Bookazines? FFS!

Bah and, indeed, humbug! Bookazine? Really? I think you’ll find the correct nomenclature is “one-shot”. It’s not a mook or a bookazine or a magbook, it’s a one-shot. From the definition of one-shot:


A magazine, brochure, or the like that is published only one time, with no subsequent issues intended, usually containing articles and photographs devoted to one topical subject.

From the definition of bookazine:

Did you mean borazine?


Anyway, I recently bought two one-shots, one about Eddy Merckx produced by the team at Rouleur, and one about Cycling’s Iconic Places produced by the team at Cycling Weekly. They were a tenner each.

The thing is, I’m a sucker for certain things. Eddy Merckx is one, and cycling’s ironic iconic places is the other. For me, cycling and the history of cycle sport, are inexorably linked. I do know people for whom cycling is just a form of exercise, and people for whom it is just a means of transport. But for me it is history, exercise, freedom, transport, meditation and so many other things besides.

So a one-shot about Merckx, produced by Rouleur, is a must-have in my book. And the Cycling’s Iconic Places one-shot was a spur-of-the-moment purchase. Cycling Weekly actually have their own Merckx one-shot out at the moment, but it has a typo on the cover, which doesn’t fill me with confidence about the rest of the content.

Merckx by Rouleur  (which sounds a bit like one of those wanky aftershave ads) is a lovely thing. As you’d expect, Rouleur has avoided just churning out a chronological look at his life and instead gone for a thoughtful approach, using certain events to illustrate certain aspects of Merckx’s style and character. There are articles by a variety of authors, some lovely illustrations by Tom Jay, and a 32-page section of photos in the middle (there are loads of photos throughout, it’s just that there’s a very glossy section in the middle).

In many ways I prefer this tribute to Merckx to either of the biographies by Daniel Friebe and William Fotheringham which, for me, didn’t quite capture the enigma and magic. At 178 pages it’s a substantial piece of work and very well put together. Ten quid well spent, in my book.

Cycling’s Iconic Places is actually rather good as well, but in a different way. The production values aren’t as nice as the Merckx one-shot, but it’s still a pleasing thing and it neatly brings together disparate places that are steeped in meaning for cyclists. Divided into three sections (Mountains, Hills & Cobbles, and Velodromes) it looks at the famous climbs of France, Italy and Spain, then the bergs and cobbles of northern France and Flanders, before turning its attention to a handful of velodromes.

This one-shot actually makes quite a nice companion to books like Daniel Friebe’s excellent Mountain High and Mountain Higher, because there’s a little more in here about memorable moments that occurred in these places. For me, this one-shot is pretty much my bucket-list of places I’d like to ride my bike. I’ve already been to quite a few of them, but there are plenty in here still left to ride, and this one-shot makes me more determined than ever to climb the Mortirolo and the Izoard.

At 146 pages, Cycling’s Iconic Places is decent value for a tenner, even if the repro in some places is a bit dodgy.


And that’s it for this week. Check back on Monday, when I will be reviewing the Rouleur Classic cycle show.



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