Tipping the balance - the future of Rouleur
Our all-women issue 101 sold like no Rouleur before it. What lessons have we learnt?
Were we taken aback that our special totally women’s-focussed issue 101 sold so well? Of course, otherwise we’d have printed three times as many copies in the initial run and not sold out twice in rapid succession. Sometimes it is great to be wrong, and this was one of those occasions.
When you have been in the business of making top quality cycling magazines for 15 years, as we have, you like to think you have a handle on what will sell, but this one was off the scale.
Was it the deliberately provocative cover image of Shanaze Reade handpicked by our guest editor Orla Chennaoui? Was it Orla’s fine work in promoting her labour of love and engaging with athletes and fans from all corners of the cycling world? Or was it the engaging content – much of it outside of our usual ‘road racing only’ remit – beautifully designed and presented, that brought us a whole new audience?
In terms of statistics, the numbers do not lie. Our fastest selling issue ever; a one-week sales figure that beat our previous best by a whopping five weeks; a leap in subscriber numbers with a very healthy rise in our female readership.
More importantly, in terms of the future, it lays a clear path for the way ahead for both Rouleur and the rest of the cycling media.
We will improve our coverage of women’s sport from here on. We must engage with the millions of women cyclists around the world and discover untold stories that appeal no matter what your gender. And we must welcome in anybody on two wheels who wants to join us.
As Shanaze Reade said in my favourite quote of the issue, used on the inside front cover: “A bike’s a bike. Just get on and rip it.”
The signs from both our friends and rivals in the industry is very encouraging. We have received nothing but praise and support from those in cycling whose work we respect and admire – indeed, one outlet announced it would be dedicating the month of March to women’s content, while another website’s home page suddenly featured far more female stories than before our issue 101...
And this makes us very happy. If we can lead the way and kickstart an overhaul of the outdated male-centric view of our great sport, then it is mission accomplished.
As the late, great Errol Brown wrote for his band Hot Chocolate’s 1978 smash hit: “Everyone’s a winner, baby.” That’s the truth.
Ian Cleverly - Executive Editor
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