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Old 07-22-08, 10:11 AM   #1
cradduck
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Bicycling Magazine

I had never looked through this magazine till yesterday. My wife picked it up for me while grocery shopping as a way of showing she's proud that I have been commuting by bike full-time for the last six months.

I eagerly read through the magazine, hoping to find technical articles on getting the best performance out of your bike, how-to repairs that can be done at home (instead of having to take your bike into the shop), commuting, racing tactics, technological advances in materials, examples of activism related to cycling, etc.

The magazine looked promising enough but turned out to be nothing more than a fashion magazine with wheels, lycra, and shaved legs instead of anorexia, polyester, and shaved legs. More than a fair portion of the articles read seemed to relate that how you looked on your bike while riding was more important than your ability to ride. I was left wondering if the staff who writes for Bicycling magazine also writes for other magazines of similar quality; like Sixteen, Teen Bop, and Cosmo.

I don't race and have no ambition (or delusion) to be the next Armstrong so perhaps I am missing something or perhaps I am not their target demographic. Despite this I spend as much time on my bike as most recreational road racers and have just as much if not more buying power.
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Old 07-22-08, 10:17 AM   #2
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That's exactly why I stopped renewing my subscription. It used to have more practical articles and still will occasionally, but more of the "fashion" stuff and LOTS of racing, getting faster stuff. No thanks, I'll just ride. The articles on bike town were good at first.
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Old 07-22-08, 10:17 AM   #3
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Welcome to the world of Rodale Press.

I have never been impressed by their products.
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Old 07-22-08, 10:19 AM   #4
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Originally Posted by cradduck View Post
I had never looked through this magazine till yesterday. My wife picked it up for me while grocery shopping as a way of showing she's proud that I have been commuting by bike full-time for the last six months.

I eagerly read through the magazine, hoping to find technical articles on getting the best performance out of your bike, how-to repairs that can be done at home (instead of having to take your bike into the shop), commuting, racing tactics, technological advances in materials, examples of activism related to cycling, etc.

The magazine looked promising enough but turned out to be nothing more than a fashion magazine with wheels, lycra, and shaved legs instead of anorexia, polyester, and shaved legs. More than a fair portion of the articles read seemed to relate that how you looked on your bike while riding was more important than your ability to ride. I was left wondering if the staff who writes for Bicycling magazine also writes for other magazines of similar quality; like Sixteen, Teen Bop, and Cosmo.

I don't race and have no ambition (or delusion) to be the next Armstrong so perhaps I am missing something or perhaps I am not their target demographic. Despite this I spend as much time on my bike as most recreational road racers and have just as much if not more buying power.
I gave up on then almost 20 years ago. The pictures change, but the information remains the same month to month.
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Old 07-22-08, 10:20 AM   #5
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You'll find a lot of bike commuters agree with your observations. In fact, I remember reading an opinion piece about the same magazine. The author did a bit of a study throughout a couple years and found that the articles were pretty well recycled from year to year. Not much new information is usually presented in the magazine (with the exception of new racing products perhaps).

Don't waste your money, just read these forums. I learned everything from here. Although, nothing can replace practical experience!
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Old 07-22-08, 10:23 AM   #6
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Don't give up on Bicycling or you'll never be on the path to YOUR BEST YEAR EVER!
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Old 07-22-08, 10:23 AM   #7
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I agree, I'm fairly sure I bought my last issue the day before yesterday, the August 08 issue.

It's not even recycled from year to year, but month to month. It's always the same thing recently and I'm sick of it.

Does anyone know of any other mags that aren't all the same? I've looked at Barnes and Noble and other places and they are all the same.
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Old 07-22-08, 10:26 AM   #8
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I always call it Cosmo-on-wheels.
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Old 07-22-08, 10:26 AM   #9
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I started getting the mag after I placed an order with Nashbar. I don't plan to keep my subscription after it runs out, for very similar reasons you've listed.

It is aimed toward the competitive recreational cyclist, with a heavy emphasis on racing. (Although, their article on handbuilt frames last month was pretty nice.) I get my kicks from it by reading the reviews of the superlight carbon dream-machines I don't need and can't afford... Much the same as I look through the 4x4 catalogs at stuff I'll probably never put on my Jeep. "Wouldn't it be cool if..."

I don't think there is a professionally produced magazine aimed at the commuter/utility cycling crowd.
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Old 07-22-08, 10:27 AM   #10
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Actually, there's not enough in Bicycling on lycra, wheels and anorexia for racers either, or races for that matter. Which is why I take Velonews.
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Old 07-22-08, 10:28 AM   #11
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I gave up on then almost 20 years ago. The pictures change, but the information remains the same month to month.
+1 - it's useless, No substance.
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Old 07-22-08, 10:40 AM   #12
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If you think Bicycling is geared toward racing, you need to pick up a copy of CycleSport, Road, Velonews, etc. Roadies thing Bicyling is worthless too.
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Old 07-22-08, 10:43 AM   #13
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It's a worthless pile of poo.

Now if you want to read something with some real substance and chock full of useful information, get thee a Rivendell Reader.
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Old 07-22-08, 10:48 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cradduck View Post
I had never looked through this magazine till yesterday. My wife picked it up for me while grocery shopping as a way of showing she's proud that I have been commuting by bike full-time for the last six months.

I eagerly read through the magazine, hoping to find technical articles on getting the best performance out of your bike, how-to repairs that can be done at home (instead of having to take your bike into the shop), commuting, racing tactics, technological advances in materials, examples of activism related to cycling, etc.

The magazine looked promising enough but turned out to be nothing more than a fashion magazine with wheels, lycra, and shaved legs instead of anorexia, polyester, and shaved legs. More than a fair portion of the articles read seemed to relate that how you looked on your bike while riding was more important than your ability to ride. I was left wondering if the staff who writes for Bicycling magazine also writes for other magazines of similar quality; like Sixteen, Teen Bop, and Cosmo.

I don't race and have no ambition (or delusion) to be the next Armstrong so perhaps I am missing something or perhaps I am not their target demographic. Despite this I spend as much time on my bike as most recreational road racers and have just as much if not more buying power.
This is the sad state of cycling business today. Sell them the peripheral goods 'cause after
they get the bike there's not much money to be made
. Every business is structured this way
to stay alive.

Sites like "Bikeforums" are where the real info is at 'cause the info comes from users on the
front lines doing & using bikes in everyday situations. This is also why paying members mean so much!
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Old 07-22-08, 10:50 AM   #15
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Which is why I take Velonews.
+1
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Old 07-22-08, 10:59 AM   #16
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Dirt Rag sometimes has some good articles,and I always check out their gear reviews. I'll buy maybe 4 issues a year. Sometimes I'll pick up one of the Brit mags if they have a cool freebie that's worth the price(like socks). Otherwise,every other magazine on the rack I'll maybe page through and that's it. Honestly,I can't believe how bad most of them are. They make Harley mags look like Time.
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Old 07-22-08, 11:07 AM   #17
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Has anyone read Momentum? It's free and I was thinking of picking up a copy.
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Old 07-22-08, 11:09 AM   #18
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I don't race and have no ambition (or delusion) to be the next Armstrong so perhaps I am missing something or perhaps I am not their target demographic. Despite this I spend as much time on my bike as most recreational road racers and have just as much if not more buying power.
What you're missing is that "bicycling" is an extremely broad topic. You think that some other type of cyclist, i.e., racers, are the focus of the magazine, but if you talked to any racers I'm sure you'd find that they find the magazine isn't really geared to them either. In that, "Bicycling" is no different from any other non-specialized activity magazine (take a look at "Ski" or "Skiing", you'll see the same thing). You're making the common mistake of thinking that you're an "average" cyclist and that the people that (you think) the magazine is geared towards are some kind of specialized niche.

It's always nice to find a publication where you're really square in the middle of the target audience. OTOH, those publications tend not to stay in business for very long.
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Old 07-22-08, 11:30 AM   #19
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Bicycling mag doesn't really speak to me either. I need practical non-racer, on a budget info, so I come here. I put Bicycling out in the waiting rooms at work.
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Old 07-22-08, 11:45 AM   #20
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I totally agree that "Bicycling" is only suitable for leafing through once while sitting on a toilet (from my own experience). I got a free subscription from www.performance.com which itself went down the tubes & I cancelled my "membership". The only worthy magazine for enthusiast bikers (not racers) I heard of is "CYCLING PLUS" from UK. When I get the first issue the next month I'll write a review here, I promise. Until then let's ride more & read less, I guess

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Old 07-22-08, 12:33 PM   #21
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I was just at B&N yesterday and picked up Cycling Plus to check it out. I thought it'd be a UK Clone of Bicycling, but was pleasantly surprised.

Not only did Cycling Plus have a broad range of articles, it was written well. Here's some of the things I read:

- A review of four $900 bikes (400 lbs). not all the same categories of bikes either; there was a road bike, a touring bike, a commuter and the Swobo Folsom, which is like an adult BMX bike
- A helpful guide on common problems with bikes and how to fix them. Kind of an emergency how-to guide
- An awesome story about to British chaps who toured Iran and Turkey, but got bored in Turkey so decided to swing south through Iraq
- A review of an ultra-high end German CF bike
- An article on the Mayor of London and what he thinks of cyclist's rights and the proposals to make London into a cycling-friendly mecca, ala Amsterdam
- Some great letters to the editor, including disputes about what must be an overused term in the UK, the idea of a a "sportive" bike, a road bike with relaxed geometry

I have to say I was shocked at how good the magazine was. It was far and away better than Bicycling. I do enjoy some of Bicycling's stories- this month they had two good reports on the TDF and Astana, but the rest of the magazine is just dreck.

Cycling Plus was fresh, relevant, broad ranging and had some good writing. You should check it out.
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Old 07-22-08, 12:48 PM   #22
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I gave up on Bicycling years ago. Unfortunately, REI seems to think I like crappy magazines, as they keep sending me free subscriptions to Outside, which is just as craptacular, just applied to a broad swath of ourtoorsiness instead of just cycling.

So yeah. Rodale publishing loses.
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Old 07-22-08, 12:53 PM   #23
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We got a subscription to Bicycling at work a while ago, and reading the biketown articles got me thinking about bicycling again. But after reading about 3 issues, I noticed everything seemed to be repeated after a while. My subscription that came "free" with my Team Performance membership still hasn't started, and I'm not too worried about it.
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Old 07-22-08, 12:55 PM   #24
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cradduck View Post
I had never looked through this magazine till yesterday. My wife picked it up for me while grocery shopping as a way of showing she's proud that I have been commuting by bike full-time for the last six months.

I eagerly read through the magazine, hoping to find technical articles on getting the best performance out of your bike, how-to repairs that can be done at home (instead of having to take your bike into the shop), commuting, racing tactics, technological advances in materials, examples of activism related to cycling, etc.

The magazine looked promising enough but turned out to be nothing more than a fashion magazine with wheels, lycra, and shaved legs instead of anorexia, polyester, and shaved legs. More than a fair portion of the articles read seemed to relate that how you looked on your bike while riding was more important than your ability to ride. I was left wondering if the staff who writes for Bicycling magazine also writes for other magazines of similar quality; like Sixteen, Teen Bop, and Cosmo.

I don't race and have no ambition (or delusion) to be the next Armstrong so perhaps I am missing something or perhaps I am not their target demographic. Despite this I spend as much time on my bike as most recreational road racers and have just as much if not more buying power.
Thoughtful wife. Do something nice for her.
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Old 07-22-08, 12:55 PM   #25
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If you think the magazine recycles the same stuff, try pickiing up some of the many "Bicycling Magazine's guide to ......." from the library. Some of the paragraphs, and possibly even entire chapters, are word for word identicle. It would seem that any effort expended on an article should live forever in magazine sponsored book chapters.

I will say that I initially found the magazine rahter condescending, but I might have misinterpreted some of the sarcasm. I look forward to it like I do the Performance and Nashbar sales catalogues , probably the same old stuff but every now and then I find something worthwhile.
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