About Twisted Spoke

Hi, I’m a failed Cat 5 road racer and cycling fanatic and you can email me here.

It is almost embarrassing to admit how much I love the sport. I can get passionate about every facet–the history and traditions, the famous riders and personalities, from Anquetil to Hinault to Merckx to Armstrong.

I love the equipment, the wheels, the gear ratios, the sound of the cranks turning, the adrenaline on a fast descent, the hard climb, driving the pedals. I like lycra, micro-fiber, cool, absurdly over-priced sunglasses, I like the classic steel frames, the carbon art forms, the ti goodies that never stop coming.

I love the sounds of cycling, the landmarks of the great races. Paris-Roubaix, Le Ronde, the Vuelta d’Espana, Giro and the Tour. Vive le tout. Sestriere, Alpe d’Huez, Tormalet, the Arenberg Forest and Carrefour l’Arbre, the moonscape of Mont Ventoux.

I love the stunning countryside of Italy, France and Spain, the small towns, the hill top chateaux, the tifosi yelling encouragement on the road. I love the familiar voices of Phil Liggett and Paul Sherwen.

I love the fitness, the purity of the effort, the transfer of power, the lactic acid, the bursting lungs, the red zone, the heart rate monitor going anaerobic. I love the crashes, the demon descents, the relentless climbs. I like the recovery, the roadside cafe, the cappuccino.

Starting to get the picture? Yeah. So I started Twisted Spoke almost four years ago to write about pro road racing, mostly in Europe but the big US races, too. And guess what? I love writing about cycling. (For my top ten tips on blogging and TS, click here.)

I have now covered the Tour of California for Pez and Cycle Sort Magazine. Then I did the entire Tour de France (whew!) writing for Cycle Sport and Joe Parkin at Bike Magazine. It’s become a wild and fun ride.

Thanks for reading. Reader comments really make the writing a pleasure.

90 Responses to “About Twisted Spoke”

  1. I love your site. Keep it up !

  2. Great site. I'll be checking it often. Unbelievable credentials on Victoria Pendleton!

  3. Great site with great content, although I question the shameless use of a hot-looking female cyclist to pimp your blog. Please alert me of any updates on Victoria Pendleton.

  4. like your blog so far, keep it up!

    greets from europe

  5. Your enthusiasm and passion for the sport shines through in your writing – keep up the good work.

  6. This is the blog that gives cycling a good, swift kick in the ass when it needs it.

    Matt Walsh is obviously passionate about cycling, but he ain't looking at it through the proverbial "rose-colored glasses."

    Dude, you've got it dialed in.

  7. Great cycling blog. Keep up the twisted humor. Thanks to James Raia for spreading the word.


  8. I just wanted to send you this short message to tell you how much a enjoy your cycling blog. I read it everyday along with cyclingnews and a few others. Yours is my favorite. I hope you will continue for a long time. Thanks.

    • Todd, thanks for the positive feed. Regular blogging is quite a commitment and finding stuff to write about in the off-season is harder (thank God for dopng cases) but when I get a note likes yours it's a huge boost in motivation. Don't worry about me stopping, I'm in all the way and when the new season rolls around, I'm going deeper. I'll be covering the Tour of Califonria in person, my first race with press credentials and free coffee. I'm super excited and plan on covering the tour de France within a year or two. Again, thanks for the note. I don't know if you're a tech savvy guy but the number one thing you could do to help is to mark my posts on the social bookmaring sites like Digg, Delicious and Stumbleupon. Matt

  9. you've got a great approach to it all.
    keep it up…

    tres bon!

    • Hey Brent, your tour portfolio is awesome. If you don't mind, I'd like to do a post on it although maybe I should be smart and wait until just before the Tour begins. I've been an advertising writer for 20+ years so I've been plenty of portfolios. You've got a great eye. Loved in particular the roadside crowd shots, the horizontals of them along the guardrail plus all the funny spectator ones. Vikings in Fog was great and pasture and peloton summed up the beauty of the tour for me. You should come out to Cali for the tour of California. Gonna cover it for the first time as a genuine writer. We should pitch a "backstage at the race" article for some mag.

  10. i really appreciate your kind words. it's clear to see you know your stuff by your BLOG content and again, yer approach is so refreshing. we are currently planning an exhibition during the TOC in SF on the 14th and will run through the 31st. we've secured a gallery space and now we are working on sponsors.

    i love the idea of shooting something at the TOC and i know we could pitch it. let's bat some ideas around. a behind the scenes look is what people that get it want. the long lens photos of sweaty riders is played out. no offense graham…

    as far as posting my site, i agree with you on timing and all for july but i am trying to get people to my SHOP so we can keep this going. the economy is killing us and the cost for the tour is looming. perhaps you could post just about our shop but it's clearly up to you. email me at my personal
    account to continue [email protected]

    let me know your thoughts!



  11. Just another cycling fan here to say, great blog, keep it up. You’ve got a great wit (loved the Back to the Future blog about Spain…hysterical) and an obvious passion. I agree with James Raia, you are giving the cycling world (particularly the cycling media) that much needed kick in the ass. There is too much material slanted towards bringing in the non-cycling fans, but the real fans need more (behind the scenes type stuff). Thanks for your contribution.

  12. Keep the cranks turning…..

  13. Your blog rocks! And, ironically (prophetically? surprisingly? obviously? I am not the writer you are) I found your blog from your Rock Racing post.

    Thank you for a fresh and funny take on cycling! Cycling gets too serious sometimes, love the humor πŸ™‚

    • Cynthia, As one strategic, advertising writer and cyclist to another, thanks. Yeah, cycling does take itself a little too serious — because all the journalists are former riders and it's a very in-crowd kinda world. But that's changing. Just by chance, do you happen to know a writer down in LA named Jim Dipiazza?

  14. Hi Matt,

    Just a line to say that over here in Scotland, we really enjoy your blog, and it’s very well witten, light tone.

    Taking a leaf from your tips, why not pop over to http://www.VeloResults.co.uk for some more ProTour content?!

    Cheers, Martin

  15. Matt, I just started reading your blog and I love it. I've been tearing through the archives and I'm going to be heartbroken when I'm caught up and have to wait for new posts. One small thing did catch my eye on your "About Twisted Spoke" page. I think Sherwood is the forest where Robin Hood traipsed about and not the surname of a famous cycling commentator.

    Your critiques are insightful, your humor is witty and through everything your passion for cycling shines through. I'm hooked.

    • Ryan, that is a dream compliment for a writer — to know somebody is digging into the archives. Thanks so much. As far as Sherwood goes, it was either do a time consuming spell fix on the blog or tell Paul to change the spelling of his last name. Happily he agreed so now that is in fact correct.

  16. So I not sure who first told me about Twisted Spoke (might have been a James Raia story), but some of my team mates and I have been following it for months. Now the updated version of our team website (http://abrtcycling.com/) has links to new content on the key cycling websites: Cyclingnews, Velonews, Twisted Spoke and a regional cycling blog called GamJams. But Twisted Spoke is my favorite. I start my work day by browsing my team’s site for new headlines, hoping to see a new posting on Twisted Spoke. I am still laughing about the “revered Arabic cycling commentator Abdul Al Salaam” showing up in many recent stories on about the Tour of Oman.

    Keep up the great work,

    • That’s for the note and glad to hear you liked Abdul. I’m bringing him back next year. Annapolis, huh? As a small kid, I grew up im Hyattsville, Maryland and spent a year in advertising working in Balitimore. I’ll check out your team site — and good luck with your season. Hope you’ll keep reading as I’ll be doing some fun things for the tour of California (covering it in person, baby) and a Giro podcast that I think should be pretty funny.

  17. Twisted Spoke on Michael Ball and the demise of Rock Racing equals brilliance. Bravo.

    Cheers, James Raia

    • James, as you're a true, working professional, I always take your comments as the gold standard. So thanks. We gotta take TOC asap. Matt

  18. Matt, I've found that, in addition to pandering to Lance and Tiger, lots of gratuitous T&A brings in the higher-value ads, generating more revenue. Fast nickles are better than slow quarters (I think).

    • The power of pandering, Joe. The key is always striking the right balance between serious journalism (or in my case, half serious) and outright gratuitous pandering. That's the trick.

  19. MW – Your site is tight! Thanks for your inspiring words that have forced me to pull my bike trigger. Looking forward to Mexico!!!

  20. I enjoy reading this blog very much. keep up the good work.

  21. To be a true TDF writer, work on some really cool quotes like, "Though he's bald, he's only 23 years old!" Used in frequent reference to Marco Pantani by Phil Liggett. You have Alejandro “borrowed time” Valverde which is a gem. How about one for the Cobra and the Chicken? Keep up the great work!

  22. I love it. I like cycling so much I wake up and want to put all my cycling clothes on. I am addicted.

  23. have always enjoyed your blog, and the current podcasts are great.. we will be linking to them each day and sending people to listen..

    keep it up πŸ˜€

  24. What's the score with your man Hammersmythe? Dude had me spraying beer out my nose. Those are some of the funniest cycling related interviews I've ever come across. Does the Hammer even exist? I can't seem to find proof of the Hammer anywhere. Not the start lists or Sky's roster. Is the Hammer a figment of creative bogging? Not that it really matters honestly. It's just a bit odd that there where a handful of daily updates and then poof…. never to be heard from again. No matter the reasons or the source… those audio interviews where brilliant. Keep up the good work son.. your sick with it!

  25. I just came across your site and I love it. Even posted a comment in the Landis blog. I’m an American living and working in South France. I took the job just to ride here and I can tell you I have to force myself to rest because there are just so many great places to ride. I understand your passion for the sport and it really shows in the site. I’ll keep following, you keep up the good work!

    • Ron, I’ll be in France for Le Tour and yes, you can buy me a few drinks in return for which you will be given a small slice of fame in the TS blog. Where in Souther France? Matt

  26. Hi Matt,

    I’m a captain on a yacht. Right now we’re in La Ciotat but by TDF time I should be in the Cannes area.

    We spent the winter in Toulon and I got some pics on Mt. Farron of the Tour of the Med finish and sent them to Pez. Later I hooked up with Mr. Pez and we did the Col de Madonne on a rainy day but the blog hasnt appeared yet. I guess this Giro thing is keeping him busy.

    Drop by and I’ll show you the local climbs and treat you to the couple drinks on a yacht!


  27. Your writing is pretty similar to Fat Cyclist's. http://www.fatcyclist.com

    It would be cool if you guys did some guest posts on each others' blogs.

    Keep it up.

  28. You're becoming pro cycling's version of The Onion!

    • Ron, I love the Onion and it's an accurate comment. Having a distance from most of the races and coming late to the sport in general and having a comedy bent to everything I write, it's hard not to fall into Onion-land. The TDF stuff will certainly have that but since I'll be in France, expect something less wacked and more about capturing the experience. At least that's my plan right now. I'll hopefully be writing something for Cyclesport and Bicycle.net and maybe Pez — plus my own blog. I'll be busy. Matt

  29. Yo Matt: Nice to see you today. HyperArts in Oakland are the boys you want to chat with. Fun read this. gs

  30. Love the site. Found you via your Rock Racing article. Bookmarked now.

  31. Matt,

    Found you when Googling "Hugo's Magic Pump" … I actually saw the flick back in the early 1970s with some of my bike club buddies in Oklahoma City. We saw it on a Saturday afternoon at a seedy southside theater that showed soft-porn, X-rated stuff. Other than our group, I think there were two other people at the showing.

    It's a hilarious film.

    It was about an amateur racer who had won some races and is offered a professional contract. The contract, however, has as its primary stipulation that the rider will not have sex while under contract!

    Well, then the fun begins! He signs the contract and rides back to the apartment he shares with 3 other guys. It's a one-room affair with two sets of bunk beds crammed together in the center. He walks in to find his 3 roommates having sex with three girls on the bunk beds. He rolls his bike to the kitchen and feigns some mechanical adjustments, peeking over his shoulder! And so on, and so on.

    Temptation flies in his face throughout. It's hilarious. If anyone finds a copy on DVD, let me know.

  32. I should add a bit more about "Hugo's Magic Pump" …

    It's an Italian film and was subtitled.

    Hugo goes on to have some professional successes, but he's assaulted along the way by more sexual temptations than you can shake a frame pump at (for all of you who remember frame pumps).

    At one point, as I recall, a rival team employs a woman (or women) to tempt poor Hugo. I would bet that even Lucky Lance hasn't had so many women throwing themselves at him!

    Anyway, I sure hope this film is surviving in a can in a closet in Italy, and that some cyclist with an entrepeneurial bent copies it to DVD, puts it up for sale and makes a billion $.

  33. Matt,

    Just wanted to comment how much I adore your blog. I have been reading it obsessively for months. I am a freelance writer myself with a focus in professional cycling (or at least as much as I can). Just wanted to make an offer if you are ever in need of content or other writers, please let me know because I throughly enjoy your style and anything that has me writing about cycling makes me a very happy person.

    Keep up the good work!


    • Fitzala, thanks for the high praise because who really wants low praise? I've been toying with the idea of expanding Twisted Spoke for a few months. This might be in the direction of more stories or possibly getting into the area of product reviews or cycling-related travel. Just don't know yet. But bringing in another writer or two is something I do ponder. I can't guarantee anything but I'd be happy to look at a sample of your writing. I think the only right way to expand would be to find other writers with a unique voice or writing style. (I don't need more of my style) If I built up TS it would have to always be the twist, writers with a unique perspective on cycling. It doesn't have to be funny — although that's always a bonus — but it should bring something you can't get anywhere else. My goal is not to become the next Pez or Bicycling.net even though those are fine sites. The site has become a spring board for paid writing assignments at the Tour of California and TDF and it's opening all kinds of doors. I just have to figure out what the goal of expansion would be. Where are you based and what would be your interest?

  34. Matt, been lovin' the site for awhile now ever since dexter turned me on to it. alpine loop and the seven sisters this morning made me realize us old guys have to support one another. keep this up. your idea of cycling related travel is a good one. spent the month of june in france and besides riding the obvious routes; could have used some real good shared advice from others.

    • Hey Dave, good to hear from you. Glad you like the site — had to write something about something when the ad industry died. Yeah, guess I just missed you in France. Let's do a ride sometime and get a capuccino. You doing Leipheimers Grand Fondo in, what, October? I am making whopping amounts of money on google adsense — yeah, like $90 for the last three months. πŸ™‚ I am on my way to riches! Matt

  35. I just found Twisted Spoke today. Great stuff. Hunter S Thompson may be gone but you are doing a great job of channeling his spirit.

  36. Thanks Matt, I appreciate your daily views and you are where I go to get the real scoop – you are the Jon Stewart of cycling news!

  37. I'm a relative newcomer to your blog but have added your site to my "bookmarks." Your humorous take on all-things-cycling is a joy to read! The bit about Alberto Contador as a "hot potato" was one of the funniest things I've ever read. What's life without laughter? Boring and dull, in my opinion!

    • Heidi, you're just the kind of reader I'm after. Cycling takes itself way too serioulsy and so does writing about cycling. Most people who write on the sport are former riders and naturally they don't want to step on any toes or make any funny remarks. And they need the access to riders so they steer away from anything that smacks of humor. We're doing our small part to fix that. Keep reading. Matt

  38. Maca….you are funnier than a warm pile of sh-t! Smart too…how about some interviews this next TOC Amgen with the likes of Tejay Vangarderen, Tyler Phinney….and some of the other clean young guns coming up…I know Tejay and he is a quiet but witty guy who can be outspoken and irreverent at times..he and Cavendish go at it I gather…these guys are the real hope of US cycling. Keep the site going…the best writing out there in cycling world

    • Joriverdog, thanks for the compliments. I look forward to my second TOC and will take your suggestion on Tejay. I like to talk to anybody who is witty. I've been trying with Garmin to get an interview with Z man just on the subject of comedy but so far it hasn't been worked out. Best, Matt

  39. Matt, what's up? Haven't had a post since Christ left Chicago. Did I do something bad so you kicked me off the distribution list? I promise I'll wash my jersey for the next ride!
    Missing the Twist!

  40. Hey Matt,

    Did you see a spectator running beside Contador on the Zocalon dangling a steak from a fishing pole right in front of Conta's face? It was hilarious, and I havent seen ANYONE comment on it!!

  41. I"ve lost the link to your daily missives!
    Where can I find ut again?

  42. Awesome blog! At 33, I'm brand new to the sport of cycling and am always looking for interesting insight.

  43. Matt, great to meet you and swap stories last night @ Bagali's in Frisco! Keep up the fanatical pursuit of all things our beatiful two-wheeled sport has to offer! Jeff in Topeka

  44. Work of art Matt just found the web site and will be a frequent reader. Been watching Tour Down Under with Greenedge Simon Gerrans winning the GC. Simon is the only Oz rider who has stage wins in each of the Grand Tours. The guy with the big thighs won the last stage bringing his toal stage wins to 11, one behind Robbie McEwan
    Keep up the excellent informative work along with your (politely)sardonic humour

  45. Hi
    always a great read, I'm regularly laughing out loud whilst trying to eat my porridge at breakfast, which probably isn't at all attractive.
    If you ever fancy writing a guest column on the UK scene then let us know, we've just started up The Cycling Post, take a look on the 'latest issue' page on http://www.thecyclingpost.com

    • James, I certainly will, Thanks for the compliments. I write on a regular basis for Cycle Sport out of London. Great guys. I wish I could cover the London Olympics for the road race but those guys already have that more than covered. Best, Matt

  46. Love the website and love the candor in the About section, Matt. I'm a good bit behind you on both, but I'm at least following your lead, writing and riding as much as I can. xo. Hopalong

  47. Do you know what is wrong with Paul Sherwen’s right eye? At this year’s Tour he is wearing glasses and it appears that there is something not quite right with his eye?

    Love watching the Tour too and all of the above

  48. you are so right: the sweat, the grace, the steampunk aesthetic of an industrial age sport, honor, risk, anarchy, suffering, joy.

  49. Why the “we” in your reviews, when it’s clearly just you?