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Alternate universe report: Bicycling hires BikeSnobNYC, features commuter bikes

Posted Mar 28 2009 4:14pm

Thursday I recieved the May issue of Bicycling Magazine - or at least I think I did. Sure, it had the same old cover showing a muscled, smiling racer that this Marketeer of everything carbon and spandex usually features (in fact I think all Bicycling covers feature the same racer, or at least it seems that way). There was the big bold headline telling me how I could BEAT STRESS, get lean and feel great. But on the inside? Oh, something had changed all right.

You wouldn’t know it by the mag’s website either. It too features the usual racing-and-gear-sales drill that Bicycling has been known for. Flipping to page 23 there was, right in front of my face, a full-page feature on electric bikes and how they could help so many more people start commuting. Shock and disbelief.

Not two pages later, the left column was taken up by the recollection of a builder of bikes from scrap and cast-off parts a la the Yellow Bike Project. What? No ad revenue in that story (granted, they did throw a small box in at the bottom featuring the “Jersey of the Month”).

The right side of that same page? A full column by BikeSnobNYC! And a good one at that, although slightly neutered from his stuff on his normal site in my opinion. I guess they wouldn’t want to offend too many readers or, even worse the Great Trek Bicycle Company. But I digress. Congrats, Bike Snob! We’re glad to see you in there.

WTF? How am I gonna shave an extra .25 seconds off my time trial time with this thing? (Image Courtesy Fuji Bicycles)

WTF? How am I gonna shave an extra .25 seconds off my time trial with this thing? (Image Courtesy Fuji Bicycles)

The coup de grace in this issue, though was the Gear section, which wasn’t full of $4,000 racing bikes, inexplicably, but featured real commuter bikes with chainguards, fenders and relaxed riding positions from makers Abici, FeltFuji and Alternative Needs Transportation (A.N.T).

Crazy, no? YES. It all points to one thing that oculd be good for all of us: bike companies (i.e. advertisers) are finally, at long last, paying attention to the need for real transportation bikes. If they put their marketing power to work on ideas like using your bike as an everyday tool to go to work, get groceries and the like it could just help get more people on bikes, and here’s hoping they do.

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