The Inner Ring is a blog about cycling and cycle sport, especially pro cycling.
News, comment, opinion and chat feature here. The aim is to give a different take on the sport and sometimes have a look at things that might get overlooked by the mainstream cycle sport media.
It’s only a blog, half the point is to ramble through things, to think aloud, to dip in and out of subjects. There’s no overriding aim. That said, many thanks to all the readers who visit and I’ve been lucky enough to write pieces for Cyclesport, cyclingnews.com, Bicycling and Pro Cycling magazine as well.
Sometimes I think pieces on here are too long-winded, it’s only a blog and I don’t usually have time to edit each piece. By contrast, the concise action happens over on Twitter under the username “inrng”.
But here are some quick thoughts that underpin my take on cycling:
- riding a bike is a pleasure and whether it’s to the shops or in a peloton, the bike is fun.
- pro cycling is relentlessly commercial. Early races were created to sell newspapers and to this day the sport sees teams named after brands, companies and even countries. It’s both sport and business, I prefer the sport but find the business side interesting.
- in over 100 years we’ve seen some wonderful tales of heroism and effort that surpass sport and ensure you forget the money.
- despite naked money and commercialism the sport takes place on open roads, passing cities, towns, villages and fields which ties the sport in with many varied terrains and regions.
- analysis and nonsense can go together. I might quote the rulebook or examine legal issues from time to time but it’s worth retaining a sense of humour with silly pictures or amusing stories.
One of the best things is putting out ideas and views and then seeing readers respond via comments, email and twitter.
I started it in February 2010 and it got going as the cycling season picked up. Since then it’s become increasingly well read. After finding thousands were coming to read every day I moved to a dedicated website and smartened up the graphics a bit with help from matthewmorris.co.uk who provided useful advice and speedy design work.
I picked the name The Inner Ring because of the “inner” or “insider” connotations and in case you didn’t know, because “inner ring” means the smaller chainring on a bike in English. It’s also a nod to climbing in the mountains, something I usually enjoy.
If you see any images on here with the INRNG watermark in the corner then you can buy them, for example as a hi-res download or as a print and even on a mug. I normally resize images to a width of 700 pixels or less but the hi-res version usually look great. It works like this:
- Head to http://corvos.smugmug.com and browse, eg “The 2013 roadrace season”
- You can then buy the image (without the watermark) online just like you’d buy anything else online
- I don’t make a cent here but the photographer does and I’m only to happy to help.
- I often get readers asking where I get the time and this always surprises me. I have a day job and it’s typically just 5-10 minutes to write something, find a photo and then press “publish”. This probably explains the typos, links that don’t work or factual bungles, I’m not “crafting” every piece. Modern technology helps me do this just about anywhere.
- The blog is pseudonymous which helps to separate cycling from the day job. I might update things over breakfast or lunch but as in the point above, some people seem to think I spend ages at it. I don’t. But if some of you have this impression then those I work with could also get the wrong idea too and for the time being, less hassle means more content on here. This is frustrating as it often prevents more personal involvement and exchange but there are benefits, it is also a mechanism to ensure the blog is about pro cycling and not me. After all there’s a lot happening in pro cycling and consequently this blog is more interesting than me and what I ate for breakfast.
If you have any other questions, just ask. Because if there’s no name for now, it’s not like I can’t be reached. I normally reply to every email, read every reader comment frequently respond to these and am on Twitter too.