Well folks, it’s been fun. But unfortunately I have to go away for a while. And where I’m going, there will be no cycling mags, internet access will be severely restricted, and frankly I will be in no position to guide you through the stinking midden that is the UK’s cycling media (cries of “huzzah!” and “trebles all round” from Bristol, Croydon, etc).
But I will leave you with a few recommendations, based on my half-arsed analysis over the last six months. Think of this as my farewell Top 5 listicle:
1 Cyclist. Still the best all-round mag for most right-thinking grown ups. Sure, they have the occasional duff issue, but they are mostly very good value.
2 Rouleur. An acquired taste, but if you like road-racing, good photography (mostly) and decent writing, this is the mag for you. Yes, a tenner a copy is expensive, but I feel it still represents good value compared to things like Pro Cycling and Cycle Sport.
3 Cycling Plus. There’s always a lot in it, but not necessarily a lot that I want to read. Certainly worth checking it out in the newsagent’s each month to see if it’s worth buying. More often than not, it is.
4 Cycling Active. Pretty dire these days, with a dreary mix of sportives, lightweight product tests, and dismal training plans for the wannabe racer. Don’t bother, unless you’re a faux-pro with more money than sense who thinks a 60 mile sportive is a race.
5 BikesEtc. Execrable shite. If it’s still going in six month’s time I’ll be quite surprised.
1 Cyclingtips.com. Excellent Aussie site (don’t let that put you off), with some really good content written by some very good writers. Going from strength to strength.
2 Road.cc. A fairly small site, but the quality is pretty decent, and it doesn’t over-do the listicles and click-bait (although you can find it there). Usually worth a look.
3 Bikeradar.com. A big old site with plenty of content, most of it reasonably good. The forums are pretty busy too.
4 Rouleur.cc. Strange stories that you don’t get anywhere else, good writing, thought-provoking pieces. A good place to while away a few lunch-hours.
5 RoadCyclingUK.com. Way too many listicles and click-bait. Rarely has anything on it that hasn’t been done better by someone else.
1 Velocast. It’s paid-for, but is far and away the best bike racing podcast(s) out there. John and Scott are knowledgeable, engaging, amusing and add enormously to my enjoyment of bike racing (although John can shut the fuck up about bloody Hour records and TTing!). Cillian’s This Week in Cycling History is excellent, too. With the money you save from not buying shite magazines, spend it on this instead.
2 Pro Women’s Cycling. Properly good stuff from Sarah Connolly and Dan Wright, it’s slightly anarchic, a bit sweary, and mostly very entertaining. Their sheer enthusiasm shines through in a very appealing way (although Dan can sometimes over-do his Australian-ness).
3 Cycling News Podcast. I know! It’s actually not too bad! It does have a tendency to be a bit po-faced and earnest, but overall it’s a pretty reasonable effort most of the time.
4 Telegraph Cycling Podcast. Hosted by the Holy Trinity of cycling authors (Dan Friebe, Richard Moore and Lionel Birnie), I want to like this podcast. But I don’t. There’s a level of smug self-satisfaction from the hosts that I find a little bit annoying. My bookshelves are full of their books, and they probably have every right to feel pleased with themselves, but it doesn’t mean I have to like them. Being a “friend of the podcast” for £10 a year gives you access to long and dreary interviews with uninteresting sports people. The rest of it is free. I like Ciro, though.
5 The Spokesmen Round Table Podcast. Although fairly US-centric, Carlton Reid (Editor of Bikebiz) upholds the UK end of things. It’s quite “tradey”, but no less interesting for that. It’s primarily about recreational cycling, but does meander on to sport stuff from time to time.
And that’s all I have to say about that.