Sunday, November 28, 2010

Pondero Un-Cropped?

I can relate to the introductory and insightful comments made by Jon Grinder in his Two Wheels blog post, titled "Feedback", from November 14, 2010. Since reading it, I've been thinking further about a blog author's motivation and his desire to connect with other like-minded enthusiasts. Especially, when those so enthused are rare in the local geography.

Believing I have a pretty good sense about what I'm trying to do with this patch of blog prairie, I wondered how much my blog-land friends, many of whom I'm unlikely to meet in person, are like me. And as I wondered, a few questions came to mind.

As bloggers, how much of ourselves do we really present to the world? Like photos cropped to omit signs, a passing car, or roadside litter to present a more attractive visual image, do our words present an over-idealistic version of ourselves to others?

If we chose words that were a more complete picture of our true identity, would anyone read or provide the "feedback" to which Jon refers? Likewise, because some of us have chosen to spend most of our blog efforts somehow related to the bicycle, do non-bike-geek readers think of us as one-dimensional?

I'll confess that I've wondered if my blog friends met me, and knew my multi-dimensional self, whether there would be disappointment. So how about a totally un-cropped, un-photoshoped view of Pondero? Nah, I think not.

But if I were to widen the field of view just a bit, I'd want you to understand one thing. This blog is recreational for me. The minimal creative work of taking a few snapshots, and writing a few sentences, is mentally refreshing. The time on the bike is physically and mentally refreshing. Blogging about the bicycle outing, and presenting it just the way I like it, is like ordering the value meal combo.

Meanwhile, the more important substance of life, the reality rather than the escape, is the stuff...perhaps too often...lying on the edit room floor.


  1. Overidealistic? Actually, the road probably didn't stink as much as I might have led people to believe, but it DID have an aroma.

    Blogs are to tell the story we want to tell - mostly to ourselves. That and to pick up the multimillion dollar paycheck.

  2. Back in September I met a long term reader of my blog, whom I didn't even know existed, at a social function. Since I rarely post photos of myself, he figured out who I was after 20 minutes of casual conversation. When he realized who I was, he turned to his wife and said, "This is that hard core bicycle blogger I talk about". I looked at her and said, "Yeah, hard to believe, but....uhmmm...yeah...I'm hard core". It's funny, because I write about all the hard core riding I do. But all the riding really is only a fraction of my life. And I really don't look hard core in person. There is so much more to me than what appears on my blog. Not terribly interesting. But it's there.

  3. "Blogs are to tell the story we want to tell..." - Steve A

    "There is so much more to me than what appears on my blog." - Doug

    Great thoughts, guys. Thanks.

  4. As a personal friend who doesn't bicycle, I don't read your blog because I enjoy bicycling. I read your blog because I enjoy the friendship I find in the 'non-blog' portion of your life. That's why I'm interested in the digitized version of my photo-cropping, biking, poet friend.

  5. I think my blog presents a sanitized (cropped) version of me. I'm sure I sound more interesting in my blog than I am in person. I sometimes wonder how far outside of cycling I should venture. I almost never mention my job, I refuse to discuss politics, religion, or anything that might lead to heated discussions, there's a whole lot of internet available for that kind of stuff. My blogging, like my rides, is mostly stress relief, so I try keep things mostly positive.

    Now that I've met you and known you for a while, I can say that your blog is a pretty good representation of you. You're a thinker who appreciates things that most people overlook.

  6. Great post. I, too, enjoy the process of dealing with photographs, and trying to find words to describe my rides, quite a bit.

    It's sort of become a cycle. I go on a ride ... well, it wouldn't do much good to go on a ride and see a bunch of beautiful sights, and not get photos of any of them, would it? And then, what good are photos if they just sit on my hard drive, never being seen by anyone? And then, what good are my photos without a supporting narrative? I almost feel compelled to ride/photograph/edit photos/write. And usually I could add "map" in there somewhere as well.

    And yes, we certainly present a limited picture of ourselves on our blogs. However, I think in many cases, the same could be true in other areas of life as well. Most people at work have some idea that I ride, if for no other reason than I show up in a helmet each day, but most of them have no idea the extent of my bicycle obsession. I don't talk about it much around the office.

  7. Michael makes an interesting point. My mother reads my blog and I think she finds it interesting because it presents a side of me she doesn't really see. She is well aware of my bicycle obsession, but my blog gives her a much better idea of what it really means to ride a bicycle all day in a remote area.

    If mom didn't read, I might sanitize a bit less ;)

  8. Great post Chris, and a little spooky, as I was thinking along very similar lines.

    I too have become increasingly interested in the relationship between the 'blog-self' and the real-self. The blog affords us the opportunity to reinvent ourselves; for some bloggers, I imagine that this is a complete reinvention, where one unconciously and unintentionally assumes a completely different character.

    Others, like you say Chris, present a partial 'letterbox' view of their real selves, the side that they'd like to express more fully than their everyday social circumstance allows.

    As for me? I'm probably nearer the latter - although everyone, when writing, tends to find a voice that's different from the one they use everyday.

    Moreover, blogging is a unique form of expression, at once public and private - a way of finding others who share your world view, however 'niche', and for that I'm grateful.

  9. The thing I like about blogging is that it's recreation, but it's also about connecting. It's that conversation I want to have with somebody who really likes biking, but I can't have it with our neighbor, because he doesn't like biking the way I do.

    Anyways, I'm really happy with my blog (although I haven't done much lately) because I get to hear from you and a bunch of other cool people.

  10. Chris,
    First off, I don't agree with you on - "I'll confess that I've wondered if my blog friends met me, and knew my multi-dimensional self, whether there would be disappointment".

    You are a very cool gentleman. That we are multifaceted is what makes us all the more interesting, whether or not we reveal it through our blogs.

    Keep up the great work!

    Peace :)

  11. I really appreciate all the interesting and thoughtful comments to this post. I believe each of you revealed a little more of yourself to admire with your words. Thanks also for the encouragement.

  12. As to whether blogs reveal our "true selves", I would say definitely, although that essence of self is delivered quite often through the subtext of what we choose to present and, importantly, through the voice with which we present it. We only talk bikes (mostly), but we choose to present our version of the idealized, preferable bike world, whether it be epic or mundane. The content and tone surely must offer a glimpse of the other facets of self because those other layers must not differ too much from out "bike selves". Do they?