If you’ve noticed the distinct, sharp-edge whiff of bile around the cycling world at the moment, don’t attribute it entirely to an excess of cheer at various holiday gatherings. Headlines at the end of the year—and the end of a decade, especially—always seem to reek more of regurgitation than perspiration.
It’s not that I’m above a year-end retrospective; I’ve done it at least once, and frankly, despite the four years that have transpired between then and now, that post is still one of the best end-of-year recaps around.
Measuring things in defined units (a Pavel: ), using images, being funny, stringing more than two sentences together, making actual points, segueing smoothly between sections—a more than solid effort, especially by today’s standards.
But hey, maybe you’re a “shit floats” kind of person, and you see no problems with a best-of list that starts off “It’s indisputable that we’re in the post-literate age, but it’s still possible to find lovely & [sic] interesting writing if you seek it out” before calling a site that unironically uses exclamation points in groups of eight “a slam dunk” for Blog of the Year. And no, neither the best-of list or the blog it names will be getting linked to here.
Or maybe you’re the sort of reader who needs to suckle at the teat of repetition. If so, you were no doubt rejoicing (though not especially surprised) to find that same image-thieving, underwritten, over-exclamation-pointed blog mentioned in both Embro’s and Pavé’s end of year lists.
Then again, maybe I’m the one in the wrong here. Maybe my standards are too high. After all, when the publication of record can’t seem to get itself together over whether or not a rider has signed with a new team, why should I expect the part-timers to reach any higher?
That said, online cycling coverage and commentary at the end of 2009 isn’t entirely a lost cause: I’ll readily credit Pavé for mentioning a blog based purely on a nicely-done layout. While I’ve got reservations about anyone who claims that “When Simoni was on top of his game he got to demand whatever he wanted” (Like this 800g front wheel?), or that “Aluminum was still the choix du jour” for frames in 2003, it’s still nice to find an author-designed blog that doesn’t look like a cached Angelfire page.
And I cannot express how deeply reassuring it is to find at least one other entity in the cycling world willing to stand up for something other than pandering to its advertisers and partner sites. Even the various incarnation of Velonews.com’s redesigns throughout the year—regardless of your opinion on their efficacy—also reflect the genuine desire to present the reader with an improved online experience.
Perhaps 2010 will be the year when this desire finally finds itself aligned with the talent and opportunity to needed create something great.