So a couple of weeks ago I said to someone here who was thinking of buying new equipment, hey, I just saw a buyer's guide that Bicycling put out, you could take a look at that, and not long after that I was at the library and they had a copy and I thought hey self, you could read this thing before you rec it to other people.
Which I have! And here are my thoughts.
Mostly, what I think is that I am so not the target audience. More than half the 128-page issue is devoted to men's road-riding and racing gear, which is, yes, kind of spiffy and shiny and stuff, but entirely unrelated to what I do on bikes. There's one and a half pages of touring equipment (including, I will admit, a Rivendell mixte I have been known to drool over, plus a rec for one of the Schwalbe Marathon line of tires, which I have on the tandem and think are dandy) and five pages of reviews of women-specific road and mountain biking equipment. There's a single page of kids' and tandem bikes (although, again, the tandem they picture is the entirely drool-worthy Co-Motion Periscope, which...er, yeah, if I win the lottery and my stoker gets big enough that her rear wouldn't be below the top of the back wheel, I would love to roll one into my garage). There are no recumbents. There are no hand-crank bikes or anything adaptive.
They seem to do a little better on reviews of urban-type bikes, but most of what they're covering with any degree of comprehensiveness is strictly for the carbon-fiber-and-spandex crowd.
I checked some other issues of Bicycling out of the library and read those, too, this past weekend, which was interesting in a semi-anthropological way. There are usually one or two items each issue that I enjoy reading -- a piece on bicycling as a therapy for ADHD, which as someone who was diagnosed-hyperactive as a kid and has spent time lately throwing my own a-lot-like-me kid on the back of a bike, er, yep; a piece on bike touring with kids -- and a lot more that seem to have nothing to do with me or what I do on bicycles.
Maybe I'm too mellow on long rides, but I don't exactly go out to ride fifty miles and fret about...I can't even remember what they call it, but I think it's some sort of metabolic crash. And it has its own term, which isn't "borking" but is something sort of like that (you can tell how much of the vocabulary I have failed to pick up, here). If you feel like crap or start to worry that you aren't going to be able to get home from your bike ride, the thing to do is find a nice spot next to the road and not go anywhere until you stop feeling like you're going to barf or whatever. You don't need to overthink this. Also, tips for how to have a snack without stopping moving? Honestly, I think having a granola bar and a bottle of Gatorade and talking to some cows is one of the nicest parts of taking a long ride in the countryside.
I am clearly not well-suited for the high-speed Bicycling lifestyle. But, like I say, there's often something sort of interesting in each issue. I wouldn't run out and buy a subscription, but it's not all bad if I'm in a mood to sit down and read a stack of mags from the library (although frankly, Fortean Times is more fun, and will provide pointers for what to do if you're cycling through the English countryside and a panther walks up and asks to eat your granola bar).