Rampant commercialism Friday

Aaaand, we’re back. Apologies for neglecting the blog…the serious business of earning a living briefly impinged on daily life. And now that I’m back, it seems the world has gone to hell in a handcart in my absence.

I know times are hard for retailers. I know everyone’s struggling to make a few quid, but FUCK OFF WITH YOUR BLACK FRIDAY SHITE! Seriously, just stop it. Like Thanksgiving and Halloween, it’s not a thing. It’s a crappy import that nobody wants and nobody asked for. Another piss-poor excuse to get us to buy stuff.

So today will be spent unsubscribing from the blizzard of  marketing emails from Chain Reaction, Wiggle, Cycle Surgery, Evans, Chapeau, Cycling Souvenirs, etc. I don’t mind the occasional email, sometimes they’re even quite useful, but any company that sends three a day for a week is going straight on my don’t-shop-there list.

Anyway, having resisted the temptation to get 20% off something I neither want nor need, I spent £2.99 on something I neither want nor need…Cycling Weekly. Yes, I know, I ought to know better by now. But it’s too late now.

Settling down with an espresso (usually as long as it takes to get through a copy of CW) I was delighted to find that there had been a cock up at the printers, and an eight-page section had been omitted (pages 29-32, and 57-60). That section had been shoved in as a loose-insert in a half-arsed it’ll-have-to-do kind of a way. But the good news is that this section included monumentally dreary stuff (an interview with Luke Rowe, a piece about sleeping, and half an article about turbo training), so I can bin that section straight away.

The big news this week is that the CW advertising department has chosen its 2016 Race Bike of The Year (it’s the snappily-named Canyon Aeroad CF SLX 6.0, if you’re interested). This is a 21-page feature that somehow fails spectacularly to capture the excitement and thrill of an awards ceremony, or even the excitement and thrill of riding a bike. To maximise the number of bike companies winning a prize, there are sub-categories (Best Lightweight Bike, Best Disc Brake Bike, etc).

To be honest, this is really turgid stuff. There are 37 bikes in this feature, and despite many of them being very good bikes, this Top Trumps-alike feature doesn’t make me want any of them. Not even the £8000 Bianchi Specialissima. Mostly this stuff reads like it’s straight out of the manufacturer’s press release or like it’s something really simple being explained to a particularly stupid child (did you know that the Specialized Roubaix is “named after one of cycling’s most gruelling one-day races”?). No shit, Sherlock. FFS!

I started off just thinking that this feature was funny, but actually it’s just piss-poor. No attempt has been made to make this interesting or useful. The double-page spread about the winner is a case in point. This, apparently is the best bike for 2016. So we get a badly cropped photo and two-thirds of a page of drivel. I quote:

“The Aeroad CF SLX excels through simple design and the resultant ease of use. Design solutions such as the seatpost bolt are a prime example of this approach. Direct-mount brakes offer more modulation and stopping power over a standard caliper and the rear brake is situated on the seatstays where it’s easy to get at.”

Eh? What? So we’re bigging up the Canyon for having a seatpost bolt? That’s good, because all my bikes have those. And are we sure about the modulation and power benefits of direct-mount brakes? Really? The man from Specialized says: “Post-mount brakes may be fractionally better than existing calliper brakes in terms of power, but they’re not really any better for all-weather ability, they’re not really much better from an aero standpoint; and they’re not really much better in terms of power modulation.” Yeah, whatever.

Another thing I find baffling is the fact that the Canyon Aeroad CF SLX didn’t win the Lightweight Bike of the Year category. Why not? It’s good enough to win overall, and it’s lighter than the bike that won the Lightweight category (the Merida Scultura 6000). Surely it should win the Lightweight category.
With regard the rest of the mag, we have a dozen pages of out-of-date news, followed by CW’s weekly interview with a Sky-bot, this time it’s Luke Rowe. Happily I’ve already binned the loose section, so I don’t have to read the usual guff . I’ve also binned half the bit about turbo training, so I don’t have to wade through that shite either. In the cookery section we find out what Fumiyuki Beppu has for his breakfast (biscuits) and learn how to make energy bars (again).
Moving on, we have a four-page advertorial for a Hampshire sportive in February (organised by the people who bring you CW). The “Epic” route is a whole 57 miles in length and climbs over 1000 metres. I know! Like totally epic, dude! Then we have four pages about a bike club in Cumbria (Zzzzz) and Dr Hutch mocking the whole Sky/Froome/Esquire data nonsense, which is quite good.
And that’s your lot. Okay, it’s only three quid, but that’s still more than Bjarne Riis’ autobiography on Amazon, and not nearly as funny.


That’s it for this week. Back on Monday to mock some cycling websites (8 Steps to Sportive Success…#9 will blow your mind!). In the meantime, ride safe.


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