So when I joined Performance Bike, it came with a free subscription to Bicycling Magazine which I loved to read. But after about a year my experience grew and so did my taste for all aspects of the sport. I needed a different kind of magazine. I did a little shopping around and found that the two more prevalent American cycling magazines were Road Bike Action and Cycle Sport America.
Ultimately I’ll pick one to stick with for a few years because 3 cycling magazines a month is too many. Here are my opinions after reading at least 3 magazines of each company.
Great magazine for the beginner cyclist. It gives tips on eating right, workouts to improve performance, bike fit, basic bike maintenance, and landmarks to visit for the traveling cyclist. One of my favorite articles was the 109 Cycling Rites of Passage in the November 2009 issue. Bicycling magazine also provided lots of bike reviews for the average cyclist and personal stories on how cycling had changed people’s lives. It is a fun and inspiring magazine. Only this past year did I notice that it had taken on articles regarding races and how the professionals ride. Maybe the writers had done so before, but generally the articles were geared towards riders who put on average 40 miles on their bikes at a time. You can subscribe for as little as $1 a copy or go online and get about 25% of their articles for free. After a year, I grew out of it, had started watching the pros, and needed to garner experience from the more serious cyclist.
Road Bike Action (RBA)
The feel of RBA is really down to earth and practical. It is the magazine that you pick up if you want to read articles about the history of SRAM and Mavic, learn what it’s like to race on the same team as your brother, and understand the pressures of being the son of a former race champ. They review only the top of the line bikes from manufactures you’ve heard of once upon a moon and seek out professionals you never would known about otherwise. They also do a few articles for the female cyclist which I appreciate. They don’t touch on bike maintenance or work out techniques, if you read this magazine those facts should already be ingrained in your head. At $15.99 for 9 issues a year, RBA is a good deal but don’t expect much on aesthetics.
Cycle Sport America
When you open one of these babies, every page catches your eye and you can’t wait to read this magazine from cover to cover. The visual hooks and captions are enough to reel you in. This magazine takes it all the way to the top. They interview the best of the best – Cancellara, Armstrong, Contador, Schelck – and their staff of columnists are professional, witty, clever, and my favorite – sarcastic. You definitely feel the wisdom of the writers and know that the magazine values their opinion. Is this magazine: Funny? Yes. Artistic? Yes. Serious? For sure. At $44.99 for 12 issues a year, Cycle Sport is not cheap but totally worth it. I thoroughly enjoy reading this magazine. This is one for the serious cyclist.
So what’s my pick? Probably Cycle Sport America. I think the only thing I’d miss from RBA are the articles highlighting the history of cycling companies and cyclists. Knowledge from a decade where I had yet to exist. Maybe I’ll switch out between the two from time to time or maybe I’ll seek out some other cycling magazines when I get bored of these.