To “Leonard”

I’ve had about enough of your puerile humour. It’s not funny. It just panders to the dick and fart crowd. As an athlete, and a mum, I find your articles personally offensive. Imagine if my 15 year old boy read your filth. Please kindly return to whatever hole it was you crawled out of.



Ahh, welcome. A privilege to have you here, Over-it.

I want to start with a wee story, of course. Just the other day I was out in the hills with my esteemed friend (and consultant in grime), the Kidney Boy. He thinks my articles are funny, by the way. (An affliction owed, no doubt, to his dickness and his fartness.) The Kidney Boy pulled out his smartphone and scrutinised the screen for a moment before frowning and putting it back in his backpack. Then he turned back to the marvellous landscape that we had been considering.

He remarked then, and I’m inclined to agree now, that that is how the internet should be: a small space, represented within the palm of your hand, over top of which you can see the big wide world.

The thing about people like you is that your world is kind of the other way around.

Your standards are rigorous because you spend a lot of time on the internet. The hours you spend glued to the web map out its contours in your mind, but they are shaped according to your values. Anything that seems out of place–that challenges the identity of the internet–challenges your identity, because they are inextricable.

I’ve stamped out a grubby little corner to be a safe space into which I can invite the dick and fart crowd (my contemporaries) so that we can stare straight down the eyelet of the big, rude wang of life. We’ll have a few laughs, and along the way we might pause to consider the essence of it all. Sexiness and romance is simply a convenient expression of this–it’s a little serious, a little fun, and sometimes a little rude.

My flavour may be puerile, and at times I may shade into the offensive, but they’re just words on a screen, Over-it. An all-access pass to your boy’s browsing history (don’t bother, he deletes it vigilantly) would show you that I’m the least of your worries. A dirty story isn’t about to compromise his chances of becoming a Very Good Boy.

I get that you’re not into it. That doesn’t make you humourless, it just means you don’t like it. But you don’t have to. The internet is optional. You can close it down any old time you like, even if sometimes it doesn’t feel like you can. I don’t like hokey pokey ice cream, so do you know what I do when I go to the supermarket?

I don’t buy it.

So you’ll have to forgive me if I stick around. Because in a manner of speaking, I never left my “hole”. You simply crawled into it and remarked that it stinks. Perhaps it’s just time you headed back for the light.

Warmest kisses,


If you need some life and/or love advice, have a burning relationship issue or just want to know about the birds and the bees, email Leonard then sit back and wait for the knowledge to set you free.

16 Responses

  1. Just in case lovely Leonard doesn’t read Facebook. Also note that I am not hiding behind an alias to post this. Interesting choice to publish this letter and then reply to it in a manner that
    will offend the writer even further. Not to mention many other readers
    who over the past few months have become more and more dissatisfied with
    the often sexist, lowest common denominator style of writing “Leonard”
    puts out there under the guise of humor. It is true Leonard, we can all
    just stop reading your little hole in the internet and indeed from this
    point I will be, and the rest of Spoke which is really sad. Once I not
    only looked forward to each issue of Spoke, I aspired to write well
    enough to be accepted to write for this once articulate, and
    inspirational magazine. Now I just don’t even want to know. I love a bit
    of dick, and fart humor (hur hur – see what I did there) but what I
    don’t love is constant dumbing down, sexism and general lowering of
    editorial standards. Sure play to the groms, I guess it’s the biggest
    market. But there are those of us who mourn the Spoke of years past.

  2. Spoke, you need to ditch this idiot. We didn’t crawl into your hole, Mr Leonard, you dug your troll burrow square in the middle of a loyal readership who are here on the Spoke website for professional, high quality photography and articles. Use the internet to find a more appropriate audience if you can’t deal with being reminded of where you are. Otherwise, get smart to what Spoke magazine’s subscriber base is built on and what they expect, not just what your fellow hole-dwellers think is cool this week. The internet is full of crappy attempts at humour just like yours, and no-one pays money to read it. Spoke wants to sell advertising and magazines, and they won’t do so with this kind of pathetic internet whimpering getting shared around on social media, with people laughing at your butthurt and talking about how rubbish Spoke has gotten lately.

  3. Well, I’m certainly no grom. In fact I consider myself to be a reasoanbly intelligent adult. But I am still entertained by Leonard’s articles. To be honest, they are a relief from some of the other advertorial content on Spoke (sorry team, just one man’s opinion. I realise you have a business to run and we get to read for free). They may not be everyone’s cup of tea, but that doesn’t mean they should be stopped. If he ever writes anything that annoys me, I’ll just move to the next article. Surely some “challenging” content keeps things interesting?Apart from that, maybe make yourselves aware of some of the other fantastic work that “Leonard” does for cycling in the Wellington region.

  4. Thanks for using the name, although I wrote something completely different on your previous article. Using a thesaurus on every other word does not make you an accomplished or more sophisticated writer, in fact it devalues the content of your work. I personally think it’s a shame you have chosen to deal with a complaint in such a manner. I will continue to read and to support spoke magazine as the majority of their contributors have an interesting and varied writing style that doesn’t rely on the use of exaggerated vocabulary. Spoke, please also note that this is one of the most commented upon pieces Leonard has written, nearly all of which are complaints.

  5. I’m proud to call myself one of Leonards “contemporaries”. You know, if you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything. What sort of hypersensitive insecure people are you to get so riled up by a post on the internet? I would much rather read something that strikes a chord of emotion (positive or negative) and be entertained than read some boring dribble. If you want dribble, go troll pinkbike. I’ll be sticking to the Spoke high brow class thanks.

  6. With respect Kevin and Bianchi, neither of you are women. I know I’m not either, but I’m still able to understand why they might be upset at this sort of writing. I know “Leonard” and have the greatest respect for him and his Good Works in general, but I think he’s got it badly wrong on this occasion – well, the original article and this occasion, actually. My feelings are that this would be fine if it was on a personal blog, but it seems badly out of tune with the usual tone of Spoke, and unfair to most women who might read it. Of course we don’t HAVE to read the article but, to be fair, I had no idea what I was in for when I originally clicked on the Leonard link …

  7. Leonard, I’m sure you know risqué comes from the French for risky. There are several ways to interpret your previous article and you
    should have considered that some readings will leave people simply

    It is risky to use irony when you have a diverse and unknown readership.
    In particular being ironically sexist with people you don’t know personally is is an excellent way to make a dick of yourself. Never mind how I know this.

    strong offense taken by several readers of both sexes shows you took
    too big a risk given that your column is incidental to the main mission
    of Spoke.
    Your dismissive reply added insult to injury. Were you channelling a YouTube comment warrior?

    Several of the complainants flourish or at least survive in the sexist cesspit of Vorb.org.nz, they are hardly delicate flowers.
    And if they were, would that make it OK to offend them so deeply?
    “It’s only the internet” is a weak avoidance of a genuine complaint. Spoke is a general-readership mag not a private blog. (I’d follow you BTW).
    The phrase “my contemporaries” was ill-considered since your admirers and detractors are spread across ages.

    sorts of families ride MTB. Many will have read Steinbeck, not so many
    Anais Nin and Milan Kundera. They can mostly live with that, but you have
    imposed your sexual humour on an audience many of whom either don’t get
    it, or do get it and hate it. That is arrogant and insensitive, it makes
    Spoke look like a small clique with no concern for others.

    after the initial WTF and recognising your persona I mostly enjoy your
    writing (and find it hard to be offended since I also have a penchant
    for inserting bizarre sexual references into unexpected places), but you
    are not just writing for those men and women and boys and girls who
    enjoy or can tolerate that.

    Thanks for the link to Maya
    Angelou’s poem with the hilarious Microsoft Sam (male) voice reading it.
    I didn’t like her poetry but was inspired to look her up on Wikipedia,
    and have put her autobiography on my reading list.

    Keep writing. And re the young and impressionable TB, remember about transferrence and the Code of Chivalry, if journalistic ethics doesn’t apply.

  8. Leonard…..i think you need to stop being a dick. That is my job. I have been a dick most of my life and therefore i am very good at it. I also have great natural ability at being a dick. All my teachers at school thought so, my family think so, my kids keep reminding me so and Caleb keeps telling me so. I feel my witty repartee is being shouldered into the nether everytime you put finger to mouse…to the point where i am considering writing some serious pieces. And that scares the crap outa me. I’m not even getting any hate mail anymore, which means i’m not getting any mail.You are a brilliant writer and have a great literary future, where as my future as a dick is very limited if you keep out-dicking me. How about being a half dick so i can remain the full dick @Spoke.

  9. Let’s be honest this article is crap. It’s been crap for the past four weeks. It may have been okay in the magazine when it was uncle flow and aunt dug, but on the Web it has been crap. It’s the same crap that has been over thesaurus’ed every week trying to sound deep and meaning full, but it’s crap. It has annoyed some pc people in wellington but let’s not forget this article is crap. And ladies you are faster up and down the hill than this crap writer. And will anyone apologise for this crap…. no. Will leonard keep writing this crap? Probably. Let’s all move on and not comment, that’s the best way for this sort of crap to disappear on the internet. …….

  10. Thanks for all your comments. Apologies to those offended. Spoke in no way condones sexism or misogyny, or discrimination in any form.
    Spoke strives to strongly represent women’s cycling and features female content in every issue, as well as five female staff writers, a female copy editor and at least a half dozen more female contributors. We value all of our readership and would never intentionally seek to offend anyone (except riders of fat bikes, obviously).

    Spoke is a magazine whose content is unlike any other, and we take some chances with the subjects we feature in print. Sometimes they work, sometimes they don’t. When it comes to the website, there is no ‘editorial direction’ as such, which is why a lot of the content is non-bike related and we can post articles, videos etc that may be hopefully entertaining outside of the bike realm. We took a gamble, after much deliberation, with the Leonard series, and after the first few articles we decided that the tone should be adjusted somewhat, which was the case. In hindsight, it wasn’t enough.

    While we admit we got it wrong this time, we will continue to feature content that is off-beat or occasionally challenging.

  11. Phew, cause I didn’t want kick a man while he was down, so was going to agree with Leonard that a dark hole is sometimes fun to play in. But this was about discretion, his hole was spread eagle to the light of day on Spoke, making avoidance by those he offends difficult. I guess I concede even those of high moral standards and values of anti-discrimination and such like still have a hidden dark hole with potentially a follower or two (but note it’s often referred to as an asshole).

Leave a Reply