It's fair to say that bicycles have dominated Patrick Brady's life for the last 25 years or so. From riding them, to making his living as a bike mechanic while going to graduate school, to writing about them for a great many publications, Patrick has devoted his career to bikes and bike culture.
Patrick launched Red Kite Prayer in 2009 as an alternative to the other cycling media sites. No less an authority on all things active than Outside Magazine named RKP the best blog in cycling. He is the recipient of a Lowell Thomas Award for his travel writing. Before that he was founder and publisher of Asphalt Magazine, an editor for Bicycle Guide and The Ride, and the highly respected blog Belgium Knee Warmers. His work has also appeared in Peloton, Bicycling, Road Bike Action, Paved and more.
“Why We Ride” is a different sort of cycling book, one that takes the cycling jones and spit-shines it so that it reflects why so many of us stick with the bike even as other elements of our lives may change. It’s a book that asks why we’re willing to get up early, to ride in the cold, the rain, even the cold rain, and somehow count that as a good time.
Within the pages are a series of essays, meditations and prose poems on what makes cycling an indispensable part of our lives, and why it is that even the briefest ride has the power to make the gloomiest day better.
Cycling isn’t just one pursuit. A love of cycling can serve as the foundation for half a dozen different hobbies. Sure, there’s the riding—let’s never forget the childlike joy that can come from a good ride. There’s the camaraderie that comes from the shared challenge of a ride. There’s also the fascination for the machine itself, a device that can be as artful as it is elegant in its simplicity. What of the myriad ways a ride can keep our heads straight? From the stress-relief of a hard ride to the contemplative quality of an easy solo ride, cycling feeds more than just cardiovascular fitness. If it was just exercise, most of us would have been gone years ago.
Most of what’s been published about cycling in book form either tells you what someone else did—biographies and surveys of the great races, or what you could do—fix-it manuals and guide books. Like a book of poetry, “Why We Ride” is a volume you won’t read just once. It’s a volume you’ll return to again and again, the sort of book you might read just before bed, one that will put the bug in your ear; as you turn out your bedside lamp you’ll be thinking, “I’m riding tomorrow; no ifs, ands or buts.”
How many books will do you that favor?
The book draws from work composed over the last six years, a period in which I produced my very best work. Much of the work has appeared previously in different publications, but if we hit our stretch goals (see below), I’ll be including some previously unpublished pieces.
I’ve wanted to bring these pieces together in book form to reflect the permanence of our love for the sport. Equipment may change, but the reasons we ride are no different today than they were when we were kids. Cycling deserves at least one volume that will stand the test of time.