The Ride Journal is a brilliant magazine from the UK about cycling and illustration. Issue #6 just came out. We asked editor Philip Diprose some questions.
What inspired you to make The Ride Journal?
We were inspired to start The Ride Journal by a number of reasons. The main one being that we saw a gap in the market. The gap was to provide something we wanted to read. Increasingly we were growing tired of the format of bike magazines. Each year it would be the same run of bike reviews, race reports, route guides. All good subjects for people getting into cycling but you get tired of them after a while. We were more interested in riders, and the stories they had to tell. The passion, the suffering, the emotion, the small details that make people and cycling interesting.
We also didn't understand why other magazines pigeon holed the different cycling styles. It seemed that if you rode a mountain bike you must hate road cyclists, or that if you rode a BMX you wouldn't be interested in hearing about people riding across far away places. We thought this was crazy. Having been riding for many years we have a love for all bikes. I may not be able to break away from the peloton in the last km of a 200 km race, or launch fearlessly off of a set of dirt jumps but I can imagine the feeling and love to read about it.
In the shop we stock The Ride Journal in our bike section, but it also seems to be a literary magazine and an illustration magazine. How do you classify The Ride?
It may sound like a lazy answer but we didn't want to classify the magazine. We don't see why good design, good writing and cycling can't live together in the same magazine. It's the same with the different styles of riding. We want the magazine to be a melting pot of everything that has passion, creativity and personality.
How do you find the people that draw and write for the magazine?
We have been very lucky in that a lot of writers and illustrators have come to us. There are so many strange and fascinating stories that are linked with the world of cycling.
We also think about who and what else we would like to feature in the magazine. It's a combination of people who have come to us, recommendations from other riders and people who we have actively approached for the journal.
With which magazine do you affiliate The Ride Journal?
When we started the Ride Journal the biggest influence was probably Surfers Path. They had the attitude and philosophy that we wanted to bring to cycling. It was a magazine that spoke of so much more than just surfing, it was the lifestyle and world that people build around it.
Now though there are a number of magazines that I feel affinity towards. They are magazines where people have decided they want to do something different. Where people have wanted to put in their hard work, free time and love into making something for people to enjoy. People may have claimed that the internet was going to kill print but I think The Ride Journal, and a lot of other independent magazines have proved them wrong. All it takes is a different approach and a different set of goals. We want the journal to be something people cherish, read, collect and save. Not something that is read once and discarded. This is the same approach that can be seen in the new wave of independent magazines and these are people who are friends of The Ride Journal.
What is your best experience with your bike?
This is a hard question to answer. So many years of riding and so many great times. The easiest ones to chose are the big rides. Last year we rode from London to Paris in under 24hrs, hammering down the Champs Elysees after all that riding was emotional to say the least. Swooping along the perfect singletrack in Fruita, Colorado. The warmth of the spring sun warming the arms as we rode some of the best trails in the US.
But the factor that links all of my favourite experiences is riding with friends, and usually my best friend, my brother (the art director of the Ride Journal). Riding with friends is always a good thing. Sharing the pain of the climb, the speed of the descent, and the relief at having made it down a steepy rocky trail.
We'll be bringing a pile of The Ride Journal to Facing Pages, the independent magazine festival in Arnhem. The Ride Journal is featured in the exhibition. Have a look at the festival's site and see us there!