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If You Were Going To Start A Bike Magazine From Scratch...(16 posts)

If You Were Going To Start A Bike Magazine From Scratch...Greg Taylor
Dec 7, 2001 2:01 PM
...what would it look like? One of the recurring threads here is "this magazine rules/sucks (choose one)", so I was thinking "well, what WOULD the perfect bike magazine look like." I suspect that the answer to "what is the perfect bike magazine" is much like the answer to "what is the best color" or "who is the funniest Stooge" (well, that's easy, it's Larry) -- completely subjective and all over the place.

Anyway, my personal vision would be something like Automobile Quarterly. AQ comes out four times a year (hence the "Quarterly" part of the title) in a glossy, hardbound format. The photograpy is wonderful (my magazine would feature Graham Watson's pictures) and the articles provide a mix between the historical and a review of current trends, etc. I'd solicit pieces from writers that contribute to things like Cyclingnews, Velonews, etc. I'd forsee articles profiling past and current riders and events, histories of bike companies both significant and obscure, with the fall issue dedicated to a recap of the grand tours (Giro, Le Tour, and Vuelta) and the World Cup Season. I mean, wouldn't it be cool to page through an issue dedicated to tracing the history of a company like Bianchi or Campagnolo, complete with photos of surviving bikes, etc., or read a profile of characters like Ernesto Colnago, Sheldon Brown, Ugo Pinarello, or Gravy Gravenetes?

Ok, ok... I'm delusional. What would YOU folks come up with?
Every issue would include something about the fringe riders.MB1
Dec 7, 2001 3:18 PM
The oddballs out on the edge.

Big mileage riders.
Homeless riders.
World travelers.
'Bents
Tandems.
Swamp rats.
Bike messengers.

I want to learn about new things not the same old stuff.

BTW we just got a gift subscription to Buycycling Mag from a guy I did some bike work for. I can't believe how basic-preppy it is.
Swamp rats?Ahimsa
Dec 7, 2001 5:00 PM
You got me there mate. What is a "swamp rat"?

Agree with ya on the whole fringe thing, although to me it isn't so fringe I guess. I'd like to see less emphasis on cultivating good consumers and spendthrift weekend racers. TDF and other big tour coverage is great, but the whole race catered gig is all ready well represented.

I'm not sure many messengers would be interested in such a thing as an interview for a mainstream mag. They generally are a bit jaded and removed from that whole scene. Who knows. Maybe they are not that way where you are.

What about all the mexican dishwashers in my area that bike to work daily all year round? I'd be curious to see the reaction they'd give when some magazine interviewer asks them about cycling. I'm sure they would just politely say that they were heading to work and have no time to chat. Talk about no cycling pretentions.

Blah blah blah...sorry...friday and I'm ready for drink. No need to bore you to death, eh? Aaaah, too late I suppose.

Cheers!

A.
Swamp Rat defined.MB1
Dec 8, 2001 6:55 AM
It is all about getting wet. You take a BMX bike and tie a few empty gallon plastic bottles to it. Build a ramp at the edge of a lake. Get big air and have a water landing.

Points for the biggest splash and the best tricks in the air. It is a whole lot of fun on a warm summer day.

Don't forget to overhaul the bike at the end of the day!
What? No cruisers?Humma Hah
Dec 7, 2001 8:23 PM
But I agree ... I sample cycling mags off the stands at shops occasionally. The issues I buy always have an interesting article about some unusual facet of cycling.
The roadie equivalent of BIKE magazine.grzy
Dec 7, 2001 4:15 PM
Lot's of mags with race-hero coverage and we already have Bicycling mag. so the USA Today side is covered.

A good roadie mag should be patterend after something like Bike Magazine. BIKE magazine truly offers something that the rest of the magazines just don't get. They've included a little bit of gear reviews in the past year, but really it's about the ride. Awesome photos and great stories and really a top notch product. They aren't tucked into their advertisers pockets. It's the only bicycle related mag that I read or subscribe to. Everything else seems like so much fish wrap for insecure poseurs.

Does this help?
BIKE's a pretty good magazine.Greg Taylor
Dec 7, 2001 6:57 PM
I had a subscription for a couple of years. I agree that it is still very good -- Mike Ferrentino's "Greasy Handshake" column is uniformly wonderful. I laughed my ass off when Bicyclist folded and those poor schmoes wound up with subscriptions to Bike. The letters were a hoot....

How about Dirt Rag? It's an interesting anarchic mix...they may have the right idea with having their readers do most of the writing and the art.

One of the things that I forgot to mention about Automobile Quarterly (my model for a "perfect" bike mag) is that there is no advertising. It is funded strictly through subscriptions. The articles aren't geared toward selling anything. Indeed, most of the pieces are geared toward defunct brands of cars, etc.
yup, Bike, Dirt Rag, plus a little bit o Bicisport nmgtx
Dec 7, 2001 8:38 PM
nm
Uh-huhgrzy
Dec 10, 2001 11:37 AM
Going the "Quarterly" route is a good way to run your endevor into the ground. Seen it happen in other areas when the deep pockets aren't there and you don't have a wide enough base willing to pony up big $$$ for a issue/subscription. I gotta belive that over half of the Auto Qtrly. subscriptions must be for the waiting areas outside exectutives offices and the other half going to the snooty esoteric concours groupies. Seems that BIKE is somehow able to get the advertising dollars and not look like the advertising mouth pieces like Mountain Bike, Mountain Bike Action, or Outside mags. Dirt Rag is cool, but it has more of the feel of and underground 'zine. In the end it's not about parts or glossy photos - it's about doing it. If BIKE thinks something from a current advertiser bites they'll say it and suffer the consequences. Not that many mags are that principled. If they ever go away from that model they'll lose much of their support.

I really appreciate the ballance and consistently high quality that BIKE has. No surprise that it comes from the Dana Point crew that puts out things like Powder and Surfer, and Longboard mags. Their focus has always been on the experience, but the acknowledge the advances in equipment, history and the movers and shakers in the industry. The Grimey Handshake is the first thing I read every month and often end up hooting or snickering out loud.

I think that while it would be the ideal - the no advertising approach is difficult to pull off. Not saying I wouldn't like it.
re: If You Were Going To Start A Bike Magazine From Scratch...mackgoo
Dec 7, 2001 4:36 PM
Find some old issues of Bicycle guide wich then changed to Bicyclist. I wouldn't change a thing except perhaps add a little race coverage as I don't recall they had any.
I'd like to see a magazine devoted to technical articlesDave Hickey
Dec 7, 2001 5:37 PM
I don't have a problem with the race coverage from Cyclesport, Procycling, and Velo News. I'd like to see a magazine devoted to technical features. Frame and component reviews, Wheels test, and even a retro feature showing what was hot in 1970,1980,etc... Cycling+ has the best technical articles and reviews, I'd just like to see a whole magazine devoted to bikes and components.
I don't read any cycling mags but I like to seecyclinseth
Dec 7, 2001 6:48 PM
tours of frame and component factories. Chris King's new factory looks revolutionary. Kestrel's website sncks sh!t (please don't start flaming) and I'd like to see how they build their bikes.

Maybe the personal lives the pro racers like King Mario. That would be an interesting read. No? 20 pair of custom made gucci cycling shoes. How about his social life? It could be like PEOPLE Magazine. Not that I've ever read that crap.
Why bother. I'd just buy VeloNews Corp.....Colombian Climber
Dec 8, 2001 2:53 PM
and sell it under a new name :-). and I would make sure that as owner I get a free subscription for life. :-)

Any VeloNews people here? Shouldn't I get a free gift for the endorsement? :-)
re-start RBAdano
Dec 10, 2001 4:59 AM
I'd try and re-assemble the staff from Road Bike Action and let them re-start that magazine. I can't believe after all these years that RBA is still the best road magazine we've ever had and we can't seem to come up an equivalent replacement. RBA was written by riders for riders with bike and component tests, articles on great rides, interviews, stories about frame builders, racing tips, visits to component factories...it had it all. It was interesting, informative and entertaining. If I had known at the time what I had with those RBA issues, I would have kept them. Unfortunately, I only kept one: it had a guide on Italian frame builders that was written with the help of the dude from Torelli. I kept that issue because I was just getting ready to move to Aviano, Italy. I still have it. I wish I had more and I wish someone could use RBA magazine as an example and get the USA a good road magazine.
re: If You Were Going To Start A Bike Magazine From Scratch...mr_spin
Dec 10, 2001 8:22 AM
In my mind there has to be the following:

- It would be all-inclusive: road and MTB, and occasional cross, track, BMX, etc.

- At least one technical article (how to build a wheel, how to tighten a headset, pros/cons of different frame materials, etc.)

- At least one travel related article. A trip through Vermont. Riding in Hawaii. The best roads and trails around San Francisco Bay. Ride the Paris-Roubaix route.

- Coverage of all the major races. Maybe not at the level of Cycle Sport magazine, but enough to build an interest so people might tune into OLN and watch.

- Articles from the great story tellers of the sport. Two must haves are Frankie Andreu and Bob Roll.

- It would never include anything about leftist politics and motorcycles, like Mountain Bike does all the time

- No pseudo-Zen crap like Bicycling magazine does

- It would never say: See our website xxx.com for more! Why would I buy the magazine if I can read it for free and get more on the web?
Bikes around the worldMe Dot Org
Dec 10, 2001 11:28 AM
Bikes are the most ubiquitous form of human-powered mechanical transportation. I would love to see articles about how bicycles are used in various cultures around the world.

I would love to see historical articles on bicycles. Not just racing, but the sociological impact of bicycles (i.e., feminism).