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  1. #1
    Senior Member closetbiker's Avatar
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    Bike mags

    When I started riding all the time, I subscribed to Bicycling magazine and I thought it was great. I picked up the odd cycling magazine by other publishers and enjoyed them as well.

    The more experience I gained, the more I wondered if I should let my subscription lapse. I hung in there at the end because the writing was entertaining, and I enjoyed getting cycling news (something the newspapers just don't seem to print). I stopped the subsciption when I gained internet access.

    I recently read an article at
    http://www.bicyclinglife.com/NewsAnd...ardTheFold.htm
    and I've got to say it has a great point when it says,

    The sad truth of these magazines is that if you read a year's worth of these magazines you've read everything they have to say. They could just as well put up a web site, cover all the usual topics, create a good index, and save the trees.

    Sooner or later you realize these publications do not exist to serve you, the reader, but rather, to serve the bike industry. The advertising that they carry (boy do they ever carry advertising) is not incidental to the articles, it's exactly the other way around. The advertising is the raison d'etre of these publications.

    You, the subscriber are, incidental. You matter only in gross numbers. The larger the distribution, the more they can charge for the ads.

    It's not about riding bikes. It's about selling bikes.

    After a few years of cycling, most bike riders come to understand virtually everything they will ever need to know about bikes. Bikes are fairly simple machines.

    And most come to realize bicycling is not about next years bike, or the latest craze in gear clusters.

    Bicycling is about the moment, the road, and the ride.

    From where we stand, we can find out more reliable information about equipment at the Local Bike Store. We can find more timely race results on any number of web sites.
    and this is what ended up happening to me. I didn't buy the latest bike, I bought what I could afford. A good, used bike that I had for years. I never did any racing, so I didn't wear a heart monitor or eat a regimented diet or went out "training" on days when it was a good day to stay in and read a book.

    I have commuted all year round for 18 years. I run errands on the bike. I take rides on weekends because I always feel better when I get home.

    Sometimes, I think, we get sold something when we're not really thinking about it and end up not enjoying what it was that we enjoyed in the first place because we've unknowingly had our minds changed about cycling by companies that can make a profit from us.
    "My two favourite things in life are libraries and bicycles. They both move people forward without wasting anything" -Peter Golkin
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  2. #2
    Senior Member late's Avatar
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    Ahh,
    less is more. As long as your aspirations hug the confines of your reality...you are set. Me, I want more. I want to ride Tuscany, got the cool bike already (but a stable of bikes with a commuter, a tourer, and a speed demon would be cooler still). The batteries on my HRM died. But it is a very handy tool if you want to improve. Which you don't.

  3. #3
    Senior Member closetbiker's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by late
    The batteries on my HRM died. But it is a very handy tool if you want to improve. Which you don't.
    I figure, my hearts beating if I'm living. I don't need a monitor to tell me that. How can you improve on perfect health?

    I can understand if you're training for an event, it can be useful. I just think fitness and equipment is fickle and subjective.

    I keep a more long term view in mind. I ride for enjoyment. Fitness is a side benefit. I just don't need (although there is nothing wrong with) the latest gear.
    "My two favourite things in life are libraries and bicycles. They both move people forward without wasting anything" -Peter Golkin
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    I was thinking the same thing as the first poster after receiving the latest Bicyling issue yesterday. One of the cover stories was called something like "Ten Things Every Cyclist Needs." My wife and I tried to imagine the contents before we turned to the article. Ten things every cyclist needs? a bike? legs? a beating heart?

    As we might have known, the ten things we "need" were all high-end specialty items from companies that regularly advertise in the mag.

    I've got a bike I love...I've got sufficient tools and a good repair manual...I've got legs and a heart.

    I think Bicycling just dropped off my personal "Ten Things Every Cyclist Needs" list.

  5. #5
    Mercrudgeon Bikedud's Avatar
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    [QUOTE=closetbiker]When I started riding all the time, I subscribed to Bicycling magazine and I thought it was great. I picked up the odd cycling magazine by other publishers and enjoyed them as well.

    The more experience I gained, the more I wondered if I should let my subscription lapse. I hung in there at the end because the writing was entertaining, and I enjoyed getting cycling news (something the newspapers just don't seem to print). I stopped the subsciption QUOTE]

    So true. I subscribed to Bicycling and Bicycle Guide for years. Then I realized that I was only looking at the articles on new merchandise. We have so many sources for accurate, up to the minute information, that the magazine format may just be obsolete.

    I picked up a new issue of Bicycling not long ago and was totally unimpressed. I wanted to see if I had been missing anything. No, not at all. All the mechanical info and advice was aimed at the new or novice cyclist. The format must be designed to appeal to attention deficit individuals. There is virtually no real writing and who cares what "style man" says?
    The ability to quote is a serviceable substitute for wit.
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  6. #6
    Forum Admin lotek's Avatar
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    I used to enjoy bicycling, but that was back in the
    late 70's and early 80's. they used to have real articles
    about things like touring, advocacy etc. now its all flash
    and cosmo.
    I liked Bicycle guide because I like italian bikes, racing bikes. but they folded.
    I now get Asphalt, very little advertizing, articles about
    touring (TUSCANY), components, bike reviews and keeper of the flame frame builders.

    Marty
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  7. #7
    hors category TandemGeek's Avatar
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    I only receive Bicycling because it's now a League of American Wheelmen, er Bi-cyclists membership "perk".

    I guess giving away the magazines was probably about the only way Bicycling could stem the bleeding in circulation numbers to secure its advertising rates. It gets chucked in the bin with the rest of the junk mail. If anyone want's it badly enough, send me some stamped, self addressed 8.5 x 11 envelopes and I'll send them to you; hey, it's still cheaper than a subscription.

    The only bicycle publication for which I'm willing to voluntarily part with money is VeloNews... hey, you gotta have something to read in the can besides mail order catalogs!
    Last edited by TandemGeek; 01-30-05 at 09:07 PM.

  8. #8
    Vello Kombi, baby Poguemahone's Avatar
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    Yeah, I started getting Bicycling because I joined LAW, or LAB, or whatever (some member I am). Looks like the magazine American Whitewater sent me for joining them, it's just bike porn instead of kayak porn. Big diff. Glossy photos of the latest expensive junk, some dubious "information," possibly an occasional article of interest.

    As someone who has done magazine work in the past, I can tell you straight out that most magazines make their money from the adverts. Circulation is just something they use to pump up the advert rates; subscriptions sometimes cost less than the magazine actually costs to produce and distribute.
    "It's always darkest right before it goes completely black"

    Waste your money! Buy my comic book!

  9. #9
    Every lane is a bike lane Chris L's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by late
    Ahh,
    less is more. As long as your aspirations hug the confines of your reality...you are set. Me, I want more. I want to ride Tuscany, got the cool bike already (but a stable of bikes with a commuter, a tourer, and a speed demon would be cooler still). The batteries on my HRM died. But it is a very handy tool if you want to improve.
    And you need a magazine to tell you that? Personally I think they're a complete waste of money. If I have a question on cycling, I'll ask it here where I can get answers from real world cyclists -- as opposed to posers trying to sell $5,000 bikes that no one in the real world can actually afford.
    "I am never going to flirt with idleness again" - Roy Keane
    "We invite everyone to question the entire culture we take for granted." - Manic Street Preachers.
    My blog.
    My bike tours. Japan tour page under construction.

  10. #10
    opinionated SOB cycletourist's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Chris L
    If I have a question on cycling, I'll ask it here where I can get answers from real world cyclists
    But those "real world" cyclists simply regurgitate the same puke (misinformation) they learned from Bicycling and other magazines. The occasional voice of reason is always drowned out or shouted down by a horde of morons. That is why I spend less and less time hanging around in web forums.

  11. #11
    Every lane is a bike lane Chris L's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by cycletourist
    But those "real world" cyclists simply regurgitate the same puke (misinformation) they learned from Bicycling and other magazines. The occasional voice of reason is always drowned out or shouted down by a horde of morons. That is why I spend less and less time hanging around in web forums.
    I myself have noticed something of a decline in the quality of the Internet generally myself in the last 18 months or so. However, it's still about the only chance you get to ask a question without somebody trying to sell you something, even if you have to read a little more carefully these days.
    "I am never going to flirt with idleness again" - Roy Keane
    "We invite everyone to question the entire culture we take for granted." - Manic Street Preachers.
    My blog.
    My bike tours. Japan tour page under construction.

  12. #12
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    That's why I like forums like this instead of Usenet where the S/N Ratio is bad. Here you can also track what a poster said to others and get a feel for the advice.

    In general, though, I am still skeptical of everything I read online or otherwise unless it jibes with something I already know.

    - Jeff

  13. #13
    Senior Member late's Avatar
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    "And you need a magazine to tell you that? Personally I think they're a complete waste of money. If I have a question on cycling, I'll ask it here where I can get answers from real world cyclists -- as opposed to posers trying to sell $5,000 bikes that no one in the real world can actually afford."

    Hi,
    the guy was doing the 'less is more' trip. I was doing the more is more trip. I think it's great I use less gas riding; but I wouldn't hesitate to burn some going to a nice ride, or flying to a nice vacation.
    As far as magazines go, I like Bicycling. No, it's not hugely useful, but I found a local ride in the most recent issue that I'd never heard of. I don't expect much of it, and that makes it pleasant when something worthwhile shows up. When I was getting back into the sport, I did find the reviews helpful.

  14. #14
    Donating member Richard D's Avatar
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    I don't mind most of the UK cycling magazines. Cycling Plus in particular always has something of interest and both MBR and What MTB aren't bad.
    Currently riding an MTB with a split personality - commuting, touring, riding for the sake of riding, on or off road :)

  15. #15
    Senior Member closetbiker's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by late
    the guy was doing the 'less is more' trip.
    No, I was saying the information in these mags are elementary and what their main purpose is, is to sell you things that are not necessary.
    "My two favourite things in life are libraries and bicycles. They both move people forward without wasting anything" -Peter Golkin
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  16. #16
    A Heart Needs a Home Rich Clark's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Chris L
    I myself have noticed something of a decline in the quality of the Internet generally myself in the last 18 months or so. However, it's still about the only chance you get to ask a question without somebody trying to sell you something, even if you have to read a little more carefully these days.
    Internet participation used to sort itself based on technical proficiency and economic resources. That's less true now, and so the virtual landscape has come to more greatly resemble the actual cultural landscape.

    Depressing, isn't it?

    It's not that the well-off geeks who once owned the turf were superior in any truly important way (they had specialized skills and could afford computers), but they had a tendency to be self-regulating and to police themselves. The current state of anarchy is a better reflection of how people behave when they believe they won't have to account for their actions.

    I once avoided moderated forums avidly. Now I see them as tiny enclaves of civilization in a sea of barbarism.

    RichC
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    Bike mags

    It's too bad,but much of the biking industry is centered around hype and outright nonsense. The cyclist is wrongly led to believe that what they own is just not good enough or outdated. This consumer insecurity is manifested in all sports and aspects of modern day life. Getting back to basics might be the only solution at this point.

    Regards.

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    Exactly...I own a 1985 all steel & lugged Trek touring bike that I got for $200 on Ebay...and I wouldn't trade it for anything. It does everything I want a bike for, rides like a dream...I'm not Lance Freakin' Armstrong and I never will be, so I don't need his bike that weighs 12 grams and probably has an anti-gravity device for all i know.

  19. #19
    Senior Member cyclezealot's Avatar
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    I do get annoyed with Bicycling's ads,none the less, I still take it. Are there many others.? I also receive "Adventure Cycling" Magazine. Since I am interested in the pro racing circuit, when in a local shop I often pick up 'Procycling'.

  20. #20
    Pat
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    Well the mag does have the nickname "Buycycling Magazine". Unfortunately, that is a little too accurate. And like you, I sometimes wonder if they just recycle articles on an annual basis.

    The magazine does tend to encourage riders to think about the latest and greatest gear rather then technique and conditioning. And that is a great disservice. Although there was a time when they advocated people have 2 decent bikes rather then one great one. That way you have a training bike and a bike to race on. But even that advice has stopped.

    I also wish that they would delve into the various aspects of the sport. There are a lot of different ways to cycle. There are the people who do self contained touring, there are those people who do the Paris-Brest-Paris, there are racers, there are fast club riders, there are people who do centuries, there are people who just ride bike trails with their kids. Shoot here locally we have a "big event" featuring "team turtle" - slow riders who are doing their "first" century. All of that stuff has a place and the magazine misses nearly all of it.

    It is really unfortunate, because sometimes they have an article or a feature that shows you that some of those guys can write. They had the story of Freddie Hoffman a while back and that was fun. They also had a feature on the Tour de France a few years back where they talked about notable past events and some were back a ways 50-60 years. And then there was the time they had the article on the guy who was 100 years old and used to race in Madisons.

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    "The Ride" is a regional mag from the east coast. Every issue has good coverage of advocacy, commuting or just fun riding. They also do not push a bunch of pricey top end stuff on you.
    Adventure Cycling is good also if you like touring stories and articles, but pricey for it's thin size. You are paying for more than just the mag though.
    All right partner, keep on rollin' baby, you know what time it is....

  22. #22
    05 Roubaix Comp Double
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    Ah,its not the bible,its a mag to read and enjoy and nobody makes you read it.Dont read it if its making you so angry.I enjoy the read.Its not life and death.

  23. #23
    Senior Member closetbiker's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by trappermark
    I own a 1985 all steel & lugged Trek touring bike that I got for $200 on Ebay.... It does everything I want a bike for,
    I owned a $90 lugged steel Ishawata frame with friction shifting 6 cog freewheel that I rode in Randoneur events where I finished in the top 5% ahead of those that rode Titanium, carbon fiber, STI 8 speed casettes that costs thousands.

    It's the engine, it's not about the bike.
    "My two favourite things in life are libraries and bicycles. They both move people forward without wasting anything" -Peter Golkin
    [SIGPIC]http://www.wulffmorgenthaler.com/striphandler.ashx?stripid=57f6ca71-73a8-42a3-acc4-29e6d333df27[/SIGPIC]

  24. #24
    opinionated SOB cycletourist's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rich Clark
    The current state of anarchy is a better reflection of how people behave when they believe they won't have to account for their actions.

    I once avoided moderated forums avidly. Now I see them as tiny enclaves of civilization in a sea of barbarism.

    RichC

    I wasn't complaining about bad behavior on web forums (If I gave that impression I didn't mean to). My biggest complaint with web forums is bad information (especially fit advice)- and this forum is no more immune than any other.

  25. #25
    riding a Pinarello Prince orguasch's Avatar
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    I stop subscribing to that mag. years ago, lots of recycled article
    "Racso", the well oiled machine;)

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