Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Bicycling magazine

By the time my Bicycling magazine subscription lapsed for good, I had lost most of my interest in that publication.

To be sure, there were still interesting articles sometimes, such as "The 90-Year-Old Who Can Kick Your Ass" – a profile of a nonagenarian, former pro cyclist still riding strong. And there were the recurring staples, like "Get Stronger Legs!" and "Fix a Flat in Two Minutes Flat!"

But too often, Bicycling seemed little more than a shill for the bike industry. Their regular "buyer's guide" issue seemed like free advertising – and a not-so-soft sell, at that.

The magazine had enough interesting stuff, though, so that I saved a bunch of old copies. And recently I've been leafing through them in search of past articles, like the one about the 90-year-old.

I noticed that not only was Bicycling a shill for the industry it supposedly covers impartially. It was a shill for Lance Armstrong.

It's really sad to see all that old stuff, now that Armstrong has suffered his spectacular fall from grace. There are countless articles from Armstrong's heyday, with titles like, "How Lance Will Win Tour #5." For years, he was Bicycling's cover boy.

I've written elsewhere that Armstrong almost certainly used performance-enhancing drugs. That topic is not the purpose of this essay. I guess I don't really know what the purpose is, except to illustrate what I consider media hypocrisy. It is true that I haven't checked out Bicycling magazine on a regular basis in years. But it is also true that I heard its editor talking disparagingly about Lance Armstrong in an interview on NPR about a year and a half ago, before the fish really hit the fan. He said he had the goods on him: yes, he doped. He was a cheat. What a sad day for cycling.

Now that Armstrong had served his purpose to Bicycling, this editor was prepared to piss all over him.

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