Monday, April 14, 2014

The Blogger Formerly Known As...

I started with a Xanga blog ages ago.  It didn’t last long.  Then I created a blogger page under the title of "Ascentionist" (  And when my interests became more focused on cycling I branched out with a second blog that I called Jersey Guys (  Jersey Guys evolved into From the Pavement’s Edge, and I eventually migrated it to that particular blogger URL ( where I enjoyed a few years of meager bloggular success.

During that time I met readers on the street.  I connected with readers and built friendships from those connections.  I gained a meager following, and had people pester me on days I didn’t post in a timely manner.  I had a few posts that garnered quite a bit of attention.  Most notable was when Elden “Fat Cyclist” Nelson ( linked to my Leadville trip report.  My page views went through the roof for about five days.

Other cyclo-bloggers have been increasingly helpful to me and have shared my story over the years as I’ve tried to share theirs and to direct some love back to them.  I must confess, I don’t always do this as much as I should and I hope to change that going forward.

Over time my focus narrowed and I put all of my energy into the Pavement’s Edge blog, but when we moved back to the home state I fell back into old habits of rock climbing, hiking, and photographing non-human objects.  It was hard to resolve my renewed interests in these things with my cyclo-centric blog.  Plus, I was increasingly frustrated with being unable to solidify a satisfactory look on Blogger.  And when I began perusing Wordpress’s fare I decided I wanted to migrate my cycling blog over there.

But what of my non-cycling interests?  The conundrum of what to do had me doing nothing.  But then one day I struck upon a very amicable solution.

A few things were happening/coming together all at once.  First, I was nearing the point where I would have a final draft of my book chronicling my quest to finish the Leadville 100.  Everyone that read it loved it, and I had a good feeling that it would be successful.  [TEMPORARILY REDACTED]  And nextly, a graphic designer working with the city of Cheyenne, Wyoming contacted me about using two of my photos of Vedauwoo for promotional purposes.

I realized I needed different venues for my other interests, and I needed to keep my cycling fare more transportation and professionally oriented.  My trip reports could go to a personal site, and my pontifications on the bigger local, state, and national issues could be displayed on a more generally oriented virtual billboard. 

In my non-creative life a lot was going on as well.  As a regional transportation planner I found myself with a sudden freedom to do a lot of the things I felt I needed to be doing but had been limited on previously.  The state highway district that is central to the region where I work has included me in the process to create a regional bike/ped plan.  The organization I work for was under contract to complete a statewide trails master plan and I was obviously the most knowledgeable person involved in regards to trails.  People were contact me left and right to get my input.  I was meeting people for the first time who already knew who I was.  And in rooms of experts I was being asked for my opinion and being given gold stars for my ideas.

My self-confidence—at 40 years old—was finally starting to grow and stabilize. 

“Chainring” is simply a play on my last name used by a friend and riding partner as a sort of nickname which I adopted as my cyclo-specific online persona to deflect attention from my true identity for practical security purposes.  So here I am giving you the picture of the man behind the curtain up front, before you set out on your quest for the Emerald City so there’s no question. 

I could have revived my Ascentionist blog to fill the role of this new space, but I wanted to build on the success of the Pavement’s Edge blog and go forward drawing from the persona there.  I didn’t want to be carrying around a lot of disjointed posts and that background that doesn’t flow well into my future.  It was time to make a solid break and to go forward with purpose.

This is simply my personal weblog where I intend to chronicle my daily adventures and share my silliest thoughts and dreams.  My “serious” treatments will fall onto my new Pavement’s Edge site, which I hope will eventually draw others as contributors and confederates. 

As I build an identity as a writer and (hopefully) photographer I want a clear point of contact in the social media universe and I want it to be clear who is speaking from that voice.

My vision is that The Chainring Report will simply be the “behind-the-scenes” chronicle of my adventures, and From the Pavement’s Edge will be a more professional (and hopefully entertaining) repository of resources and articles under the mission of educating and encouraging my fellow human beings to think more realistically and honestly about transportation issues.

The last elephant in the room was that I wanted a separation from my adventures in snark and fiction and the more “important” issues of transportation.  In short, I wanted to be able to put:

Chris Chainring
Regional Transportation Planner
Blah-Blah-Blah Area Development District
Whoopflarea, Kentucky

At the top of anything I write for From the Pavement’s Edge without fear of jeopardizing my job.  I wanted to be able to tell my superiors and contemporaries that I was writing a transportation related blog and able to share my thoughts without fear of repercussions.  I wanted to use it as a forum for regional, state, and national issues.

I hate to mix things up so much when I feel like I have pretty good momentum going, but I also want to get ahead of any huge tsunamis of attention and better segregate my personal and professional voices.

Please allow me to welcome you to my new personal blog.  I hope you're entertained and maybe inspired to go out and seek your own daily adventures.  The story I share is a celebration of life and of living it on my own terms.  We can all use a little more of that.


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