Thursday, February 11, 2010
Rouleur is now firmly established which for a £9 journal (it would be wrong to call it a magazine) is no mean feat. It consistently has delivered a high quality of writing, photography and design, packed into its hundred plus pages. And it has successfully kept advertising to a minimum and a mostly fitting aesthetic. Issues 15 and 16 seemed to arrive in fairly close succession, either side of the winter hols, great timing as it’s a time when I generally need a little uplifting reading as the winter traditionally shuts down my riding regime and this year was no exception.
15. A glorious cyclocross cover and photo laden feature inside was a surprise and an indicator of just how popular cross is becoming, the rest of the issue didn’t disappoint either, the Jeremy Hunt interview was an insight into a pro cyclists life the likes of which we don’t get much in the mainstream press. Next up the Gios story, what a great story too, damn I want a Gios bike purely off the back of reading that feature. Then the cross feature, a carefully constructed photo journo through this bastard son of a sport, the photography inspired to the point explaining the sport to an innocent bystander without the use of smart captioning. A Reynolds feature, with some great sjots of what looks like an antiquated factory huge grimy machines that squeeze and form tubes so we can ride skinny tubed bikes, glorious. And fittingly the last feature on the Lantern Rouge, the guy at the end of the race that most of us can relate to, great reading and photography, nuff said.
16. Dropped into the mailbox with a healthy thud, it’s pop art cover, screamed out of the polythene wrapper. The screaming pink Z on the cover wasn’t there by accident, a great history feature on the classic jersey and riders it adorned is without a doubt the saving grace of this issue. Elsewhere we are treated to a feature on Shimano which neither inspires, informs or stimulates with its pictures of a factory that could be making anything to be fair, I’m sure it was a very insightful trip and who wouldn’t take a tour of the Shimano plant? The Tour of California provides the photo story and a disappointing story it is. I like the ToC, it’s hard, the weather has been foul, it’s photogenic (what’s not to like a bout the pro peloton riding over the Golden Gate bridge?) this feature on the other hand failed to deliver, the snapshot gallery was in places clumsy and in others pointless, does it deliver the true picture of the race? In the 47 pages that this feature takes (yes that’s 36% or £3.24 if you prefer) it doesn’t make me want to ride my bike, which is a big failing. A pretty funny cartoon strip follows though on the 1989 battle between Fignon and Lemond, it’s a breath of fresh air after the ‘art’ of the California piece. The issue is saved by a great interview with Willy Balmat, chef extraordinaire and a pretty interesting guy into the bargain, it’s the sort of insight I expect from Rouleur.
Overall, 16 is probably (for me) the most disappointing issue to date, I hope this isn’t a sign and it’s just that difficult 16th issue thing.
Elsewhere, I’ve been sneaking some sessions on the rollers but time has really been limited to late nights, which then upsets sleep and digestion and generally making me grumpy and miserable. The house is nearly finished which should help alleviate this misery. I’ve finally got a new mech for the cross bike though as of yet I haven’t fitted it.
The new Gil Scott Heron album is out and I will endeavour to do it justice in a post when I get chance to really absorb it, but it’s good, can’t wait for the live show in April.
I’ve got busy month ahead with both work and the house so not much else to report.