Subscribe Now. Here’s why it’s a good idea

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Subscribing to Singletrack is much more than just a way to receive a copy of Singletrack magazine eight times a year saving a chunk of cash off the cover price – it’s a way to help us keep the lights on here at Singletrack HQ as well as making sure our loyal staff keep their lights on too.

Singletrack is a small independent company (the actual company is Gofar Enterprises ltd, but that looks rubbish on the cover of a magazine) and the three shareholders come to work every day to make sure that one issue of the mag follows the other. No money leaves us to line the pockets of investors. We are an entirely self sufficient business run for the benefit of the staff, our trade partners and you the readers. Without all three groups together it doesn’t work. It’s worked very well for 15 years but things are changing and it’s about to get harder for us.

Print Costs On The Rise

We’ve recently been informed that the cost of print is about to take quite a horrendous hike upwards in the new year. Most of the UK’s paper stock is sourced from the continent and after the severe collapse of the pound a few months ago that paper stock has just become much more expensive. In January it’s going to hit us hard and our overheads are about to go up to a worrying level.

The cost of producing Singletrack in print is going up and in a classic case of ‘it never rains but pours’ this is coinciding with a distinct and possibly permanent drop in traditional print advertising revenues. The upshot is that we have no choice but to put up the prices of our subscriptions.

issue 110, cover, bc, hornby island, justa jeskovia
Issue 110 will come with our famous free calendar

Now, none of this is much of a surprise to be honest and while we’ve been expecting it for sometime we’ve also been working on changing the way we earn enough money to keep the website and the magazine running to budget. The problem is it takes time to bring new revenue streams online and in the meantime we really could use your help to make the transition.

You may have noticed that we have launched the new Partner section of the website. This is one of the new ways we are helping to promote the bike industry and in return the participating partners pay for their ‘lodgings’ in there. Of course it only really works if it actually works, so we would really appreciate it if you’d take a look in there and check out the pages of our partners. We vet them all so you won’t see any companies in there that we don’t think are worthy of your attention.

Sponsored Posts

You may also have noticed that some of the stories on our front page are a different colour. These are sponsored stories where there is a commercial link with the company featured. They are still written by us and we only publish sponsored stories if they are genuinely interesting. We promise we will be very fussy when it comes to this type of marketing, which is coming as brands transition away from the traditional display style marketing. These types of posts won’t replace our own editorial, they will just add to it.

A Necessary Evil

We know that you are generally not fans of the display ads that populate our website and we are looking at ways to make their presence less intrusive as you browse the website. As more brands try the sponsored content approach this will give us the financial breathing room we need to look at reducing the amount of banner advertising you see here. In the meantime we really would appreciate it if you would whitelist our site if you have an adblocker installed. I return we promise that when awful ads crop up, as they sometimes do, we will do our best to track them down and switch them off. Please report any ad problems directly to us via Screen grabs always useful.

Subscribing Works Best

But even better than that would be if you could consider joining the ranks of our existing 7000 subscribers. It sounds like we have a lot of subscribers but we really could use more and for those that haven’t tried it yet there’s a lot more behind the door than just a magazine through the letterbox eight times a year. Issue 110 is off to the printer tomorrow and will be sent out to subscribers in two weeks. It comes with a free 2017 calendar.

sub in a box, gift sub, singletrack sub
Subscribing is the best way to support us

Subscribers get…

  • 8 issues of Singletrack magazine posted to you. 116 pages of content, 16 pages more then the newsagents copies.
  • All 8 issues available via our gorgeous Pocketmags mobile app complete with digital extras like video and extra images.
  • The option to turn off the website advertising for a cleaner, faster website.
  • Access to our magazine archive that spans our entire 15 years of publishing history.
  • eBook versions of each issue.
  • Access to exclusive deals and discounts at over 70 UK bike shops and other businesses.
  • Access to exclusive website content like our Tuesday Treats competitions.
  • Even a little letter ‘P’ next to your name in the forum.

Now the good news. It’s going to take us some time to change the prices on our subscriptions and we are not rushing to do that for the next few weeks. That means if you subscribe now you will avoid the price increase that is on the way.

super sub in a box, gift subs, singletrack bobble hat, wonky woolies
The bobble hat is also available and subscribers get it cheaper

We have a host of new features that we are planning to launch very soon, including a long awaited mobile friendly version of this website as well as new deals and offers for our subscribers. It’s always been our aim to put our subscribers first and we will continue to work to that principal in the future. But right now we really could use a swelling of those ranks. So please consider a subscription if you don’t already have one. If you are a subscriber then please have a look at our merchandise options in our shop. We have copies of MTB The Untold British Story on DVD and our amazingly snug bobble hats are back in stock too. Please have a look at our gift subs options too, they really are a great gift.

Oh, and please follow us on Facebook and twitter. That helps us more than you may realise. If you like what we post there then please share it and if you are interested to know how that helps us financially then do as Mark on the forum. He loves this stuff.

Subscription Options

Subscriptions start from just £1.49/month although if we are honest we’d prefer you to choose the better value annual options.

If you are looking to subscribe for yourself then all our subs options are available here.

If you are looking to give a subscription as a gift then click here.

If you are looking for other gifts and merchandise then you can see what we have to offer here.


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Comments (18)

    Digital yearly is a bargain …. Keeps me happy on my work commute … Priceless

    I am quite happy with my digital subscription, if I switch to a print and digital subscription would that be better or worse for you?
    Accessing the back catalogue of articles via the subscription is the best thing anyone can do, ever, in their lives.

    No need to switch. If a digital sub is right for you then all is good. Our bobble hats are awesome tho 😉

    “The option to turn off the website advertising for a cleaner, faster website.” I’d remove this….

    Keep the advertisers happy and how else am I going to impulse buy a new bike when on our site?

    My 2penneth
    Interesting about the price rises. I understand that you are appealing to the public to become subscribers but basing it on a “were poor and we want your money” as opposed to “look at this fantastic mag we have its worth 50 quid an issue easily” it is a great mag and I like it.

    I appreciate that the costs vs income are changing. Were having massive redundancies in the industry im in at the moment. Times are tough across the board from what I understand. The good times have gone imo and every UK industry is in for some tough times. As you guys are a producer of goods its even harder in the current market, what with chain reactions 50% off now the norm were always wanting something for nothing! No one wants to pay full price. Despite the fact that the full price never existed in the first place.

    So where do you go from here. Are print costs really the biggest overhead of your company? Possibly not possibly so, I don’t know.. But there’s a difference between surviving and making a lot of brass out of it.

    I’m a subscriber. My renewal is up soon and depending on the price hikes will see if I renew or not, Times are hard for everyone including those that buy your mag. The Mag and the forum are definitely the best thing about singletrack. It would be a loss to see them go. However the mag has stand out articles but imo is also getting slacker in other areas. Some of it seems like one person’s rambling and some of it seems like quite frankly some of the best articles you can get. To go for a true high price mag then I think you need to up your game a little (not a lot).

    I hope it works out for you and I can see how your trying to create other revenue streams. (my facebook is full of it, and as a note the articles are much much easier and better formatted through FB than on the digital copies) However there are already a few out there providing free digital mags that appear to have more up to date reviews and such. Your hardly cutting edge in this respect.

    All in all I hope you work it out. I like the mag, and a lot of other people do too. Its going to be interesting to see how things work out but this feels to me like your asking us to bail you out? Although its probably not.

    I love the paper edition and will gladly pay for it. I spend all day staring at computer screens and don’t really want to do it when I’m not at work.

    OK Mark, and I have ordered a bobble hat now!

    Thanks Hutch 🙂

    Andy, we aren’t asking for a bailout – we are encouraging new subscriptions. Bailout kind of sounds like charity and we want you to subscribe only if it is something you want. But, unlike many other companies and publications we’ve always been upfront and honest about what we do, and in that regard hitting the barriers down the line and having to make painful decisions that lessen the product and get the response, ‘What? If you’d only said earlier I was thinking about subscribing anyway’, is something that we can avoid by actually telling you guys earlier ie. now.

    Fair enough.

    Id suggest it may be time to rethink what people are willing to pay for. As always as a customer I want something for nothing. Or an added sell. While some of the articles are fantastic my personal thoughts are its a but behind the times when a mag has reviewed and rated something many months before yourselves. So I buy single track (im probably your target audience tbh, although i don’t know) because I think its good that your doing this off your own backs and its local. However that only goes so far in monetary terms before I think why am I paying more for this mag than any others and it becomes an unjustifiable expense. That is fast approaching imo.

    I’ll be willing to pay a little extra to keep on reading your magazine. If for that little extra, I get more pages and more articles, then I’ll be more than happy. More product tests would be nice.

    Also, on a side note, magazines of your quality are not often found. You’re not like the others, and you need to stay that way.
    I’m french, I live in France, and your magazine is the only one I’m happy to read (and pay for as well), even though it’s not written in my native language.

    In most magazines I come across, articles are either : empty, crap product placements, badly written, badly designed or a combination of the latter. They don’t speak that much about mud or the British winter though.
    You’re different, to keep on selling copies, you need to keep on being different.

    In those troubled times, I can only cite the British government : keep calm and carry on!

    Similar thoughts to andybrad and unfortunate timing, as I was thinking about ‘downgrading’ to digital only from print+ digital when my annual renewal is up, or not renewing at all. Times are tight here too, but I’m also finding I’m interested in less and less of the content of the mag.
    It feels a bit daft to have a lovely mag sat on the coffee table but which I’m only going to read about a third of. I almost feel that I should read the rest of it just because I’ve paid for it, but I’m really only that keen on the grinder reviews, bike tests and the occasional article. Oh, and an ad-free website 😉
    For example in the current issue (109), I liked the dropper post group test; I gave up on the New Zealand article because the writing cheesed me off; riding in Iceland sounds ridiculous, even the contents page admitted it was a shite idea so I probably won’t bother reading that; and write ups of 2 rides ‘up north’ aren’t really relevant to me.
    Having said all that, I do like a break from screen time now and then. So, not sure what the point of my ramblings are, but hopefully all feedback is good feedback?

    Long term subscriber here, from Issue 2 IIRC. Anyway, in the last 2 years I’ve been tempted a few time to cancel my subscription. Some issues have been pretty awful IMO. Then in the next issue there is something really good, so I relent. I’m not sure if I will bother next time, I read little in there now – I think you’ve lost a spark a little. I’m totally uninterested in £5-7k bikes, I dont have that much spare cash in 2 years, and if I did, I couldnt justify buying one, so tests of such things has no interest at all to me, yet this month, the £1k hardtails, then yes, that’s great. The same goes for reviews of £1+k wheels, and other very expensive kit – how many people can really afford such exotica?
    It amazes me reading the credits in the mag as to how many Staff you have. 10/12 – does you really need so many Staff? – has that even covered its costs?
    I got the free copy, looked forward to reading it, but it was dire, there was no way I’d subscribe for it, yet I should be your target market – love CX, race/watch regularly, but it didnt hit the button for me.
    I don’t know how you are going to carry on, print is dying, so you need to do something to attract new people in – asking readers off your website/s to subscribe is not going to help long term, or, I fear, even short term.
    Without being a long term subscriber, I certainly wouldnt bother buying your mag if I saw it on a shelf, and I think all of the print Industry has the same problem – why pay for something that can be got with a little online searching?

    Im a big fan of the mag. Yes some issues are better than others, but thats the same with all mags. I love the feel of the mag, the paper weight and the smell of the ink. I like to digest it all slowly over the course of a few weeks. A bit now and then. I spend all day staring at screens in my work, ironically as someone who designs screen based visual stuff, including digital publications, so I really love to read things like singletrack as a proper magazine. I dont really mind if it seems a bit “out of date” by the time I read it in print – its nice to slow down a bit from the frantic pace of all things digital and digest content more slowly.

    Just in a few comments, we see some of the dilemma of balancing the content of the magazine. For every person that only really loves the reviews and not the adventure stories, there’s another reader who’s not interested in buying bikes (or reading reviews of them) and who’d rather read about someone getting soaked and tired riding round Mont Blanc. And then there’s the silent majority who’s quiet happy with most of it. And they’re harder to delight as they never tell us what they like or don’t like.

    With the exception of the route guide every issue, we try to make all of the stories interesting regardless of where in the world or country they are – and equally the photos have to be inspiring enough to look at even if you have no intention of ever going wherever it is…

    Our editorial email address is in the magazine and you’re very welcome to email me every issue and let me know what you think the good and bad bits are. I don’t think you get that with any other magazine 🙂

    As for the vast number of staff, Alanl, it is a lot for a single magazine, but it’s not much for a small company. Bigger publishers can have a small editorial staff as a lot of those other jobs are shared across the company. We’re self-owned, so we have to do everything – from invoicing, to website and subs database management, ad sales and ordering stationary and paying bills. So our editorial department is only really half of four people, but it needs the rest of the company to keep the lights on and to keep the website running (which helps pay the rest of the bills).

    Anyway, keep the comments coming, they’re all welcome.

    I have subscribed for a few years now. I don’t tend to read the mag ss it comes out and may cancel on renewal. Having access to the back catalogue is great but it is impossible to search it. Would it really be that hard to make at least the contents searchable? It would make the back-catalogue much more useful.

    I am also a long term subscriber. .issue 3…and would be really sorry to lose the magazine. IMO the magazine has the highest standard of writing of the bike mags out there…although I think Jenn and Steve are sorely missed. However the standard is still excellent. As Chipps says finding the right balance is difficult and it would be nice to see a bit more review. However, if you are looking for nothing but reviews there are other mags out there that certainly don’t have the same literary content but cover more in terms of kit review. Personally, at my age, I’m looking for more quality than the other magazines, something more meaningful and inspiring that gets me out riding. Singletrack mag generally does that. Guess I’ll keep subscribing.

    Written by riders for riders; the reason I subscribe, have done for years and will continue to do so. The reviews are open and honest and based upon proper wear and use, not defined by advertising. Reading other people’s tales and adventures inspires me to do something different, like challenge myself on a coast-to-coast and raise £2.5k for charity.

    ‘Life’ means we are glued to screens, smart phones, tablets etc – copies of magazines kicking about the house is what I use to rest my eyes and forget about modern technology. I hate on-line magazines but that’s my prerogative. My wee boy flicks through them asking ‘daddy have you ever cycled over that hill?’; it acts as an inspiration and brain stimulator for him.

    It’s a simple choice – buy or not. But the STW team, who are awesome folk to hang around and have a beer with, are passionate and want to keep going for our benefit so how about we put our collective hats together and come up with potential solutions; a thousand brains might come up with that one golden idea that the small team don’t?

    Best mag out there, has been for years. Some issues better than others, just as some days are better than others. Been a subscriber forever (feels like), only missing a few copies. Its the for riders by riders thing that dose it. And the humor in the mag keeps me reading. The events the mag promotes/sponsors are also a bonus. I would like to see more tech articles, geometry/design/material use etc.

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