“Your First Century”
“Fueling For Long Rides”
You’ve probably seen articles with titles similar to these in the popular cycling magazines. They promise to impart essential cycling knowledge in a few hundred words. If you read the magazines long enough, you’ll realize that these topics repeat themselves every season. Beyond being redundant, it gets boring reading the same esoteric content month after month. It is one of the reasons I canceled my subscriptions to cycling magazines many years ago. I think I’ve reached the point that I understand how to wash my bike and lube the drive train, keep hydrated and plan for a century.
Earlier this year, while getting fitted at Signature Cycles, I saw a copy of Rouleur on display in the shop. The first thing I noticed was the cover photo, which was noticeably more “artistic” than a typical cover on a bike magazine. Next, I noticed that at over 150 pages, it was two or three times the thickness of a newsstand bike magazine. And finally, the price, $20 an issue, made me decide not to buy it.
That was a mistake at the time.
I continued to sample the popular mags, and consistently found them to contain the same mindless content. If you are brand-new to the sport, then a one year sampling of a popular magazine might serve you well but, at some point, you’ll likely become bored with the content. I yearned for cycling journalism and quality photography. Reluctant to buy a $20 mag, I subscribed to the Rouleur podcast through iTunes to sample the content. I was hooked after the first episode and eventually went to Gage + Desoto in Brooklyn to get a copy of the magazine.
I just finished my second copy of Rouleur and can attest to its quality. It is more of a book than a magazine. It is packed with actual journalism; people telling stories relevant to cyclists ranging from profiles of manufacturers to interviews with notable riders. There’s not a single article on how to inflate your tires; in fact, I don’t think I’ve seen a single article about gear or maintenance. The reading experience is similar to reading a compilation of short stories, each accompanied by wonderful photography. I’m not a hoarder, but I feel bad throwing these out when I am done with them; they are that nice.
$20 is a lot to shell out for a periodical ($160 a year subscription). I still cannot commit to the subscription. I think I’ll scope out each edition, either in person or by listening to the podcast, before plunking down my cash. If you crave good cycling storytelling, take a look at Rouleur. You may find that you don’t need those other magazines.