Bike advocate, transportation cyclist, bike blogger, community bike shop volunteer. These are a few of the terms that describe Tim, the writer behind An Old Guy on 2 Wheels, who lives and blogs in Austin, Texas.
I began reading An Old Guy on 2 Wheels when I was going through my Surly Big Dummy infatuation. The errands and shopping Tim could do with that bike made me ponder a world where everyone ditched their cars and owned something like a Big Dummy. It’s a great visual.
I was soon reading about Tim’s volunteer work with the Austin Yellow Bike Project, the build-up of his custom randonneuring bike, in addition to his book reviews and reflections on transportation policy. Good stuff. Thank you, Tim, for being part of the On Writing & Riding series!
1. If you were to write one sentence summarizing your blog, what would it say?
A cycling curmudgeon shouting into the great Internet echo chamber.
2. What prompted you to start your blog and why did you choose to write about bicycling?
Mostly as a creative outlet. I enjoy writing, especially when it is not a task. I also started the blog initially to document my training/fitness efforts. Then I got involved in local advocacy and decided to start commenting on that effort.
3. How did you come up with your blog’s name?
I don’t remember exactly. I was sitting staring at the setup screen on WordPress trying to come up with something. I think it may come from the self-deprecation I like to practice. One part of that is making fun of my advancing age.
4. Who are you writing for? Do you have a particular audience in mind?
I like to delude myself that I’m reaching out to non-cyclists but I know my audience is limited to mostly people who already use a bicycle. So I try to mix it up by sharing the joy, sharing some snarky viewpoints and in the event that non-cyclists stop by, try to show them we’re not at all kooky.
5. You ride for transportation, are a utility cyclist, volunteer your time at the Austin Yellow Bike Project, and also write about bicycle advocacy. You are such a multifaceted cyclist, Tim. Give that, what aspects of bicycling do you enjoy writing about? Are there common threads across all of the types of bicycling activities in which you are involved?
First and foremost is the joy and freedom of the bicycle. Regardless of the reason for riding, there is recreation in every ride. What BikeSnob calls the “alchemy of the mundane.”
Second is the practical nature of the bicycle. It’s simple, easy to maintain and provides great utility. The low impact doesn’t hurt too much.
6. What are your favorite parts of being a blogger?
Trying to come up with clever things to write. I hope that I can entertain my audience.
7. Was there anything about maintaining a blog that surprised you?
I thought I would really have to work hard at it. Fortunately the tools available these days allow you to focus on the writing and not worry about format, appearance, etc.
8. Do you have any favorite posts? What are they?
9. What tips do you have for someone who is interested in starting their own blog?
Start with a free site (WordPress, Blogger, etc.). Just write. Regular posts will gain you readership. Read other blogs. Comment and correspond with other bloggers. Don’t limit yourself to your particular subject.
10. What did I forget to ask you that I should have?
“What are your favorite bike blogs?”
- Chasing Mailboxes (Editor’s note: Unsolicited! :))
- shebicycles (although she stopped posting sometime last year – sabbatical maybe?)