I hate blogs. Blogs are shite. With the exception of Inner Ring and BikeSnobNYC, there is virtually none worth your time. Even this one is probably not worth your time, unless you happen to enjoy poking fun at the cycling media, mocking journalists who’ve sold their souls for for a daily crust, and sneering at pro riders who’ve foisted yet another bland “autobiography” onto shelves already groaning under the weight of half-truths and lies-by-omission.
The problem with most blogs is that it’s just more noise, more artless prattle — a million egoists clamouring to have their voices heard. Of course if there really is nothing better to do in your lunch hour, then go ahead, read someone’s 9,000-word account of their latest sportive triumph, or how they made half-a-hundred-weight (ask your dad) of energy bars for under a fiver. But mostly it’s just poorly written drivel by someone labouring under the misapprehension that they are clever/funny/interesting. Usually, they are none of these things.
So what makes The Cycling Digest any different? For a start, it’s written by someone (that’ll be me) who can actually write tolerably well, someone for whom punctuation holds no fears, and whose command of grammar and lexicographic adventurism knows no bounds. More importantly, I have been writing in consumer journalism for nearly three decades and I know a bit about this stuff. I’ve tested products for assorted magazines, written hundreds of thousands of words, and worked hard to maintain journalistic integrity and ethics in an industry more concerned with bottom-line profitability than offering a service to their readers.
Unfortunately journalistic integrity and ethics have long since departed this land, leaving us with…Katie Hopkins, click-bait op-ed pieces, and articles entitled “Ten Reasons You Should…” (buy something our advertisers are selling). Maybe we get the press we deserve? Maybe no one minds that we are being pedaled thinly-disguised advertorials? Maybe this is the price we pay for having such a vast amount of free content available online. The problem, from a consumer’s perspective, is that there is now so much of this stuff out there — magazines, websites, blogs, books, podcasts — that who knows where to start?
So start here, where I will be reviewing and deconstructing the English-speaking road cycling press, reading terrible books on your behalf so you don’t waste your time and money on this stuff, mocking cycling websites that are trying to convince you to buy stuff you really don’t need, and listening to hours of cycling podcasts to enable you to decide which banal media-savvy soundbites are actually worth persevering with. There will even be some telly thrown in.
And yes, I started a sentence with “and” and ended one with a preposition. So I’m clearly not that good. And sorry about the random advertising that appears below…I can only hope that it’s for something ludicrously inappropriate.