Posts Tagged ‘VeloNews’

Man at work

September 2, 2016
Your Humble Narrator in the salad days, covering a race in Bibleburg.

Your Humble Narrator in the salad days, covering a race in Bibleburg.

While cranking out a column and cartoon to commemorate the upcoming 25th anniversary of the launching of the good ship Bicycle Retailer and Industry News back in 1992, it struck me that I was approaching a milestone of my own — as of today, I have been a full-time freelancer for 25 years.

That is not a typo.

After quitting my seventh and final newspaper gig, at The New Mexican up Santa Fe way, I raced the Record Challenge in Moriarty on Sunday, Sept. 1, 1991 (56:43 for 40km, a personal best), and the very next day I was up north in Bibleburg, trying to figure out how a burned-out newspaperman might pay for his bacon and beans.

I had three things going for me. One, I had been freelancing cartoons and light journalism to VeloNews since March 1989, and I began doing more of that, helping cover (now-defunct) races like La Vuelta de Bisbee, the Casper Classic, and the Cactus Cup, and lending a hand with copy-editing and production up in Boulder.

Two, Marc Sani at BRAIN wanted a comic strip for his brand-new industry magazine, and before long I was writing some stuff for him, too.

And three, Herself and I were living rent-free with my mom, who was in the early stages of Alzheimer’s and required oversight. So we’re not exactly talking Hemingway-in-Paris here; we had a roof over our heads, three hots and a cot, and a small allowance for serving as live-in help while my sister managed Mom’s finances from Fort Collins.

At first I could and did work for anyone. But eventually the VeloNews and BRAIN gigs led to other work in the bike biz, and after a while that’s all I did. It’s hard to believe, but a guy could actually earn a semi-OK living scribbling for bicycle magazines, and eventually, bicycle websites. Who knew? Not me. Not until I had 15 years of newspapering under my belt, anyway.

Today I work for BRAIN and Adventure Cyclist, period. It’s not exactly heavy lifting. I get to make shit up for the one and play with other people’s toys for the other. I should be paying them, not the other way around.

You guys, of course, get the dubious benefits of 40 years’ experience for free. You’re welcome.


Throwback Thursday

April 10, 2014
The cover of VeloNews, Vol. 18, No. 3, March 10, 1989, the first issue to contain an O'Grady cartoon.

The cover of VeloNews, Vol. 18, No. 3, March 10, 1989, the first issue to contain an O’Grady cartoon.

As I was dozing off last night it struck me that I missed an anniversary of sorts last month.

On March 10, 1989, I drew my first cartoon for VeloNews.

Good God awmighty. Have I really been cracking lame bike jokes for more than 25 years?


And my, how times have changed.

In 1989, I was still a real journalist (kinda, sorta) instead of a free-lance rumormonger, flailing away in a series of unsung editorial capacities for The New Mexican in Santa Fe, periodically shifting to a new desk in the newsroom as I wore out my welcome at the old one.

The VeloNews thing was my first real free-lance gig. I had applied for a job there, as managing editor, and happily for everyone concerned, I didn’t get it. But management liked the cartoons, and you know the rest.

Himself, in all his (ahem) glory.

Himself, in all his (ahem) glory.

Then as now, I drew in pencil, pen and ink, on Bristol board. But the ’toons were in black and white, and the originals FedExed from Santa Fe to Boulder.

At some point I scored a Mac SE, a 2400-baud Hayes modem, and an AOL account. But the early Innertubes were ill-equipped for transmitting the Old Guy Who Gets Fat In Winter from Santa Fe to Boulder, even in black and white, though VeloNews soon set up a BBS for catching incoming stories and was one of the early pioneers homesteading the World Wide Web.

I don’t draw for Velo, the slick successor to VeloNews. But I still do my “Shop Talk” strip for Bicycle Retailer and Industry News. And those bad boys are digitized, colorized and shot through the Innertubes like ICBMs (Intercontinental Burlesque Missiles) to Laguna Hills, California, along with my “Mad Dog Unleashed” column.

All of which means I can have an editor mumbling, “Aw, f’chrissakes, lookit this fuggin’ thing,” in seconds instead of days.


"Shop Talk," the strip I do for BRAIN. Mostly it features the Mud Stud and Dude; occasionally, the Fat Guy and other characters appear.

“Shop Talk,” the strip I do for BRAIN. Mostly it features the Mud Stud and Dude; occasionally, the Fat Guy and other characters appear.

Friday funnies redux

October 12, 2012
What are YOU on?

What am I on? Back in 2000, I was on VeloNews.

More Dark Ages cartoonery: This time you can blame Khal Spencer, who in comments recalled a VeloNews ‘toon I drew back in 2000, which seems like an awfully long time ago, in part because it was. And yet it seems so … timely, for some strange reason.

This may have been the introduction of a nameless recurring character, a reptilian dope fiend who, like the Fat Guy, grew progressively uglier as the years dragged on. Though the Fat Guy, of course, has yet to test positive for anything stronger than gravy.

And now for something completely different

July 9, 2010

Ho, hum. Another break, another chase, another catch, another sprint. Cha-ching. Pay the little man with the big mouth and even bigger legs, please.

The same ol’, same ol’, will not apply beyond Sunday, however. The Tour is headed for the Alps, and while the conventional wisdom is that the race will not be won there, it certainly may be lost there.

VeloNews editor at large John Wilcockson, who has covered some eleventy-seven Tours, has tagged Big Tex as the man to watch, writing, “Everyone here is saying that the Texan is looking much stronger than last year. …”

As for Tex his own bad self, he says coyly, “I would look for more animation in my tactics.”

Well, yeah. If I were 50 seconds behind Alberto Contador going into the mountains I’d want to pump it up a notch or two or three. Maybe have Janez Brajkovic park himself on El Pistolero’s wheel and chatter away breezily in Slovenian. “Jebo te bog! Zdaj se boš pa še opravičeval!” (“God will fuck you! Now you’ll really be sorry!”)

Of course, eventually you have to catch and pass those two 20-something hill-climbing sonsabitches. But that’s another story, one yet to be written.

Apocalypse now

July 7, 2010

There ain’t nothing like that first week of the Tour, boys and girls. And this has been a particularly bad first few days, what with various other chores coinciding with my need to work five days a week for three weeks at

After 20 years of cracking lame cycling gags I occasionally find myself with a nasty case of writer’s block, and wouldn’t you know it? This was one of those times. And me with deadlines at Bicycle Retailer & Industry News (two columns and a “Shop Talk” cartoon strip) and VeloNews (editorial cartoon).

Never get out of the fuckin' boat!

Never get out of the fuckin' boat!

I pushed the envelope so far it turned inside out, creating a wormhole that took me to an alternate universe containing a Patrick O’Grady who was still about half funny. Happily, when I showed up my dopplegänger was asleep under his drawing board with an empty bottle of tonsil polish in one limp paw (some things transcend time and space), so I appropriated his work and returned to my own universe just in time to beat my deadlines.

But is this my universe? Lance Armstrong is not winning the Tour — far from it, he sits in 18th place, 2:30 behind Fabian Cancellara, and is getting heckled by spectators calling him “dopehead” and “cheat.” And Mark Cavendish is getting his ass handed to him in the sprints. The renowned sprinter Andy Schleck has more points than Cav’, f’chrissakes.

Shit. I should’ve listened to Chef. “Never get out of the boat.” Not even to beat a deadline.

Missed the TdF Round Table?

July 2, 2010

Here’s an instant replay (it’s only a model):

I tried to get my colleague Charles Pelkey to kick off today’s round table with this YouTube clip but he wasn’t having any of it. Something about a wife, two kids and a mortgage. I didn’t get it. Not the two-kids part, anyway.

Conference call

November 11, 2009
It was a tad warm — 50-something, and in November — to wear my brand-new VeloNews coat in Winter Park.

It was a tad warm — 50-something, and in November — to wear my brand-new VeloNews coat in Winter Park.

Saw a beautiful sunrise yesterday. I’d have taken a picture, but I was northbound at 80 mph surrounded by people who were hellbent on maiming and/or killing me, so I kept my attention focused on the task at hand, which was making it safely to Winter Park for day two of the annual VeloNews retreat.

This required me to get up at 4 a.m., which was not pleasant. Picture the monster arising from Dr. Frankenstein’s table, red murder in his freshly undead eyes. During an unpleasant spell in the early Eighties, when I worked for an afternoon daily in Oregon, I had to be on the job at this miserable hour, and I never got used to it.

But at least there was work to be done. Meetings prevent the doing of work. While you’re sitting there around the big table, giving your tonsils a good airing, the work is waiting patiently for you to get back to it. Unlike you, work has plenty of time. Meetings also provide the illusion of democracy when in fact business is dictatorial. Sooner or later someone in authority will tell everyone to shut the fuck up and get back to work. But never soon enough.

To be sure, the occasional nugget of intelligence glistens in the dungheap: stats on what is selling, what is growing dusty on the shelves and who is buying; hints about where The Company will direct money and resources, and where it will withhold same; the sort of news a guy can get electronically these days, without the need for a six-hour round trip via Subaru.

But one thing a guy can’t get electronically is a free lunch and a nifty official VeloNews jacket from Descente. So I’ve got that going for me.

• Extra-credit reading: has a sister site devoted to mountain biking, It’s relatively new, and doesn’t have a related magazine to drive eyeballs its way, so I’m pitching you this link to get your opinions about the site. Gimme your thoughts on too. Think of it as a meeting that you won’t get paid for, but don’t have to drive to.