• just when it was getting good…

    by  • February 14, 2008 • too random • 7 Comments

    finally-my-inspiration-is-revealed.jpgBen Delaney is the new chief at VeloNews … and i hope whatever media conglomerate {{LINK}}  that’s taking over the magazine knows they need to keep that guy – if he’ll stay. whatever, i don’t know the narrative on how the small, Colorado-based, company is selling their shop … but, whatever they do ~ they’ve earned it.

    Velonews began as a teeny-weenie rag of scribbled nothin’s about scraggly nobodies. It grew and grew through some crazy sense of dedication to the sport … or maybe just not enough free time to find something better to do. And, damn if it didn’t become a standard of the biker business, if not the standard. But this year … realizing it’s growth potential can’t be met by it’s current resources … the small company has cashed out and hatched the rag out into the world for a megaCorp to eat up.

    we’ll see what happens.

    fkorn.jpgbut where VN is going right now … is the right direction. I had a casual acquaintance with VN editor, Delaney, back in the late 90’s. He was a strapping bit of adonis-on-a-bike, and always showed very good marketing saavy and technical insight into the sport. He was a racer then, and might still be now – but regardless if he races now or not, he knows racing. And he knows American racing.

    There are a few writers in the VNews stable that really have a fine affinity for the sport, a true love and an insider’s perspective and appreciation. And I really hope that the kinds of articles they are doing now will be continued with the new megaCorp.

    Articles like young Frishkorn’s view of life. This guy needs to be wrapped up in a tortilla and sold at the swap meet. He’s that good. And, if you don’t think that Slipstream is America’s next team … you just will never be cool enough to wear argyle … in any form, ever.

    lala.jpgOr the VNews write up on our own LalaLloyd and how she and other women at the highest levels in America still have to skimp and scratch to survive. Unacceptable. Yup, she makes the bold and radical statement that riders should get paid for riding pro. i know, shocking.

    Anyway, these are the types of stories we want to read, these are the types of riders we want to know more about.

    Listen up, oh cash-handlers of VeloNews, bring us more of these stories and we will reward you.
    -

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    7 Responses to just when it was getting good…

    1. Conroy McHuckster
      February 14, 2008 at

      Was VN dying or do they just “need” to grow. I liked their products for what they were and who they were written for. What is wrong with sustainable profits. The only thing I know that keeps growing is our GDP and cancer and they are both bad.

      If big media takes over we’re going to get articles about “how to blast calories and look good in spandex”. Just look what happened to “Outside” magazine. That magazine used to be for people who loved the outdoors. Now it is about vactioning in Taos and “shredding trails” in Vail. Total crap! The outdoors and cycling become just a way to make money buy trying to grow to sell others the lifestyle we already have. Keep racing hard core (small).

    2. February 14, 2008 at

      i’m not sure “sustainable profits” is the question.

      i think it’s “sustainable content”…

      personally, the problem i have with past velonews coverage was that i felt it tended to ignore US-based racing and athletes. i mean, we should have a TON of coverage of every region’s racing. we need media exposure to as many regions in the US as possible.

      with that kind of media exposure comes dollars to the region’s programs …investments in making the cycling programs worthy of the media coverage.

      i think that’s how it works …

      anyway, i think the quality of any product is a result of who’s making it. and, i hope the new company that produces VN keeps on in the same spirit that i’m seeing develop in VN this last year … a spirit of highlighting good stories about folks in our own back yards.

    3. LJ
      February 14, 2008 at

      Speaking of content, I’m not sure which super secret print version of V.N. you have been looking at but I think the quality has been sliding for years. Pre-internet days V.N. was more or less THE source for results and I thought the race articles were pretty good, not to the standard of a mag like Winning, but pretty good. But I think they have stumbled hard during the transition from “results+article about the race” to “you know the results, but I’ll give you some insightful writing”. I think for a print racing oriented cycling mag to survive to has to give us content that is superior to what is available on the web (cyclingingnew.com and VN own web content included) and I think generally, VN has failed pretty hard.

      I’m not a really big (comparatively) fan of any of the major US sports, but I’m constantly amazed that while stuck in some waiting room I can pick up an issue of Sports Illustrated and read an article about a football game I might have even watched and still enjoy the read…..S.I. has really good writers, not just good “football” or even “sports” writers but straight out good writers…..I think VN has to really raise the bar writing wise if it wants to succeed as a print mag.

      I miss Bicycle Guide, I think overall its better then any single print cycling mag I’ve seen since. Pro Cycling, Cycle Sport, VN, Bicycling, MBA, Dirt Rag (though I love it) and Bike (great writing, just not enough of it) included.

      Dont get me wrong, I’m not saying VN “sucks” or all the writers “suck”, I think as a whole its just not that engaging of a publication, and def. not worth the $$. Especially when you consider the combined content available at V.N.com, cycling news.com and other online outlets.

      cheers

      LJ

    4. February 14, 2008 at

      I def agree with LJ on this one. VN seems to have slipped in recent years. Maybe it’s just my old school mentality, but I preferred the VN circa late 80’s early 90’s.

      And since I’m stuck in a time warp, I’ve got to give props to the old Winning:Bicycle Racing Illustrated mag.

    5. E.O'B.
      February 14, 2008 at

      The weakness in the writing at Velonews stems from the amount of money they are able to pay their writers, which sure as hell can’t compete with what writers are paid at ESPN or SI.

      Cycling in the U.S. generates probably 1% of the revenue generated by the NFL; exponentially more people watch football and want to read about it so an exponentially higher number of advertisers are willing to pay an exponentially larger amount of money to reach that audience. The coverage of the sport reflects these realities. This doesn’t mean that cycling isn’t the coolest spectator and participatory sport in the world or that Sam Abt’s prose doesn’t make ball sports writing seem sterile and inane. But I may be one of only 10,000 people in this country who feel that way, and as long as our numbers remain low the quality of coverage dedicated to our efforts will remain haphazard.

      One way to grow the sport is to support others who are trying to so. I buy Velonews for the same reason that I pay a slight premium to shop at my LBS: I’m optimistic (or naive) enough to believe that I’m investing in the sport. I never want cycling to be as mainstream and homogenized as golf, for example, but more riders would create a larger demographic for advertisers and betters purses for people like Rachel Lloyd. My subscription to Velonews is my way of making a small contribution to that process.

    6. February 15, 2008 at

      “Velonews began as a teeny-weenie rag of scribbled nothin’s about scraggly nobodies. It grew and grew through some crazy sense of dedication to the sport … or maybe just not enough free time to find something better to do.”

      look. your blog still has hope to make millions.

    7. LJ
      February 15, 2008 at

      “One way to grow the sport is to support others who are trying to so”

      I agree and applaud that…

      but we if we support mediocre publications that is what we will get. There are plenty of “niches” that support excellent publications, Cooks Illustrated is an example and in the cycling world I would say Dirt Rag is an example (not for road racing, but for another cycling niche).

      anyway, I’m trying to read less cycling stuff and ride more

      cheers

      LJ

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