HPV News Part 3: VeloNews still gets it wrong...
July 01, 2007
VN rarely mentions recumbent or HPV racing. It probably doesn't even like to cover RAAM or other ultramarathoning---at least it didn't used to. Is it slowly catching on? I don't follow VN closely anymore but I hear about HPV news mentions. A couple years ago an HPV team beat all the upright teams in RAAM, so it got a mention. Well, I see a report for this year's RAAM with quite a bit of recumbent info in it. It's a nice report but I still think it's a bit weird how they skew things. There's an underlying attitude and sad ignorance.
For instance, why report that recumbents comprise only 1% of "all bike sales"? What percent does elite road bikes or elite mtbikes comprise? Probably also 1%!!! "All bikes" includes the millions of citybikes, kiddy bikes, BMXers, mtbikes, junkers and WalMart bikes.
Why not instead mention how recumbents are becoming popular among the most popular kind of performance road riding---centuries. They might be up around 5% there now. On a rolling-terrain Midwest century ride, you'll see recumbents all over the place. Does this indicate a bike type to give short shrift to or to smirk at? At most club rides that I go on I see several 'bents. They're here!
The article mentioned an HPV team ruining a 20" tire and not being able to buy one locally---that's a team error---why a team van wouldn't have a spare tire is astounding. Actually, the 20" BMX size is extremely common and available in cheap road-worthy tread patterns at WalMarts, etc. But any elite team should have their own quality spares on hand for any long distance event, no matter what tire size Still, it seemed like VN's mention was an attempt to slight the tire size instead of the team gaffe.
The report finishes by saying that given the winning 'bents at recent marathons maybe we'll be seeing more about 'bents soon... Huh? This is another case of ignorant bias hidden within praise. 'Bents have been doing great in marathons for years now. It's only mags like VN that have been keeping the news suppressed.
But at least VN gave 'bents a good mention. Don't get me started on "Bicycling" mag. They won't even mention them or review them. I don't think they cover folders or trikes either, no velomobiles---what about handcycles for the leg-impaired? They don't count? "Bicycling" is in trouble. That's the problem with big media: they think maybe they might do reality a favor someday and cover the full scope of it---while their ad revenues dwindle and while new open-access upstarts spring up and kick their butts. No, "Bicycling" and VN would do themselves a favor by covering everything interesting in cycling and bike-sport.
Anyway, read th VN report for yourself. I don't mean to be only harsh on them. It's great to see any 'bent coverage in VN. I suppose that biases are simply hard to shake even when one is being welcoming and even despite the evidence and easily available info...