As much as I like to ride my bike, I'm not always out riding (far from it in fact). When I'm not riding bikes, I can often be found talking about them and reading about them in books, magazines or on the internet.
I'd heard about Rouleur magazine and frankly I'd dismissed it as soon as I saw the price – £9 per issue (published bi-monthly). However I kept hearing good things about the magazine including hearing that early copies in good condition can command very high prices on ebay (I've just looked and there is a copy of issue 1 for £200!)
As it was nearly my birthday and many of the things I was asking for (very hopefully in the case of a Garmin Edge 705, which unsurprisingly I didn't get) were expensive – I thought I'd put the then latest issue of Rouleur (18) on my list.
On the happy day – voila – I got the magazine. Mrs GdL joking remarked when I told her about the ebay prices that I'll be able to explain to the kids that I'm buying Rouleur as an investment to pay their college fees.
To be honest – my initial impressions of the magazine were a little disappointing. Whilst the paper stock is good – it's a dullish sort of matt finish and my first thoughts were that the production of the magazine looked a bit cheap for a £9 magazine. Frankly I was expecting a high quality high gloss finish where the photos nearly leap off the page at you. In fairness, I'm fairly certain that the finish is absolutely intentional and part of a carefully designed brand image. Perhaps I'm a pleb – I'd prefer a bit more bling/gloss – but I don't see it as being part of the Rapha/Rouleur way of life.
The photos themselves are lovely and Rouleur is full of stories – not news. So far I've only read the first few stories and they've all been excellent. So much so, that I've ordered the previous issue (17) so that I can take two issues on holiday with me, where I intend to read them cover to cover.
After a week or so and a few articles into issue 18 – I've enjoyed every page. The first article "What are you doing here?" by Bill Strickland was a good reminder of how much I enjoy his writing. Bill wrote some great blog pieces during the Tour de France including this one (http://bicycling.com/tour-de-france-2010/maillot-jaune) and the Rouleur article is up to the same high standard.
From there the next story is called "Climberspeak" by none other than Robert Millar and offers some very interesting thoughts on climbers and how they do what they do and the strategy behind it.
I'm not going to give away any more of what's further in the magazine in case you decide to grab a copy yourself. Like I said earlier – I'm glad I've found Rouleur and am pleased to have another copy on the way to me as we speak. I'll write an update after my holiday, when I've read both issues in full.
For more on Rouleur – visit their website: http://rouleur.cc/
If you're interested in trying a copy and don't want to subscribe, I suggest buying it from Wiggle (http://www.wiggle.co.uk/) as I did – to take advantage of the free postage as the direct from Rouleur postage charges are high.
Thanks for reading.