On Your Bike: the 1990s “magazine for new & born again cyclists”

On Your Bike magazine, issue 2, Spring 1998

On Your Bike was a short-lived family cycling magazine I published in 1998 and 1999. Within seven issues it had grown too big for me and my small team to handle, so I sold it. I sold it to EMAP of Peterborough, the publisher of Country Walking and a load of fishing titles. The person in charge of the purchase was a family cyclist. She ‘got’ what the magazine was all about. However, in a management tussle, she was replaced and the replacement turned the magazine into a mountain bike title. I was a paid consultant for the magazine. I told EMAP they were making a big mistake: the gap in the market was for a magazine for everyday cyclists. Within a year, the mountain bike version of the magazine folded.

What a waste.

Below are some of the magazine covers and some of the magazine articles. Contributors included Richard Ballantine; Glenda Jackson; and a youthful-looking Edmund King, then with the RAC not the AA.

I can see my current obsession with pavement parking was alive and kicking even in 1998. There’s praise for separated bike lanes in the magazine and a ‘Go Dutch’ article from Groningen’s Kirsten Oosterhof. Kirsten was one of the people I was employing at the time and she also worked on Cycle Industry, the trade magazine my business produced on a contract-publishing basis before I founded Bicycle Business (which I later sold to Intent Media and it became Bike Biz).

On Your Bike always had a very low Lycra content and there was a policy to use photographs of people riding with and without cycle helmets.

The magazine clearly struck a chord with many people: a call for families to send in details of their riding resulted in a huge influx of pix.

I was proud of On Your Bike. Still am. Issue seven – the last under my full control – featured a photograph of toddler Josh, my son (my twin girls had yet to be born). Pleasingly, Josh has grown up to be a mad keen cyclist, which was always one of the goals of the magazine: to create and encourage new cyclists.

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