Rouleur (magazine)

22 08 2010

A magazine worth preserving

SO you’re on the world wide web (don’t ask me how I know), but if you are anything like me you might have a penchant for old school printed magazines as well. It’s where I learned all about the bike and where my gear addiction was first seeded. Only these days most publications that I would have spent my precious bickies on a few years ago are filled with news already detailed on my now favourite web pages. There is no point covering the latest SRAM group set because Anthony Haung showed us months before the archaic paper was ready for printing. All that throw away but fascinating news is now daily and free. Other magazines sell on size and pad out their “quality” with glossy advertisements that are as satisfying as a Big Mac (i.e. not). Is anyone the real deal anymore? Or are our attention spans and concentration levels set to dissolve with the tabloid?

You don't need captions when you can dream your own

This is about the search of new school integrity. About a search for a magazine well written and artfully photographed. It should contain a respect for life and have a soul within. I want an insight; a taste beyond the obvious. A ticket to competitive cycling’s 4th dimension and something worth collecting while looking forward the next chapter. Sporadic one column articles amongst cliché racing photographs and surplus of brainwashing is not the art that I subscribe to. As for the lucky writers (and readers) who must form the picture in 300 words, best of luck; please be as general as possible there’s not a lot of room left for you.

Mr. Gios - a golden life time of stories

OK enough drivel, let’s take a look at a title on an entirely different plain to the rest of the magazine peleton. Rouleur out of the UK have just sent me their 18th edition (I now have 4 plus a photo annual). The first thing you’ll notice is its weight for size. It’s built to last. The matt finish paper frames compositions in truthful light. The contents page is brief. Only multi-page articles need apply; save for Johnny Green, but the ex-Clash band manager doesn’t mince his words anyway. There is no ‘regulars’ column, every issue is original. Often they take the term ‘a picture is worth a thousand words’ head on and provide your insight via often atypical photo journals that force a pause and provoke thought. Each shot individually stunning on its own; ranging from a barren road landscape to a portrait of the fans taken in the aftermath. In keeping the theme the athlete profiles customarily focus on the forgotten or the obscure up and coming. Chosen because their story is an interesting one; not because of public demand and often written by credible contemporaries. Example in case; a Jeremy Hunt piece written by fellow current uber-domestic Michael Barry is pure poetry. It describes the lives of two professional racers that even in the twilight of their careers still appreciate their trade and have a refreshing love for the craft. Inside the latest issue is a feature on climbing. Again, they haven’t found any old grimpeur to wax the tale, but appropriately recruited famous recluse Robert Millar; Briton’s one and only TdF K.O.M.

Mountains can be cruel

It is commercial. There are advertisements, but not as you know it. Ralpha clothing have a 2 page(r) featuring a race rhythm profile of the Col du Tourmalet displayed as printed sheet music. How about a photo of a pair of Paul Smith leather Brogues with a pedal cleat screwed into the soul. You see where this is going? Does it sound pretentious? It shouldn’t because this is put together by true lovers of cycle sports; they also just happen to oooze style and put it together with the highest degree of detail. Rouleur magazine powers up and over the highest cols and through the deepest mud with a poise that is unrivalled in this fiercely competitive industry. Setting itself apart with passion before commerce, and that to me is a long term way to keep my subscription running.

Yozo Shimano; own's a company that makes fishing gear etc.