I’m finding it really interesting to see the wealth of refreshingly different cycling journals out there that are coming into my orbit. At the moment I have a subscription to Cycling Weekly (I know, don’t mock) and I also buy a couple of the monthly cycling magazines like Cycling Active or Bike Buyer.
These publications are all ok and do the job of providing me with good training and kit updates, as well as info about the pro circuit and general cycling news. But a bit like those running magazines, and I guess most magazines, they tend to make me feel inadequate. When I read endless articles about optimum 5-day training schedules and diets when it’s all I can do to ride a few miles to work and grab a bowl of cereal in the morning, I feel a little useless. A full time job and two children don’t permit me to go on a 5 day schedule and I’m lucky if I get a long ride in once every three weeks or so. And my diet! It’s improving but like everyone I have my weaknesses, chocolate being one of them. The perfection makes me feel like s*”t.
New Kids on the Block
This batch of new cycling magazines is exciting because they all exhibit a distinct lack of such fodder and concentrate instead on the more prosaic aspects of cycling.
Although not a new magazine, it’s now 22 issues old, Rouleur does come into the category of cycling magazines that are different to the mass-market likes of Cycling Weekly. It’s a beautifully produced publication, published bi-monthly and, for me, it captures all of the romance of the obsessional road cyclist. The articles, are lovingly photographed and although I find some of the writing a little like pretentious art or pop-culture journalism, I like the overall feel of the thing. It’s very stylised, as you would expect.
I want to know about how it feels to climb a Tour stage, to follow a frame builder at work or look at the life of a young pro cyclist and I want to look at photographs of the heroes of yesteryear. These are the kinds of articles it gives me and you can tell that the writers are as obsessed with cycling as are the readers, if not more so. It’s not cheap, at 10 of our British pounds a pop, but it is lovely. My only gripe, as with most things cycling, is that it seems to cater only for the male reader. There are many women out there who are interesting enough for an article, or interesting enough women writers to be able to contribute intelligently to the throng. I’d like to see some if their output in Rouleur. Issue 22 is out now but if you want to get one, make it quick because they sell out pretty damn fast. The guys at Going Going Bike are selling copies of Rouleur so that’s a good place to grab a copy.
The Ride Journal is another beauty, now onto issue 5. I have yet to get my hands on a copy but if the last few are anything to go by, it should be great. The Ride is another very stylised magazine, thickly bound, like a book almost, made from matt, very thick, paper but this one is produced to appeal to all cyclists. Unlike Rouleur, which is mainly concerned with road cycling, The Ride has articles and advertising from all disciplines from road to mtb, fixed gear and trekking to name but a few. The articles are written by diverse lot of contributors, all with a different perspective and it’s full of humour. Issue 4 featured such a huge roll call of articles and I haven’t finished it yet. At £7 it’s a bargain. It’s a fest of bicycle lust and rather than making me feel bad, it just makes me want to do it more. I got my last one from Condor Cycles but you can get one here.
Boneshaker is on to Issue 3. It’s published by a Bristol-based collective, cunningly named the Bristol Bike Collective. It’s full of articles and personal stories about people and projects doing things with bicycles around the globe. It seems to appeal to both bike-heads and those who may not yet have experienced life on two-wheels, but like Rouleur and The Ride, the production values are high end. It looks and feels good. It’s a little cheaper than the other two, at £5 and you can get it here or on the Going Going Bike auction. Issue 4 is due soon.
So, if you like to read about cycling, but you’re a bit fed up with standard cycling mags, try these. Are there any I’ve missed?
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As seen on The Guardian, BBC and The Independent.