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I'm officially a curmudgeon

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I'm officially a curmudgeon

Old 03-03-16, 10:13 PM
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I'm officially a curmudgeon

My wife, bless her heart, got me a subscription to Bicycling for father's day last year. She's a wonderfully thoughtful woman and I love her for it.

Setting that aside, I'm done with Bicycling. At first I thought I was in love with a retro-filtered photo of Ultra Romance (a guy with that nickname should have been a red flag) on the cover shredding trail with a vintage dirt-drop mountain-ish bike. But the honeymoon didn't last long. Every issue was packed with "best new gadget," "awesomest new bike," and "learn to make your friends jealous with your hill-climbing ability" crap. I was expecting bedroom advice to start showing up when last month's cover featured a guy riding with his dog. (Don't get me wrong, I love dogs and would train a pointer for hunting if the afore-mentioned beloved spouse wasn't deathly allergic to them.) Yes, the feature article was about people riding with their dogs or just about them and their dogs.

It wasn't long before this month's issue came out and, sure enough, it was about the latest and greatest bikes. Did we get thorough reviews? No, we got soundbites, barely a paragraph about each bike. It was virtually impossible to tell the ad-copy from the bike reviews (if you could call them that). The absolute last straw was when one of the bikes was reviewed not in English but in Bicycling emoji! A translation was provided elsewhere in the magazine, but it was about all I could do to keep myself from using the issue as fire-starter right there and then. The pages rip out easily, by the way, and this issue came with the center page pre-ripped-out. Usually I have to turn through that page at least once for it to tear out, but, thoughtfully, I was saved the effort this time.

I have already acquired a three-year subscription to another magazine that gives thorough reviews of bicycles (admittedly through a specific lense) and doesn't take 26 pages of ad-copy to get to the first bit of content.

Best,
Contented Curmudgeon Cummings
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Old 03-03-16, 10:16 PM
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Originally Posted by mountaindave View Post
My wife, bless her heart, got me a subscription to Bicycling for father's day last year. She's a wonderfully thoughtful woman and I love her for it.

Setting that aside, I'm done with Bicycling. At first I thought I was in love with a retro-filtered photo of Ultra Romance (a guy with that nickname should have been a red flag) on the cover shredding trail with a vintage dirt-drop mountain-ish bike. But the honeymoon didn't last long. Every issue was packed with "best new gadget," "awesomest new bike," and "learn to make your friends jealous with your hill-climbing ability" crap. I was expecting bedroom advice to start showing up when last month's cover featured a guy riding with his dog. (Don't get me wrong, I love dogs and would train a pointer for hunting if the afore-mentioned beloved spouse wasn't deathly allergic to them.) Yes, the feature article was about people riding with their dogs or just about them and their dogs.

It wasn't long before this month's issue came out and, sure enough, it was about the latest and greatest bikes. Did we get thorough reviews? No, we got soundbites, barely a paragraph about each bike. It was virtually impossible to tell the ad-copy from the bike reviews (if you could call them that). The absolute last straw was when one of the bikes was reviewed not in English but in Bicycling emoji! A translation was provided elsewhere in the magazine, but it was about all I could do to keep myself from using the issue as fire-starter right there and then. The pages rip out easily, by the way, and this issue came with the center page pre-ripped-out. Usually I have to turn through that page at least once for it to tear out, but, thoughtfully, I was saved the effort this time.

I have already acquired a three-year subscription to another magazine that gives thorough reviews of bicycles (admittedly through a specific lense) and doesn't take 26 pages of ad-copy to get to the first bit of content.

Best,
Contented Curmudgeon Cummings
I approve of this post.
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Old 03-03-16, 10:40 PM
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My "favorite" part about Bicycling magazine is all of the contradictory advice regarding training and nutrition, often within the same issue.
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Old 03-04-16, 12:03 AM
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The article about dogs and riders would have interested me. As long as every other page is not an advertisement, I can usually find something in a cycling magazine to read.
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Old 03-04-16, 12:12 AM
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I could rant for quite a while, mostly about how all those road bikes seem to be designed to provide the most jarring ride ever, but perhaps it's better to show a little silver lining. I do get the feeling that the editor truly loves cycling. And the underlying attitude (beneath the oxymoronic hipster-ish/wannabe-pro veneer) is one of getting out and riding. I think they could do a better job, but perhaps ad dollars prevent that.
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Old 03-04-16, 12:14 AM
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Originally Posted by 1989Pre View Post
I can usually find something in a cycling magazine to read.
As can I. It would be nice if the entire content took longer to read than a wait at the doctor's office.
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Old 03-04-16, 12:33 AM
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Originally Posted by Chrome Molly View Post
My "favorite" part about Bicycling magazine is all of the contradictory advice regarding training and nutrition, often within the same issue.
I remember a few years ago reading some blurb by Chris Carmichael in which he was advising easy spin workouts to clear the lactose from your muscles. As I recall he said something to the effect that the scientific theory behind it had been discredited by recent studies but that he still thought it was a good idea. I think I know what he meant, but it still read like "What?" It was like reading contradictory advice within the same sentence.
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Old 03-04-16, 12:35 AM
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I thought the piece about "Ultra Romance" was one of their better efforts. They usually have at least one article worth reading every two or three months.
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Old 03-04-16, 01:40 AM
  #9  
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You can't officially be a curmudgeon because you haven't told us to get off your lawn.

I concur with many of your sentiments, though, and had occasion to fight back yesterday when my bro-in-law texted about a ride this weekend and included one of those bike emojis. Jeez, I had to let him have it. "A bicon? Really?"

Haven't read Bicycling in years.
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Old 03-04-16, 04:29 AM
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Bi"sell"cycling. I got a couple free subscriptions with the last couple Bike NYC rides. It's hard to read.
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Old 03-04-16, 05:46 AM
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I don't see any big revelation here. Bicycling! has always been like this.
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Old 03-04-16, 06:03 AM
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Originally Posted by T-Mar View Post
I don't see any big revelation here. Bicycling! has always been like this.
Agreed.

It is not a national treasure that just ran off course.

It has been of little worth for a very, very long time.
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Old 03-04-16, 06:21 AM
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I forgot to mention that the last time I had a subscription was from my grandmother over 20 years ago in high school. My mom suggested it because she didn't know what to get me. Mothers are so thoughtful.
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Old 03-04-16, 06:31 AM
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"Bicycling" and "Runners World" - best read while bored on a 4 hour flight.
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Old 03-04-16, 06:37 AM
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Sounds like you'd do better with Peloton Magazine. Peloton Magazine
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Old 03-04-16, 06:45 AM
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When I started out in this sport, Bicycling! was the only game in town, for about 15 years. Every so often, friends would lend me periodicals from Britain or France but they had their own drawbacks. The British magazines were heavy on local results and classified advertisements., while the French magazines were largely road blocked by my relatively poor comprehension of the French language.

Being a mainstream magazine, Bicycling! did a creditable job with a general public that was almost entirely new to the sport. However, as an avid cyclist eager for knowledge, I quickly outgrew it. Fortunately, these days we're blessed with an abundance of cycling periodicals. If you can't find what you want at your local news stand, there's almost certainly a blog online that will cater to your particular interests and experience level.
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Old 03-04-16, 06:55 AM
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Originally Posted by shoota View Post
Sounds like you'd do better with Peloton Magazine. Peloton Magazine
+1

Best articles about Pegoretti, Colnago, plus excellent photography, background articles, and no drooling over bikes advertised on the next page.


The best thing Bicycling has done in the 9 months of my 1-year $11 subscription is to praise the Bianch L'Eroica. That being said, only about 10% of the article on that particular bike was worth anything.
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Old 03-04-16, 07:20 AM
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Yes, Bicycling is OK only for reading on the toilet, providing you don't have to stay too long, but then if you are a curmudgeon, that is probably an issue too.

I had a subscription to Peloton for a while but thought it a little too LA centric and maybe a little over the top from the bicycle as art angle. Excellent photography though. Red Kite Prayer is a website with the same people that I enjoy however.
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Old 03-04-16, 07:51 AM
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Originally Posted by Pemetic2006 View Post
"Bicycling" and "Runners World" - best read while bored on a 4 hour flight.
Only if you have about 6 issues to fill the time.
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Old 03-04-16, 08:32 AM
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What gets the furthest under my curmudgeonly scientist's skin and itches the worst, is the stream of subjective crap about "stiffness," "ride", and wheels that "spin up" fast.

In the world of sailing--picture cycling and multiply the price of everything by two orders of magnitude--the mainstream magazines are also simply advertisements from cover to cover, pushing the latest stuff, no matter how superfluous or even dangerous. However, there is one publication, the oxymoronically named, "Practical Sailor," which has no advertising, does real product testing in labs and the field--sometimes over years of use, rates commonly available boats on the used market, and, I think, probably saves a lot of money and the occasional life. I wish there were a cycling equivalent, but the cynic in me says there may not be a big enough market for good information.
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Old 03-04-16, 08:37 AM
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Originally Posted by T-Mar View Post
I don't see any big revelation here. Bicycling! has always been like this.
In the 70's it was a useful source of info. Except it didn't have an exclamation mark at the end.
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Old 03-04-16, 08:40 AM
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I like the magazine at the car dealership while waiting for a service
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Old 03-04-16, 08:41 AM
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I agree fully with the original post. Instead of paying to be disappointed, I check out a handful of back issues from the local public library and get all the disappointment I can handle. Usually tides me over for about two more years.
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Old 03-04-16, 08:43 AM
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Buy-cycling magazine.

All the "reviews" are more like press releases or ad copy. No real information.

My favorite is when they will have a "head to head" or "shootout" comparison review. They will compare a 62cm bike with a 48 cm women's specific bike. Or they will have a $1000 entry level bike going up against a $10K wunder-bike. Or an aggressive race bike going up against a "comfort/endurance" bike.

On the rare apples to apples review, they provide no useful way to distinguish one bike from another or which one they actually prefer.



That all said.... I have been a subscriber since the 80s. Makes good bathroom reading.
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Old 03-04-16, 08:53 AM
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Originally Posted by gugie View Post
In the 70's it was a useful source of info. Except it didn't have an exclamation mark at the end.
The exclamation mark was dropped in the very late 1970s, right around the time that Rodale took it over.
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