I have been a subscriber to “VeloNews” and now the re branded “Velo” magazine on and off for a long time. I was initially interested in when it was formated as a tabloid. Reading Velonews magazine took hours, the other bicycling magazines were complete fluff compared to Velonews. My first subscription was in the mid 2000s. The magazine had lots of coverage of racing, racers, races, and a little bit of tech, some training, and some fluff here and there.
In 2011 it was determined that people get their news online, Velonews became Velo and the editorial staff was axed. Velonews had always been very timely covering news of the cycling world right after it happened. Now Velo seems to be about 2 months back. The April issue I got last week has coverage of the world cyclocross championships that happened February 1st. Actually saying they have coverage of the event is a stretch. A picture of the mens podium and a picture of the female champ are shown in the small “Winning/Losing” infographic. That’s it.
When Velonews became Velo they clearly stated they were not covering races anymore in the magazine. Race coverage was moving online. I can understand that, who wants to read 2 month old race coverage. The magazine was going to focus on personalities and stories within cycling, with some tech and training thrown in. Essentially Velo has become the “People” of the cycling world. It feels like nearly every other issue is a “special personalities issue” where a group of racers or insiders are profiled. It can make for interesting reading, but I consider it side reading and not really what I buy Velo for.
The last several issues have been increasingly smaller. 60ish pages with lots of big full page ads. The tech and reviews section are occasionally really good. Velo goes to great lengths to provide scientific testing to their bike reviews. They built rollers to actually test a bikes vertical compliance, a stroke of genius. The training section is a joke, a couple of pages which usually are nothing more then an ad for someone’s book or coaching service.
Perhaps the straw that broke the camels back was the hour record. I’ll admit I don’t read cycling news online all that much. I’ll check it every now and again, but I did read the Velo cover to cover each month. I had no idea of the changes to the hour record and that it was being contested. It didn’t really come up until last months issue where it garnered a small section in an article about how cycling is becoming more “vintage.” It was several months after Jen’s record breaking ride.
Come on Velonews, how can you drop the ball like that, howabout a multi page article on the biggest record in cycling, I’d love to read a recap of the changes, the technology bans, and what has changed that has riders going for it again. Instead I got a blurb in an article of blurbs.
Essentially that is what Velo has become, a thin magazine of blurbs. This latest April 2015 issue is a big improvement over the last several issues. It’s may be enough to get my subscription renewed. There is a multi page indepth section on cyclings grey areas, covering Unwritten rules, virtual doping, and the bio passport. This was just the kind of stuff I like to read in Velo. There is a very interesting article about Chinese counterfeit frames, Dan Wouri covers the hour record in is column, and the resurgence of German racers is covered. Even the training article is not as bad as usual. It’s an actual good issue, but still only 64 pages. It was my final issue.
When I first subscribed to Velonews I remember getting magazines twice a month in peak cycling season that covered the major races just days after they had happened. I imagine that kind of coverage is prohibitively expensive in today’s publishing world. It seems like I paid around 50 dollars for 20 something issues back then. Now it’s 30 dollars for 14 issues, the price isn’t bad, and really it’s worth 2 dollars an issue. But I’d rather pay 50 dollars for a 100 page magazine that had actual coverage and pictures from races, and one that wasn’t hopelessly behind, and one that didn’t completely ignore major events in cycling. Maybe I need to remember to check velonews.com everyday?