#126 Controversy

As an author, you know you’ve hit a home run with an article when people email copies of your article to each other, contact you to say “great job,” or “I can’t believe you printed that!”

As an editor, you know you’ve done a great job when shops request more copies or when readers take the time to send long opinion letters.

In the case of #126, we’ve done it all. Not only has the Offshore to Your Door article made its way on to every major forums message board, we’ve been contacted by people telling us, “wow, what an insight! I can’t believe that’s how it works.”

On the flip side, we’ve also had a few people appalled at what I wrote. A few shops have returned their copies, some major retailers have pulled the issue from their shelves, and some behind-the-scenes folks have said, “I cant believe I was stupid enough to answer your questions.”

As for the issue itself, the artwork of an attractive woman on a bicycle caused one UC Davis forums member to say, “I can’t even leave it out for my kids to see.” Other readers were disgusted by the combination of the cover girl, the postcard insert, the contributor bio photo and our new model. All in support of their take on feminism, people have returned their issues, canceled their subscriptions and written letters of disgust.

A home run, I’d say.

Getting people to act in this world is not easy. It takes the right information packaged in the right way to provoke action and speech from just about anyone. But provokin an action like mailing copies back, putting energy into a thousand-word letter, citing commentary on each point of disagreement within an article… all of this means that our actions resonated with people, for better or worse.

Now, I’ll be the first to tell you that we’re not here to piss people off. Quite the contrary, we’re here to enlighten, inspire, inform and document the cycling world. Unfortunately (for some), this means a competitive marketplace and a discriminating public that favors certain business models; it means using pleasing images to attract attention; publishing messages that not everyone agrees with.

So while you may or may not agree with our insights on the bicycling world, or our use of a particular message, remember that we’re not trying to set you off. We’re trying to put forth opinions and insight that we’ve take time to develop.

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