I love speed. Who doesn’t? As a kid playing rugby, it was all about that feeling after breaking free of the tackle, or slaloming in and out of defenders on the football pitch. Most relevant and regular for me now, it’s that rush after nailing my favourite descent at top speed (Ide Hill’s south side, in case anyone’s wondering) or sprinting for a town sign against friends.
Cycling is joyous for so many reasons but whether you’re a whippersnapper or a bit longer in the tooth, speed never gets old – on the bike or watching a race pass by.
What is speed and where does this need for it come from? It also leads to many other avenues away from the obvious: speed of mind, speed of action, speed of change in sport or society.
Though I’d class what we do at Rouleur as slow journalism – enduring, quality articles that cut through the noise and reward time and reflection – we relished the opportunity to explore fast times, and I’m happy we made the most of it with this stunner of an issue.
What's inside the issue?
We had to pinch ourselves when our hoped-for quartet popped up for a special video interview: Mark Cavendish, Formula 1 contender Valtteri Bottas, MotoGP star Cal Crutchlow and motorsport trailblazer Jamie Chadwick. Four stars, speed freaks and lovers of cycling united, shooting the breeze with our columnist Orla Chennaoui.
They went deep into speed – adrenaline, control, perception and the frankly mindboggling speeds they’ve all reached. And went off on tangents like building Lego and discussing which one of them would win in a four-way motorbike race. An immensely enjoyable and insightful interview.
When Rouleur Italia editor Emilio first met Filippo Ganna, the young racer had barely any road results to his name. Three years later, the Ineos Grenadier has a few more rainbow jerseys and Giro stage wins on his palmarès. The Hour Record and Paris-Roubaix could be next for the genial giant.
It couldn’t be a Speed issue without talking about sprinting. Three of the world’s fastest women talked us through the entire process in detail – from Google Street View prep to kidology, positioning and finish line emotion.
Some of the best photographers in the business contributed for a fetching photo essay on Speed. Blur, featuring the likes of Timm Kölln, Pauline Ballet, Tornanti, Tomás Montes and more. Damon Albarn didn’t get a look in this time...
It’s not all about going as fast as possible, there’s much to be said for taking one’s time too. Executive editor Ian entertains as he calls for a Slow Cycling Movement. No gadgets and many bar stops; cheers to that.
What’s more, British cycling talent Joe Laverick explores whether a 60km/h Hour record could happen, Harry Pearson has tales from the quirky Ruban Jaune speed record and Amy Jones goes inside Strade Bianche with underdogs Massi Tactic at their big race.
Proper geezer Alec Briggs rails it round England’s Mendip hills in our latest Rouleur Explore. Plus columns from Ned Boulting, Orla Chennaoui and new writer Toms Skujiņš of Trek-Segafredo.
We didn’t rush it in the making, so we wouldn’t want you to read it too fast and miss anything in the reading.
Andy McGrath | Editor