Guest Author - Sharry Miller
In the pantheon of biking magazine available, most seem to be geared toward a particular type of rider: the speed-focused road racer; the adrenaline-hyped mountain biker; the adventure touring cyclist; and so on. Bicyle Times seems to be just what its subtitle bills it to be, the magazine for the rider engaged in the everyday cycling adventure.
I have been reading the digital version of the magazine available through Zinio, and have not seen a paper copy yet. All appearances indicate, however, that the two are virtually (no pun intended) identical.
As with most magazines, there are a variety of regular sections in each bimonthly issue of Bicycle Times, all found under the heading Departments in the table of contents. Currently, there are eight regular departments.
1. Letters to the editor are printed in the Spoke’n Word pages; I mostly mention it because I love the title.
2. Wheel News brings readers short stories about bicycling culture. Former features have included such items as bands touring on bicycles (Steel Wheel Duo was featured in issue 13), book reviews, bicycle-themed art, and more.
3. If you remember, or even still have, a bike from your childhood, Vintage Velo, may be of interest to you. In this department, a different vintage bicycle is featured each issue. Examples include the 1967 Schwinn Stingray Deluxe (Issue 13), an early 1970s polo bike, the 1976 Raleigh Tourist DL-1, and so on.
4. Advocacy Briefs provides information on bicycle advocacy work being done in the United States and around the world on local and national levels.
5. Between the Lines is Carolyn Szczepanski’s regular column of advice on how to ride in traffic. In each issue she gives clear, realistic information and advice on a different specific aspect of riding in urban and rural traffic.
6. The Candy Store gives “reality tested product reviews.” They claim that all products reviewed are tested by a single individual over a minimum 6-week testing period. Products reviewed range from bikes and bike components to clothing and gear.
7. The Bike Socials pages let readers know about upcoming cycling social events such as group rides, tours, races, and festivals.
8. On the magazine’s last page, How We Roll provides readers with an opportunity to share their unique bikes and how they use them for transportation.
Regular departments are a wonderful, but, in my opinion, what makes or breaks a magazine’s readability and interest is the type and quality of its longer feature articles. Features are in large part what define the “type” of magazine it is. Bicycle Times uses its feature articles to expand its appeal to a variety of cyclists. Issue 14, for example, included an article about touring in Portugal, another describing what Gran Fondo races/rides are, a profile of an Italian bicycle craftsman, coverage of the 2011 World Hardcourt Bike Polo Championships, highlights from Interbike 2011, and an ode to the “just don’t call it granny” gear. All of that varied information and inspiration in just one issue!
I don’t believe I’ll ever find a magazine that’s perfect for all cyclists, but Bicycle Times should contain a little something of interest to most of us. High quality writing, colorful illustrations, and lots of photos add to its appeal. I highly recommend you give Bicycle Times a try.
Ride safe and have fun!
Note: I purchased this magazine with my own money and wrote this review with no expectation of recompense.