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How to Become a Bike/Product Reviewer/Writer

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How to Become a Bike/Product Reviewer/Writer

Old 06-07-14, 03:23 PM
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CanadianBiker32
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How to Become a Bike/Product Reviewer/Writer

Just curious to if anyone out there has answer to this.
How does one become a bike/product reviewer? how do you go about becoming a writer for reviews of bikes and/bike products etc?

Who would one contact to get this happening? if this was a possibility?

What skills should one have? thanks
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Old 06-07-14, 08:45 PM
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You might want to take a journalism or technical writer course at your local college/uni to develop your writing skills and get some credentials.

It might also help to take some sort of engineering courses, even engineering tech, to get some knowledge of how things are built and the physics behind it all.

You will probably also want to do a lot of cycling with a lot of different equipment.

With that background, you might be able to put together an article and submit it to some sort of cycling magazine.
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Old 06-07-14, 08:47 PM
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You could also send an email to a product reviewer in one of the cycling magazines or elsewhere and ask him/her what qualifications were needed for the job.
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Old 06-08-14, 05:30 AM
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Originally Posted by Machka View Post
...It might also help to take some sort of engineering courses, even engineering tech, to get some knowledge of how things are built and the physics behind it all...
This would be great, but judging by the writing and reporting in the major magazines and websites, very few existing writer/reporters/reviewers have done this. A notable exception is Lennard Zinn of Velo.
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Old 06-08-14, 09:10 AM
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I would start by creating your own bike reviewing blog and work hard at promoting it. Borrow bikes from local bike stores and from your friends. Then as it grows I'd work hard at making contacts in the bicycle industry. Got to meetings like the National Bike Summit, Interbike, NAHBS. Meet the reps of all the bike manufacturing companies and get to know them. Get to be friends with the people who work at bicycle oriented magazines, shows, events, blogs and vlogs.

As Machka suggests, educate yourself so you have a well above average understanding of what goes into a bicycle and what makes a good bicycle at all price points. Know what people use bikes for and how. Learning Chinese wouldn't hurt either.

Most important is to know people. That's how I got my opening for a bicycle column. I met someone who needed a bicycling column for his paper and he knew that I could write and that I was an avid cyclist.
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Old 06-08-14, 04:19 PM
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Originally Posted by Machka View Post
You might want to take a journalism or technical writer course at your local college/uni to develop your writing skills and get some credentials.

It might also help to take some sort of engineering courses, even engineering tech, to get some knowledge of how things are built and the physics behind it all.
Why on earth would you need to do any of that?
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Old 06-09-14, 08:23 AM
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Yeah, it seems like the thing to do is start by writing a blog that people actually want to read. You need to give honest, thoughtful reviews of products you try (i.e, don't just spout back the company's own verbiage) and give serious consideration to what/who the product might work for, not work for, etc. Probably you shouldn't *only* do reviews (especially since it will probably be a long time before anyone is going to start sending you stuff to review, so you'll be writing about stuff you bought for yourself, or stuff that belongs to your friends). Other stuff possibly of interest is ride reports, interviews, factory tours, etc. Check out Gravelbike and Lovely Bicycle for examples of people who started blogs and then eventually companies were willing to send them stuff to review.
Another good reason to read through Lovely Bicycle from the beginning is to see how it has evolved, and the fact that it did not have a big following in the very beginning. It takes time to develop a loyal reader base. The author of Lovely Bicycle has been offered other writing jobs in the bike industry as a result of the blog, but again, not until she had put several years of hard work for no money into it.
Lastly, figure out what perspective you can bring that is unique to you. Again I'm using Lovely Bicycle as an example because I know her personally, but I think part of what helped her develop the following she has was that she was giving serious, thoughtful treatment to topics often ignored elsewhere.
Basically, no one wants to hire someone who is going to just duplicate the drivel on the pages of every glossy magazine. If you want companies to send you free stuff to review and have someone pay you for doing it, you need to have something new and interesting to say.
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Old 06-09-14, 10:36 AM
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The Blog Hits count is like the ratings of TV viewership surveys , and advertisers pay to be seen.

a review is part of the promotion budget for companies ..
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Old 06-09-14, 11:25 AM
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It would help to have experience with a LOT of different equipment.
For example, I've gotten quite a few miles on a bike now. But it's all been on the same two or three bikes; I've never ridden a CF or aluminum or titanium frame, never used Campy or Sram equipment, etc., so I'd be a pretty lousy person to start reviewing stuff.
It'd also help to be very discriminating and/or opinionated. If you'll hop on anything and ride and feel good about it, it's hard to give a meaningful review. "I pedaled Bicycle X and it went down the road just like every other bicycle" wouldn't attract a lot of readership.
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Old 06-09-14, 12:31 PM
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Originally Posted by Coluber42 View Post
Basically, no one wants to hire someone who is going to just duplicate the drivel on the pages of every glossy magazine.

Always accepting submissions
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