Singletrack mag: the IBD?s friend?

Issue number two of Singletrack has been posted to subscribers and sent out to bike shops. With its cerebral editorial pitch, sumptuous printing on quality paper and wanna-be-there photography, it?s no surprise Singletrack gets rave reviews from its target readers: MTB lads past their first flush of youth. But does it tickle the trade's fancy?
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If the ecstatic comments on the magazine?s website (?Top Mag. Amazing how even with limited resources and no major publishing company behind the mag, it still makes everything else on the market look very average. Nice One.?) are anything to go by, Singletrack has struck a chord with, ahem, the more mature mountain biker.

And the 60 IBD stockists of the magazine think it?s a good read, too.

Melanie Phipps of 559 (the bike shop formerly known as Chepstow Cycles) said:

"It's a mag for grownups which addresses the audience we are aiming at in

the shop. I was amazed at how quickly we sold out of the first issue and, to

be honest, it's easy to sell."

The mag is produced on a shoe-string by the enthusiasts who ran gofar-mtb.com (now renamed www.singletrackworld.com), but no expense is spared on the magazine?s production. It?s a quality title that clearly enthuses its readers. And with the back-up of a newsy, community-friendly website, the readers can get a daily fix of the sort of news and reviews that would appear terribly dated in a quarterly magazine.

Staffers on the magazine ? it?s edited by Chipps Chippendale - are now rewarding themselves with small salaries but know that this is where the going gets tough.

Producing mags that get rave reviews is one thing, selling the damn things to a big enough audience to register with advertisers is another.

And with FMD closing down access to the countryside, spring 2001 was not the best time to launch a mountain bike magazine. Nevertheless, the Singletrack publishers are proud of the fact they managed to shift 6000 of the 10 000 print run of issue one.

But issue two ? the current summer issue ? was published a fortnight behind schedule.

?FMD was part of it was because we needed a little more time to sell issue one,? co-owner Mark Alker, the online content editor, told bikebiz.co.uk today.

?We were handicapped by not being able to get to MTB events to sell the mag, since they were all cancelled. The cancellation of the Spring Polaris was not a good start. Delaying by two weeks meant we could sell issue one at the re-scheduled Summer Polaris.?

The print run on issue two was 10 000 again, with those behind the magazine planning to have a presence at every big MTB event going.

As well as being sold where MTBers congregate, the magazine is available from IBDs and via subscription. It takes no cheap-and-tatty mail order advertising, has no newstrade penetration and wants to support IBDs.

Those who stock the mag go on to Singletrack's online database of stockists. Each entry includes up to 255 characters of text plus links to the stockist?s website or email address.

?Not only do bike shops have the opportunity to gain new custom by stocking

Singletrack but they get a margin far greater than any magazine they may have previously stocked,? promises Alker.

Singletrack magazine is available now on firm sale in packs of 10 for £26.50 inc. p+p, with a cover price of £3.50. Better margins are available for larger orders. Order

securely online at http://www.singletrackworld.com/trade (username and password are, by sheer coincidence, presta and enter).

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