Quantity over quality

At a whopping 202 pages, this month’s Cyclist is a hefty mofo, weighing in at 141g more than Cycling Active but 136g less than Rouleur. If nothing else, you feel like you’re getting value for money just lugging it home from Smiths. The cover is quite nice too, but seems slightly sludgy and overly-warm, and I’m surprised that wasn’t corrected a the proof stage.

Anyway, after the usual news and new products stuff we have a Q&A with some long-distance lunatic who cycled the length of Africa in six weeks and has some interesting things to say about ultra-lightweight touring. The World Track Champs piece was a bit meh, Trevor Ward’s cobbles piece was excellent, and Frank Strack is offering some quite sensible advice about coffee-stops on group rides.

The first big feature is about the Verdon Gorge in Provence, and very lovely it is too: nice photos, good words, and a beautiful place that is not hard to get to. Yep, ticks all the boxes for me. But I’m afraid I didn’t read the piece about protein. When people start burbling on about branched-chain amino-acids my mind tends to wander. I didn’t bother with the Tony Martin article, either…he’s a pro cyclist, so I don’t care. The article about Snowdonia is an interesting read, but the photos are pretty horrible — sludgy, with a green cast, and several of them are very soft. Not up to the usual standard.

Next up is a decent piece about the new all-weather Gabba clones, followed by the second installment of Cyclist’s HC Climbs series by Ellis Bacon. This month features the Tourmalet and is as good as I’d hoped for. Great words, lovely photos (more drone shots), and I defy any right-thinking cyclist not to be inspired by this. Geoff Waugh’s piece about the Shimano factory is also interesting, and rather more accessible than when Rouleur did it a few years back. But I didn’t read the Vietnam story because it’s not somewhere I particularly want to ride a bike (although I do want to go there), and because it was a freebie trip so won’t be too critical of anything.

The following piece about titanium is interesting, even if it doesn’t tell us much we don’t already know, and I also enjoyed the Liege-Bastogne-Liege sportive article because if you’re going to do a sportive, make it something substantial like this one (not a 60 mile jaunt round the New Forest).

Bikes tested this month are a disc-braked BMC (meh!), a disc-braked titanium Vaaru (it’s no Passoni), and a Time Skylon (more interesting than I expected). And there’s a very lengthy look at some fairly unremarkable Edco carbon wheels that may or may not have anything to do with the full-page Edco advert 17 pages earlier.

At the back we have Felix Lowe’s latest column. And much as it pains me to say this, gentle reader, it’s actually a decent read. No, seriously…it’s an interesting look at the Cancellara v Boonen phenomenon.

And that’s your lot. There is some good stuff in this month’s mag which generally makes it worth £5.50 of your hard-earned, but there’s quite a lot that didn’t interest me particularly. Mostly, though, it’s a good read aimed at actual grown-ups who already know a little bit about cycling and don’t need to be spoon-fed a listicle containing very short words.


Back tomorrow with thoughts on Cycling Active. Unless the weather’s nice, in which case I’ll be out on the Pig-Iron Pista.



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