Bicycling increases rate base for next year

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Bicycling magazine will increase its rate base from 400,000 to 410,000 with its January/February 2008 issue. The magazine's circulation has increased 40 percent since 2002.

Other Rodale publications, such as Runner's World and Women's Health, have posted strings of increasing rate bases over the past few years. In contrast, this rise is the first at Bicycling in quite a while. VP and publishing director Chris Lambiase credits the rising popularity of cycling in the US for the magazine's recent success.

"It's sort of the perfect storm, in that, over the last several years, bicycling has been experiencing a real renaissance in the United States," Lambiase said. "In terms of affluent professionals, cycling has become like the new golf, and it appeals to these folks on many levels."

"We had that going for us, and the bicycling companies are experiencing tremendous record selling years as well, in particular on the high end, which is what we cater to at Bicycling," he continued.

Newsstand sales for Bicycling have increased 16 percent this year, and Lambiase reports that many of these sales are converting to subscriptions. The magazine's Web site, which is also used to woo subscribers, has seen 20 percent to 25 percent increases in traffic every month.

Bicycling (www.bicycling.com) also depends on direct mail and e-mail to build its circulation. Like many other Rodale titles, it uses Rodale's in-house list for these pieces. The mailings feature actual pages from the magazine.

"One thing that drives cycling is the beauty of cycling itself, so pieces focus on the beautiful, warm, rich photography we use in the travel stories," said Lambiase. "The other thing that cyclists are just crazy about is the bikes themselves, so we make sure we use a lot of eye candy."

Lambiase hopes circulation for Bicycling will reach 500,000 within the next few years.

Ad pages for the magazine have grown by 7.3 percent over a year period. Currently, a four-color, full-page ad in the magazine costs $43,415.

The largest growth in ad pages for Bicycling has been from endemic categories รป bike manufacturers, cycling clothes, helmets, shoes and other gear.

"This is really a result of the improved interest in cycling, and there's no other magazine in America for sure that can reach as many well-heeled, affluent cyclists who are spending $5,000 on a bicycle all the way up to $10,000," Lambiase said. "The whole sort of retail experience has matured tremendously over the last few years as bike retailers cater to a more affluent consumer. It's a 360 degree approach to selling, where it's not just the bicycle, it's the proper clothing, helmets, shoes, and in some cases it can mature into a relationship where people can get training advice and guidance."

Future plans for Bicycling include a large presence at this week's Interbike 2007 conference in Las Vegas, where the magazine is hosting both the Tour de France Confidential cocktail party as well as an Industry Cup race.

The magazine will also continue with its direct mail and e-mail campaigns, as well with its Biketown program. Biketown is an essay contest in which the winners are awarded a free bike by the magazine. The giveaway has earned Bicycling national press from the likes of the Today Show and the Morning Show.

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