in any of the gear you review because I ain't seeing you ride. I ain't seeing mud and bugs and dog shit splattered on the back of your jacket. I don't see a single flaw in your helmet or finger-print on your glasses. It's like a fashion blog, but with bikes. I can't even call these folks hipsters. Cuz they ain't.

There are exceptions. Yes there are. Gypsy By Trade is one. This is a bike blog where bikes get ridden. Maybe the distinction is that the blogs where folks actually ride and use the shit that they take pictures of and these others is advertising dollars, maybe some folks write their blogs in an attempt to create a second career as a paid writer while others are writers who happen to bike and want to share?

Why am I debasing myself in this way? Why am I going down that wormhole of the blog post about blog posts?

Because I've got nothing else to say right now. I've had some awesome rides lately. Some by myself. Some with my son. Some with my dogs. But I want to hold them close to the vest. They've not be revelatory rides. Just good, standard, everyday rides in terrain I've ridden before. And I'm trying to remind myself that writing about a ride doesn't make it any better than what it was in that moment when it happened, which frees me to focus on the ride. There is nothing worse that spending a ride thinking about what you want to write about the ride. It destroys authenticity and mediates the whole experience through the lens of how it can be presented to others.

It's bullshit. 


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