• Mon March 29 2010
  • Posted Mar 30, 2010
New York Cycling's Mystery Man Shows His Face After Years of Anonymous Opinion on the Blogosphere, the Bike Snob Finally Reveals His Identity Over his nearly three years of obsessing over, satirizing and deftly puncturing the sport of cycling, the anonymous blogger Bike Snob has made his worldview clear. He loves to ride his bike. He wants you to ride, too. Just maybe not on those florescent wheel rims. Or pedal against traffic. Or with your helmet on the handlebars. And even if it's not fashionable, he'd like you to consider using brakes. Such style and safety points are well known to the readers who log on daily to the Bike Snob's sharp-edged and fetishistically detailed Web site: The site established the Snob as an acerbic sports blogger, earned him a monthly column in the prominent U.S. cycling magazine Bicycling and won him admirers like seven-time Tour de France champion Lance Armstrong. Still, there's one thing most readers don't know about the Bike Snob: his real name. While not exactly going to Bruce Wayne-levels of protection, the Bike Snob has shielded his actual identity from the public, preferring to let his pen name take the credit. He's posed for magazine and newspaper articles with his face shielded, revealing only fragments of detail about his personal life. "Just hiding in plain sight," is how the Bike Snob put it recently over a beer at Henry Public, a gastropub in Brooklyn, N.Y. But now the Bike Snob is ready for his close-up. With a first-ever Bike Snob book on the way—and facing the logistical problem of how to do a promotional book tour while staying anonymous—the Snob has decided to unmask himself. The Bike Snob's name is Eben Weiss. He's 36 years old, grew up riding BMX and is not a stranger to the media world. After a brief stint as a New York City bike messenger, he spent more than a decade in the publishing industry, working as an agent with the Ralph M. Vicinanza, Ltd. literary agency. His wife, Sara Goodman, is an editor at St. Martin's Press, and the couple are expecting their first child in May. Mr. Weiss races locally on an amateur bike team sponsored by Gotham Bikes, a New York City shop. But by his own account, he's a mediocre racer. "I'm just a regular guy," Mr. Weiss said. But "Who is the Bike Snob?" has been a popular guessing game in cycling circles. Mr. Weiss's name has occasionally popped up as a suspect on the message boards of cycling Web sites like, but the Snob has never stepped forward to confirm his identity. There will surely be those who will say they knew who the Snob was all along. Mr. Weiss, who also reveals his real name in the upcoming issue of Bicycling, said he never intended to stay anonymous forever. When he launched the site in June 2007, he simply wanted to offer an alternative, common-sense voice within the world of cycling, where amateur riders might spend thousands of dollars on unnecessary equipment. "A lot of cycling media exists to tell people about awesome stuff they need or should want," Mr. Weiss said. "And there is awesome stuff we all want. But it's important to have a voice that says, 'You don't need it. You don't have to want this.'" Ms. Goodman, Mr. Weiss' wife, said that the Bike Snob blog was briefly a secret from her, too. "He didn't tell me for a little while," Ms. Goodman said. Mr. Weiss would tell his wife as well as a small circle of friends, including Paul DeBartolo, a Gotham racing teammate. Mr. DeBartolo said the Bike Snob blog contains "stuff we always talked about on rides." Gotham's co-owner, David Nazaroff, described the real-like Bike Snob as "very reserved." Mr. Armstrong, who is competing in the Tour of Flanders in Belgium on April 4, also learned the Snob's name early on, and has ridden with Mr. Weiss on visits to New York. "He's really smart and well read," Mr. Armstrong said. "I have no problem spending four hours [riding] with him." Mr. Weiss's book, "Bike Snob: Systematically and Mercilessly Realigning the World of Cycling," will be published by Chronicle Books in May. Mr. Armstrong said he initially wondered how Mr. Weiss could promote a Bike Snob book and stay anonymous. "I said, 'You're the Snob - you can't go out on tour,'" Mr. Armstrong recalled. But in June, Mr. Armstrong's bike shop in Austin, Texas, will host a book signing by Mr. Weiss. Mr. Weiss, who now writes full-time, has no intentions of ending his blog. "The book and dropping the anonymity pretense is a little celebration," Mr. Weiss said. "And then it's back to work."

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