Friday, January 23, 2009

Bicycling magazine... huh??

I continue my love/hate relationship with Bicycling magazine with this month's issue.

I began grinding my teeth before even opening the cover. A special blue box was all a-squee that "Lance is back!" Well, no duh. That's such old news. Tired news. Beat-a-dead-horse news.

Somewhat less annoying was the teaser: "5 Great Bikes Under $3,000"

Really? One can still get a "great" bike under $3,000? That's good. I was a little worried that these days only department-store bikes and "urban" single-speeds were the only rides available under $3,000. *whew* What a relief. I think I'll swing by the store today and pick up a couple. I mean, under three grand? Dude! At those prices why not pick up two or three? Hell-- I can afford to throw them away when the tires go flat and just buy another! I was really sad that the $1,400 LeMond Poprad that I bought a couple of years ago was a piece of cheap junk.

To be fair, Bicycling lists bike all over the place in terms of price, with the cheapest being a $500 singlespeed. Then we see bikes priced thusly: $1,400, $1,799, $1,810, $2,299, $2,699
and the most expensive being $3,700. So I guess we're supposed to ignore the cheapest and most expensive bikes.

I remember wayyy back in 2006 when I was searching for a cyclocross bike and just being surprised at how "expensive" mid-range/affordable bikes seemed to be.

All this does, though, is show how out of touch I've become. Is it because I'm getting older? I remember thinking, as a child, that my parents were tight-wads for complaining about how much things cost. Now I think I understand. Somehow my perceptions of "value" have changed. Maybe it's that I realize that the true value of a thing is not it's brand name and that it's the brand that constitutes a significant portion of the cost of a product.


I just spent some time flipping through the magazine trying to find something else to criticize. Sure there were plenty of ads for "super premium" bike tours and super expensive bikes (to me, anything over $2,000 is "super expensive").

But I couldn't really find much to rip on. Actually I think it was just a bunch of little things. The overall attitude of the magazine that irks me. I've been reading for years, and I'm not sure which has changed more, me or the magazine. Compared to some other magazines that I DO really like (Dirt Rag), Bicycling seems to cater to the dilettante. As they stated themselves: "bicycling is the new golf". In Bicycling magazine, bikes are a sport, not a lifestyle. Not something central, but peripheral.

I think I'll leave it there for the time being and think about it. Why does Bicycling make me so grumpy? Is it simply because the pages are filled with bikes that I want (ohhhh, me wantee!) but that I'll never be able to afford? Or could never buy and still consider myself a responsible, rational adult?

Maybe that's it. But I could also just be a loser, baby. So why don't you shoot me.


Susan said...

Reminds me of when I finally ditched Runners' World after they printed an article reviewing "the best lipsticks to wear while running a marathon."

Velomann said...

BUYcycling - the mag that never met a product they didn't like. I assume because they want ad revenue from every one of them.

Sometimes interesting, but more often irrelevant (for me).

Bruce Wright said...

I agree with your post; reading Bicycling could be infuriating; there was often good content, but one had to wade through all of the high-end bike hype and the flippant attitude toward real bicyclists. I just wrote a note to the magazine lamenting the days of old when bicycling for transportation was treated with respect in the magazine. Style Man was the embodiment of the new tone of the magazine, and when I searched the Bicycling website I discovered that the column is no more:

Maybe there's hope after all.