Last week I found out that my position as managing editor of CyclingTips.com had been made redundant. After almost 10 years spent working for the site, it was all over in a meeting that came out of the blue and lasted less than 10 minutes. I was one of four at CyclingTips to lose my job that day.
I shared some feelings briefly on Twitter in the days that followed, but I wanted to use my platform here to go into a little more detail. To be honest, I’m writing this as much for my own benefit as anything else – trying to process what’s happened and what it all means. If you get something from reading this too, great. If you’d rather close this page right now, I certainly won’t hold it against you.
Joining CyclingTips back in February 2013 was a risk. I’d been in a stable job that I enjoyed and coming over meant taking a pay cut and joining a fledgling startup with no guarantee of success. But I’d always enjoyed what Wade Wallace had done with CT and I was already blogging about cycling at this very site, so getting the chance to make cycling journalism my career seemed like a great opportunity. Plus Wade promised I’d get to go and cover the Tour de France that year, which I did.
In fact, I got to cover the Tour a total of five times between 2013 and 2022: in 2013, 2015, 2016 and 2017 for the men’s Tour, and in 2022 for the inaugural Tour de France Femmes. Looking back, I got a whole bunch of travel opportunities thanks to my position at CyclingTips. I travelled to various parts of Australia, but also to France, Switzerland, Italy, Austria, Germany, Andorra, Spain, Hong Kong, China, Azerbaijan, the UAE, Japan, Israel, and Indonesia.
As I wrote when Wade left CyclingTips earlier this year, I have a lot to thank him for. Not just for bringing me on board initially and for the travel experiences that followed, but for giving me a place to hone my craft as an editor and journalist.
“Wade’s always encouraged me to get more out of myself, given me space to push in directions I wanted to, and always supported and believed in me along the way,” I wrote on CyclingTips in August. “And ultimately, it’s thanks to Wade that I’ve spent almost a decade in the best job imaginable – writing about bikes for a living.”
Beyond the work itself, the thing I’ll remember most fondly from CyclingTips is the great people I’ve had the pleasure of working with.
So much of the community feedback about last week’s layoffs highlighted that it’s not just great content that makes CT what it is, but the people as well. I have to agree. It’s rare to find a job where your colleagues aren’t just great at what they do, but they’re also lovely people you enjoy spending time with.
I’m truly going to miss working with everyone on the CyclingTips team. Not having that opportunity going forward leaves me feeling really sad.
And that’s the main feeling I’m left with after this whole thing: sadness. I’m sad to be leaving behind a bunch of mates I worked so closely with for so long. Sad that I don’t get to make content for one of the world’s coolest cycling websites anymore. Sad that I don’t get to help others get the best out of their content (and themselves) any more. Sad that after pouring so much of myself into the site for so long, it all came to such an abrupt and unexpected end.
Ever since I got laid off, I’ve kept having these little realisations about things that are now gone. I don’t get to cover the Aussie summer races for CyclingTips any more. I don’t get to go back and cover the women’s Tour de France for CT again. I’m no longer able to help my mates bring their awesome content to life. I imagine realisations like this will keep coming for a little while yet.
I know I’m not the only one that’s hurting. Two of my now-former colleagues, Iain Treloar and James Huang, have written lovely pieces about the mood in the CT camp after last week’s redundancies (follow the links on their names to read their stories). And judging by the comments on those articles and on various forums, the CyclingTips community is equally upset by what went down.
While much of my time at CyclingTips was spent editing and producing other people’s work, I also created my fair share of content. By my best estimate, I leave CT having contributed more than 1,500 stories under my own byline. Going back over them this week leaves me feeling incredibly proud of the work that I did, and confident that, given the opportunity, I can create plenty more great stuff in the future.
For anyone that’s interested, here are some of my favourites pieces from my time at CyclingTips:
My top favourites
The stuff I’m most proud of.
- Finding Mr X – a long-form investigative feature with my friend and colleague Iain Treloar. This was months of (harrowing) work but turned out great.
- The Chaos Tour: The bike race that had it all (and almost never happened) – A deep dive into an amazing 2005 edition of the Jayco Herald Sun Tour, in all its chaotic glory.
- Roadtripping Bali – A first-hand account of riding bikes with mates in an amazing place.
- Choose Your Own Bike Race: Milan-San Remo – Another collaboration with Iain, this one riffing off those old Choose Your Own Adventure books at a time when bike races weren’t happening due to COVID.
- Choose Your Own Bike Race: Tour of Flanders – The same as above.
A collection of stories about my own riding or time spent covering the sport.
- One crash stole my confidence – three years later, one descent brought it back
- Hot as hell at the Tour Down Under
- The path of new beginnings
- What it’s like climbing to 4,300m (as a lowlander who hasn’t acclimatised)
Bike racing essays
Some of my favourite stories from covering bike races. These ones go beyond the “who won” and focus on human stories and emotions.
- The day the Tour was blown apart
- Jubilation, devastation and the hug that bound them
- The agonising joy of a first pro win
- Sun Tour stand-off: Why Porte and Woods surrendered on stage 4
- The making of a champion: Sarah Gigante’s extraordinary Nationals win
A selection of first-hand accounts from various cycling-related travel adventures.
- The flawed beauty of the Tour of Guangxi: a first-hand account
- The Giro d’Israel: a first-hand perspective of the controversial ‘Big Start’
- Cycling Shimanami: Exploring Japan’s Inland Sea by bike
Cycling adventure stories
A handful of stories about making the most of riding in one’s local area.
- The app that adds adventure to your everyday riding
- 85 km within 2 km of home: Riding every street in a suburb without a map
- How to find the optimal cycling route
I love writing in-depth features about various subjects. Here are some of my favourites.
- Cycling in the metaverse: How will bike riding change as the internet evolves?
- Can you be sued for causing a group-ride crash?
- How ‘green waves’ can make inner-city cycling safer and more efficient
- The oBike explosion: What it means for cycling, cities, and our data privacy
- How to design a bike race course
- Why Wollongong? How New South Wales got the 2022 Road World Championships
- Life beyond cycling: Does Drapac’s public image match reality?
- The Turbine: Backed by science or a simple placebo?
I’ve always loved the intersection between the worlds of academia and cycling and it’s been a pleasure getting to write some research-based articles over the years. Here’s a selection:
- Listen up: Why cyclists are at risk of hearing loss
- Bicycle speed wobbles: How they start and how to stop them
- Push and pull: The surprising physics of a too-close pass
A handful of interview-based stories I’m particularly proud of.
- Where are they now? Cadel Evans, Australian cycling icon, 2011 Tour de France winner
- ‘Commentary is a bit of closure for me’: Gracie Elvin on trading bike for mic
- Richie Porte Q&A: On fatherhood, Tour de Suisse, Le Tour and BMC’s future
- Paralympian Michael Gallagher opens up about his EPO doping: ‘It’s a good thing I got caught’
- One sick cyclist, 14 banned drugs, and a four-year ban: Michael Gallagher Q&A
- Explainer: Is a $2,000 fine and community service fair for killing a cyclist?
Behind the scenes features
It’s always fun to go behind closed doors and report what you find.
- Behind the scenes of Drapac’s big step up
- Behind closed doors at the Tour Down Under with Katusha-Alpecin
- Story behind the story: Imperfect information on the road to Stanley
A handful of additional stories that don’t fit into the categories above, but which I still love.
- The weird and wonderful world of AI-generated images for cycling
- Feel the rush: The story of the Tour Down Under’s polarising theme song
- Flying with your bike: Tips from a baggage handler
- Hidden motors for road bikes exist: here’s how they work – The most-read story in CT history.
The very last article I published for CyclingTips was this one, a story based on an interview I recently did with one of the rising stars of Australia racing, Sarah Gigante. I was really happy with how the interview and article turned out, so I can think of far worse articles to be my last for CyclingTips.
So what’s next for me? I’m not sure. I’m going to take some time to process it all, to spend time with my family, and maybe get to some other projects I’ve been meaning to tackle but haven’t had time for. And beyond that, who knows!
As I wrap this up I’d like to say thanks to those of you who read or commented on any of my work at CyclingTips over the years. It really was appreciated and I’ll miss the amazing community that we created over there.
And finally, thanks to everyone that’s reached out in the past few days to offer their kind words of support. It has meant more than you might realise.
Until next time, ride safe, and thanks for reading.