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Old 01-11-08, 07:12 PM   #1
Banzai
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Bicycling Magazine

I'm starting to have trouble understanding why so many on these forums dislike it so much, and yet so heartily endorse VeloNews.

The last few issues of Bicycling have featured some really good looks at advocacy, and some very practical advice and interesting stories. The issue before last had an interesting spread on Critical Mass.

The last issue had a heartbreaking story about cyclists struck by drivers, as well as information on advocacy and how to get involved.

A beautiful narrative concerning restoring an old Raleigh.

Some neat nutrition tips.

An article about fenders.

I picked this up in a bookstore on my way to the airport for some light reading on the plane. VeloNews was right next to it, and I almost picked that up...but it only had articles about racing and racing gear.

I guess I don't understand the anti-Bicycling vibe I've picked up on the board. I paged through the two side by side, and Bicycling was far more worthwhile insofar as reading material.

If someone would care to explain why Bicycling is so inferior to VeloNews, I am honestly interested. Because I just didn't see it.
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Old 01-11-08, 07:18 PM   #2
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I used to subscribe to Bicycling (when Mountain Biking first came out it was that long ago) and found it useful for the beginner stuff. That is, the same nutrition, position, maintenance and "general cycling" articles every year.

Sometimes they even used new photos. After a while it gets a little tedious having to plough through stuff you know you've seen before. Hence the "graduation" to more news/advocay focussed publications (Dirt rag and Bike being my favorites).
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Old 01-11-08, 07:39 PM   #3
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The maintenance tips are very beginner oriented, as are many of the nutrition tips...the nutrition tips in this one had a neat thing about the potato...preparation and transport...that I didn't know.

The big thing was the narrative articles and the fact that they were so very relevant and well written. Maybe they'll run the same restoration and advocacy issues again, and I'll too see nothing but tiresome repetition.

Bike? I'm not familiar with that one. I'll have to look it up.
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Old 01-11-08, 07:54 PM   #4
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Those articles you mentioned are actually pretty good. But as far as I can remember, those are few and far between. The other articles are always about: Lose X weight in X days, ride faster in X days, make your bike look like new, "horizontally stiff, yet vertically compliant" bike reviews(ads). If you've read them once, you've read them all. The UK bike mags are better IMO.
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Old 01-11-08, 08:04 PM   #5
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...Bike? I'm not familiar with that one. I'll have to look it up.
http://www.bikemag.com/
http://forum.bikemag.com/forum/ubbthreads.php

http://www.dirtragmag.com/
http://www.dirtragmag.com/forums/index.php
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Old 01-11-08, 08:07 PM   #6
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I subscribed to Bicycling Magazine for a year. I was excited about the magazine when the subscription began, but gradually grew less and less enthusiastic after a few months. I let my subscription lapse. I began to compare what I saw and read in it with information I get from this forum. BF wins by a wide margin. The magazine article titles were intriguing, but usually delivered very little. Someone on BF once referred to the magazine as "Buycycling" because they always seem to feature expensive items as the solution to every problem or need. I would love to see articles in Bicycling about homemade bike maintenance tools readers have made and use or on dressing comfortably for bike rides in Levis, sweatshirts, and canvas shoes instead of spandex team kits or on how someone rebuilt his drive train with derailleurs found on discarded bikes at the scrap yard. I know it will never happen.
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Old 01-11-08, 08:10 PM   #7
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...the magazine as "Buycycling" because they always seem to feature expensive items as the solution to every problem or need...
That would be Mountain Bike Action, actually. It's ONLY saving grace is the geek factor of lots of cool prototype stuff (Cunningham being a Mech. Eng. I guess). Even then just look at the pictures in a copy someone else payed for.
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Old 01-11-08, 08:13 PM   #8
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Yeah, I get Bicycling as a gift subscription, and I rummage through it once in a while. And granted, the last few issues have been interesting, for a change. But hang on for a little while, and it will probably get back to being repetitive and grossly out of touch magazine aimed at selling high end ads. To them, a moderate priced jersey is $200.00 and it gets uglier from there. They reviewed the Pinarello Prince three times last year. The down payment on my house was less than MSRP for this bike. For the most part, the people that publish this magazine are no more interested in bikes than the publishers of GQ. And they have a similar snobby consumer type attitude. Unfortunately the articles you describe are the exception, and not the norm. If you have a matching bike rack on your Hummer, or if you enjoy reading about things you will never be able to afford, then this is your magazine. For the rest of us, we just don't really relate to what this magazine has become.

Velo News, on the other hand, is mostly a racing mag. I'm not a racer, so I don't really read it. But I like the pictures. *rim shot*

The things I care about, commuting, touring, club rides, advocacy, trail building, charity rides, bicycle collectives, maintenance and repair etc. aren't covered in any magazine and it's strange to me, because there is a HUGE audience for it. These forums wouldn't be here, otherwise.
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Old 01-11-08, 08:59 PM   #9
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bicycling is the same 7 issues reworked in a loop
year after year with new ads, flashy bikes,
and same old same old...uhhn............ZZZzZZzzzzz.........................................

makes good hopper riding material but with the constant
multi-page catalog-ads they allow, it has become noise with
no value anymore
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Old 01-11-08, 09:12 PM   #10
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my subscription for 3 years was like $4 on eBay....I don't buy magazines to change my life or anything, and I will say I enjoy each issue....there's usually 1 or 2 good articles and always nice schwag to covet...I wouldn't lie awake missing it if I stopped getting it tomorrow, but again, I do enjoy it...call me crazy.
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Old 01-11-08, 10:38 PM   #11
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I don't typically read VeloNews.

I do read Bicycling, but it's very uneven, especially when they're talking to "experts". For example, from this issue:

Page 47, right column:

"Immediately after exercise is the only time I let our guys eat very sweet foods," Lim says. "Simple suars absord into your system fast".

Fine so far. But then they add an editorial comment.

"Recreational riders should indulge in moderation". Well, that's true, but useless. Useful advice would be to tell readers to get 200-300 calories of mixed carbs/protein. Really good advice would talk about why.

Okay, so that's not so bad. But then we get to page 49. First of all, calculations they are doing are unlikely to be accurate enough to be of any use. Which makes them very misleading. And then we get this:

"On the bike, you want to eat enough to keep muscles working, but not so much that you take in more calories than you burn. For rides that last less than two hours, skip sports drinks, which can be packed with hundreds of calories, and drink water instead. Your body burns the carbohydrates from sports drinks before it burns stored fat, Meyer says."

What's wrong with that? Well, most glaringly, the last sentence is just plain wrong. The mix of fat and carbs that you burn depends upon the intensity that you are exercising at (higher intensity burns a higher percentage of carbs) and your level of training (high-trained cyclists use fewer carbs at a given intensity). As long as you have ample supplies of carbs, you are going to burn those carbs.

Which means that at the end of the ride - if you drink only water - you are going to have a deficit of glycogen in your muscles, liver, and blood. This is going to make you hungry, and you are going to eat - and you may eat as much (or more) than what you need to replace. On the other hand, if you replace the carbs while you are riding (or soon after), you will keep the blood sugar up and you won't get the same amount of hunger. And you therefore won't replace the fat that you burnt.

So, this isn't particularly good advice for those who want to lose weight.

Are those horrible? No, but they are sloppy.
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Old 01-11-08, 10:48 PM   #12
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Subscribed to it in the 70s . . . it's gone downhill since!
Lots of car ads now and b-o-r-i-n-g content!
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Old 01-11-08, 10:50 PM   #13
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The fact that Bicycling magazine has full page car ads in each issue is a big turn off for me.
That, and the crappy advice that can be found in each issue.

I do like the rare, journalistic material like the bikes in Africa, etc..
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Old 01-11-08, 11:09 PM   #14
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...Which means that at the end of the ride - if you drink only water - you are going to have a deficit of glycogen in your muscles, liver, and blood. This is going to make you hungry, and you are going to eat - and you may eat as much (or more) than what you need to replace. On the other hand, if you replace the carbs while you are riding (or soon after), you will keep the blood sugar up and you won't get the same amount of hunger. And you therefore won't replace the fat that you burnt.
While I agree with you that Buycycling is not a very reliable source of information, as far as I can tell, the mechanism(s) that drive the sensation of hunger are not well understood. It's unlikely that they are strongly linked to your glycogen levels and may not be significantly tied to blood sugar levels. There are certainly effects that are felt when blood sugar gets below certain levels, but these generally include hunger, fatigue, headache, etc., not hunger. The fact that we have a prevalence of obesity among people who are sedentary and rarely suffer from depleted glycogen or blood sugar would seem to be indicative that hunger is predominately driven by something other than blood sugar levels.

If you only drink water after a ride, you certainly will have a glycogen deficit longer than if you eat carbohydrates immediately. But it still takes many hours to replace muscle glycogen stores. And, unless one has depleted glycogen in the muscles and has another hard ride planned in less than 24 hours, there may not be any rush to replace those stores. In the event that muscles glycogen levels do need to be replenished quickly, studies have shown that consuming carbohydrates (and possibly protein) immediately after riding will speed the conversion of glucose to glycogen for the first couple hours.
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Old 01-11-08, 11:34 PM   #15
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It's a mixed bag, and not as good as it was perhaps a decade ago, it seems to me. The last couple of issues have been better than normal.
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Old 01-11-08, 11:40 PM   #16
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bicycling is the same 7 issues reworked in a loop
year after year with new ads, flashy bikes,
and same old same old...uhhn............ZZZzZZzzzzz.........................................
Except when they put a great big picture of my sons in there!!!! (August 2007) I've never been a huge fan of Bicycling, but any magazine that will put my two handsome boys in their pages has my vote!!
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Old 01-12-08, 05:34 AM   #17
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I have a subscription to Bicycling. Like any other magazine, when I get an issue I read what I'm interested in, and skip what I don't find interesting. I have no interest in racing or racing oriented publications.
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Old 01-12-08, 06:37 AM   #18
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Those articles you mentioned are actually pretty good. But as far as I can remember, those are few and far between. The other articles are always about: Lose X weight in X days, ride faster in X days, make your bike look like new, "horizontally stiff, yet vertically compliant" bike reviews(ads). If you've read them once, you've read them all. The UK bike mags are better IMO.
You hit it right on the head. The "pretty good" articles are few and far between. It's always about going longer, stronger, faster, etc, issue after issue. I saw one "article" about touring and it was less than half a page and was of absolutely no use.

So the only place I look at Bicycling is at the library and after going through an issue, my reaction is always: I'm glad I didn't waste money on this thing.
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Old 01-12-08, 06:41 AM   #19
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I have subscribed to Bicycling since the mid-70's and yea it is pretty repiticious and they seem to push more of the high end bikes//upwards 7-$10,000 than what is affordable.

The only other magazine that I realy liked was Roadbike Review which went out of busines,otherwise I really don't subscribe to any other bicycling magazines.

I skim it and read what I want then it goes to the bathroom and is read when I take a D....
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Old 01-12-08, 07:32 AM   #20
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Save the subscription fee and read it at my local library. If I like an article I will copy it, if the issue proves better than average I might spring for a copy.

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Old 01-12-08, 10:16 AM   #21
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Save the subscription fee and read it at my local library. If I like an article I will copy it, if the issue proves better than average I might spring for a copy.

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Old 01-12-08, 10:48 AM   #22
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Hmmm.. Interesting thread. I got a gift subscription to Bicycling from some friends for my birthday. They don't know about cycling, they only know that I do it all the time, so it was a thoughtful gift anyway... At least it didn't cost me anything!
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Old 01-13-08, 12:13 AM   #23
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Hmmm.. Interesting thread. I got a gift subscription to Bicycling from some friends for my birthday. They don't know about cycling, they only know that I do it all the time, so it was a thoughtful gift anyway... At least it didn't cost me anything!

Yeah, the same way with my mom. For the past five years she's been giving me subscriptions to Bicycling and I dont even read them. I have half a dozen or so issues still in the plastic wrap. When I first started reading them in '99 they were okay. I liked the little 'info boxes' of cycling trivia at the bottom of the pages. I always thought that was kinda cool, but then they stopped it, and it was just downhill every since. Bicycling Magazine seems aimed more towards the 'novice' rider just getting into the sport, or the 'newbie' cyclist with a little bit of bling to throw around. All the bikes they advertise and test ride are of the latest compact design, carbon abomination with the latest 10-speed Shimano, and not much else. I mean, when was the last time they mentioned something about "C-Record" or even "Shimano 600"??

If you're brand new in the sport, and have a few grand to throw around, then that magazine is for you!!

But if you've been around a little, with several years of cycling under your belt, and need informative articles on repairing your old road bike, then you need to look somewhere else. To the older rider, Bicycling is just lame. I'd rather spend the money on 'Cinelli' cork tape than a Bicycling Magazine subscription.
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Old 01-14-08, 03:04 PM   #24
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I'm not overly familiar with the magazine...and this thread isn't a plug. I've just been travelling a lot over the past few months, and I picked up copies in the airport bookstore to take on the plane. The last couple of issues had some really nice articles that were advocacy centered and weren't pushing products. Apparently, according to one of the above posts, I happened to pick up some issues in a rare profound run.

Too bad. Those were nice articles.
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Old 01-15-08, 10:07 AM   #25
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I subscribed to Bicycling for years. Even when I found the same articles being recycled and the "purchase prompts" too much. The writing was good as were the concepts.

I stopped when I signed up for the internet. The info here is far superior and the ability to discuss points of information or points of view is far and away better than any magazine can possibly be.
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