There are no end of cycling magazines. On a monthly basis we get Bike (Germany), Bike (USA), Bicycle, Tour (Germany), MBR, What Mountain Bike, Trekking Bike (Germany), Pro Cycling, etc etc etc.
Recently though I have seen a trend towards more upmarket, more exclusive publications. Perhaps they are aimed at the stockbrokers like the scathing reviews of Rouleur which suggest they were just cashing in. My personal opinion is that Rouleur was fabulous, aimed at a different market to the traditional, perhaps formulaic magazine. The weight of the paper, the quality of the photography and the lack of adverts (although product placement is beautifully done) as well as the locations, and the nostalgic and romantic approach had me all misty eyed. Not all cycling fans want to read about the latest carbon this or that, and the lifestyle and cultural side of things was where they spotted and filled the gap.
Mr USE (Trevor Allen*) gave me a new publication yesterday. The Ride seems to share a fair amount of Lifestyle positioning with Rouleur, but is crossing over to the mountain bike segment. The list of contributors reads like a list of who is who for the last 15 years in cycling. Names such as John Tomac, Jo Burt, Chris Hoy, Dave Yates and even Pharrel Williams!
Perhaps this is what we should expect from publications in the future. There is no rivalry, there is very little product snobbery (high end is the name of the game, but experience and lifestyle articles look at everyone, regardless of what they ride, or what their financial investment is, or isn’t. It is about their investment in the sport). To be honest, the MTBers versus Roadies thing had become very tiresome to me over the years, as has the baggies versus lycra, downhillers versus cross country, and every other petty little war within the mainstream press. Magazines should embrace everyone. Ride seems to be going the right way. Intelligently written articles for the intelligent cyclist perhaps.
The downside? It is £7!
*Trevor is in fact a student at Bath University. He is doing his placement year at USE / Exposure and is a top lad. Currently targetting 24 hour racing and going for a Solo effort, he is always up for a ride and is more of a face in the UK than I am – deservidly so. To catch up with him, visit Exposure at the Exposure Big Night out… details here