R.I.P., VeloNews

The first edition of VeloNews in which a cartoon
by You Know Who appeared.

VeloNews was found dead on Jan. 1. It was just 50 years old.

Was it murder? Suicide? Natural causes? (i.e., a slow-moving form of frontotemporal dementia?)

Nah. Darwinism. Nature red in tooth and claw, baby. Or, if you prefer your poetry in the original Sicilian, “It’s strictly business.”

• Editor’s note: A tip of the VeloNews cycling cap to Steve O. for the sharp eye on the velo-news.

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17 Responses to “R.I.P., VeloNews”

  1. Jeffrey K Cozad Says:

    It’s been on a downhill slide for quite some time. I can’t recall when I let my subscription go but it’s been years. Given that it’s death went almost unnoticed, I think that sums up it current relevance.

    I still miss Competitive Cycling. I got a free subscription to that when I bought my first legit road bike.

    • Patrick O'Grady Says:

      After dispatching Winning: Bicycle Racing Illustrated, VeloNews never really responded to the challenge posed by digital pubs like CyclingNews, despite having one of the first websites in the game. Then acquisitions finished the job. CGI assembled the coffin and Outside nailed the lid down.

      I was still getting the magazine for free years after I left, but I never read it. It spent some time in a guest bathroom and then boom, off to the recycling bin.

      • Pat O’Brien Says:

        I used to buy a copy now and then at Hastings Entertainment, a real honest to god bookstore with a news stand. Got the Tour de France special issue there too. Hastings had the same fate as Velonews.

  2. carl duellman Says:

    That’s a cool picture of Marianne Vos (i think) on the Pelaton cover.

  3. Sharon Says:

    Memories…I remember when I first started cycling, about 30 years ago. Friends would come over and laugh when they noticed the juxtaposition of the magazines I read. I enjoyed subscriptions to both VeloNews and Southern Living for many years.

    • Patrick O'Grady Says:

      I got started reading bike mags with Bicycling, then moved over to Winning when I got interested in racing. Even had an official Winning jersey back in the mid-1980s.

      I’m not sure when I saw my first copy of Velo-news, the quad-fold newsprint magazine the Georges put out from Vermont. I was in Vermont, briefly, in 1977. But I suspect I first picked it up at the Denver Spoke or Turin. Maybe Criterium in Bibleburg, I don’t recall.

      Bicycle Guide was another good read. Lots of magazines have come and gone since I got interested in the sport, and I worked for a few of ’em too. VeloNews is just another one. Lasted longer than most, though.

  4. khal spencer Says:

    I got the print edition for a while when I fancied myself a USCF racer back in Honolulu. Not sure when I killed the subscription but I still followed the web site when O’G and Charles Pelkey were still working it. Fell away eventually. Was a good magazine/web site back in the day.

    Oh, well. Everything goes extinct eventually.

    • Patrick O'Grady Says:

      Here’s a piece John Wilcockson penned upon the occasion of selling the op’ to the knucklefuckers at CGI. It’s a look at where VN had been and where he thought it was going.

      I bet he’d like to buy those last two grafs back, though. Maybe not. He’s still hanging in there, over at Peloton.

      • khal spencer Says:

        Wow. That’s incredible. I had just signed on to the U of Hawaii in October of 1987 just in time to avoid losing all my job offers as the market collapsed.

      • Shawn Says:

        I agree with Khal. Wow. It really wasn’t that long ago. I think ’86 was the year that I stumbled onto a bus in CO and got free grub and a few bucks to help out some bike race that started in San Francisco that summer. It wouldn’t surprise me if somewhere I picked up the first new-issue VeloNews. I need to look, I may still have a copy of one of the early Inside Cycling mags.

        As for expiring my patience with the Velo conglomerate, that occurred on the 28th of January in 2012. I sent them a whining and crying letter with a mention of: “I’m not sure of the tea leaves that you are reading regarding the guidance and direction of your periodical, but you may wish to analyze where your bike roots lie and re-address the success of your early growth”.

        It’s a damn shame but things change and old men get grouchier. the current VeloNews wasn’t for me anyway.

        Regarding looking through old correspondence, did you know that I called O’Grady a “burrito smoking letter pounder” one time? But I sure ended up being the one with the expired bean dip on his face after that matter.

      • SAO' Says:

        I remember that piece. Quite the scorcher. “I have come to bury ICI, not to praise it.”

        The Rodale connection is interesting. Those folks were the tops dogs in the wellness market, and published a couple of hardcover best sellers along the way. Then, poof, they were gone.

  5. JD Says:

    On the running side, I was a lifetime subscriber to Runner’s World in the early 70’s (1970’s NOT 1870’s!) for $70 and am still receiving my mags because, thus far, they’ve stayed relevant to the market.
    Much more women-focused today and that’s good.

    I was a running shoe wear-tester for Nike in the 70’s/80’s and, thus far, they’ve stayed relevant to the market (BUT WAY overpriced in my view).

    As we used to say in the Cold War re the Soviets as a numerically inferior US/NATO force, we touted “quality over quantity”; “BUT quantity has a quality all it’s own, eh?!”

    The big will eat the small. And then spit them out.

    • Pat O’Brien Says:

      JD, I think shit them out would be more accurate. Strip the carcass of all value, then throw them in the shitter. Venture capitalists, don’t you know, are only interested in capital, not th3 venture.

      • SAO' Says:

        Yep. Just read that Monster (not the overpriced cable company, the overpriced fizzy water + corn syrup company) bought Canarchy, which was a consortium designed to do one thing: demonstrate growth, then sell out. Fewer and fewer people are actually making anything anymore, and yet there’s more and more crap out there to order for two-day delivery.

    • Patrick O'Grady Says:

      I’m just happy I got in and out when I did. Talk about a lucky sumbitch. Fifteen years at newspapers before they turned to shit, and 30 more at magazines before likewise. Rode two waves and landed right on the beach. A third one might get me, but it’ll have to catch me in the hammock with my umbrella drink and 70-SPF sunscreen.

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