Saturday, November 24, 2012

Dearie gracious me.


I'm calling it, the cycling revolution has finally jumped the shark.

I work in the mainstream meadia, so I know only too well how easily someone's dumb idea translates from some lightbulb moment in a news conference to something uninformed and shallow and useless with a photo on page seven. Feast your eyes on this junk, it's what happens when the Canberra Times unleashes its "Lifestyle and Entertainment Reporter" on recreational cycling.

If you are a woman and would like to find a husband, then you should invest in some Lycra, preferably with a splash of neon to be on trend for summer, and sensible underwear which doesn't give you a VPL [visible panty line], according to co-owner of The Cyclery, Jayson Clarke.

Now I'm one of those old school hacks who thinks that "lifestyle and entertainment reporters" aren't real journalists, but apparently it has been decided that we're going to address the crisis in the newspaper industry by giving up on hard news and feeding people lightweight garbage like this.

The same colour jersey and shorts must be worn, or at least look like they should be worn together. "You don't drive a Mercedes while wearing a BMW shirt, so when it comes to your outfit, wearing a different brand or kind of jersey to your shorts is a no-no," Clarke added.

There is, of course, that the owners of the bike shop were having a huge laugh at her expense, but nonetheless, what bemuses me is this: what service is this article to readers who might be thinking of buying a bike? 

There are two types of people who have a $16,000 road racing bike as recommended in this piece. There's the elite athlete (who doesn't pay for the bike anyway, and the clueless whacker with too much money. I wonder which category Jenna Clarke falls into? For that money, you could buy four or five fine superb bikes, any one of which might stand a chance of having more than one use: riding at top speed on smooth roads in fine weather during the day with a load no more demanding than a half full waterbottle. (Don't get me started on the fact most of the people who ride these type of bikes in fact don't race and have lamentable bike handling skills and very poor road manners.)

There's a hint in there too about how the many in the cycling industry will forever be at the mercy of boom and bust. If you think recommending a $16,000 bike to a novice rider is going to bring people rushing to your door, maybe you don't deserve to be in business. When cycling is no longer "the new golf" I can see a lot of these sort of bike shops going broke.

Ah, what the hell, I'm going for a ride. In my shorts and T-shirt on my old steel bike. Maybe I'm just not serious about cycling.

3659km so far this year. 

1 comment:

ben walker said...

Hey DAvee

asa long term cycling mamil isn't there a danger of getting a bit over-exercsed about what is a transient puff piece you refer to.

As an ex-Melburnian now resident in Hobart the Mercury does a mean line, trumping the Age in this regard, running beatups premised on "pollies/bureaucrats noses in the trough" I personally and its all down to individual taste, find these beatups more tiresome that this one-off high-end fantasy bike guff accompanies by a photo of apretty reporter in knciks etc(I'm human & she was photogenic)