Publisher talks to BikeBiz about writing a cycling title for an affluent and inspired audience

Cyclist Mag passes 5,000 subscribers in ten issues

Who said print was dead? In a less than ideal economy to add a print title to its already extensive portfolio, Dennis Publishing has thrown caution to the wind and marked its 40th anniversary with the launch of Cyclist, now on issue ten since it’s launch back in September 2012.

It’s a title that publishing industry celebrity and founder of the media firm, Felix Dennis, was apparently originally uneasy about adding to the collection of titles, which presently include Men’s and Women’s Fitness, The Week, Viz and Auto Express, among many others.

Dennis’ early concerns about adding a cycling title to an already busy marketplace were eased by the appointments of several industry figures who had previously worked with competitor’s titles, yet made the jump to be part of the new road cycling title.

Among the recruits to the team are Stu Bowers, the deputy editor and former Cycling Weekly writer. Bowers has also represented Britain in two cycling disciplines. Then there’s the designer, Rob Milton, for whom many will credit with the fresh feel to the magazine. Milton, already with plenty of prior experience, including three years at Men’s Health, has recently been nominated for the PPA Designer of the Year award.

Sean Igoe was also brought in from his former advertising sales director role at Factory Media. Tasked with business development and sales, Igoe has previously also headed up the advertising departments for sports and gaming titles at Future Publishing. What’s more, Igoe’s committed to the cause, signing himself, plus account manager and former IPC and Magicalia man, Chris Stowell, up for the Big Issue London to Paris ride later this year.

With former Men’s fitness editorial director, Pete Muir, in place as the editor, supported by Bowers, James Spender and new recruit Peter Stuart, the Cyclist editorial team is heaped with experience in cycling, fitness and travel. This, explains Muir, complements the magazine’s brief of ‘showing people things they haven’t seen in the cycling press before’.

“Our audience earn on average 50k a year. They’re affluent, aspirational people who, as rehashed as this statement is, see cycling as the new golf. We’re steering clear of reviews with star ratings, as what suits us may not necessarily suit everyone. Our goal is to steer our readers in the direction of a product that will suit their needs, assisting them in making an informed decision.”

The magazine takes the scientific approach to articles about saddles, for example, detailing which styles suit different riders, according to the experts behind the design, as opposed to what the marketing department may have to say about the product. A similar approach is taken to articles on cycling tours around the world. The content is built largely around the riders themselves and their experiences in the saddle at each stage, as opposed to a list of gradients and overly complicated maps. Details on how to undertake such expeditions, right down to flight information, combined with stunning photography from a number of freelance professionals, inspire the reader.

Keen to link further with the motivated cyclist, as well as the industry, the publisher signed as the media partner for the Pearl Izumi Tour Series, and the presenting partner for the Canary Wharf stage.

Publisher of Cyclist, Nicola Bates tells BikeBiz: “We’ve been incredibly well-received in our early days by the bike trade. Of course to begin with many were understandably wary of another title, but once we’d passed our third issue things began to really happen. The pagination has gone from 132 for issue one, to 188 on our tenth edition, our fourth successive increase. Having set a target of 2,500 subscribers in the first year, we’ve just this month passed 5,000. Overall copy sales are in rude health, with an average of 20,000 sold per issue, and currently carrying 60 pages of advertising. We’re really pleased with our performance to date”

The consumer seems to appreciate the magazine’s style too, says Bates, with the publisher’s debut London Bike Show stand running out of back issues on the first day, requiring more stock of the prior issues to be shipped in for the final day of show.

At present, you’ll find Cyclist alongside Dennis’s other titles on the newsstand of local newsagents, supermarkets, travel stores and sampled free of charge in the foyers of many of London’s corporate buildings.

More about Dennis Publishing
– Dennis is celebrating its 40th anniversary this year
– The publisher has offices in London, Peterborough, Wollaston and New York
– Dennis magazine portfolio covers current affairs, tech, automotive, fitness and cycling
– The UK office office employs over 400 staff
– Dennis has its own 12-strong in-house app development team who put together the successful ‘Cyclist app’

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