On (Not) Throwing my Editor Under the Bus

Yesterday’s column for the Oregonian explored a topic that has been on my mind for a while – the fine line between cycling “recreation” or “enthusiasm” and activism/advocacy. Specifically our role as racers in the community and what are responsibility is to work to defend, preserve and expand our safe access to the roads we use daily.

The column, which you can read online here, opens with a description of one of the triggers that got me thinking more about it – a moment back in December when my editor rejected a story idea I proposed about a bike move. I’d like to go on record here to say that I was not throwing her under the bus. She’s been an amazing mentor, good friend and wise advisor to me over the past three years and every time she touches my writing, she makes it better.

She had good reasons to reject the bike move story when she did it – it just happened to be the event that really set things spinning for me. After that, I met Richard Fries from Bikes Belong while speaking on a panel for the Bicycle Leadership Conference in Monterey earlier this year. It was just after Tim Johnson did a crazy bike ride to the National Bike Summit. Then I met a huge gang of ‘women who ride’ in the process of writing a different story – many of them were activists and advocates, either by nature of their employment or by the sheer stature of their spirit.

Finally, I met with Chris King for a soon-to-be-published story for Peloton Magazine. His commitment to and emphasis on advocacy (primarily focused on support and encouragement of commuting as well as trail/MTB advocacy and participating at the legislative level) is impressive and contagious. A few days after my final round of interview at Chris King HQ, I sat down and wrote the first draft of the column.

There’s a lot more to be said, and the print newspaper format is always limiting in some ways, but it’s a start. A public shout to aforementioned Tim Johnson for his ongoing efforts to bring advocacy efforts front and center in the professional racing community. And another for my editor at the Oregonian – for not taking the vignette personally and constantly asking me to be better!



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