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December 16, 2017
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  • RayG

    Their last issue is also the last in my current subscription. After an unbroken run starting with Issue 12, I wasn’t going to renew for all the reasons you list above. But I thought that the last time my subscription expired and then they published some really interesting stuff, so I changed my mind.

  • Martin Emptage

    I actually like the fact that I get a magazine, which is something the next generation (aka: digital natives) won’t really be able to fully appreciate. I sit in front of a computer all day for work. Reading through a magazine give my brain a chance to relax and unwind and not be distracted easily.

    What I would love to see is a number of publishers come together and put out monthly magazine still, but given the way today’s society works and is heading, it won’t happen which is a shame.

  • Sunny Ape

    The transition from physical print to electronic media is nothing new. Sure, we’re still in the re-adjustment phase as we re-align our interests and focus to the new delivery medium, but print faces the same crisis that analogue photography faced in the 90s… go digital or accept oblivion.

  • d;

    It’s sad really, because there’s nothing like a good magazine, like ride review is/was. It became quite obvious to me that Rob is passionate about cycling. I absolutely loved it. But I have to admit I haven’t bought a copy for a while, to convince myself that I’m not such a cyclenut, that it is not obsessive. Shame, if I do become obsessive I can’t go out and buy the best cycling magazine. Bon chance, Rob.

    • Rob Arnold

      Thank you.

  • jules

    great article Wade. some very salient points. and I say salient in the sense of making myself sound authoritative and knowledgeable.

    I love Ride magazine, it was and is a very high quality publication. this was my overwhelming impression of it. however, I struggle to justify buying it, as there is just so much free content on the web. I want to support what I see as a quality publication, but the rational part of me says “I can’t justify the cost”.

    I’ve had some training on writing and there are some important lessons that you have touched on. firstly, people don’t naturally read in the way that journalists prefer to and have traditionally written. they read in chunks, they skim and in bursts. online content better caters for that than long features – in print or online.

    the webification of published materials is often derided, but in a lot of ways it actually better meets the needs of readers – at an objective level. adapt or perish – that’s the brutal reality.

    the other brutal and often unstated reality is that most of us are reading this at work. we don’t really have 20 minutes to immerse ourselves in a long feature.

    good luck to Rob and Ride with its future.

    • Rob Arnold

      Thanks for the feedback.

  • Rob Arnold

    Wade, thanks for adding some commentary to this. Our decision was a difficult one to make and I’ve persisted with print for a long time because I believe in it. I’ve said it before, but I’ll say it again as it is a reflection of what you’re stating: there is value in The Fourth Estate.

    • David

      I’ve never seen or read a copy of your magazine, but now that you will be online I shall be able to. Online does allow you a much broader readership – global, even – and if your quality is of greater value than your? quantity then I’ll without doubt subscribe. Cycling Tips is an excellent source of cycling news/features/etc, and as they are mentioning RIDE as a worthwhile read then I am looking forward to visiting your website.
      Will it be simply entitled RIDE?
      When is online publication due to start?

      • Hey David, Rob’s been publishing content online for years now, in addition to his magazine. You can find the site here: http://www.ridemedia.com.au/

        • David

          Thanks, I’ll take a look. Apologies for my ignorance re its existence.

          • Not at all! Just thought it might be of interest. :)

    • d;

      Hey Rob, I feel guilty but I have to tell you this. I haven’t seen Ride on the newstands (last 2yrs since I moved) and quite a number of times I’ve paged through other cycling publications and never bought even though I had the intent. You’re the best.

    • Steven Hanley

      I love Ride magazine, though I identify as a mountain biker (and I guess now days trail running is my main sport) I stopped buying mtb magazines years ago and yet have still made the effort to hunt down ride magazine the first day it is available in news agencies every issue for over 10 years now. However I have a strange relationship with online content, I know there has for a long time now been more available on the ride website to see when scanning things on the article or to go look at and yet I have rarely (maybe twice in 10 years) gone to see more items on the website. It is sad that the magazine will no longer be available and I can hope something entices me to see the content online now (through the ride social media presense)

    • Ragtag

      Rob – I have a subscription to your iPad magazine. Is that also going to go away too? That will be really sad for me personally. I liked your bike reviews and features. And enjoyed the content. My only criticism is that since you are a quarterly magazine and not monthly, some of the race coverage feels dated by the time it came out. Other than that it is top class. I am sure the content that you publish online will be great as well! But yes online article subscription seems a little alien. I would rather subscribe and pay for a monthly / weekly curated magazine than paying for a daily article. I still like the magazine format more even though now 99.99% of the times all magazines are consumed by myself on a tablet.

      Cycling tips – Maybe something to think and evaluate for Cycling Tips as well? I know you have started a subscription for your articles. I firmly believe you have killer content but you need to bundle it better as a bunch of weekly articles and then I know this is what I get when I pay for it. Right now readers get so many free articles that one is not clear what one will get when you pay for it. I think the way forward is if you convert yourself into an online magazine that one can pay, access via desktop, iPad etc. Then you let people try a couple of issues. When they see all the articles and features curated, lined up as a well thought sequence which they can consume at leasiure while travelling etc. It should be easier to show the value proposition.

      • jules

        I took up CT’s Veloclub offer. The value has been beyond content – discounts, partnerships. I know I sound like an ad and they’re not paying me, but it’s more than paid for itself in my case – without even considering the premium content.

        • Mike O’Neil

          Discounts, partnership etc. absolutely agree. The emporium discount has recovered my outlay already, but, I want to support good quality journalism in this age of mainstream media. That was the main ideal behind my signing up for Veloclub.
          And, I’m doing the same for other journalistic sites that I feel are worthy of support on today’s age of “fake news” etc.

          • Spartacus

            Exactly what Mike and Jules said. Bought my VC membership to support the journalism I value, told myself I’d get at least some of it back in bundled offers and then got all of it back and more through the Emporium voucher and other benefits. Great business model. Also enjoy the exclusives like the recent Tim Wellens interview and the early look st some articles that are embargoed for a few days.

      • Hi @disqus_uwWyBgNwM8:disqus, thanks for the feedback. Unfortunately people aren’t going to pay for online cycling content, so we only make it a small part of our benefits for VeloClub. Instead we’re building a bundle of benefits that add up to something substantial, and exclusive content is part of that. Industry discounts, training plans, a growing community, $100 Emporium voucher, and much more is where we can easily articulate the value of joining.

  • Holby City

    I only tend to buy magazines at the airport for long haul flights whereas I browse CyclingTips every day. Even on an iPad a magazine just isn’t the same as glossy paper and cardboard.

    The big problem is social media. I can’t wait till we move into the post-social media age. Wade will say he needs Facebook to survive and I think that’s really sad. If Facebook didn’t exist, and I’d be much happier if it didn’t, I would still come to this site just as much, if not more. It’s sad to see so much narcissism and vanity on Facebook and Instagram; everyone is trying to be famous for 15 seconds. I want quality over quantity and I want the human touch over algorithms. How many more years of social media do we have to endure?

    • Facebook is a double edged sword: we rely on them driving traffic to the site, but the also take away attention and advertising revenue. They also have created an environment for clickbate to thrive. I’m not hesitant to say that the world would be better without them.

      • Ragtag

        Indeed. Agree.

      • Simon E

        Facebook has replaced club and other forums as a ‘one stop shop’ for people to keep up to date with their social interactions, news and so on. I don’t like it but I can understand the attraction. But it means you all have to dance to their tune. How Facebook handles prioritising feeds and shares in your timeline is shrouded in mystery with unpredictable results. In the end it exists to make money. Lots of it.

        I have given up on UK print magazines. Cycling Weekly, once the prime source of racing news, is now described as Sportive Weekly and repetitively recycles generic training advice. The monthlies are only interested in showing you expensive must-have gear, meaningless bike grouptests and yet more gear.

        CT is now my first stop for pro race news via RSS and I appreciate the effort you are making to cover women’s racing so my ad blocker is disabled on this site. Consistently providing good content won’t make you rich but you can at least know that you’re doing something that is valued.

      • Sascha

        Agree…I just cancelled my Facebook account several weeks ago…

    • armstrongcycles

      I have to agree with the iPad element of this. I’ve been consuming the majority of magazines through the Zinio app for years, but Ride magazine was the one that I always went out and purchased (spurred on by seeing it appear in the Zinio feed) especially if there was a holiday involved.

      You can’t read a tablet in the sun / near the pool or your angry 2 year old (the screams of PEPPAPIG get to distracting) !

      And the longer articles demanded setting yourself aside and enjoying the moment (on the upside the financial controller will be happy about them disappearing from the rack in the bathroom).

      Very sad to see it go.

  • Tony Coombes

    Rob all the best for the future mate ,I work for the print company that prints your beautiful mag and I’ve seen a few publications disappear over the years. I’m not a roadie but I do look forward to working on the Tour de France issue but sadly no more.

  • maxelwood

    I moved back to Germany last year and since I always got an printed Ride issue send to me by a friend (although the Mailing prices are ridiculous outbound Australia, even for a magazine).

    In the world of printed cycling magazines this was (and digitally it certainly will continue) the best read for me on both continents.

    The local TOUR Magazine just don’t deliver the same quality of information and vibe for me and I’ll continue digital.

    Though, I will badly miss a nice read without any electronic device.

  • dcaspira

    Rob, Incredibly relieved you’re still doing the ” Official Tour de France Guide” !

    Thanks for the awesome collection of stories, and education over the years -:)

  • Bmstar77

    I have about a metre of Ride mags in the shelf behind me, starting from the days when it was so much confusing jargon (vertical compliance? wtf?) to now, having learned so much through the mag. Definitely influenced my buying decisions and helped me understand the relevance and benefit of higher level gear. I look forward to the electronic edition…I think…except for having to shell out for an expensive piece of landfill. I mean, a tablet.

  • toffee

    “not only will paper magazines become extinct, but so will niche cycling content. All you’ll get is what Facebook serves up to you in your newsfeed,”

    I don’t agree with this, I think the interweb makes it easier for the publication of niche cycling content. Is cycling tips “niche cycling content”?

    Ride is/was a great magazine, and I can only see them making more money by increasing their distribution by going online.

    I rarely buy magazines now, they are just way too expensive. And environmentally a bit unjustifiable. Websites just make much more sense.

    The big question is, every morning will I look at cycling tips first, or ride magazine.

    • The barriers for entry were almost $0 to get CyclingTips off the ground as a hobby project, but to sustain it at a level where content goes through an editorial process, people get paid, expectations are met and delivered, and is financially viable, it’s a whole other story. We don’t have it all figured out. And now the barriers to entry are larger than ever. Not from a money perspective – from a commercial viability perspective.

    • Rob Arnold

      Great comment.
      Lots to add. But perhaps another time, another place…
      Nice to see the discussion here though.

  • Hey Rob, any chance you’d consider printing a yearbook to sum up and reflect on what has happened in the sport? I have an archive of Ride that serves my nostalgia well so something like this would make for a lasting addition to this collection. If not, so be it, thanks for persevering and bringing us what will long be considered an outstanding publication.

    • Nathan

      I second that. A ‘RIDE Annual’ – a whole year of cycling in one publication.Truly old school idea but it gets around the ‘old news’ problem and gives more time to collate great content. Go full retro and make it a coffee table, cloth bound hard cover. Makes it collectable and you can up the price. Do it Rob!! Please?

  • Jack R

    Sad news indeed. As a long time RIDE subscriber, I will definitely miss the hard copy delivery. A bad day would be forgotten on getting home to find the next issue had been delivered and was waiting to be read. Quarterly issues meant there was always a sense of anticipation. The amount of the content also meant issues could be skimmed in the first few days, before digesting each article properly in slow time – not something that can be replicated with online content. As noted here, the benefit of not reading on a screen is also a big one (especially at a time when I’m trying to minimise/control screen time as an example to my kids). Certainly a sign that print media is done when one of the best makes this change. Good luck to the RIDE crew with the next chapter.

    • Rob Arnold

      Thank you.

  • Emma-Kate Smith

    I have been a RIDE subscriber since the first issue, and have met Rob on a few occasions over the years. With a busy family life, it was a little luxury to set some time aside and totally absorb the magazine’s content and indulge in the bike reviews that have set the bar for all others to follow. Yes, the magazine has evolved to online editions, as has the bike tech & kit advertisers over the years. With the boom in cycling and seeing RIDE for sale in other countries as well as the App store, it remains a relevant part of the pro cycling landscape and road bike culture. It will be missed from this subscriber, with a hole that online content simply cannot fill.

  • valiumct

    Agree with so much of what you say. As a Deputy Editor at a publisher in the U.S. (web, print, video) I see this playing out daily and worry how it will impact the company I work for AND my future.

    Short attention span theater is the (depressing) rule these days. Having to avoid publishing worthy content (ugh, modern-day jargon) to capture eyeballs is both a challenge and, often, an exercise in futility.

    Plus, the overall quality of web content is often mediocre at best: rife with spelling errors, often with blatant errors that are “fixed” with a mere strike through- as if it is ok to have published something that was wrong. Fact checking seems to be a thing of the past (fortunately we still have a very robust FC department), and write-by-press-release is the norm.

    And, of course, with the low pay and constant hunt for work, no writer wants to piss off a manufacturer/advertiser, so for the reader there is always that question of “how many punches were pulled in writing this?” That’s no different than print days, but with slim margins it has to be even more of a concern.

    Web-only media is free and great for the end-user…but only to a point. People don’t know what they’re going to miss as journalism dies and click bait rules even more.

    • Larry @CycleItalia

      Agreed, but there’s a lot of crap out there on paper as well. The ONLY print mag I happily pay (a lot!) for is Rouleur. They seem to be the only ones who are willing to pay quality writers to WRITE rather than simply type. How long they can keep this up is the big question.

      • Tim Gorsuch

        I’m trying to figure out how to get Sponcered for a major bike ride! I don’t have the extra cash for it! Please call me at 7406166061 thqnks!

        • Larry @CycleItalia

          Sorry mate, I can’t help you there. Odd thing about your term – “extra cash”. I’m not pointing a finger at you specifically but it’s amazing how many times I hear comments like this from folks who ride bikes that cost 4 X mine, drive cars that that cost 10 X mine, live in homes that cost 20 X mine and have incomes that I can only dream of. …yet they lament the fact they can’t find the “extra cash” for that dream vacation in cycling heaven?

    • Michael Sales

      Rob, your magazine; your choice, but I think you are making a huge mistake. I have been a subscriber since the first edition as I felt that your mag was superior to your competitors. Although I access information online daily I prefer the tactile feel of books and printed magazines which I can enjoy in the comfort of my armchair or in my backyard under the shade of the jacaranda . Sorry mate but e books just don’t cut it. Obviously I will not be renewing my subscription as I can access the info I want through Cycling Tips and other sites. I am sure you will lose a lot of subscribers as well as those unfortunate enough to be employed in the print industry serving your publication. May you enjoy the same fate as those employees.

      • Rob Arnold

        Michael, it seems that you are wishing me bad luck simply because I won’t want to be beholden to the regularity of a deadline.
        Is that the gist of it?

    • Rob Arnold

      There is true value in The Fourth Estate… and yet it’s fading away. It’s a great shame.

  • Sascha

    Well that sucks…do I really want to have to turn on my laptop every time I want to read an aricle…no thanks! When I go away on holidays or camping I do not want to have to read via a digital screen. I also like to read printed media in bed, not through a blue lit screen…I understand the reason though.

    There’s something tangible I preferred…I was going to suggest to friends a subscription as a birthday gift for me but unfortunately I won’t now…

  • Expat Ed

    I used to like RIde and subscribed for many years but saw little change in the magazine – each edition was basically the same format, too much advertising and I started to dislike the constant references the editor made to himself in articles and how often his Cadel Evans book was given a plug. I have started reading Cyclist as I like reading about the trips they do. Race reports I read online. I think the market is there – its having the right content. But for all my criticisms well done to Rob Arnold for his efforts – he helped grow the popularity of the sport in Australia and employed a few people along the way.

    • BBB

      Personally, the ‘little change’ you refer to was one of Ride’s strengths.

      I do agree with you on Rob Arnold’s journalistic style. Inserting yourself into a story got a little old. And the frequent use of ‘…’ in his stories (as he does in the comments section here – “Great comment. Lots to add. But perhaps another time, another place… Nice to see the discussion here though” ) became annoying.

      However, hats off to Rob Arnold as a publisher. Ride came out when the bike magazine market in Australia was, let’s face it, crap. It lifted the standard dramatically and its liberal use of high quality photos, the breadth of its content, the quality of its printing and its sheer size meant that it was a must buy. And it charted the rise of Australian cycling over an exciting (granted, drug riddled) time that eventually saw an Australian winner of a Grand Tour.

      If Ride, or what was the artist formerly known as Ride, becomes on-line only, it will be missed.

      Maybe Cycling Tips and Ride should merge.

  • Superpilot

    The scariest thing is that Facebook and Google, by mapping out your interests, rob the individual of novelty. It has been written about a lot, but the algorithms trying to serve your main interests in order to make more money from your eyeballs are actually making individual world views more vanilla, more isolated, and more skewed.

    Even the comment sections can follow through where opinions are still of a subset of a subset (people who want to comment as a subset of cycling fans as a subset of sports fans etc).

    Print provides an avenue where you might learn something you might not otherwise have known about. Albeit when purchasing a cycling magazine you are going to read about cycling content, they can still present a novel idea or product or advertising and it will be in front of you. Online it is your choice whether to click and read something that interests you. I know my reading style enables me to read around flashing web ads, banners and the like.

    Finally, I’ve said it many a time, but the click bait, the drama, this is what humans crave. Clicks and comments on drug stories, crashes, are huge compared to the happy day lovely picture stories.

    You’re right Wade, it is a race to the bottom.

    When providers are trying to justify advertising dollars, and consumers just go for the trashy content, then they will get the brand loyalty and the free content of a quality that they each deserve.

December 16, 2017
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December 13, 2017