Posts Tagged ‘rouleur magazine’


September 30, 2013

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Our free sampler went down a storm at the Tour of Britain. For anyone who hasn’t seen the magazine before, this taster of issue 39 – the monster 260-page Tour de France special edition – is the perfect introduction to what we do.

“What about free digital copies for American fans,” Tweeted Jim Conrad. A fine idea, Jim. And you don’t have to be American to download it, in case you’re wondering.

We hope you enjoy reading about 100 Tours, Chris Froome, Corsica, Russ Downing, Julio Jiménez and Speedplay pedals.

We trust you will find the writing of Robert Millar, Ned Boulting, Carlos Arribas, Paul Fournel and Colin O’Brien engaging and illuminating.

And we are confident you will find imagery from the likes of photographers Taz Darling, Timm Kölln, Paolo Ciaberta, Robert Wyatt, Daniel Sharp, and illustrator Jo Burt, of the highest order.

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Podcast: Issue 40

July 24, 2013


Editor Guy Andrews and Managing Editor Ian Cleverly chew over the latest issue of Rouleur with Jack Thurston. On the menu is the gravel racing at the Tour of Battenkill, behind the scenes at Milan-Sanremo, the remarkable rise of Chris Froome and a whole lot more cycle sport blather besides.

The Rouleur podcast is brought to you by Mosquito Bikes, London’s custom made bicycle specialists. Ready to ride at Mosquito Bikes are the latest Alchemy bicycles. Their fully custom carbon Arion is the winner of best carbon bike two years running at NAHBS and is available exclusively in the UK at Mosquito Bikes, 123 Essex Road, London N1 2SN or on the web at

Issue 40

Podcast: Issue 38

April 30, 2013

At 260 pages long, issue 38 is being cursed by sore-backed posties up and down the nation. The accompanying podcast is a big ‘un too, nudging the hour mark. Joining host Jack Thurston for a feast of Italian cycle sport, the Bath Road 100, and much else besides are assistant editor Andy McGrath and writer Michael Breckon.

Issue 38

The Rouleur podcast is brought to you by Mosquito Bikes, London’s custom made bicycle specialists. New into Mosquito bikes are frames from Daniel Merenyi, Dario Pegoretti’s only apprentice. His frames ooze the knowledge Dario collated making Marco Pantani’s race bikes. Available in custom geometry made from the latest Columbus lightweight steel – Hungarian bikes with a dash of Italian flair. Mosquito is at 123 Essex Road, London N1 2SN or on the web at

Bernard Hinault

April 17, 2013

Words: Graeme Fife Photos: Gerard Brown

“The snow was driving so hard into our faces, on a crosswind, that we had to protect our eyes with one hand. We needed ski goggles. I couldn’t see a thing.”

Bernard Hinault talking after Liège-Bastogne-Liège, Sunday 20 April, 1980. The race was 245 kilometres; after 70km, 110 of the 174 riders had already quit.

Approaching the feed station at Vietsalm, at 149km, Hinault told his directeur Cyrille Guimard that if it hadn’t stopped snowing by the time they got there, he was climbing off.

As if Nemesis, the goddess of vengeance herself, was eavesdropping, the sun came out. Hinault, being the sort of man he is, was obliged to ride on.

“I went to the front and started to go [roule] because that way I could get some heat into my body and legs.” (The French word rouler can mean to lick someone, as in a fight, or, in the slang, to stand on the pedals.)

He caught and dropped a small group of breakaways, and, 80km from the finish, he was on his own.

“My mind was blank – I couldn’t see anything. I was locked up in myself. I looked at the pine trees – everything was white. I was riding in the furrows left by the car tracks.”

He finished 9min 24sec ahead of Hennie Kuiper, his second victory in the doyen of Classics (Hinault had already won in 1977 and was second in ’79).

By the time Kuiper arrived everyone had gone – television and radio reporters included. It’s as cogent an example as there is of Hinault’s sheer class, his willpower – the rage à vaincre of which he’s spoken – and his style, the panache, the exploit, the dominating spirit, what he called “une morale terrible”.

“Since that day,” he said 30 years on, “I have no feeling in two of my fingers. As soon as the glass drops below eight degrees, I get a pain there.”

This is an extract from issue 19

Farewell to Perren Street

April 11, 2013


Words: Guy Andrews Photos: Taz Darling, Offside and Ben Ingham

Seven years ago this very week I sat on a pink Ikea sofa in an old piano factory in Kentish Town with a handful of pieces of paper and an idea.

It had been knocking around my head for many years. There wasn’t much to show for it, but I’d been in a rush and I could explain the rest.

I was here to meet up with Rapha’s founder and managing director Simon Mottram. I was feeling a bit strange about it because two rather awkward encounters with Simon had gotten me to this place.

On our first, as a then magazine product tester and journalist discussing the idea for Rapha with him, I said I thought he was mad (I don’t think I was alone with that).

The second time was when he’d sold out his first jersey range and started the company that now sponsors a fairly well-known professional team and is, well, doing a roaring trade.

Seeing as I’d told him I thought that his concept for Rapha was rubbish, I was quite expecting him to return the advice.

My premise was to produce a magazine with high production values, paper and print. It would be a magazine for the discerning reader and the fan of bike racing.

In a climate with very few alternative magazines and a worldwide web cluttered with blogs and simple news-based sites, the idea was pretty ambitious.

But I’d always thought that there was a space in the market for a reportage style cycling magazine, something with the spirit of Jock Wadley’s Coureur and the striking visual sense of Foto 8.

I was wrong. Simon liked it. I think we had a shared aesthetic and passion and I’d realised that Rapha was the ideal starting point for this new idea. We decided to have a go and I went off to develop the idea.

Four or so like minded advertisers liked our pitch and we realised that we were onto something. It was small beer on the page yield front – I’m no salesman, after all – but it would pay for the printing. We were in business.

RLR1_COVER_DPS copyThe cover of Rouleur 1

These were the hand-to-mouth beginnings of Rouleur magazine. Before long we moved into the then-spacious headquarters of Rapha Racing Limited, which numbered four employees and that pink sofa.

In the early days contributors were bribed with Rapha socks, jerseys and even soft shell jackets for those longer features.

Many gave their time for free. Photographers like Gerard Brown and Ben Ingham and writers like Matt Seaton and Graeme Fife were there at the start and still work for us today, albeit for a little more than threads and goodwill.

As time went on readers started to subscribe. So Rene Groot, Claire Wilson and I stuffed envelopes and amended spreadsheets as the orders came in.

The boxes of magazines filled the storeroom and we worked amongst them wondering if we could ever sell them all. We did.

Since that first issue, we’ve gone from 64 pages to 260, from four issues a year to eight. We’ve launched mountain biking magazine Privateer and a book publishing imprint with Bloomsbury.

Bruce Sandell came in to manage the business and we moved from Perren Street to Shoreditch three years ago.

The ideas kept coming at a furious rate and we all realised that Rapha couldn’t help us grow them anymore, mainly because of their own exponential growth and success.

Almost seven years to the day we started out with issue 1, a management buyout created a new company and added some much needed investment.

So amicably we agreed to part and allow us to take Rouleur to the next step.

Publishing an independent magazine in these times of economic vagueness and printing decline hasn’t always been easy, but cycling has been in rude recent health and niche independent magazines are on the up. Rouleur has survived, prospered even.

I would like to thank everyone who has been involved in the journey so far, especially those who helped us in those early days. The list is long, forgive me if I don’t mention you all.

But some special thanks go to Neil Wass and all the kind folk at Manson Group our printers, to Jonathan ‘Biff’ Bacon who worked tirelessly on the design of the early issues, to Edwin Ingram at Tapestry, to Peter Guest at Image Lab, to Brian Dowling, all the guys at BDI and to all of the talented contributors who have stuck with us.

And thanks to Simon Mottram who believed in it. We’ve had our differences and still do, but he saw the good in it and that was more than enough.

But above all, thanks to the readers who subscribed and the advertisers who have supported us. It’s thanks to all of you that Rouleur is here to stay.

It hasn’t always been ideal but if it was easy then everyone would be at it.

*The leading photograph was one of our more ambitious covers. It was for issue 20 and is a story in itself.

It was shot on the roof of Perren Street in Kentish Town, Rapha’s HQ. The dog is Gino and the mechanic is John Sutcliffe, who at one point was Rapha’s (and Rouleur’s) accountant.

It took weeks of planning and some tireless work over a very wet August weekend by a small group of talented professionals under the guidance of regular Rouleur photographer Taz Darling. And thank you for everything Taz.

RLR38_COVERNot quite everyone’s a Big Mig fan on the cover of Rouleur 38, which hits the shops in a fortnight.

L’Enfer du Nord

April 3, 2013

Words: Jack Thurston Photos: Ben Ingham

Riding in the Panasonic team car after abandoning the mudbath of the 1985 edition of the race, dazed and confused, drunk with pain, Theo de Rooy put it with typical Dutch directness:

“It’s bollocks, this race, it’s a whole pile of shit. You’re working like an animal, you don’t have the time to piss and you wet your pants. You’re riding in mud like this and you’re slipping. It’s a pile of shit – you must clean yourself otherwise you will go mad.”

Asked if he would ever ride it again, de Rooy instantly replied, “Sure, it’s the most beautiful race in the world!”

Conceived in 1896 by a pair of canny Roubaix textile mill owners, the inaugural edition was held on Easter Sunday and intended as a loosener for Bordeaux-Paris – at the time the most prestigious race of the early season.

At around 300 kilometres, it was half the length of Bordeaux-Paris, but soon gained a diabolical reputation on account of the rough unpaved roads and cobblestone tracks that criss-crossed the fields and forests of the France’s northern borderlands. These borderlands become badlands when drenched and churned by the rain and the wind that sweep down from the North Sea.

The race has always courted controversy. Local clergy denounced La Pascale, the Easter race, as a distraction from religious observance. In those days road racing was a far less popular spectacle than races on the track, but the final laps were raced on the brand new velodrome, which brought in the crowds.

There were so many spectators that one section of stands collapsed under their weight. Soon, Northerners had adopted the race as their own.

The race draws on the raw character of the Northern expanses: a dour landscape of tough lives and hard times. These are great swathes of land, featureless but for lonely water towers, gloomy gothic steeples, collieries, blast furnaces and their mountains of slag.

The dark density of man-made volcanoes can drain the very light from the sky. If it is wet, brightly-coloured team jerseys surrender to the mud and the filth until each rider wears the same grim uniform. Cement grey – how fitting for the convicts of the road!

Within a few years, a special bond had formed between the brave riders and the locals who line the route. For the farm labourers, factory workers and miners at the turn of the century, the echoes of their own daily toil were all too obvious, but so too was the dignity and the pride.

It immediately became a favourite race for local heroes to try their luck. Roubaix-born Charles Crupelandt delighted the home crowd with wins in 1912 and 1914, achieving the second while turning a colossal gear of 24×7.

This land was their land but it was soon to bear witness to a terrible conflagration of mechanised death and destruction.

From that moment onwards the land would bear the memory of a generation of young men sent to kill and be killed, to rot in the trenches of the war they said would end all wars.

In 1919, six months after the Armistice, the race’s twentieth edition followed the line of the Western Front north of Arras and passed through the towns devastated by war.

Bomb craters and grim wreckage scarred fields that entombed the fallen millions. Shell-shattered buildings and trees formed ghostly silhouettes of destruction along the course of the route.

This apocalyptic scene was described by a journalist as L’Enfer du Nord – the Hell of the North – and the name stuck.


Extract from issue 9. Jack Thurston hosts The Bike Show on 104.4 Resonance FM.


March 21, 2013


Words: Paul Fournel Illustration: Jo Burt

The bike is the school of the wind. There are two kinds of biking wind: objective wind and relative wind. The first one is produced by the world around us, and the second is the work of the cyclist alone. His masterpiece, you might say, for the faster he is, the more wind he creates.

The wind of the world is the one that hits you square on. Against it there’s no remedy other than friendship and solidarity. When you get a strong, persistent north wind full in the face, there’s nothing better than a big-shouldered friend. You curl up into a little ball behind him and wait for it to pass. Actually, you wait till he moves aside to give you his spot, and then you take your pull.

The strongest wind I can recall ever having ridden into is the wind of the west of Ireland. I pedalled along the coast, south of Galway, and I was careful always to leave riding into the wind, so I could be sure of getting back. I was alone, and it was a rough fight. There was no mercy. Everything that allows you to cheat and find shelter was missing: no trees, no houses, no hedges, no contours. Nothing but the wet, powerful, inexhaustible ocean wind. Stretched out on the bike, I had the feeling I was killing time, condemned to using mountain gears on flat terrain.

On the way back, all along the Irish coast, it was sheer delight when my little inner breath connected with the big outside wind. More pleasurable than descending, because I felt like I was in super shape, going much faster than I should have been.

Having very early on, at my own expense, learned that the wind wears you out, I soon learned to note from which direction it was blowing. There’s something of the sailor in the cyclist. Thanks to this basic training you learn to shelter yourself better and take better advantage of the strength of others. When the wind blows from the side, or from an angle, the riders fan out across the road in order to use their companions as barriers. These fans are called ‘echelons’, and if you’re not in the right one, getting from one to another is practically impossible.

Shelter and suction are the best reasons to make cycling friends. You can benefit from the combined effort and relax for a moment before taking your turn at the front.

To really take advantage, you have to stay close, in the bubble, with your front wheel only a few centimetres from the wheel in front. If you give up a few bike-lengths, the wind closes in on you and ‘getting back in’ is not easy. When whoever’s in front is pulling really hard, it can even be impossible.

In the 1996 Tour de France, in the long and very regular descent from Montgenèvre to Briançon, the peloton, anxious to get to the finish, stretched out in a long unbroken line, with every racer fighting to keep his place. Melchor Mauri, a good-looking rider who had been pedalling next to our car, had some derailleur problems that made him lose his spot; he was slipping away very quickly from the group. Christian Palka, who was driving, told me: “If we leave him there, he’ll soon be ten minutes down. He won’t get back in by himself at that speed.”

So we sheltered him with our car for about a hundred metres, to get him back in the line. He thanked us with a pleasant wink. At that point we were doing about eighty kilometres an hour.

Please don’t repeat this story, since it’s strictly forbidden by race rules to help riders in this way – by breaking the terrible law of the wind.

Extract from issue 8

Paul Fournel is the author of Vélo, available from the Rouleur shop

Troublesome Child Part II

February 7, 2013


Readers of last week’s Rouleur blog will recall how we weren’t altogether sure issue 36 was one of our strongest.

Part of the reason this feeling had permeated the editorial team was that we had made a cock-up and it was too late to correct it.

It is never easy to admit being wrong, but in this instance there is no excuse; we messed up. Mistakes and factual error had been added in to David Sharp’s terrific interview with Tony Martin, and the author has asked that we publish his original version in full, which we are more than happy to do.

So click here to download the feature, with fabulous imagery by Timm Kölln. Hope you enjoy it, and sorry once again to David.

Troublesome Child

January 31, 2013

Ever get that feeling, having entered an event weeks in advance, that it was all a horrible mistake? That the upcoming pain will far outweigh the endorphin high?

I go through the same ridiculous process every time, even though, deep down, I’m aware that the chances of enjoying every single moment of the ride – or certainly the feeling after it’s all over – are high.

Fretting is the default position, even when there is entry on the line. There are chimps on both shoulders, arguing the toss over the merits and demerits of racing, while I sit helpless between, like being on the night bus to Peckham when it kicks off. The spat soon gets ugly, but there is no point in intervening. What will be, will be.

It’s the same deal with the magazine. We send off the finished article to the printers, then the doubts set in: what if it isn’t as good as the last issue? How do we know we have got it right having pored over the content for weeks and become blind to its charms?


The reason struck us is the strange chain of emotions running through the office as we went to press. The editor and myself had concluded issue 36 was not one of our best efforts, and had resigned ourselves to improving next time round. Let it go and move on.

Then the publisher, Bruce, and the ad man, Andy, called us to say it was one of our finest. And the early response from those who had got the issue was the same: it’s a beauty. We are happy to stand corrected.

What the editorial and design team strive for is originality, quality and balance – and it was the balance part we were unsure we had got right. Too much historical and Rouleur becomes a museum piece; all contemporary and we have left our core values behind.It’s not until we get the magazine in our hands, having watched it take shape on a computer screen over the shoulder of our designer, Rob, that we can truly say whether it has worked or not. Thankfully, we all agreed: it has worked, and then some.

And what is contained within the covers of this troublesome child, you ask? Ned Boulting opens with a fabulously written piece on the Revolution track series, with suitably wonderful images by Taz Darling. Guy Andrews, a man with a penchant for a steel frame himself, follows the development of the new Madison Genesis team, who will (whisper it) ride steel frames this season. Retro or forward thinking?

Herbie Sykes, a man who loves a good barney, sits down with Paul Kimmage, not averse to a heated debate himself – ask Lance… It is a fascinating feature on where the sport is now and where it’s heading. Our man Jordan Gibbons goes to Germany to discover one of the finest carbon wheel producers in the world making very expensive hoops from Heath Robinson machinery. And even Lance has to pay to get a set. Superb.




We have two writers new to Rouleur this issue: Olivier Nilsson-Julien talks to Dutch author Herman Chevrolet about his fascinating book on dirty deals and double-crossing in the peloton; and David Sharp spends time with time trial wunderkind Tony Martin, talking over a year of extreme highs and lows, with the always-excellent Timm Kölln recording the scars.


David Curry accompanies Rouleur regular photographer Olaf Unverzart to the Czech Republic to discuss cyclo-cross with Zdeněk Štybar as the former World Champion converts to a career on the road with Omega-Pharma –Quick Step.


Plus columnists Paul Fournel – with Jo Burt’s illustration as usual –  Matt Seaton and William Fotheringham, winners all.

Enough of the hard sell. We’re happy enough, but we’re not the readership. Let us know what you make of it.

The Gift

December 12, 2012

“Inside the package, Waldo quivered with excitement as he listened to the muffled voices. Sheila ran her fingernail over the masking tape that ran down the centre of the carton. ‘Why don’t you look at the return address and see who it’s from?’ Waldo felt his heart beating. He could feel the vibrating footsteps. It would be soon…”


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Images from Andrews, Brown, Ciaberta, Darling, Sharp, Smit, Unverzart, Waugh and Worland. Writing by Barry, Cleverly, Fife, Greenwood, O’Brien, McRae, Southam, Stout, Sykes and Williams. The very best of Rouleur.


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Herbie Sykes’s Coppi is a beautiful, unique evocation of global cycling legend Fausto Coppi. Built around an extraordinary collection of hand-picked, never before seen images, the book also features testimony from those who knew him intimately.

Screen shot 2012-12-11 at 16.33.102013 CALENDAR Twelve photos (how very traditional) and a fine cover illustration by Jo Burt adds up to a whole year of loveliness for your wall.

RICH MITCH MUGS Marco, Greg, Bernard, Eddy or Tom? Cav, Swifty, Bernie or Froomey? Hoy, Trott, Clancy or Pendleton? Tough call…

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Screen shot 2012-12-11 at 15.30.57PEACE RACE POSTERS The 1965 Peace Race image by Maciej Urbaniec from the cover of issue 30 is a beauty, as are all four of these gems of graphic design.


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EDDY A small plastic bloke in a box, wearing Molteni kit. Who could it be? Richard Mitchelson’s inimitable take on the greatest.


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Amid the bling, the controversy, the glamour and the television images each July, it’s easy to forget the daily, monthly, yearly grind of training, competition and travel. For Barry and company, it is truly all about the bike. The Guardian

Screen shot 2012-12-11 at 15.46.00ROULEUR TEE Black is the new black. ‘Rouleur’ printed on the front. Enough said.

iPAD CASE These new-fangled iPads are rather popular, we hear. Having our fingers on the pulse of all things new and shiny, we designed this fabulous leather case to keep yours safe and snug.

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GIFT SUBSCRIPTION WITH CARDS Give a little Rouleur (or Privateer for that matter) and receive five greetings cards for your own use. That’s a win/win situation right there.

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