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


Anonymous said...

Sifting through Youtubers that satisfy my interests for bike packing and touring, the marketing hype that Russ and Grant Peterson warns us about, and how to dial in one's bike. Two kinds of Youtubers, one to impart knowledge and one to entertain. Russ obviously imparts knowledge; Katie, Henry, and Julian Hutchings entertain.

Tony Hunt said...

I've felt this acutely, especially as of late. I recently started a blog to talk about urban cycling again, a niche that had a few significant years of life and influence, but then, for mysterious reasons, vanished. I'm thinking especially of Lovely Bicycle and Eco Velo. Rather I understand why their blogs in particular came to an end, but I don't know why transportation cycling fell off the deep end. As Alan Barnard (Eco Velo) has pointed out, Riv shifted focus away from transportation to off road recreational. Their continued resistance to designing properly for fenders on the one hand, or racks that don't require tons of futzing to fit on the other leaves a gap. I think you all are one of the only folks left that provide products that can make for a unified system. You space for direct-mounting fenders that you continue to make, your constructeur and campeur racks fit in a fantastic way (though I do notice it seems you may perhaps be discontinuing the front campeur?)

But the bike as an integrated, whole system lies stillborn in 2010 still. BYOB and DYI remains the name of the game. I'm so grateful for your stuff!