If you’re a serious rider who enjoys a good intelligent read, but you never saw a copy of The Rider’s Digest when they were available free from riders’ venues across the nation, you’ll probably be wondering why anyone would want to splash out a tenner on our 25th Anniversary Edition?
Unlike the mainstream mags, we never had to make up fictional readers to fill our letters pages because “In the Saddle” was invariably stuffed with genuine readers’ letters, and as the examples below illustrate, many of them were praising the magazine’s rare blend of down to Earth attitude, combined with intelligent, articulate, and above all engaging writing.
“I was given a copy of issue 101 when I attended the London Motorcycle Show last Saturday and I just wanted to tell you what a good read I found it. Having never seen The Rider’s Digest before I wondered if you could tell me how to get hold of a regular copy? “
Alan Cole, Wey Valley Advanced Motorcyclists Group
“Surrounded by Sunday riders in the east midlands, I go to work on the bike.
I play on the bike. I go on holiday on the bike. I ride 25k miles every year, and I’ve worked in bike industry for 15 years and employed couriers from London on sabbatical whilst banned. However, nothing, but nothing improves the quality of the riders life more than being in regular contact with other true motorcyclists and editors just going about their business on 2 wheels, and revealing interesting stories…
Having Riders Digest landing on my doorstep every month has quietly improved my appreciation and sense of belonging to our peculiar community… please keep it coming, because my everyday life would be so much less if I didn’t receive it anymore.
You knock spots off of Emap et al.”
“I get the occasional copy of your excellent mag, most recently from the Oakdene cafe, and read with interest a letter from Alan Cole asking for regular copies for his club/group. May I do the same please?”
Garry Paterson, Kawasaki riders club, Essex rep
“Thanks for returning our call and letting us know how to ensure we can get regular copies of The Rider’s Digest. We’ve all been reading it, but have only been able to pick it up now and again. Fantastic magazine.
As 3 old farts back to road riding it’s a refresher…”
Dave, Shane & Roger, Chertsey
“I recently… picked up a copy of TRD… I shoved it in my pocket and didn’t read it until I was lying in the bath later that day. I had never seen a copy before, but found the range of articles to be a refreshing variety of topics that revolved around the world of motorcycling – not just the usual comparisons of the latest 1,000cc sports bikes. It was great to see how history, politics, economics and geography affect our lives as bikers!
Not only did I enjoy reading the magazine, it got my creative juices flowing, and I would like to offer my services as a contributor. Despite being a mere whipper-snapper at 25 years old, I am fully immersed in the world of motorcycling – I have toured, commuted, raced, crashed and wheelied my way through life since I was 16, and currently work in motorsport events.
I am friends with the UK’s top drag bike racers, and would love to write an article for TRD about drag racing… Please note that I am not offering to write this for any other reason than it will give me the opportunity to vent my enthusiasm about the sport to the London biker community!”
Rick Cuthbert, Richmond, Surrey
“The Rider’s Digest has been very well received at Wey Valley Advanced Motorcyclists as it’s so different from the usual bike magazines.”
“Just a line to thank you for the copies of The Riders Digest you send us every month.
The members all think it’s a good read, keep up the good work.”
Tony Quigley, Sec Honda Owners Club, (North London Branch)
“I was given one of your magazines and was wondering where I can get regular copies for my colleagues and me. We like the fact that your mag is about the kind of motorcycling we do (or would like to do: the Mongolia trip!), not just technical details and the extra 3bhp produced by this years’ model.”
Paul Ledger, Worthing
“Bonjour Mes amis. Ca Va? Picked up a copy of your excellent mag whilst doing a job for my daughter in London. Any chance of getting a regular copy sent to me en Bretagne?”
…looking forward to seeing the next edition.”
John P. Evans, Bretagne.
“I chanced upon your publication on a recent visit to Kent Motorcycles’ showroom near Canterbury; and it was a very welcome addition to the excellent brunch that I consumed in their cafe.
As a fellow instructor put it when we chatted about your magazine subsequently ‘…how refreshing to read a bike mag with words of more than two syllables!’
The issue I read was number 105. One-hundred and five!!?? Why did we not know about this before? You mean to say there have been 104 issues of your mag that we have missed out on!!?? How is it possible that there have been so many without us getting so much as a hint that they exist? Where have you been? Where have we been?
Anyway, we would be very pleased if we could be yet another Kent distributor of your magazine. We run Dexterity Motorcycle Training based in Ashford, Kent, and as such come into contact with people at the very beginning of their biking experience. Our aim is to point them in the right direction in terms of their skills and their safety, if we can do the same with their reading habits too then that wouldn’t be a bad thing!
Keep up the good work!
Andy & Sam Loweth, Dexterity Motorcycle Training, Ashford, Kent
“What a pleasure it is to read a magazine, intelligently written, by people who actually ride real world motorcycles!”
Mark — ex 78, Mitcham.
“I was just having a look through The Rider’s Digest and I thought what a great little magazine.
I have to apologise that when we spoke on the phone I wasn’t too sure what The Rider’s Digest was! I am new to Frank Thomas but I’ve been riding bikes for a number of years now and I had never seen your magazine before. Fantastic, great writing aimed at REAL riders and I love the A5 format.”
Dan Allinson, Frank Thomas, Northants
“Just picked up my second ever issue of TRD — 107, ‘kin brilliant! Never heard of it before. What date does it come out?”
Michael Cheevers, Biggleswade, Beds
“I would like to join your ever-expanding overseas readership of your great and alternative motorcycle publication. I’ve enclosed a cheque for £15 quid but you don’t actually state a rate for such a service, I hope that covers everything.”
Maybe your mag subscription will help see me through the hard times ahead.”
Richard Horton 34 & 3/4, SØborg, Denmark
It wasn’t just regular readers who were impressed with the magazine; way back in September ’05, the best selling – but alas now dearly departed – Scottish author Iain Banks wrote to us saying “Thank you for your letter and the copies of TRD. I was going to write back and say thanks but look, I have so much stuff to read and so many magazines dropping through the front door that as much as I appreciated the gesture – you might as well save yourself the postage, but then I started flipping through one issue and reading bits and decided actually I wouldn’t mind staying on the mailing list after all… So thanks, good job, and please keep them coming”
And as Mondo Enduro legend Austin Vince put it: “A genius friend of mine once said: ‘It’s a shame that nowadays bikes are boringly perfect and Bike mags are perfectly boring’. Naturally, he wasn’t referring to the fabulous Rider’s Digest!”
We were also regularly being contacted by would be contributors, whether they were unpublished like Jacqui Furneaux (as she was when she contacted us in 2009), or well established moto journalists like Paul Blezard and Harriet Ridley, who specifically wanted to appear in our pages. They’d invariably cite issues with the big mags’ obsession with “Six bike shoot outs!” and glossy bike launches in exotic locations (although Blez and Harriet never seemed to have an issue with the latter). The Rider’s Digest wasn’t exactly averse to accepting the trade freebies that we were increasingly being invited to as we grew; but we shared the prime junkets out among our regular contributors, so what our readers got was the excitement and enthusiasm of an ordinary everyday biker – not at all unlike most of the audience – who had just thoroughly enjoyed a rare treat; as opposed to the ever so slightly jaded reporting of a professional journo who rarely slings their leg over anything that isn’t brand spanking new and who – frankly – is getting more than a little fed up with jetting backwards and forwards to Jerez, South Africa and Monte Carlo to ride Ducati, BMW or Harley’s latest greatest models!
Consequently when we printed a report of a glitzy Guzzi launch in Rome by Harriet – who’d seen her fair share of exotic press jaunts – instead of demanding the sort of dry list of ‘improvements’ over the previous year’s model that her more mainstream outlets would have insisted on, we encouraged her instead to weave in the story of how she spent her formative years in The Eternal City!
Sounds like your kind of thing? Then you really should consider investing a Pavarotti on 200 glossy pages of the best real world bike writing ever. You can do that…