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Monday
Nov122007

Two years of blogging: Realizing my baby is ugly


Today marks two years since “Dave’s Bike Blog” started.

Having a blog is in some ways like having a child that demands constant attention. Like a real baby, conceiving it is the easy part. At first, it is fun, it sleeps mostly and you wake it up occasionally to feed it.

It gives its parent a great deal pride and feeling of accomplishment as it grows, but the hungry little bastard needs feeding all the time, and if it doesn’t like what you feed it, it will spit it back at you.

This past weekend I was left to wonder, “What the hell was I thinking?” I am realizing how difficult it is to keep coming up with interesting, and informative articles, two or three times a week. Especially when related to a single subject like the bicycle.

Last Friday’s fiasco was a wake up call for me. Okay, I agree the post was not one of my best. However, after spending hundreds of hours writing 183 articles over the last two years; I write one or two pieces that go against popular opinion and I am told, in no uncertain terms, to fuck off. (See my previous post.) Did I really deserve that?

I give free advice and comment for Cris’sake. It’s like going to a free concert and booing the act. If you don’t like the act, walk out, but don’t boo and tell the performer to fuck off. The guy making the comment says he is taking my blog off his RSS Feeder, like he’s canceling his subscription. WTF.

If I was like Bike Snob NYC who blogs under a pseudonym I could care less. However, I blog under my real name, so I take these comments as a personal attack, and I take it seriously. If you make a personal attack, at least have the balls to include your full name, and the city you live in, and not hide behind anonymity.

I allow anonymous posts because not everyone wants to go through the hassle of signing up for a Google account just to post a comment. It is not there for people to hide behind and hurl abuse, or to post multiple comments, giving the impression they come from different people.

I have always stayed away from politics and religion in my posts, and the biggest mistake I made last Friday was mentioning the “Feminist” issue. It was only meant as a way to lead into the story, which was a comment about, twenty-something young men, who care little about their appearance.

I grew up in and era when we wore suits, ties, and shined our shoes, when we went out on a date with a girl. It was a mark of respect for the girl we were taking out; it also showed respect for ourselves. Of course, this was in a time before God invented tennis shoes and the subsequent decline of civilization, as we know it.

I just put forward a point of view in the hope that it will stimulate thought; I fully realize that I am not going to change the world. You can take it as advice, you can take it any way you like; you don’t have to agree.

You can take it as an insult, leave, and not come back. But when you come to this blog, you are visiting me, not the other way around. Telling me to fuck off is like coming to a party at my house and telling me to leave.

I have put too much work into this baby to abandon it completely. My Stat Counter shows that I get around 500 to 600 hits a day, and the child is still growing. It has just reached the “Terrible Twos” so who knows what will happen in the next year. There will always be a win some, loose some situation with readers.

I’m sure there are some who will say I should lighten up, and grow a thicker skin; I have been told that many times. But this is who I am, my sensitivity to this kind of thing is part of my make up; without it I would be a person who had gone through life in some mundane job.

There would be no Dave Moulton who once built bicycle frames, and this blog would never have existed.

Reader Comments (39)

This is how the "brave new web 2.0" works. You write something and people give their opinion about it and you get more things to write about. Compared to some other blogs I read you actually get pretty useful feedback.

Is this a free concert? Hell no! I give my own time to your opinions. I expect to get a first class show.

I think there is also an option for disabling comments.
November 12, 2007 | Unregistered Commenter Anonymous
Your biggest mistake was not the use of the feminist work. Your biggest mistake is to think that the way you look about this worls is an absolute truth.

Things were so much better "back in the days when I was young." We young people like to call your kind of people "grumpy old men." Your mind has stopped learning and you have started living in the past. The process you are going through is called ageing. It happens to just about everyone.

Your other big mistake is to think that people are interested in you and your opinions. No. People are interested in your bicycling knowledge. If you mix opinions to a blog that mostly deals about facts and historical information, you are bound to get burnt. Try putting up another blog. One for strictly bike stuff, one for your other opinions. You'll see how different the hit counts will be.
November 12, 2007 | Unregistered Commenter Anonymous
I agree I have had some wonderful support and highly intelligent comment and discussions in the past, and I am extremely grateful. This adds so much more to the blog and contributes to its success.

My reaction to hostile attacks is my problem and one I will always have to deal with. I have no problem with people disagreeing with my POV, but I do object to downright nastiness. I would not take that from anyone face to face, why should I take it here?

I do not want to start blocking or deleting comments because this would be censorship.
November 12, 2007 | Unregistered Commenter Dave Moulton
Anonymous 5:36

I get the feeling you are the person who posted the original hostile comment. And it doesn’t really matter whether you are or not, your today’s comment is the one that should have been posted rather than “Fuck off.”

I am fully aware of my mistakes and no one is ever too old to learn from them.
Dave.
November 12, 2007 | Unregistered Commenter Dave Moulton
Hello David, I don't think I've ever commented here before but enjoy your writing immensely.

I've been in the blogging game for four years now and I've seen 'em come and go (my current cycling blog is now dead) and one thing is for sure, there are a lot of interesting commenting cats out there.

I've also written some serious political stuff over the years and had my share of abusive comment, unsurprisingly many of them anon.

My advice? Write what the heck you want and to heck with the naysayers.

Why? Because you've been there and done that, and you're old enough to deserve to do what the heck you want with your space.

Regards,
November 12, 2007 | Unregistered Commenter Phil
Wow, it's amazing how entitled people feel these days. Going to free concert and having an audience member say the performer should repay them for their time. As Perry Ferrell (Jane's Addiction) spoke "If you've got some big fucking secret, why don't you sing me something"

Dave, I support your decision to mix your bike knowledge and opinions on other topics, even if I don't agree with it them. People have to learn to deal with whole human beings sometimes, not just topic-specific search engines.
November 12, 2007 | Unregistered Commenter msgr33
Anonymous 5:36:

I can’t believe your arrogance. If you achieve half as much as Dave Moulton in your lifetime you will be fortunate. Yet you have the audacity to say no one wants to hear his opinions, just because these are not in line with your opinions.

You are willing to pick his brains for knowledge about bicycles, but the man is not allowed to voice an opinion about anything else, you are way out of line.

I never had the opportunity to enjoy my teen and twenty years like you because I was drafted and went to Vietnam, but that is just another Grumpy Old Man talking.
November 12, 2007 | Unregistered Commenter Anonymous
I commented before on how hard it must be to keep coming up with something to write about every few days. There's only a certain amount of things one can talk about in the field of cycling before the subjects start repeating themselves. When someone gets into things like feminism, dressing for success, religion, or anything of that nature which is very subjective, there are going to be comments one may not like.

Me, I would love to hear some opinions and comments about road cycling safely for the older crowd, say middle aged and over. By safely, I'm don't mean avoiding accidents but rather safety from a health point of view. A what point do I have to give up the road bike or raise the handlebars a foot above the saddle? Not a day goes by that I don't hear of someone having a heart attack and dying while cycling, playing hockey, running, or any number of other athletic activities. I don't mind admitting that I'm starting to get a little uneasy every time I set out on my bike. Sometimes I wonder if all the effort I put into it is worth it.
November 12, 2007 | Unregistered Commenter Anonymous
The contemporary tech world has unleashed the worst in some and many of these myopic typists match their parents' mindset.

Now that's not pretty but it comes with the open house territory. Like the abandoned railroads, I still see much value, and hope you keep the faith. Bike knowledge alone is a poor substitute for the mix you've created.

You don't need thicker skin, it's the others who need to change.
Jack
November 12, 2007 | Unregistered Commenter Anonymous
Keep on writing, Dave. Don't let the turkeys get you down.

You're still in my RSS reader ;).
November 12, 2007 | Unregistered Commenter Anonymous
Hi Dave
Your posts are always well written, and well thought out. They are
informative and anyone who cares to read them with an open mind should
be able to see that. What's more, your blog is of a much higher
quality than most, probably because you are a published author. Many
bloggers write to a poor standard, and many many more commenters
likewise.

You have just experienced the very ugly side of the internet. For
someone to post abusive comments and insult you on your own site is
bad enough, but to do so anonymously is cowardly. Unfortulately the
internet is a haven for anonymous cowards.

I often think that the internet is like a pub/bar where all sorts of
people hang out - educated (by school or by life) and uneducated, open
minded and bigoted. And there's no security staff at the door to
prevent the obvious low lives from coming in.

You come from a generation where everyone wrote letters. It could take
several hours or even days to write a carefully considered letter,
wait for the post office to open, purchase a stamp and put the letter
in the postbox. There was always time in which a letter written in
haste or anger to be withheld from the post.

If people who post comments on blogs took a similar amount of time
before clicking the submit button, the internet might be a much more
pleasant place to spend time.

Personally I think that being required to register, and enter one's
name and email address is the minimum that anyone should be expected
to do before expressing an opinion.

I notice that many professional writers and journalists who also blog,
allow comments but NEVER respond to any of the comments. I suspect
that this is because they know that they can get dragged into
meaningless debates with ill informed commenters.

A professional writer like yourself expends a lot more energy in
considering and drafting anything that you write than most commenters
do. Frankly this energy is much better spent on your posts than
replying to comments. You can always post follow up posts if
necessary.
November 12, 2007 | Unregistered Commenter moultonbuzz
Post what you want and fuck them if they can't handle it. I don't always agree with your posts, but that post was relatively fine, although I have no idea why you used politically-charged terms like feminist when it has nothing to do with the article.

And I would just get rid of anonymous posting. Most people don't have the guts to post hostile things under their own name. I mean, if most of your conversation is about bicycles, who cares if you are anonymous or not.
November 12, 2007 | Unregistered Commenter Tarun
Stick to your guns, Dave. It seems that you struck a nerve among some young folks who have been cultivating their appearance based on today's fashion trends, and now they're lashing out at you because they feel a little silly.
November 12, 2007 | Unregistered Commenter johnb
I love your intelligent opinions and thoughts on biking and things in general. Opinions are not mistakes and having the guts to state your opinions in a public forum makes you more of a man than most.
November 12, 2007 | Unregistered Commenter Ringo
Still love your blog, Dave. You are a gentleman among scoundrels - don't let them cramp your style!

-Jim
Bicycle Commuter
November 12, 2007 | Unregistered Commenter Anonymous
It's your blog. Write what you want, and to hell with the whiners! Especially the gutless, anonymous ones.

I'm still reading.
November 12, 2007 | Unregistered Commenter Tim
Thanks for waking up the moonbats. I usually have to go to Chris Kulczycki's blog to see the kind of ranting your last post created! Keep up the good work, and I'll keep wearing ties.
-T-Bone
November 12, 2007 | Unregistered Commenter Anonymous
Dave

I just had to add my 2 cents. Reading todays post, I had to think back, "what the heck could people have gotten worked up about?". After re-reading the previous column, and the comments, it made me glad to know that I had read past the whole "feminism terminology" issue and got the point, which is that today's males for the most part dress like slobs. Being a former slob myself, I have been watching "What Not To Wear" with my wife, and have realized that I don't need to dress like I'm working in the garage, unless I'm working in the garage. I agree whole heartedly with your opinions on today's male fashion trends (or lack of fashion). I too wonder when it will turn around.

As far as the flamers go, I guess that may be the price of admission to the internet. I think the anonimity and instant result helps these people to stroke some part of their psyche and gives them some satisfaction that they are lacking in their real world. If they had to actually put it on paper, sign their name, and wait to mail it, they might think twice (or at least check their spelling).

Please continue with your fine work on this blog, both cycling topics and the less cycling related. I for one enjoy the poetry and storis as well. And if I find something offensive or worth commenting about, I am glad to have the opportunity to do so.
November 12, 2007 | Unregistered Commenter Bob J
Don't let the b*st*rds get you down Dave, you are doing a great job. "The dogs bark but the caravan rolls on." Keep on rolling, we are with you. --KP
November 12, 2007 | Unregistered Commenter KP
Dave, after I found your blog, I went all the way back to the first post, reading as I went. I enjoy this blog, learning about your life and frame building career, and your take on cycling whether I agree or not! :-)

One of the problems with the internet is that anonymous comment or not, many people leave their manners at the keyboard. I try to make it a habit of never typing something I wouldn't say to the recipient's face.

I think your rude anonymous poster is best categorised by the increasingly well known "Greater Internet Fuckwad Theory"
http://www.penny-arcade.com/images/2004/20040319h.jpg

I'll still check your blog regularly.
November 12, 2007 | Unregistered Commenter lemmiwinks
Dave, I love your writing. Even if I disagree I hope I don't do so in a horribly nasty way. You lay it all out in the open, and then some people skin you alive -- not nice.

The anonymous cowards who claim they unsubscribed from your RSS feed because of a single post they disagree with are the real losers.
November 12, 2007 | Unregistered Commenter Fritz
fjDave, Dave, Dave...I'm surprised no one has yet told you to "keep a stiff upper lip," so there, it's been said. Just fire up the ole Fuso, go for a ride and then have a spot o' tea when you get back to help you unwind. Blogs is as blogs are, so don't worry what other people think. It's YOUR blog and if people want to tune it out, then as you have said countless times in the past, it's their choice.

When you stray away from bike part of Dave Moulton's Bike Blog, you are definitely open to criticism, because it's your opinion against someone else's who will more than likely have experience in that arena also. If you had a blog that stated the proper angle for a head tube or the correct rake for a fork, well then, who am I to argue with you? However, as an old fart in his mid-50's (who rides a fixie, by the way...we can pick that bone later), I can tell you that if I walked down the street in my clothes from the 70's and 80's (ok, let's assume they still fit), I'm not sure I would be "stayin alive." My point being, styles change, just like the number of cogs on the rear wheel of a bike. Wide ties, narrow ties; long hair, short hair, no hair; shirts tucked in, shirts out; baggy jeans, tight jeans...it changes. I'm in agreement with you in terms of todays dress, but it is what it is. Old gals like us old guys dressed up, young gals like their guys dressed down. And who knows, in 10 years, we could go full circle and find ourselves wearing suits at work. It's clearly the Baby Boomers at work...and their offspring.

Keep blogging away because you always have something interesting to say, regardless of the topic. As that hit 1963 song proclaimed "It's your blog, you can type if you want to."
November 12, 2007 | Unregistered Commenter maltese falcon
Dave,
"Believe that sage about 'the fall of civilization' appropriate for this issue.
NEVER let one bad apple spoil the bunch!
November 12, 2007 | Unregistered Commenter wrw
Dave:

Don't give up the ship!! I, for one, enjoy your blogs immensely, even if I don't go along with everything 100%, But I appreciate hearing the thoughts, musings, and opinions of an intelligent person who happens to have been one of the best boutique framebuilders in the past 50 years.

Keep up the good work, and remember that those who "dis" you are only a small vocal portion of a much larger group who can't wait to hear what you'll expound on next.

your friend,

Bill in Pasadena
November 12, 2007 | Unregistered Commenter Bill in Pasadena
Hi Dave:

Here is what I know: Anyone who loves bikes, likes to ride'em, talk about'em, fix'em, take pictures of'em, and write about'em, usually is someone I would like to know. Bike lovers are courteous, they say hello or wave as they ride by. They look out for other riders. Last time I rode 101, I drafted a few riders who were complete strangers. I couldn't keep up with them for long, but while I was behind them, they warned me of a couple of upcoming road hazards, and we had a nice conversation while stopped at a light.

There is a reason you are getting lots of hits on your blog--it is a connection for all of us bike lovers to someone who is part of the history of biking over the last half century.

In a way, a blog that is open to the public invites all the kooks as well as those who are really interested and thoughtful about what you write. There is nothing wrong with disagreement and debate that is made with thought and respect.

Don't pay attention to the kooks, they are not your audience.
November 12, 2007 | Unregistered Commenter Moonlight Mark
Oh...and by the way, HAPPY 2ND BIRTHDAY!!
November 12, 2007 | Unregistered Commenter Maltese Falcon
Dave

Congrats in advance for year number three and keep up the good work. I really enjoy it. Don't even begin to sweat the haters.
November 13, 2007 | Unregistered Commenter todd
I'm keeping you in my reader. Time spent reading something may be an investment on the readers part, but there is no guarantee that the content is going to appeal to you. That's the chance you take as the investor. To expect anything is going to set yourself up for constant disappointment. The only person Dave Moulton should worry about satisfying is Dave Moulton.

That said I am here for knowledge and opinions, even if I don't agree with them. And I'm not saying that I don't, but if I were to, at least I know there are people who think different.

I really do not believe that Dave thinks the way he looks at the world is absolute truth.

I don't know, like others said, keep writing what you want. If someone doesn't like it they don't have to come back.
November 13, 2007 | Unregistered Commenter Gunnar
Dave,

You have my support, write whatever you feel like.

If others find it interesting or worth reading, they will keep reading, like I do. If they don't, they don't read them. Simple.

Ron
November 13, 2007 | Unregistered Commenter RonLau
i'm the writer of the previous "fuck off" comment and, well, i stand by it. you are entitled to be irritated with what i say just as i was irritated with your previous ill-informed posts on subjects other than cycling. i have always enjoyed your posts on cycling history and your informative posts on framebuilding. however, i can certainly do without his Grumpy Old Man Schtick, to the point that i would honestly rather not bother if i have to tolerate the two together.

your stated desire to disallow anonymous comments is telling. even if i comment anonymously, out of convenience, i'm fairly certain you can still look at my ip address. perhaps you should address the content of my post, rather than look for the name of a person to blame. i dont know what sort of reading you did after that post, but there are plenty of other blogs out there whose authors would be able to tell you in greater detail why your post is offensive.

one blind spot a lot of people seem to have is alternate interpretation of their stated opinions. my intent was to call you out about your use of "masculinist" as an alternative to "feminist", which was itself a reaction to a previous blog post of yours that others may have interpreted as sexist. perhaps that original post was - i dont think so myself, but you could have handled it in a much more thoughtful way than firing off some post about Those Damn Kids And Their Irritating Ways and, adding insult to injury, painting yourself as an anti-feminist reactionary in the process.

so that it cannot be said that i have not offered anything constructive, i will conclude with the following suggestions:

use tags on your posts, so that others can determine which entries are about cycling history, framebuilding, and simply Grumpy Old Man irritation.

or start a second blog, so that you can have an outlet for that particular schtick without lowering the signal-to-noise ratio for people who value your writing for your cycling expertise. your other blog will be linked from your personal profile, so others can find it, and if they find it distasteful, like i do, they can avoid it more easily.

realize that cultural standards evolve, perhaps not in the way that you find pleasant, and make an effort to understand them rather than reacting against them in a knee jerk fashion.

and yes, grow a thicker skin.

---rigel in san francisco
November 13, 2007 | Unregistered Commenter rigel
rigel in san francisco,

I thought you were leaving, don't let the screen door catch you.

JHP
November 13, 2007 | Unregistered Commenter Anonymous
Rigel,

Why couldn't you have posted something so well reasoned in the first place?

To my mind telling someone to f off for speaking their mind is just rude. Perhaps you pepper your language with 4 letter expletives such that you dont deem it an inappropriate response to someone's blog post. You might not agree with what Dave said, I don't particularly either, but your manner of choice for expressing your distaste is bang out of order, and then you have cheek to go on to say that the author of said blog is guilty of not responding in a thoughtful way. You evidently poured ohurs of thought and meditiation into your original invective.

Ben
(Exeter, UK)
November 13, 2007 | Unregistered Commenter Anonymous
I enjoy you comments on cycling and life in general. I appreciate the historical perspective and a peep at the evolution of cycling over the last few decades and I like the sprinkling of opinion. That's not to say we're of the same mind on everything, but I enjoy a different perspective and it adds to my life experience. Hell, if I just wanted to see things from my view, I could just sit around and ponder my own wisdom all day. I, too, may be considered a cranky old bastard by some, but I've earned it. Keep it up. As to folks who want pure cycle tech, let them get their reading elsewhere.
JBar
November 13, 2007 | Unregistered Commenter Anonymous
Ben -
"Perhaps you pepper your language with 4 letter expletives such that you dont deem it an inappropriate response to someone's blog post."

correct. i do. go ahead and start your finger-wagging, i'm used to it.

which one cheapens the discourse more, my liberal use of the word "fuck" or trying to assert that People Shouldnt Say What They Think Because It Hurts My Feelings?

JHP - i said "removing it from my RSS reader", not "leaving." lurn 2 reed.
November 13, 2007 | Unregistered Commenter rigel
I still like your blog a lot Dave, and I always check for new posts, though I am one of the readers who prefers the cycling articles to the off-topic stuff.
November 13, 2007 | Unregistered Commenter mander
Rigel states: "...and make an effort to understand them rather than reacting against them in a knee jerk fashion."

Right back at you with your own comment. I believe Dave was trying to do just that with his follow up post - making an effort to understand and not react in a "knee jerk fashion". Hope you are able to follow your own advice.

foc42l

Gene in Tacoma
November 14, 2007 | Unregistered Commenter Anonymous
Dave, please keep writing! I read your blog because I want to know what someone of your generation and with your experiences thinks about cycling and all the issues it touches.

To all those who say to stick to bikes, that's ridiculous. This is your blog, and you define what exactly is "off-topic" here.

Also, is cycling really not related to politics? Riding a bike, like almost everything, is inherently a political act.
November 14, 2007 | Unregistered Commenter John
yes
I too blog in a less than anonymous fashion
there are attacks
there are negative comments
hecklers
and then the occasional person who threatens to no longer read my blog

the only compliment I get is that people keep coming back

your frames are beautiful
your blog is good

stay the course
November 15, 2007 | Unregistered Commenter gwadzilla
Hi-

I just don't see the controversy in your previous post.

I've just turned 30 and I can't believe how badly my other (mostly male) peers dress, look and carry themselves. When I encounter any person who dresses and looks like a slob for reasons that obviously don't includepoverty or mental illness, I lose most of my respect for them. Sorry, I feel the same way about most really overweight people, especially younger people. I know from personal experience that it is incredibly easy to let oneself go, in dress as well as in body, and that it is incredibly hard and takes a great deal of perseverance to get those things back. Sorry, I worked and continue to work very hard to look good and dress well, and although those things might be considered "shallow" by some, that image is part of the currency of social capital that we all live with. When I shave before work and put on decent clothes, get dressed up to go to dinner with my wife, and when I get up every morning in the dark to run or ride or lift weights, I do those things in part to show respect for the gifts I have been given, namely a healthy body, a loving wife, and a job that recognizes my talents and supports my goals. Similarly, when I keep my bikes clean and maintained, I'm showing respect and gratitude for the fact that I am lucky enough to have them.

That's what I got out of your post. Being a guy, I also have certainly noticed the preponderance of attractive girl/slob guy pairs and I see the guy's deportment as the most outward expression of that lack of respect, though sadly i think this must be paired with some lack of self-respect on the part of the girl.
November 21, 2007 | Unregistered Commenter Anonymous
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