First off, thanks to Guy Andrews for yesterday’s guest blog…an interesting and thought-provoking piece (and thus a refreshing change to the bile and vitriol normally found here).
But back to the matter in hand…the May issue of Sportive Active. On the cover of this Spring issue we have a nice snowy, wintry photo of two cold cyclists. They probably did that to remind us how nice the weather is now, compared to what it was like several months ago. So that’s good.
Inside we have sportives. Many, many, many sportives. But first we have some new products, including the revelation that some bike wheels are suitable “for varied terrain…sprinting, climbing, breakaways, climbing [again] or on the flat”. Crikey, those must be EPIC wheels! Next is a look at the “game-changing” Pinarello K8-S, launched at last year’s Ronde, and never seen again. CA are a bit late to the party, but at least they didn’t just churn out a load of credulous Pinarello PR-speak…Oh.
Equally crapulous is the piece about a £3100 pair of tubular wheels that makes no attempt to put them in any kind of context (such as what sort of fucktard is going to spend more than £3000 on a pair of tubs), but they did superimpose a photo of the wheels onto a photo of blue sky and clouds, thus underlining their incredible lightness.
Both the regular columns this month are about riding kit. Simon Warren’s Old School is about learning the ropes in the 1980s, and Brett Lewis’ New School is a fascinating list of all the cycling clothing he has accumulated in two years of cycling. He certainly has all the gear…
The first sportive article is about a new event called The Struggle. It’s in quite a nice part of Yorkshire and photographed in a rather unappealing way. I started to read it, but quickly realised it’s exactly the same as all the other ones just like it. But I did read the piece about cycling for the impossibly ancient (those of us over 40), even though it contains quite a lot of shite about training plans and nutrition strategies. And it’s not a bad piece, to be honest.
The disc-brake wheel test is also reasonably good, even though I personally couldn’t care less about such things. The next sportive article is about the Tour of Cambridge, possibly the least appealing sportive imaginable (not that many of them are appealing). The Fens are flat, the scenery is flat, the wind howls, and the definition of a virgin is a 12 year old girl who can run faster than her brother. But at least it’s not Surrey.
The bike test this month is of four “British” 105-equipped bikes against the best-selling Canyon Endurance CF8.0 with 105. Of course they’re all built in the far-east anyway. But this test brings us to one of the things that has been bothering me (and many others, it would seem)…why does the bike press continue to wax lyrical about Canyons when the company clearly has many problems in its supply chain and continues to treat its customers very badly (see page 39 for the answer to that particular question). You get barely half a page about each bike, so you know what kind of test this will be. The same can be said of the metal bikes test that follows — brief, formulaic, and of no use to anyone.
Product “tests” include a look at summer socks, gilets and bike cleaning kits (be still, my beating heart!). These are followed by quite a sensible look at aero helmets, and spoke repairs, before we flick quickly past the Fitness + Training section (the usual crap about training blocks, beetroot, intervals, zinc, rhino horn, protein, snake oil, blah blah). At the back is a throwaway page about sock-doping (whatever the hell that is).
And that’s your lot. At 130 pages, there really is so little of interest in this magazine I do wonder why anyone bothers. And the new-style CA seems to suffer a kind of identity crisis. It appears to be primarily aimed at the relatively inexperienced newcomer, yet features £3000 wheels and £350 handlebars. They seem to be deliberately targeting the all-the-gear-but-no-idea brigade, which is probably why I find it excruciatingly poor these days. I know I’m not the target readership, but surely they can find something more interesting and useful than this. Then again, with Steve Prentice and Simon Collis running the show, maybe not.
Back on Monday with some thoughts about the latest Cycling Plus.