Guest Author - Sharry Miller
There are many cycling magazines on the market, many of which are geared toward a specific aspect of cycling such as mountain biking or a particular advocacy organization such as the Rails-to-Trails Conservancy. Bicycling advertises itself as the “World’s Leading Bike Magazine,” but no magazine, even this one, can be all things to all people.
Contents of each issue of Bicycling are typically sorted into a standard set of categories: featured articles, fitness and nutrition, training, food, and skills. Within these groups are usually articles to satisfy most racers and bike geeks out there.
If you like the idea of getting the training tips of the stars, you’ll enjoy the monthly training articles by Chris Carmichael. Mr. Carmichael is Lance Armstrong’s coach, and each month he answers readers’ training and fitness questions. The advice he gives ranges from basic training tips for beginners to specific techniques and guidance for seasoned racers.
Bob Mionske, author of Bicycling and the Law, regularly writes a column discussing the best way to handle difficult situations. Recent topics have included handling encounters with police officers during traffic stops and what to do when nature calls and no restroom is in sight.
Another regular contributor is Selene Yeager. Author of Ride Your Way Lean, she writes on a variety of topics such as training, nutrition, and fitness.
Feature articles often cover topics such as rising stars in the bicycle racing world, plans for reaching cycling goals (riding 100 miles, burning more fat), busting common cycling myths, the latest bicycles and equipment, and a wide variety of other subjects. While there are occasional articles on mountain biking or touring topics, most often the articles are focused on racing and racing-related subjects.
Bicycling does not seem to be the magazine of choice if you’re looking for in depth articles which will fully inform you on a topic. Instead, most of the content is written in a short column format which provides provocative snippets. The feature length articles are typically just a few pages long, with much of the space taken up by photographs. Overall, the feel of the magazine is light and easy – a quick read when you can’t actually be cycling.
The publishers of Bicycling augment their print material with a user-friendly website. The content often mirrors or augments that found in the magazine, but additional topics are covered as well. The website content is divided into the same general categories as the magazine’s, making it easy for users to transfer from one medium to the other. Graphic images, often in the same cartoon-like format as the magazine’s, help make the content easily accessible. The website address is www.bicycling.com. My only complaint with the site is that every time I access it a window pops up advertising subscriptions to the magazine.
As a recreational cyclist, commuter, and tourer, but not a racer, I often find that the general feel of Bicycling doesn’t appeal to me. At the same time, however, I have found at least one, if not several, articles of interest to me in every issue I’ve read. I’d recommend that every avid cyclist at least check out Bicycling to see if it meets her needs and interests.