Hip Magazines for a Hip Sport


So two cycling magazines recently published their inaugural issue, paved (@pavedmag) and peloton (@pelotonmagazine). I’d heard of their existence over Twitter and when I was in a Barnes and Noble recently, I decided to check them out. Then decided to review them.

Hip is key

While they both fall squarely into the “hip” category of cycling magazines (as evidenced by the small “p” used), I found them both accessible, even as someone who is decidedly not hip. Or interested in being hip. Both are dedicated to those who love the sport and the beauty within. Both have a good mix of bike technology/gear, stories and, most importantly, lots of fabulous photography. I love photography in general and the locations of races naturally lend themselves to producing landscape porn. (Side note: I was disappointed in the bad weather this year at the Giro di Lombardia, as I heard so much about the amazing scenery. But the weather did make for a killer race!) And because of the focus on photography, the magazines feel a little like fashion magazines, with their fashion spreads, but instead of models posing in the latest trends, it’s road bikers modeling the best Mother Nature has to offer. Which is totally fine by me.

While neither magazines scrimps on good photographs and awesome photography is all over both magazines, paved seems more focused on illustrating the beauty of the sport through photographs. The articles are just as much about the pictures which accompany them as the text – many of the articles have as much space dedicated to photos as text.

On the other hand, I found the articles in peloton to be more satisfying. I enjoyed the tribute to Fignon, the behind the scenes look at Chasing Legends (and btw,when is that coming to the DC area? I NEED to see it), and the interviews with Heinrich Haussler and Andy Hampsten. The only article I felt lacked depth was the interview with Vincenzo Nibali. But I think this might have had more to do with the language barrier than anything else.

While neither magazine is for someone looking for the latest nutrition and training trips, or extensive coverage on new components or bikes, both offer just a taste of those things. While peloton has more space devoted to bikes, bike components and accessories, it only takes up 26 pages out of 128. So definitely manageable. As someone who is only marginally interested in the mechanics of bikes, there wasn’t so much that it bored me, but enough to give me a little insight into that aspect of cycling.

Quibble

The main quibble I have with paved is that they put Lance on their cover!

Lance?! Really?!

While the picture is cool, and it isn’t immediately obvious that it is Lance, that doesn’t take away from the fact that it is Lance. Really? Lance? Clearly this is a magazine aimed at the passionate insiders – they know that other cyclist exist out there besides Lance. AND Lance did not even have a good season this year! Maybe they’re trying to draw in a larger audience? Yeah, I don’t think that cover of Lance is going to do much. The picture is not obvious enough to really attract the attention of a Lance fan and once they actually flip through the magazine, or even just look at the table of contents, they’ll see there’s nothing about Lance between the covers- unless you count the article on doping. Which is not going to endure Lance followers to pick up the magazine (even though I found it interesting!).

hardcore

However, how awesome is the cover photo of Nibali and Basso riding the Giro covered in mud?! That’s a photo only an insane, passionate follower could appreciate.

Bottom Line

While they both offer stunning photography and present cycling in all its glory, I would probably subscribe to peloton before I subscribed to paved. I liked the articles more and, to be honest, paved is a little too hip for me. But I think that’s because I’m not as dialed into the community as others. For those who are, and who enjoy hipness, it is just as much of a delightful treat as peloton.

I may not be hip, but I am on Twitter.

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