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09/05/08
Dave’s Bike Blog
Filed under: bike tech, unfortunate events, people
Posted by: The Cyclofiend @ 10:14 am

I’ve got a little more time with my morning coffee, but I’m not at all happy about it. It’s because one of the writers I enjoy is turning off the tap.  A little over a week ago, while catching up with online postings, I ran across this post on Dave Moulton’s Bike Blog -

The Party‚Äôs Over
DateMon, August 25, 2008

It is time to call it a day. This weekend I made an extremely tough decision, to quit writing here on this blog.

For the simple reason I have run out of things to write about, or rather worthwhile stuff that people want to read.

People like the tech stuff, and history. The tech
stuff, I have just about covered it all. The beauty of the bicycle is
its simplicity, you push one pedal down and the other one comes up.

(continued here)

This got me all grumpy pretty quickly. I felt some anger towards those folks who had found it so easily to diss him in the discussion groups, or others who had popped off with flippant comments on his blog.  That passed before too long (helped with a couple of decent rides), but what remained was the same sense of sorrow that you feel as you finish a book which you don’t want to end.

My feeling has been that there is too little quality writing that accompanies bicycling. Yes, there are examples well-written tech manuals and wonderfully captivating stories of adventure while on bicycle tours. There are journalistic high-water marks in race reporting - Sam Abt’s stories of bike racing chronicled details and imagery during a period when you couldn’t find anything other than the odd result in the stats page of the sports section.

But all of that is essentially non-fiction.

The examples of quality cycling fiction pretty much begin and end with “The Yellow Jersey”. 

Compare that with the body of work in fly fishing, as an example. For every slightly different book on “how-to”, there books which are stories - “A River Runs Through It” for example - where the story is about people, wonderfully fallable, beautifully limited and wholly human.  Fishing runs through it in a natural way, but doesn’t overwhelm the story.

I think it takes a special type of writer to achieve that - well, hell, of course it does, Mr. Obviousman.  For all the wonderfully timeless stories which have been written, there are roomfuls of pages consisting of derivative dreck.  Roderick Haig-Brown, one of the finer angling writers, described himself as a writer who happened to fish.  The implication was that most of the others were simply anglers who were trying to write.

And to wrangle this little thought arc back to the topic I’d started, one of the things which I’d enjoyed about Dave’s Bike Blog was that he was a writer, in the best sense of the word. He words always flowed clearly in the support of the ideas, much like that quiet guy on the group ride who just eases along next to you, smoothly spinning just one gear lower than you. The history and stories he’s shared often captured a slice of cycling most of us never encountered first hand.

I understand too that as a writer, it’s tough to give away free samples all day. My sincere hope is that he’s pulled back a notch on the public front to put together another book, that he sees a storyline that runs through the events he’s seen and experienced.  Hey, a guy’s gotta hope, right?  Maybe this short story is the harbinger of a larger work to come.

AJ, The Cyclist and a Large Brown Dog - by Dave Moulton

In the meantime, he’s created a tremendous resource for cyclists.  If you haven’t had an opportunity to do his, visit his blog - he’s archived it both by chronological order and by topic.  Oh, yeah.  You can also buy his book

In the meantime, I’m going to keep a sharper eye out for Dave Moulton, FUSO and Recherche frames on the road. And, I’ll probably reread some stuff too.  In the meantime, Dave, thanks for the art you have made.


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