have questions. You have answers.
Remember the survey
in the February issue of Cycling Today? Thousands of you were enticed
into dropping it into the nearest postbox for the chance to win one
of 250 water bottles. And let's not forget the lucky reader who walked
off with that carbon-fibre monocoque racer designed by Mike Burrows
in consultation with 12 other leading frame builders and guaranteed
ridden by Chris Boardman on his daily training ride and Mario Cipollini
every other weekend. (Didn't read the small print?) Well, the results
are in, and suffice it to say they aren't pretty.
Firstly, most of
you got your name wrong. Don't ask me how we know, we just do. This
automatically disqualified you for the draw, which uncluttered the field
somewhat for the remaining entrants.
The next hurdle
was the address, which surprisingly many of you also got wrong -- you
simply assumed we were asking for a house number and street name and
city, when what we really needed was your title, that is, how we should
ADDRESS you: Mrs, Ms, Mr, Sir, Baroness Thatcher, you get the idea.
Such a tiny misunderstanding, so many invalidated entries. Pity.
if memory serves, was Sex?, and most of the rest of you were let down
by your wit: 'Yes, often', 'Not enough!' and the like, although one
confused reader indicated that he had been 'spayed at a tender age'.
The result was but
a handful of qualifying entrants, mostly CT staff members and their
dependents who, fair is fair, divided the water bottles amongst themselves,
but of course there could be only one winner, a certain 'Viscount Andrews'.
Such is life.
I think it's safe
to assume that most readers are pragmatic, realising that the balance
is always going to be tipped against them; they're happy to indemnify
and hold blameless CT for any misunderstandings.
taken it upon myself to initiate a new survey, one guaranteed to be
above-board... One which doesn't corral you into demographic herds,
surrounded by marketing men with cattle-prods, destined for one consumer
slaughterhouse or another.
Yes, it's about
time for The People's Survey '99.
Please mail your
survey using postage from your own private supply to the offices of
Cycling Today, or find some way to email it, or the gist of it, to me
at my personal email address, which has been programmed to automatically
route all obscene, defamatory and just plain nasty comments to the direct
attention of the Assistant Editor, as per her job description.
I don't expect you
to do this for nothing.
will be chosen not completely at random and will receive autographed
unframed xeroxes of a very rare picture of CT Editor Guy Andrews on
The winner will
be sent a Gore-Tex shower cap. I have spares.
This survey is divided
into four parts. Section One consists
of personal questions which have nothing to do with cycling but which
will help me to provide you with a better column. Section
Two concentrates on questions which have something to do
with cycling. Section Three is the
essay portion of this survey and is very easy. Section
Four isn't marked as such, but nevertheless consists of random
pictures scattered throughout this questionnaire. In the space provided,
please write the second thing (it's very important that it's the SECOND
thing only) that comes into your head as you view each picture. When
you've finished with your impressions, indicate the f-stop and shutter
speed used by the photographer, and if in your opinion the composition
suited the subject. Please answer all questions as completely and thoughtfully
(as opposed to truthfully) as you are able. Failure to comply may result
in instant disqualification. You'll have to write small. Entries will
be judged on many criteria, including proximity of completed survey
to the judge at the time of judging.
ONE - Just Background
1. Name. Answer carefully
2. Title/protocol for introductions (just in case)
3. Class? [ ] Professional [ ] Working [ ] Vote in the House
of Lords when I'm in town [ ] I'm in between classes at the moment
4. Your physical coordinates (no misunderstandings in MY survey)
5. What periodicals do you read at home? (tick all that apply)
[ ] Jumble Digest [ ] Sunday Sport [ ] Other
6. What periodicals do you read on a train/leave on your desk
at work? (tick all that apply)
[ ] Mensa Quarterly [ ] Astrophysics Today [ ] Cycling
7. Any books?
8. Besides John Grisham?
9. Do you like it when people judge you by what you read (Grisham
10. Please give your whereabouts for the last seven (7) years,
including any aliases. Use margins if necessary
11. [Women only] Tell me about your childhood, with particular
emphasis on repressed sexuality
12. [Men only] Tell me about your childhood. Be concise
13. Any brothers or sisters, or did you dispose of them one by
14. Did you participate in team sports as a child? Elaborate
if you feel particularly ill at the memory
15. When were you chosen for sides at school? [ ] The first couple
of picks [ ] Respectably in the middle [ ] I hid
16a. How often do you watch television? [ ] Often [ ] Very often
[ ] Only when it's on
16b. Do you have a license to drive it? [ ] I have a provisional
license, which means that I can only watch it when accompanied by an
experienced television viewer [ ] Yes, but somebody came and took it
away after I became addicted to East Enders.
17. Are you going to vote conservative in the next election,
or just stick with the conservatives?
18. Do you believe in an afterlife [ ] For cyclists only? [ ]
For anyone who shows up? [ ] (Catholic school alumni only) For
everyone but nuns?
19. Are you the sort of person who believes there are only two
kinds of people?
20. And what kind are you? Be honest
TWO - The Relevant Section
1. When did you learn how to ride a bike?
2. What colour was it?
3. Who taught you how to ride it? (tick one) [ ] Mummy [ ] Daddy
[ ] Stranger offering Smarties
4. When did you give it up/rediscover it?
5. It was mountain biking, wasn't it. Gone up any mountains lately?
6. Did you watch the last Tour de France? [ ] Yes [ ] No [ ]
I don't blame them
7. What bike do you own now?
8. Where is it stored? Be specific
(10. Resale value? £_____.___)
Please answer either 11a or 11b, but not both
11a. It's the same colour as your first bike. Coincidence?
11b. It's not the same colour as your first bike. Significance?
12. Do you like riding in the rain?
13. Do you own any objects made of Gore-Tex?
14. Why not? [ ] Just heard of it this minute [ ] Tinyholemembranephobia
(fear of tiny holes in membranes)
[ ] Gorephobia (fear of garments priced beyond the means of all but
landed gentry, tourists, bike industry insiders)
15. Do you commute to your job [ ] Because I want to [ ] Because
I have to [ ] What's a job?
(If you ticked '[x] What's a job?', you can stop now, thanks. No
offense, but we've got advertisers with needs.)
16. Do you wear a helmet? [ ] Yes [ ] No [ ] I have a hard head
17. Do you wear Lycra? [ ] Yes [ ] No [ ] Only when I'm between
18. [Optional] On a separate sheet of paper please draw a picture
of what you think you look like in Lycra.
19. Would you like to see more features in CT showing trained
animals on bicycles?
20. So, that would do it for you?
21. Do you buy other cycling magazines?
22. (Chillier) Why is that?
23. After all we've done for you?
24. What do they have that we don't have?
25. We can do that for you, you know. All you had to do was ask
26. Why are we always the last to know?
27. What would seduce you to forget all about them? (tick
all that apply) [ ] Free 1-year subscription
[ ] Free 2-year subscription [ ] Gatefold centrefolds of CT staff in
compromising positions and all of the above
28. Thank God that's over. Now we can move forward.
29. Do you or any of your relatives work for competitors of CT?
[ ] Yes [ ] No [ ] Maybe. What's in it for me?
Answer questions 30-32 if you ticked '[x] Maybe, what's in it for
me' above. Otherwise skip to 33.
30. Which publication?
31. At what level of decision making are you?
32. Are you well liked?
33. Are you willing to relocate, undergo plastic surgery, take
a menial job at publication X and work your way into a trusted position
until you are called upon to do CT a service? Take your time
34. Please choose a memorable code word other than your surname
35. Do you use cycle lanes? [ ] Yes, always [ ] Sometimes [ ]
Only on trips of 50' or less
36. Do you obey all traffic laws, and understand that they apply
to you just as much as they do to cars regardless of extenuating circumstances?
37. Do I have to repeat the question?
38. Ever ridden a Tandem? [ ] Yep [ ] Nope
39. Any desire? [ ] Yep [ ] Nope
40. [If 'yes' to 38] And you really don't feel self-conscious?
41. How about a HPV?
42. If you don't even know what it is you aren't going to be
very helpful, are you?
43. Well then, are you into MTBing, racing, weekend jaunts, what?
[ ] MTBing [ ] Racing [ ] Weekend Jaunts
44. And you feel this improves your life how? (tick all that
[ ] I'm healthier [ ] I have more friends now [ ] I have less money
now, and downsizing is 'in' [ ] It's shiny
45. Enjoy the mechanical side of cycling? Getting your hands
dirty? [ ] Yes [ ] Yes, but not getting hands dirty [ ] It's got wheels;
that's all I need to know
46. Do you know what a technical fabric is? [ ] Yes [ ] Not sure
47. Are you absolutely certain you can't be induced to buy a
Gore-Tex product? [ ] Oh all right then [ ] Now I'm getting cross
48. Are brakes a good thing? [ ] Yes [ ] No, I'm sick of the
49. Would you watch a TV program devoted exclusively to cycling?
[ ] If they put it on I'll watch it [ ] Only if it has a postmodern
sensibility [ ] If there are bike chases, sure
50. Are women adequately represented in the cycling press? [
] Yes [ ] No [ ] God I hate political correctness. Still, a little window-dressing
51. Do you feel that these surveys go on and on, and that you've
answered some questions more than once?
52a. Do you buy other cycling magazines?
52b. Do you think that joke was too obvious?
53. Imagine yourself stranded on a desert island (never mind
how). How many gears do you think you'll need?
54. Moral dilemma, part I: Through absolutely no fault
of your own, momentum has introduced you to a parked car.
You have, indeed, scratched it. Do you [ ] Leave an apologetic note
with your credit card details and expiration date?
[ ] Wait for the driver to return to remonstrate with him over his complicity
in the destruction of the environment and
his questionable taste in choosing a Skoda? [ ] Scratch the other side
of the car so he'll think it was a design feature?
55. Moral dilemma, part II: It's a beautiful day. You're
on a quiet country lane in Devon. There's a breeze at your back. You're
gliding down a mild hill, idly speculating on your place in the scheme
of things. You glance down at your computer, and note with amazement
that you're doing 45mph. Problem is, you remember seeing a posted limit
of 30mph. Do you [ ] Chuckle to yourself over your scofflawry? [ ] Slow
down with a guilty look over shoulder? [ ] Turn yourself in?
THREE - Essay Question Extra credit will be given for
use of pleasing adverbs.
So, there's hope? (Generalise)
Thank you kindly.
Remember to send your questionnaire. If you're not in it, you can't
win it. It could be you.
From time to
time you may receive information in this column which will impact
you as a consumer with real choices. Please tick the box if you'd
prefer not to receive such information [ ].
Today, April 1999
a bit of context here. Cycling Today, like any other magazine, was prone
to grilling its readership once a year or so, then doing its best to
ignore the results unless they happened to coincide with the wishes
of the editorial staff.