Issue 117 - The Body Issue


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The Body Issue

Welcome to Rouleur 117: Body. Following our last magazine of 2022, based around the theme of the mind, we knew that we had to cover the other half of life’s metaphysical duality and make an edition about cycling’s relationship with the body.

Professional road cycling has less of a prescriptive body shape than other sports. Basketball players tend to be tall, marathon runners small and slight, sumo wrestlers bulky and swimmers tend to have long arms relative to their height and large hands and feet. Of course, the factor pro road cyclists have in common is that they are lean, but beyond that, successful racers can be short, tall, broad and narrow. They can be muscular, or slight. It’s a reflection of how diverse a challenge road races are that many different riders can thrive - the territory can be mountainous, or punchy, or flat, or a combination of the three, and even then, strategy and tactics can enable riders to win on terrain that isn’t necessarily favourable to their body type.

But cycling’s relationship with the body goes further than the sport. What about the rest of us? In the past, cycling has been fairly narrow-minded in deciding what constitutes a cyclist. However, we live in more enlightened times: anybody can ride a bike, and everybody who does is therefore a cyclist. Rouleur 117 celebrates the diversity and inclusivity of life on two wheels. We cycle, therefore we are cyclists.

What’s in the magazine?

Tao Geoghegan Hart: The Tao of Tao

The 2020 Giro d’Italia champion is renowned as being one of the most thoughtful and forward-thinking cyclists in the WorldTour peloton. Rouleur editor Edward Pickering caught up with him for a long chat about his attachment to his London roots and his acknowledgement of the privilege of his lifestyle.

Julian Alaphilippe

The double world champion is one of the most physical and visually compelling riders in the WorldTour, with an expressive, spiky style on the bike, which Rouleur photojournalist James Startt captured in a unique photoshoot. In an exclusive interview, Alaphilippe explained why he is so dynamic on the bike and why he’ll never change.

Lizzy Banks: the fire within

It has been a challenging couple of seasons for professional rider Lizzy Banks. A serious concussion prevented her racing for most of 2021 and then pericarditis and post-covid issues did the same in 2022. In a forthright interview, she tells Rouleur about what happens when the mind is willing but the body won’t play ball, and how giving herself time and TLC is putting her on the road to competing again in 2023.

The many faces of suffering

Cycling journalist and cultural critic Kate Wagner wondered if professional cyclists feel pain and suffer in the same way as the rest of us, and whether their relationship with that pain and suffering was positive or negative. With insight from some of the world’s most successful cyclists, including Bauke Mollema, Urška Žigart and Janez Brajkovič, this thoughtful and in-depth feature shows us what all cyclists, whether professional or recreational, have in common.

Beau Marksohn: how things change

Instagram influencer Beau Marksohn, who posts with the handle @dadbod_cyclist, has been working hard to make cycling a more inclusive space. He’s been open about suffering from body dysmorphia, anorexia and bulimia, and being an addict. When he found cycling, he felt the industry as a whole was far too skewed towards a certain body shape, so he started doing something about it, starting a project called EveryBODY Rides, which created a safe space for anybody to join organised rides. He tells Rouleur about the challenges he has faced and how he is still trying to overcome them.

Also in the magazine:

Mattias Skjelmose never gives up; cycling and scars; Singapore crit; the Trek biomechanics lab; Art Cycle with Salvo; Me and My Brooks and much, much more.

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