Ride Journal
Launch Party for Issue #4 - London, May 27, 2010
Visit Ride Journal

By Yant Martin-Keyte

The three deep scrum at the bar gave a pretty good indication of the popularity of the new Ride Journal, the passion for cycling in London and this new little café bar 'Look Mum No hands'. The fourth Ride Journal was launched on the 27th May at the new joint on Old Street, London: Look Mum No Hands.

I'd been wanting to go to LMNH since I'd seen the initial stories of it's opening. So the Ride launch presented a timely opportunity. Now I'd heard a lot of good thing's about the place and it delivers nicely. Being perfectly pitched at the old street/cycling Zeitgeist of NE London, but still embracing the wider London milieu. The front wall of the building is equipped with funky Cycloc racks which sets the tone for the venue.

Stylish, well designed but straight forward and practical. A number of Plantlocks racks filled with blooms and bikes are also scattered amongst the outdoor tables as well, giving plenty of secure parking. Around the rapidly filling bar are placed a number of quality bikes and cycling memorabilia. The Tomato plants on the window sill, did particularly tickle my fancy, there is someone working here with green thumbs that's for sure as they look well. Grabbing a cold beer at the bar I noted with interest they do a healthy range of snacks and smoothies and an equally unhealthy range of Belgian beers, just perfect for those days watching the spring classics or just when a beer is in order.

So whetting my appetite with a nice cold beer I purchased the latest issue of The Ride Journal. Retreating to a relatively quiet corner and a banquette I cracked it open, being box fresh it still had that powerful smell of ink and new book.

Now I must admit being somewhat of a cynic I have up until now written off the Ride as an other pretentious fixie hipsterzine. But having recently downloaded the free PDFs from their site of the first two issues I was glad to be proven wrong. The Ride encompasses all facets and passions of cycling. Philip Diprose the editor has pulled together a bunch of writer's that cover the full gamut of cycling culture. And in this fourth issues it ranges from Nick Hand's clockwise tour of Britain to the Scraper bikes of Babye-Champ. All the writers have their own unique story to tell about their ride and what cycling is to them.

The strong and evocative writing is backed up by great photography and illustrations throughout pulled together by art director Andrew Diprose. The design quality does not overwhelm the passion of the writing but supports and compliments it. What shines through is the enthusiasm, geekiness, love and sometimes the downright arrogance of people on bikes.

Like Mark Cavendish:
“People say I'm arrogant. I'm outspoken, certainly, but I deal in facts. I'm currently 20 per cent better than any other sprinter in the world. Does saying that make me arrogant? It's a fundamental fact – look at the results, you can't argue with it. I'm the best sprinter.”

Underpinning all the stories is just how fundamentally fun it is throwing a leg over a bike and just riding it.

Now I'd been somewhat absorbed in reading the latest issue and missed the throngs that had been rolling in as they had finished work and joined the party. The crowd of post-work pints catching up on the Giro, media luvies having late lunches was swelled with fashionably late hipsters, bike geeks, and couriers – unmistakeable with their wooden calves and the London winters etched into their faces. And it wasn't just the good beer bring people in.

Philip and Andrew were sweating under the flickering of the Giro on the big screen as they sold the latest journal. The melting pot of a crowd were lapping up the new issue and I counted eight box's emptied in fairly quick succession. Now both the guys were looking as well clothed as the crowds they pulled in, respectively wearing their own smart T-shirt and cycling jersey - presumably of their own design – but the Sidi's on their feet really showed the seriousness and commitment to cycling that they both have.

Moving through the heaving crowds I managed to get to the bar again .... uying another beer and picking up a copy of issue one of Bone-shaker magazine while I was there. I then made my way outside to enjoy the sunset over London as the crowd spilled over the footpath. Enjoying my cold beer and the setting sun, I checked out the various rides of different types and styles that were outside. Commuters and stunt bikes were chained up with Surly crosses and the odd Oma bike.

My favourite of the rides, was a baby pink Mercian with it's trade mark barber poll seat post. The bikes chained up outside were more than outnumbered though, by an almost constant procession of bicycles of all types passing by on the street, all with their own story to tell about their ride.

The Ride Journal is available from their website and a number of good bike shops.

Ride your bike....... Yanty