Another one bites the dust.

Zapata Espinoza and two colleagues just got the old heave and also the ho from their gigs at Hi-Torque Publications.

According to my man Steve Frothingham at Bicycle Retailer and Industry News, Hi-Torque plans to croak Road Bike Action and Electric Bike Action. Hence the pink slips for Zap, Tony Donaldson and Alex Boyce.

“(The) head winds proved too mighty” for the titles, Espinoza told BRAIN in an email.

Oof. When even a Mountain Bike Hall of Famer like Zap can get dropped you know them headwinds is fierce. Here’s hoping the lads find new homes soon.

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23 Responses to “Zapped”

  1. khal spencer Says:

    I thought e-bikes were The Next Greatest Thing? In other words, the robber barons at the top don’t have enough Porsches in the garage, so they have to stop feeding some of the galley slaves?

    Speaking of e-bikes, yesterday as I got home from a ride, I saw an adult couple wobbling unsteadily up the hill towards the dog park, swimming salmon into traffic on their e-bikes. Looks like we in the cycling community have a new way to compete for the Darwin Award.

    • Patrick O'Grady Says:

      “Information wants to be free, man.” Which is code for “I don’t wanna pay for it.”

      It’s a pisser. Some sidelined scribes — Dan Cavallari and Caley Fretz among them — are trying to find a way to make the magic happen again. But it’s an uphill pull into a stiff wind.

      Padraig and Robot over at The Cycling Independent are still hammering away, but I don’t know how sound the fiscal footing is over there.

      • khal spencer Says:

        I drop shekels into the e-bin over at TCI every month but I did see that they started accepting advertisements. But at least they are trying to stay alive. Getting more for less out of the scribes so there is more for the robber barons seems to be the rule. The other rule is “waddaya mean we can’t get “content” for free”?

      • Patrick O'Grady Says:

        Yeah, I clink a few coppers into their cup meself. They were getting some support from Shimano, but I think that ended with 2022. It’s a rough auld road these boyos is riding.

  2. Pat O’Brien Says:

    Free information is worth nothing. In a sea of content, on any subject, it’s hard to find anything of value. We try to find some interesting video most evenings on the youtube lobotomy app. Other than a few established channels, Rick Beato and Beau of The Fifth Column are an examples, it is an exercise of “finding diamonds in dung.” Digging through a mountain of shit with stupid ads is not a relaxing time. When I look at the magazine cover above, everything looks familiar. Same stories on a different day that try to sell you something not much or any better than what you already own. In our many years of cycling, the only magazine that endured was “Adventure Cycling.” Part of the allure were Patrick’s bike reviews.

    • Patrick O'Grady Says:

      I was lucky — I never had to run a bike mag. I figured that if I did my job reasonably well — write and draw some reliably silly, occasionally informative stuff — and everyone else did their jobs well, we would succeed and maybe even prosper.

      It worked, for a while. We had good people working both sides of the game, editorial and business. But the arrival of the Innertubes and vulture capitalists changed the rules. Suddenly both audience and ownership only cared about one thing — the bottom line.

      “I can use a VPN to watch the Euros race in real time, whadda I need Andy Hood for?”

      “Everyone’s watching the Euros race over VPNs, whadda we need Andy Hood for?”

      And so it goes.

      The funny thing is, Andy Hood is still on the job for VeloNews. He’s that good. He’s also based in Europe, which has to help keep travel costs down.

      Anyway, bottom line: Cycling is a niche sport, and bicycle racing is a niche within that niche. A tiny trough with too many hungry piggies. Some will become bacon. The others will become skinny.

      And if Andy Hood ever gets the sack, call in the dogs and piss on the fire. The game is over.

    • Shawn - Soap Box Builder Extraordinaire Says:

      The dilemma may be the time that it takes for a typical human to acquire and review information. In the past that meant written information that we subscribed to and encountered throughout our normal workdays. Then, if we had the demeaning option, we would obtain more information from television media. At that point, the information we obtained did not exceed what we really could take in. Then came the internet and the ability to obtain information during our days while working at an office, and then the curse of the smartphone allowed us to obtain it via our “gotta have one” devices. Suddenly the time we had to take in information was overwhelmed with the information available to us. As is normal, we instinctively crave and obtain our information that offers us the best cake frosting / mind appealing satisfaction. Since much of that cake frosting information is perceived as free (the ads only monopolize our mental attention and not our wallets), we are swept away with whatever that free information offers us. The only way that a detailed periodical can exist is exactly as you indicate, as a niche product offered by a passionate producer to those interested enough to want to pay for, and to support it. Fortunately there will always be people interested in this support, but the scale of it will not be what is was in the past. The significant drawback will be that a large portion of humanity will not be interested in supporting something other than “cake frosting” information and they will continue to be either misinformed or under-informed, and we have the pleasure of living on this planet with them.

    • khal spencer Says:

      Adventure Cycling has just gone to bimonthly. Longer issues but less frequent. Still a good mag but I noticed in the first new format issue, the road tests seem to be watered down. No big panel with all the specifications like there usually is. I don’t know if that is permanent or just this one but was not pleased. Being a big of a gearhead and technogeek, I really did like the detailed road tests in Adventure, as opposed to the “latest shiny object, waddayamean you want to know something about it” in Buycycling.

  3. Eric J Pedersen Says:

    I am real sorry to hear this news. The bell keeps tolling for print media.

    It was obvious that RBA was as good as it was due to Zap’s passion. It can’t be the same without him.

    • Patrick O'Grady Says:

      So many people have gotten the shove. I know Wade Wallace, the guy behind CyclingTips, is working on some new direction — Escape Collective is his latest brainstorm, with Caley Fretz — as is Dan Cavallari, who goes under the moniker Slow Guy on the Fast Ride. I don’t have any sense of whether they’ll be finding any traction in this screwy marketplace.

      There are so many talented people at large right now that you could put together a supergroup of cycling journos. But how would you feed and water them? You ever seen these people at a press buffet? It’s like chumming a shark tank.

      • Update: Jason Blevins at The Colorado Sun wrote a piece on the Wallace-Fretz collaboration.

      • khal spencer Says:

        So many people are abandoning ship, or being pushed over the side, that the plethora of individual membership requests is getting a little intimidating. Not just bicycling but good thinkers in general.

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