Je suis Jan Heine. Well, perhaps not.

„Like everybody, we’ve been shocked by the terrorist attacks on the French satirical newspaper Charlie Hebdo. They are abhorrent, and I am glad that the French have stood united against this attempt to stifle free speech. (“Je suis Charlie” means “I am Charlie”.)“ the start of a blog post written by Jan Heine from his blog „off the beaten path„. I like this blog very much, as it quite often include interesting technical issues, most notably a piece about the conversion of bikes to „rain bikes“ which in turn motivated me to buy an expensive Brooks mud flap. I don’t regret this decision, je ne regrette rien.

This particular blog post than continues start drawing a very fineley dotted line between the journalistic work at Charlie Hebdo and Off the Beaten Path:

We don’t face that kind of threat at Bicycle Quarterly, but we have to admit to misgivings when we published some articles that we knew would offend some. The most recent example was “Tullio Campagnolo – The Visionary behind the Legend” which debunked many of the myths surrounding this legendary man, questioning whether Tullio Campagnolo really invented the quick release.

We knew that we’d lose some readers over this, and infuriate others. We published the article anyhow, and I am glad we did. It’s our job to provide information, to challenge the status quo (even if it’s only in the arena of bicycle history and technology), and then let our readers form their own opinions. As a result of this approach, we are no strangers to controversy. (Long-term readers will remember the Internet flame wars when we first realized that higher tire pressures don’t make tires faster.)

For us, the attacks on Charlie Hebdo hit close to home. We hope the newspaper will continue to publish, and we vow not to censor ourselves for fear of offending.“

Honestly, I find that a little bit overdone.

It is hard to imagine that someday we will see a group of fanatical Campagnolo supporters storming into the appartment of Jan Heine, threatening to kill him and worse, to destroy all his bikes, because he had casted doubts that Tullio Campagnolo had really invented the first quick release. And I think it is just to assume that the risk of getting killed because of discussing tire pressures in relation to rolling resistance is far smaller than because of drwaing cartoons about the prophet Mohammed.

So, please Jan, please continue to write about technical issues from your unique ranndonneur point of view and not about moral ones.

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