Introducing Rouleur Editor Ed Pickering
I recently took the direction of Rouleur. I’m a bit late to introduce myself – I’ve had my feet under the desk since April, but we had a Tour de France magazine to prepare and it was monopolizing my attention. (You should check it out – it’s coming out this week, and we’ve made two magazines in one – two covers and two sets of features, one focused on the Men’s Tour de France and the other on the Tour of France Femmes. We gave them equal coverage, because why wouldn’t we?)
Rouleur is a great magazine, which I have admired from afar for many years. I was working at Cycling Weekly when it came out in 2006, and it grabbed me right away. The magazines of the early 2000s had a pretty standard aesthetic – trashy, bright, colorful and garish, and I don’t consider them criticism at all. Cycling can be trashy, bright, colorful and screaming. But Rouleur approached the sport from a different angle: brooding, monochromatic, epic, classy and with a lot of depth. There were cobblestone features, deep dives into bike business and a five-part series about then-unknown young Czech rider Jan Hirt by Herbie Sykes. The magazine evolved and grew, first under founding editor Guy Andrews, then Ian Cleverly and Andy McGrath. He began covering contemporary road racing; it aired groundbreaking interviews with current stars; it sold three prints of issue 101, the even more groundbreaking women’s issue; it has expanded and evolved with the times, setting the agenda and embracing adventure riding and gravel. And now… well, I plan to keep all the best on Rouleur and solidify its position as the best cycling magazine in the world.
The best thing about cycling, to me, is that it’s not just about cycling. In fact, it’s about everything. The main objective of a bike race, of course, is to see which rider gets from point A to point B fastest, and there’s a lot of fun in that, especially since it is a complex and nuanced sport. But when you watch a cycle race you absorb a lot of other stuff by osmosis. A non-exhaustive checklist would include geography, history, politics, geology, art, architecture, meteorology, feminism, engineering, entrepreneurship, sociology, biology, physics , chemistry (I’d put bike fans against fans of any other sport in a chemistry exam)… Bike fans have to be mathematicians – we can instantly split the time by which a break leads the peloton by the number of remaining kilometers and calculate its chances of success, and calculate the virtual GC live for a trial time. Bike racing taught me a lot about philosophy, a lot about psychology, and even a little about chaos theory and game theory.
I intend to celebrate the rich texture of cycling in the feature films I commission for Rouleur over the next few years. Of course, 100% of our articles will be about cycling, cyclists and bikes. But they will also be about how we are inspired, educated and enriched by sport. Rouleur is a cycling magazine, but as I said before, cycling is about everything: I started racing here, because our magazine Tour has a fascinating article by Professor Douwe van Hinsbergen from Utrecht University on the geology of the Tours de France. Professor Van Hinsbergen manages the Twitter account @geotdf, which explains the geology of the regions the bike races visit and he personifies everything I love about fandom and passion: he loves cycling and he loves geology and he celebrates where the two intersect. (And if you’d rather we stick to cycling, we have exclusive interviews with Primož Roglič and Annemiek van Vleuten, two of the biggest favorites for the next Tours de France.)
We have many more ideas to keep Rouleur at the forefront of the best cycling coverage. We will host events, expand our web presence, and make ourselves available and accessible. At the same time, we will never lose sight that the most important thing about Rouleur is that we deliver the best writing and photography, presented in a beautiful and elegant way. This will never change.
A bit about me: I was relatively late into cycling journalism, even though I’ve been doing it for over 20 years now. I became a fan of the sport largely because it was at the intersection of my love of athletics and France, but my career plans were initially to become a teacher. Also, after studying French and art history at university, I moved to Japan to teach English for a few years. Upon my return I decided to try something else before committing to teaching and took a crash course in NCTJ Journalism at Harlow College (which had just come out of the helicopter shots of the recent stage finish of the Women’s Tour there). I’ve always loved writing and being interested in the world, so journalism seemed like a good way to use what I thought I was doing for a career. The course involved a two-week internship at a magazine, so I called Luke Edwardes-Evans, the editor of Cycle Sport magazine (a stablemate of Cycling Weekly), and he invited me. was about to leave, Luke and Robert Garbutt (Editor of Cycling Weekly) offered me the job, and I ended up starting before I even graduated, in early 2002. I only went back to Harlow only to sit my law and shorthand exams.
I spent a few years writing short stories at Cycling Weekly, but preferred feature writing and Cycle Sport’s more professional cycling topics and gravitated to them, becoming associate editor in 2007 and there. remaining until 2013. After two years as a freelance cycling writer, I became editor of Procycling magazine, where I spent six years until it closed at the end of last year. And now, like a sprinter changing gears at the finish of a Tour stage, I’ve taken over at Rouleur.
I love cycling and I love creating magazines. Selling magazines is a tough business these days, but I will always believe they provide a much more immersive, meaningful, and intimate reading experience than words on a screen. No ad trackers when reading a Rouleur feature on paper; just the knowledge that a team of committed, talented and passionate people have worked hard to put the reader at the very center of the experience. In a noisy world, sitting half an hour reading an article or two in a printed magazine gives you concentration and peace. In addition, always with Rouleur, interesting and thought-provoking content.
When I’m not a cycling journalist, I’m busy being a father to a couple of teenagers, running, playing piano and taiko drums. Follow my Instagram account @edwardpickering for updates on my quest to run the mile in under five minutes and the 5k in under 17 minutes, and for stunning videos of my slow progress towards my piano diploma exam. For the bike, better follow me on Twitter @edwardpickeringthough I can’t vouch for a complete absence of bad puns.
As editor-in-chief of Rouleur, I want our team to be accessible, responsible and above all happy to talk about cycling with our readers through our digital channels and social networks.
Never hesitate to contact me on my social media accounts or via email at [email protected] with comments, questions, suggestions and ideas.