Mark Alker: ''Olympic-inspired road cyclists filtering through to CX'' - BikeBiz

Mark Alker: ''Olympic-inspired road cyclists filtering through to CX''

Singletrack publisher talks to BikeBiz about the reasons behind GritCX and plans to add a fresh editorial team
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Announced at the end of February, information on Singletrack's plans for an off-shoot digital cyclocross title has been thin on the ground so far, so we caught up with publisher Mark Alker for a summary of the why, when and who...

What will GritCX's editorial centre around – product reviews, event coverage, pro CX rider interviews etc?

The remit of GritCX is wider than the existing race scene, although racing will very much be at the core of what GritCX is about. But CX bikes are being used for much more than just racing. They are go anywhere bikes that are just as likely to be used by commuters as off season road racers. They also make great touring bikes and loaded with panniers they are perfect for epic adventures, so we already have some epic travel ideas lined up.

Why launch a CX title now? Is the market mature and ready for a title such as yours?

Why now? Well CX is booming and there's almost no manufacturer out there that doesn't have some CX models already in their range. CX bikes are great for much more than just racing. They are tough bikes that are as much at home commuting through city streets as they are being hauled around muddy Belgian fields in the winter.

We aim to provide a medium that will as much satisfy the industry demand for a marketing outlet as it will provide information and community to the growing number of riders looking at CX bikes as a serious day to day option. We will cover product reviews from the racers' point of view, as well as the commuters' and the adventurer. Race coverage and results, travel features, commuting... If it's knobbly tyres and drop bars then it's fair game for GritCX.

Do you envisage the market continuing to grow at the rate it has in recent years?

The UK success in the Olympics and the TdF has had a dramatic impact on the uptake of cycling. The publicity cycling has received has naturally guided this new cyclist towards road bikes and we have all seen the huge explosion in that sector. As this huge growth matures these new cyclists are looking around for more options and many of them are already beginning to filter through to MTB and CX.

MTB is well served in the media market by the likes of Singletrack and others, but there is currently a gap in the market for a publication that will as much serve the CX curious as the hardcore racer.

So there definitely won't be a print version?

There won't be a printed copy. At least at first. The issue will be digital only and available through all the existing digital newstand channels as well as via the Grit.cx website. Following the Singletrack model, GritCX subscriptions will be device neutral - one subscription will include all issues on all devices plus full access behind the Premier content Paywall on Grit.cx.

That said, we are planning to print a one off. This will be an end of season collection of the best digital features of the season, landing around April 2015. Nothing is new in Publishing, despite the technology, and this GritCX Annual will be available in glorious print, sold direct to subscribers and via our network of Premier Bike Shop dealers.

You're adding a few staff for the magazine launch – who's taking charge?

We are building on the existing publishing and subs management infrastructure we have developed through Singletrack, but editorially there will be a new mag editor and an online editor.

There will more news on who will be filling those roles in the next few weeks.

Who are the key editorial and sales contacts during the build up to launch?
Editorial enquiries should be made to chipps@singletrackworld.com initially, although we will be announcing the editorial team in the next few weeks. Marketing queries should be pointed at ads@singletrackworld.com

GritCX now has a facebook page, which you can find here, as well as a Twitter handle at @gritcx.

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