It’s a question which has obsessed many of New York City’s cyclists over the past three years – just who is Bike Snob, the anonymous blogger who in his bikesnobnyc blog has built a loyal following, including the likes of Lance Armstrong, eager to read his often witty, sometimes withering opinion of the city’s two-wheeled scene?
Now, however, the guessing games are over, with the blogger revealing himself to be 36-year-old literary agent Eben Weiss, whose love of bicycles began with BMX and who subsequently worked briefly as a bike courier in the city before entering the publishing industry. In his spare time, he continues to race with an amateur team sponsored by local bike shop, Gotham Bikes.
According to The Wall Street Journal, Weiss’s decision to go public was motivated by the forthcoming publication of his first Bike Snob book, which will involve him undertaking a book tour.
While in the past, Weiss, whose notoriety has led to him securing a monthly column for the magazine Bicycling, has preferred to keep his true identity secret, shielding his face in photos accompanying interviews with him, he has decided that now is the time to shed his cloak of anonymity.
Although Weiss’s name did sometimes crop up on message boards whenever the issue of Bike Snob’s identity came up, the cyclist preferred to keep shtum, and still maintains that “I’m just a regular guy.”
Some, however, were let into the secret, including team-mates at Gotham Bikes, and the seven-times Tour de France winner Lance Armstrong, who became a fan of the blog early on.
Armstrong, who has ridden with Weiss on trips to New York City, said: "He's really smart and well read. I have no problem spending four hours [riding] with him."
On learning that the blogger had a book in the pipeline, "Bike Snob: Systematically and Mercilessly Realigning the World of Cycling," to be published by Chronicle Books in May, Armstrong wondered how Weiss could promote the book while retaining his anonymity at the same time.
“You're the Snob - you can't go out on tour," the Team RadioShack rider said. Now that Weiss has gone public, however, Armstrong’s Mellow Johnny’s bike shop in Austin, Texas, will be one of the venues for a book-signing session on the blogger’s tour.
Weiss maintains that it was not his attention to stay permanently out of the spotlight, and that he launched his blog in 2007 to provide an alternative voice to cycling publications and their reviews of the latest kit.
"A lot of cycling media exists to tell people about awesome stuff they need or should want," Mr. Weiss explained. "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.'"
Despite his identity now being out in the open, Weiss has no plans to stop writing his blog. “The book and dropping the anonymity pretense is a little celebration," he insisted. "And then it's back to work."
Weiss, who now writes full-time, isn't the only member of the city's publishing industry to hit the cycling headlines in recent months. In December, we reported on publishing executive Joao Correiro's decision to leave corporate life behind to accept an offer to join Cervelo TestTeam.
Simon has been news editor at road.cc since 2009, reporting on 10 editions and counting of pro cycling’s biggest races such as the Tour de France, stories on issues including infrastructure and campaigning, and interviewing some of the biggest names in cycling. A law and languages graduate, published translator and former retail analyst, his background has proved invaluable in reporting on issues as diverse as cycling-related court cases, anti-doping investigations, and the bike industry. He splits his time between London and Cambridge, and loves taking his miniature schnauzer Elodie on adventures in the basket of her Elephant Bike.