Today Manual For Speed recieved our first de facto “letter to the editor” regarding advice with respect to cycling journalism. Two things: 1.) Clearly this unsolicited-but-inaugural-even-if-accidentally-so letter is the first of a new column we’re calling Dear Speed. 2.) Because Manual for Speed was on the back of a motorcycle ALL DAY we have very little to write about other than:
- It IS possible to take a selfie of yourself + the peloton from the back of a moving motorcycle if you really, really want to and if you’re willing to risk damaging all kinds of shit like your phone and your body and your real camera and maybe the moto driver and a small portion of the peloton.
- You are not allowed to ride the motorcycle facing backwards, even if you ask nicely.
- Almost without exception, every photo you take of the people/places/things you pass on the side of the road while travelling at 20+ miles an hour suck. Basically drive-by photographs never turn out and I should just stop taking them all together but sometimes like when you see a girl sitting on a BMX bike in a gravel turn-out casually feeding what is clearly a “pet” llama wearing a pink bow tie, you have to try.
- Cotton really did try to kill me today, either that or it’s true: you always pack a rain jacket when traveling by motorcycle through the Rocky Mountains.
- Riding around the Unitas in a borrowed helmet (thanks Nate!, thanks Nate’s friend!) and a pair of borrowed jeans (thanks Ian Marshall of Castelli Cycling!) while sitting for five hours on what is effectively a borrowed seat on the back of an expensive high performance European motorcycle (thanks Moto driver!) will leave you feeling dirty, real dirty.
And that’s about it. Okay so, because Manual for Speed spent the day on the back of the motorcycle all day and therefore has nothing really to report about, publishing a letter about cycling journalism AS cycling journalism makes lots of Meta Sense.
Dear Manual for Speed,
I’m an avid cyclist at Utah Valley University. I was instrumental on assisting our team to the conference cyclocross championships. I also assisted our team to in taking the road conference champion team classification. I’m an also aspiring journalist, and I would like to become a cycling reporter. I am on the newspaper department at Utah Valley University. This is where I had my first experience taking photos of sporting events. Afterwords I would personally report on our cycling team. There seemed to be a lack of interest on covering cycling events. UVU’s college cycling had a lot of astonishing accomplishments in past years. Which only fueled my passion for reporting cycling events more? It also gave me an insight on a career. I have a passion for; taking photos, riding and racing my bike, and interviewing professional cyclists around the world.
As I looked into cycling journalism I came across Manual for Speed. I really love what you are doing as a journalism team. I do however a few questions have and seek advice from you. As being a journalist in cycling please share with me on how it can be rewarding and what are some of the drawbacks? I am excited starting this new chapter in my life. What guidance could you give me to enhance my journalism?
I am really excited about having the Tour of Utah in my back yard. It is exhilarating, but reporting on events is a way to get closer and deeper into the action of cycling. That is why I figured as a sports photographer on newspaper I wanted to dive into the journalism aspect of cycling. Being a journalist and sharing these events with others makes cycling more gratifying.
Will you be at the tour of utah. I would love to visit with you about journalism and cycling. I will be wearing a Garmin manual for speed shirt.
Thanks for your Time Manual for Speed,
First of all, thank you for the letter and your questions, and for prompting us to create a new column we’re calling Dear Speed. How funny is that?, your letter to us about cycling journalism has directly led to the creation of cycling journalism! Being read or viewed, or “consumed” is very rewarding. It’s a pretty linear proposition right, if people care about your point of view, or your opinions, or your analysis, or whatever form your contribution to cycling journalism takes, it’s rewarding.
Also, reporting on cycling requires that you follow racing and attend races, those experiences give you a deeper appreciation and understanding of the sport. Especially if you’re there with the intention to study and observe and contemplate and interact with the sport from every angle and on every surface. That deeper appreciation and understanding is very rewarding.
The drawbacks depend on who you are and what your angle is and what your goals are. For most (but not us because we have An Unfair Advantage, thanks Castelli!), the largest drawback to cycling journalism is that it pays, if it pays at all, really poorly. Also, it’s very competitive. Which is, based on the fact that it pays poorly, counter-intuitive, but whatever, it is in fact competitive. The best single piece of advice we can give you is this: find a move. You got to have a move. Your move should reflect your talents, inclinations, connections, context, desires, etc. Your move is your Point of View and your Modus Operandi and everything else combined.
Yes, I will be at the start! Just text me and we can connect, I’d be happy to help you if I can. I will be wearing a Manual for Speed t-shirt, FlyKnits and some Oakley Blades, #disruptive.