As a Performance Bike “member“, I get a free subscription to Bicycling Magazine. I find that every month, I almost (barely) enjoy thumbing through this rag because it is chock full of hilarity. I have written on it before, and this may be my last installment.
Like most print magazines, their once vaunted position of the monthly dissemination of information, learning, and relevance has been eroded (decimated? eradicated?) by the advent of the Internet. One no longer must wait until the mailman drops the mag in the box, or the local drugstore has it on its periodicals shelf, all the information is now at your fingertips 24/7.
Yet, magazines cling by their fingertips trying to remain relevant. Bicycling is no different.
However, that is not my rant today. As I mentioned in the lead-in, I didn’t consciously subscribe to Bicycling, I get it for free with my annual Performance Bike Membership. However Bicycling seems to think I will renew and pay for their rag.
It starts about 4 months before the year is up. Pleas to renew that increase in their intensity. At first, it is a claim that it is my “last issue” and to “hurry” to take advantage of “significant savings”
I mean, I didn’t buy it to begin with, so why the hell should I pay to renew. Odds are excellent (near 100%) that I will renew my Performance club membership, so I will once again get a comp’d copy of the rag.
Then each month the ratchet up the rhetoric, trying to instill a sense of urgency, adding to the call for all I will miss by not renewing TODAY.
I mean, where else will I learn about entry level road bikes for a mere $3200? As if to even get started on riding, you need to spend three fucking grand to enjoy bicycling? And the push to make it finally the year of Cyclocross bikes? And the Dream bikes, where custom frame builders will measure you and make a frame specifically designed for your body for $8K and up?
Or short articles about gear like this one that talks about the glory that is Campagnolo Super Record groupo where for a mere $3,680 you can get crankset, shifters, derailleurs, and brakes made in Italy?
Hell, in the short review, they mention that those “Japanese” components are easier to setup, stiffer, required no special (read: expensive) tools, and in general outperform. But there is something magic about Campy. Whatever, I prefer riding to wrenching, and my one friend (a racer) who is a Campy fanatic spends hours each week keeping his Campy kit working well.
Then after the last “LAST ISSUE” warning, I get another issue. Christ, can’t you guys even end a fucking subscription already? Or is this the plan, to scare or trick people into renewing?
It even has an extra adder, what we in marketing label a “Call to Action”, in this case a sticker to emphasize the seriousness of how much information I will lose, and how I should “act now” to get my best deal on renewing.
I mean, who can resist a call to action? It is like those late night TV ads for the Ronco Vegetable Slicer. Call now and receive at no additional charge, a cutting board to go with your slicer! Limited time offer. Yada yada yada.
Of course, if I wanted to renew, this might prod me to take the leap, but nah, I never subscribed to the magazine in the first place, and I am pretty sure that their partnership/agreement with Performance Bike is a way to increase their circulation, so that they can brag about their reach when they negotiate the advertising rates with potential clients.
Is that being cynical? Nah, it is being honest. Print media is dead.