TCI Friday

As I’m sure you’re aware, there are only so many hours in the day. So, when Padraig and I set aside some time for editorial planning and brainstorming, one thing we come up against over and over is a lack of solid information to base our decisions on. How many people are listening to TCI podcasts vs. reading the content on the site? Is there overlap between those two audiences? Should we be writing more or recording more?

Usually, we think, the answer is yes.

And yet, as I said, there are only so many hours in the day. We produce content for TCI every day of the week, and both of us also generate content for other projects. Sometimes I feel like none of the words remain in my mind very long at all. They come in, and they go out, either as words on a screen or words in headphones. The crazy thing is, no matter how many come out, there always seem to be more. I wonder how much I even have to do with it, the drainpipe not really being responsible for the rain.

And since we are unapologetically trying to grow TCI, to bring in more readers and listeners, we are always talking about ways to reconfigure all those words to draw more people in, as if there is some clever trick (the whole internet is maybe built on this premise) that will unlock our access to a critical mass of cycling enthusiasts.

That’s you nerds.

So this week, I’m hoping you’ll do us a solid and provide a little input on what cycling content you consume. What cycling podcasts do you listen to? What sites do you read? Are you doing more listening or reading? And critically, why do you like those things? We assume (perhaps naively) that you come here because you like the way we do things, so there’s no need to give feedback on TCI, unless you have something you’d particularly like to get off your chest. What we are curious about is, what else is good and why? I suppose it would help to know if you both read our written posts AND listen to our podcasts, but the real question is about what cycling content you feel drawn to.

Not to put too fine a point on it, but nearly all cycling-related podcasts are two people talking to each other. Conversations. There’s not much (maybe nothing) in the cyclosphere that focuses on telling stories. As an experiment in aural storytelling, Padraig has taken his series about the birth and near loss of his son, called Enter the Deuce, and turned that into a limited series. Would people listen to stories about cycling? Seems like that ought to be a yes, but if we were confident about that, this post would be about chain lube.

Among things we can’t take credit for, we are fans of former (and possibly better) Paceline co-host Selene Yeager’s podcast Hit Play, Not Pause. Selene, as many of you know, is a real peach of a person, vastly experienced and also charmingly humble. Padraig and I can stand to learn what women of a certain age think about riding bikes and staying active, because, well, we’re men of a certain age. Give that a listen if it’s in your wheelhouse.

In print, we read Mountain Flyer, currently helmed by TCI founder and heavy metal aficionado Mike Cushionbury. We dig Stevil Kinevil’s All Hail the Black Market, of course, because Stevil keeps it real and knows how to have a good time.

But those are our friends. We are biased. The rest of what I consume, personally, seems to come via Instagram or things my friends send me. What with all the word-making I get up to, it’s hard for me to do any kind of regular perusal of broad swathes of the bike-related internet. I’m busy reading books and trying to have (or steal) ideas. I depend on friends to curate what’s good for me. Just like I’m asking you to do now.

Join the conversation
  1. Jeff vdD says

    This is what I listen to, ranked from “Interrupt whatever else I was doing” to “I hope to get to, but typically don’t.” I almost always get to everything in the top 6.
    1. Leadville 100
    2. Cyclocross Radio
    3. Cycling Tips
    4. Slow Ride
    5. Nerd Alert (Cycling Tips)
    6. Marginal Gains

    7. Adventure Stache
    8. Groadio
    9. King of the Ride

    This is what I read, in alphabetical order (I may not read every article, but I check out the site each day (or magazine each episode) and read a lot of it.
    – Bicycling
    – Bike Snob NYC
    – Cycling Independent (TCI Friday and Useless Reviews are a “drop everything” must)
    – Cycling Tips (Iain Treloar is a “drop everything” must)
    – VeloNews

    I look forward to seeing what others have to share.

    1. alanm9 says

      I don’t do podcasts or videos or social media. I prefer articles where the writer has done the work to consider and re-consider their writing and editing before publishing. My reading list matches Jeff VdD’s with the addition of Road Bike Action, Adventure Cycling’s newsletter, BRAIN, and some advocacy sites like Streetsblog (but I’m finding Velonews to be less interesting lately). These align with my interests in long road rides, commuting, and just knowing something of how the industry works. I’ve been steadily losing interest in racing over the years but still like “inside story” books like Cav’s latest. I read evey one of TCI’s articles.
      Keep them coming, please!

  2. jlaudolff says

    I listen to all the TCI podcasts, even Revolting. I really loved the old podcasts Padraig did with framebuilders. I listen to Diane’s podcast most weeks. I listen to 3 racing podcasts but really could winnow that list down to just 1 as they can be very redundant (Cycling Podcast (british), Velonews, and Cyclingtips. Also Freewheeling and TCP-Feminin for women’s racing.). I like James Huang’s podcast (nerd alert) for tech stuff. I didn’t know Selene had a podcast so I will give that one a try.

    I read all the TCI articles. It’s a bummer you haven’t been able to keep more contributors in the stable but I get it. Everyone is busy and has to pay the bills. I scan Velonews web. I read Velonews print cover-to-cover. The new Velonews mag (merged with Peloton) seems to be a drastic change. It’s now a gravel travel mag with bits of racing nostalgia. And it’s down to 6 issues. It seems to have morphed along with my interests over the years. I also read AdventureCycling which is all about touring. That’s about all I have time for cycling-wise.

    Of all this content, I subscribe to TCI and Velonews. I used to subscribe to Cyclingtips but their subscription department dropped the ball so many times with my $$ that I figured they don’t really need the subscribers.

  3. bart says

    I listen to the TCI Paceline, and The Deuce podcasts. For The Paceline, I listened to it way back fro Episode #1 from RKP days.
    I at least glance at all TCI posts. Some resonate and I read fully including comments and add my own comments, others I skip and move on.
    I’m a paid subscriber to TCI.
    I listen the The Knowledge podcast from Wahoo.
    I prefer podcasts and written. I don’t watch videos due to time constraints and general preference.
    I don’t regularly consume any other cycling content – print, podcast, etc.
    I’m not on any of the social media platforms anymore. Too much negativity and it just ruins my mood/day.
    I guess you could say that I get what I need from TCI and am a happy subscriber.
    My time is super limited and so I prioritize riding, then listening, then reading.
    I look forward to seeing what else you all try at TCI! Happy to share more if you have any follow up questions.

    1. Jeff vdD says

      Bart’s point about social media is a good one. I’m also no longer on social media (and will bore anyone with why should they risk asking). I’ve found that Slack workspaces fill that void, and I probably should have included them in what I read:
      – My cycling team’s Slack
      – Cycling Tips VeloClub Slack
      – CX Hairs Bulletin Slack
      – The Ridership Forum Slack
      – Leadville 100 Slack
      – Charles River Wheelers Slack (CRW is the largest cycling club in New England)
      – A local bike shop and surrounding community Slack

      What all of these give me is community + information + advice about bikes and the great things in life that surround bikes. Toxicity is almost entirely absent; disagreements are civil. It’s like this wonderful video from a Dutch maker of pretend beer:

  4. rides in be says

    I scan Velonews, but actually read things here. My favorites are TCI Friday and useless reviews. I will occasionally click a video and sometime I watch the Vegan Cyclist on YouTube. What you guys are putting out is unique and good and I am grateful.

  5. Emlyn Lewis says

    Friends, this is all very helpful. Thank you. Please keep it coming.

  6. albanybenn says

    I check TCI daily and am a subscriber. I also pay for Velo News and its related websites. I follow about 70 You Tube cycling channels-mostly those that focus on touring and adventure. This includes GCN\GMBN. I subscribe to the GCN site and realy enjoy their long form travel\adventure videos. I like content focused on cycling. I must admit that I am getting tired of print\audio\video content that deals with a person who for what ever reason is broken and finds cycling to be the fix. No matter how uplifting, I’m tired of the format.

  7. trabri says

    Every day I log in to and read Velocipede Salon, TCI and All Hail the Black Market. I subscribe to TCI, Cycling Tips and NYT. Reading is my preference so I don’t click on many videos. The Radavist gets a passing glance also. Regular podcasts include Revolting, Outspokn Cyclist, Enter the Deuce and I’m a late comer to the Paceline. Any other podcasts are random and varied. I’d rather hold a print MTB mag in my hands but I seem to be the kiss of death when I subscribe (Dirt Rag, Bike). Hang in there Mountain Flyer! Thank you TCI.

  8. Balky says

    I mostly read rather than listen. The only podcast I really listen to is TCI Revolting (I mean the only podcast Internet wide, not just on TCI). Not because I don’t like any others, just because it’s a preferred format thing.

    The reading list goes a bit like this:

    * The Radavist – check daily
    * – check daily
    * TCI: most sections but Robot’s Useless Reviews is a favorite – check most days
    * BikeSnobNYC – check a few times a week
    * All Hail The Black Market – check a few times a week
    * The Guardian cycling blog – check a few times a week

    The most important things for me in cycling are adventuring and integration of bikes into everyday life. Adventuring could mean a day ride to a local patch of forest, a long foray to the other side of your own city where you normally wouldn’t hang out, an overnight bikepacking trip or an around-the-world epic tour. By integration of bikes into everyday life, I mean the clever, interesting and unconventional ways people are using bikes to shop, commute, transport kids and work thus normalizing riding of bikes. So, those are the themes I most enjoy reading about as well as historic or nostalgic stories in cycling. The least important aspects of cycling for me are those to do with commentary on racing and attaining maximum performance.

    Like some others, I also actively avoid social media.

  9. tommilani says

    I read every post on TCI, although I wish they were dated. Even a sidebar with most recent posts would be easier (for me) to navigate than the splash screen. I’m a subscriber, but I started getting notices that my payment couldn’t be processed, although nothing had changed, as far as I know. I need to see if that’s been resolved.

    I read The Radavist every day, check the RBW and iBoB forums every day. I’ll watch Path Less Pedaled videos from time to time. I rarely listen to podcasts because I prefer reading. If I had a long commute, it might be different. I follow a few cycling sites on Instagram.

  10. Austin says

    I do a mix of reading, podcast, and YouTube depending on what I have time for.

    Reading: I most frequently visit CyclingTips. I’ll occasionally check in on The Radavist, Bikepacking, Outside Online, and Riding Gravel. For Riding Gravel, I enjoy their long term reviews with periodic check-ins. I also loooove Lovely Bicycle! although the author seems to have stopped blogging. I’ll occasionally revisit her old posts because they’re so comforting to me.

    Podcasts: CyclingTips, Nerd Alert (CT), We Got to Hang Out, The Paceline, Bike Shop CX, Outside Online. I’ve recently started checking out Hit Play, Not Pause and Matt Stephens Unplugged.

    YouTube: Berm Peak, oldshovel, Path Less Pedaled, Spindatt, Rides of Japan, Paul the Punter, Dustin Klein, The Singletrack Sampler, Syd Fixes Bikes, hardtail party

  11. Emlyn Lewis says

    A few of you have mentioned being off social media. This is a thing I think about a lot. I think the depredations of social media use are well documented. As writers who are trying to grow our “business,” such as it is, we have to use social media as the cheapest form of promotion. We are obligated, to an extent, but I also feel that social media probably has a warping influence on how I write. The audience is very immediate, very loud, and so hard to push to the back of your mind when you’re trying to be creative.

    I admire those of you who have cut that particular cord.

    1. alanm9 says

      I don’t judge. As businesspeople as well as writers, you have to go where the eardrums and eyeballs are. I just hope you can keep the long form writing up, too.

  12. DaveinME says

    I am weaning myself off social media except to keep up with my kids and to stay in touch with friends overseas.

    I don’t do podcasts, but will maybe start while I am in the shop working.

    I subscribe to the following sites on my Feedly:
    Granada Hoy Deportes
    Sticky Bottle
    Cycling Independent – this is my one and only drop everything to read any new content.
    Velo Club Maracena

  13. TominAlbany says

    I read a lot on this site. I enjoy your columns and many of teh reviews. I also check out the youtube videos posted with fun riding experiences.
    I rarely listen to podcasts. I used to listen to paceline but realized i only really did that at work and wasn’t really working. So, that had to stop. I’m not one to have it on in the background. I want to actually listen. Which means sitting still for 30 minutes or an hour. Something I’m not very good at. Also, can’t listen to music AND a poscast.,
    I read Bicycling magazine. I like what Strickland has done for it. (I’d dropped it for a bit.) Though I’m a couple of issues behind.
    I follow cyclingnews live updates on some races but don’t reallly read their stories. I just like to follow the race drama.\
    I follow on twitter: bikesnob, fatcyclist, rkp, various cyclists for various reasons. Vaughters, Peter Flax

    Also, check out #bikeschool. Every thursday night at 9PM ET, someone is the ‘teacher’ and asks 10-12 cycling-related or -adjacent questions. It’s a good group.

    Finally, #30daysofbiking – launched me into 125 straight days a couple of years ago. (Or was it last year? Fuckin’ covid…)

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