I promised myself that I would start these reviews by saying something positive. The closest I can come to that is to say that this magazine is a very good match for it’s primary audience of wannabe bike racers, like myself. Unfortunately since its name implies a more universal and it is often the only bike magazine on the magazine rack, a casual reader might assume that’s all there is to cycling.
Like the car magazines that concentrate on Ferraris and Posches, Bicycling concentrates on the highest end of the cycling world. For example, the bikes reviewed in this month’s issue range in price from $1,000 to $10,000, with most priced in the $3,000 to $5,000 range. They consider the $1,000 bikes to be a “value.” The reality is that even if you go to a fancy bike shop you can get a perfectly good, brand name bike, for $500 or so.
It’s not just the big budget bikes that annoy me. The whole editorial feel is one of arrogance and exclusion. If you don’t ride the right bike and wear the right spandex clothes you aren’t a real cyclist. A great example is that an article about biking to work. For their subject they discussed this woman who discovered the joys of bike commuting. Sounds good, but then they tell us that she was already riding her bike 70 miles a week. That’s more miles than most people do in a month.
As I said, if you are a wannabe bike racer, Bicycling Magazine is for you. It has all the latest exercise, nutrition and training advice, just be prepared to pay a pretty penny for what they talk about. But ask yourself, and the people you know who ride bikes, do you want to race bikes. You’ll find that most never even considered it.
If racing doesn’t interest you, this isn’t your magazine.