The Ride Journal – Featuring Greg Lemond, Victoria Pendleton and… blimey! The Highway Cycling Group!

Have you been looking for a cycling publication that talks more about the pleasures of riding than the latest kit? A magazine that isn’t stacked full of adverts, but instead is beautifully designed and elegant? A journal that covers all aspects of cycling, from BMX to cycle chic, via singlespeed and track racing? Yes?

I should very much like to draw your attention to a new cycling journal called The Ride. It is a thing of astonishing beauty, more akin to a book than a magazine, the design work alone makes it worth the £8.50 cover price in my opinion.

What about the content? Well you won’t find many adverts at all, and no technical reviews or ride guides. Surely every modern cycle publication must contain information on fitness, technique and nutrition for cyclists? Not this one. What it contains is a series of terrific articles, artwork and photo-essays that explore the feelings associated with riding a bike. There are BMXs on the Lower East Side, essays on the hunt for the perfect brakes, the birth of mountain biking, cycling through the snow, a tour of someone’s workshop, even articles from Greg Lemond (on his incredible Time Trial that won him the Tour de France) and a piece by the always excellent Victoria Pendleton.

There is even an article by yours truly, The Highway Cycling Group. The Editor Philip Diprose contacted me at the beginning of Spring, having read this blog and wondered if I would write a piece on the origins of The Highway Cycle Group. I gladly did so, producing a piece specially for the journal that has not been featured on the blog. I didn’t know if it was any good or not, but it seemed to fulfill what Philip was looking for in producing a bicycle journal with soul. To my surprise and delight, they published my article, along with a couple of pictures from the archives of the Group, including one of the badges my father made.

The Highway Cycle Group in The Ride Journal - apologies for the quality of the image

The Highway Cycle Group in The Ride Journal - apologies for the quality of the image

I hope my piece stands up to scrutiny when compared to the other articles, there is some really good writing in the rest of the journal.

It also turns out that someone else from the village has also written for the journal, Debbie Burton is well known in the world of mountain biking, not only for her journalism but also for her clothing company Minx stylish cycling gear for girls. Philip had no idea that we live in the same village when he commissioned us and Debbie and I only found out we’d both written for it after the journal was published. Debbie received her copy first and showed it me during the school run. Small world.

Get over to The Ride’s website and snap up one of the limited first editions – each one is numbered and there’s only 1000 copies available.

*** Stop Press *** It’s sold out already! They may be going to reprint and are taking emails to gauge interest – get your name down now and ask for a reprint, these are going to be collectors items. I cannot stress how beautiful and soulful this journal is, it makes Rouleur look like Cycling Weekly, and that seriously takes some doing!

We dwell in a kingdom of rains

As is now standard procedure for the British Summer, it’s been belting down with rain over the bank holiday. Monday itself saw an astonishing downpour that lasted well into the afternoon and filled all four of my garden waterbutts to overflowing in the space of a couple of hours. It was the ‘straight down’ variety of rain that I don’t mind cycling in, however, no chance of a ride as I was looking after the anklebiters and also – need some rain gear.

Now I have looked at jackets and whatnot – I can’t really afford to be laying out for the type of technical doodads that one needs on a waterproof when cycling. Even when I’m pootling I’m averaging about 13-14mph and I get pretty warm, I would need one of those wicking fabrics. The colours seem to be quite garish and there’s a lot of logos and fancy styling around. I’m all for fancy styling and brand names etc, I think that’s fair enough for those who want to be associated with The Discovery Channel team, or if you don’t mind having ‘Chris Boardman’ on your helmet when you’re wheezing up a hill at 8mph. To me it would make no sense to wear something that advertises that which I am not. That’s why I have bidons with Rivendell Bicycle Works‘ logo and a no-name top and shorts. I am not really an aspirational rider in that sense. I am willing to pay good money for something that is well crafted and will last (a Brooks saddle for example) but not to have a whacking great logo splattered over me. I chose my Lemond etape bike for a few reasons:

  1. It was at the top of my price range
  2. It looked well made and had good reviews
  3. It had a triple chainring and I’m a weed on hills
  4. It looked elegant and nicely styled, particularly the typography and colours
  5. Greg Lemond is a great rider – but it says ‘Lemond’ not ‘Greg Lemond’
  6. Lemond looks French – which for some reason looks really good on a road bike

Above all that, it was the only bike in the shop that didn’t assault my eyes with garish blocky logos and hyperactive colours.

I guess that makes me a bit shallow, but anyway with that in mind I have decided that my wet weather gear will be this:

As it drapes over the handlebars and attaches to the rider’s thumbs, the ventilation is second to none. It’s bright yellow, bloody cheap and crucially, it has a matching sou’wester!

Landis, LeMond, Cooke

I have tried to steer clear of any detailed news about the Floyd Landis doping case, I find it so depressing that the sport has reached this low a level. A recent article in the American magazine Bicycling to which I subscribe, gave readers the option to make a judgement based on the key evidence submitted by both sides of the story. I have to say that I came out against Landis, a lot of his defence is irrelevant to whether or not he actually took an illegal substance during the Tour, and from what I can see, it looks like he did. However my wife bought this week’s Cycling Weekly and there was a story of how Landis’ camp tried to blackmail Greg LeMond (the first American to win the Tour) into not testifying against Landis. It has completely shocked me and ruined what remained of Landis’ tattered reputation, in my eyes anyway:

See this link to Cycling News for the full appalling story.

We desperately need a clean Tour de France this year. Thank goodness for Nicole Cooke. As men’s cycling slowly implodes into doping, corruption, blackmail and scandal upon scandal, women’s cycling is stronger than ever, with a British champion at the helm. What a pity that this fantastic athlete receives scant coverage outside of the cycling press.
Nicole Cooke - champion cyclist