I recall a time when anything to do with the Tour de France or cycling in general was hard to come by. The only tonic was a trip to the newsagent. The 'scage at the mags' as it used to be known was a quick look at custom cars (you probably know why), NME and if my mates weren't looking, The Face.
I happened to find myself in town yesterday walking into W H Smiths. I enjoy these 20-30mins of indulgence and my path through the mags is a well-travelled cornucopia of delights. Such is the market driven world that we live in, my restless quest for more info and ‘must haves’ is always on the up. This is where the challenge begins. With limited time (and reluctance to buy) what do you choose? For cycling it used to be the comic, nothing other than good old Cycling Weekly, the classic, the PR of mags. However, for a number of years it did have the reputation for being too dry and self important. It is now struggling to have the impact and star studded content that the big players have in abundance; the varnish gloss of Pro-cycling’s back cover, the free DVD included with the 2011 TDF guide, the Pro-riders review of yet another >10k hyperbike. The challengers continue to attack.
The MTB mag scene has also exploded. The mtb version of Rouler, Privateer is enjoying rave reviews. Poor old Singletrack may suffer the same fate as MTB-UK-stickers don’t make the mag! We want impartial content, the fresher the better. This then brings me to the web, pdf downloads from the ride journal, a quick look at bikerumour, pinkbike and other esoteric delights and insights can be had for free. So, where does this leave Cycling Weekly? Well folks, in my opinion it’s in yellow from the prologue. No other mag can provide the level of content (‘weekly’ must have something to do with it) and the Brit contingent in this year’s event will no doubt provide some exclusives and gems. And, let’s not forget a little escape to scage the mags, the feel of the paper and the even nod to the chap standing next to you reading the same mag is one of lifes little treats.