27 January, 2023

Cycling Media in the 21st Century

by Scott 

I consume a fair bit of media I think. I read a couple newspapers (online) every day, check into 5-6 cycling websites, and listen to a number of podcasts when out and about. One interesting interview was with the CEO of Outside Media. The main discussion was about the state of outdoor media, and the fact that Outside now owns almost all of the big outdoor publications, and the impact of that on what we read and view.

                                  (Derek and Connor consuming media the old fashioned way)

The cycling industry and media have certainly changed in the 11 years I've been here at VO. When I started, there were at least 4 magazines (actual print ones) that we advertised in, sent test product to, or at least paid some attention to, as our products could get a mention in any of them in any given issue. There were probably 8-10 blogs that paid a lot of attention to our niche end of the cycling world.

Over time, the magazines all dropped off either in a physical format or all together. I've also seen a number of the blogs I used to read dwindle as well. In the case of personal blogging, I think it's a matter of having something to keep the author motivated to continue writing. Some blogs were at the point of sustained content for 10 years back in 2012 already. It takes a lot to keep that writing up, especially if it is not your day job. And in many ways, producing and maintaining the blog takes time away from family or riding your bike. Plus, people evolve, they change what they are interested in, and what they are interested in writing about. If you're a keen vintage cycling fan, 10 plus years of blog posts is a bit daunting to keep up fresh content. (Shout out to Guitar Ted who's kept at it all these years with fresh content daily). Also of note is that the Velo Orange Blog has been going for over 15 years!

The last few years have seen a rise of the YouTube channels related to cycling. Russ Roca at Path Less Pedaled, Katie Kookaburra, and Henry Wildberry are a couple of the folks that I look at for some interesting insights (I'll admit, I'm not a huge consumer of videos). I think Russ is one person who really gets our niche of the bicycle market, so it's always interesting to hear his take on things.

You can also see the rise of social media, in particular Instagram, explode in the past several years and how that has changed the media world. As shown with YouTube, visual media is popular and seemingly lots of people are interested in our content, through that medium.

                                      (Some cycling media we have collected over the years)

So I present to you, the loyal follower and reader of this blog, where do you go for news and cycling entertainment? Are you a devout reader of a blog, or watcher of video, or listener of podcasts? Are you joining Substack for niche written content?  Do you even care to get cycling related content online? Let us know in the comments below or send postcard answers to us at:

Velo Orange

6730 Dover Road

Suite 113

Glen Burnie, MD 20906

11 January, 2023

Practicality vs. Sentimentality - Does it Bring You Joy?

by Scott

A lot of us have attachments to items we own that don't make financial sense. I'm not a sentimental person, by and large. I have a few objects that I hold near and dear to me, but in the case of the house catching fire, my wife and I will grab the cats and the wedding album and that's about it. 

I bring up the idea of bonds and sentimentality and how it pertains to bicycles. We get a lot of folks coming to us to help keep their older bikes going. We've got the various bottom brackets and headsets to keep those older Peugeot UO8s and Schwinn Le Tours rolling along, handlebars to replace the going-on-40-year-old original bars, and all the fixings to make them unique to the rider. I'm curious as to whether folks are keeping them going in their original shape, setting them up as a commuter bike with newer components, or something in the middle like changing the bars and consumables for a spiffy and novel weekend rider.

The larger question of whether or not a bike should be restored to its shiny and new glory, simply spruced up and ridden, or hung on the wall? The answer is a resounding...."it depends"....

There are so many factors that goes into a decision like this. Does the bike have sentimental value, significant historical value, or is it just a fun project to work on? These decisions aren't easy especially when it comes to a budget.

There is no question that certain bikes hold more or less value to us as individuals - for example, Adrian and Igor have matching Campeurs that they used for their Denmark wedding tour. You can read about his and her Forever Bikes here. 

A Peugeot UO8 is perhaps the best bike to use as an example here, as it is a re-occurring character at VO HQ. Peugeot made thousands and thousands of these bikes during the bike boom of the 60s and 70s. They were mid to low end of the range with Simplex shifting, Mafac brakes, and cottered cranks. They weren't anything special, but they were affordable, had cool graphics and Aztec lugs, and it got people on bikes - and that's what made it an icon of the era.

Photo courtesy of DJCatNap

Would a UO8 be my first choice for a restoration? Probably not. But if a particular UO8 had significance in my life, like it was a beloved family member's, a first bike, or something of that nature, well that is a whole different story. Now that specific bike has significant sentimental value and that doesn't necessarily have the same price tag as a random UO8. I would absolutely argue that it deserves either a full restoration or moderate refurbishment to make it safe to ride - budget allowing. Replacing consumables like chains, brake pads, handlebar tape, and tires goes a long way.

Adrian's Bertin with Campagnolo Nuovo Record

I see outrageous pricing for original Simplex derailleurs and hear stories online of collectors paying huge amounts of money for period-correct parts. Is it to recreate this bike from 1973 and then display it or is someone actually riding this bike? For a lot of people, it's a totally worthwhile exercise to go and take an older frame, fix it up, put a new saddle on it, new brake pads and cables and then go out and use it. But I think one has to admit that, like many things, bikes have improved over the last 50 years and to just blindly restore a bike back to its original condition may not be the best decision.

Do you restore old bikes for sentimental reasons? Do you restore them to stock condition or do you make them more modern? Let us know in the comments!