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  • Desire Special: A letter from the editor

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    Our Desire editor, Stuart Clapp, describes an early encounter with the power of style. It started him down a road that would ultimately lead to an entire issue of Rouleur dedicated to gear

    Photographs: Benedict Campbell
    Desire Special

     

     

    Southend High Street hasn’t always been full of boarded up shops. Victorian day-trippers in top hats would once travel down from London to bathe in the estuary water and take in the sea air. Some of them stayed and influenced the town’s architecture. It’s a seaside town like many others around the coast of Britain. It’s seen mods, rockers, and in the ‘80s, new romantics, including my sister.


    My sister used to take me shopping a lot. She was a fashion student and hung out with Depeche Mode. Shopping for clothes with your little brother in tow must’ve been bang on trend in the mid-80s. There’s a strip of pictures taken in a photo booth that my sister still has. It’s of us sat with one of her friends with massive hair. I must be about five. No naked flames in that confined space. The fumes from the hair spray would take the roof off.


    It was on one of these trips to the high street that I saw just how much clothes mean to someone. A girl, about the same age as me at the time, burst out of a changing cubicle wearing new shorts. No, she danced out of the cubicle. What a reaction! Kids are funny, they do that sort of thing, but who hasn’t felt a little bit of that when they’ve put on new kit before a ride?


    People tend to wear outfits to display their tribe, like those mods, rockers and new romantics, and cyclists are no different. We shave our legs because… why? It’s a badge. Not everyone is getting a massage from their soigneur after a long day in the saddle. Above all, it looks better with our tight shorts. And the pros do it.


    Desire was introduced a couple of years ago and looking back, it’s fun to see how it has evolved (i.e. got weirder), largely thanks to the photography of Benedict Campbell. The feedback we’ve received from you, the readers, has been overwhelming, and we’re grateful that you get it and enjoy the stuff we feature, and are perhaps mildly entertained by its quirks.


    See more: Bikes and bits, kit and caboodle – the best of Desire


    This section is our way to showcase the latest products from our sport’s household names alongside lesser-known boutique brands that we believe deserve attention. We’ve shot in some interesting locations in the past, but have gone big for this special issue: a slightly crazy theme park in the New Forest, the faded grandeur of Hastings seafront and a château in the southwest of France.


    Thanks for coming. Now get stuck in.


    Rouleur’s Desire Special is 180 pages of the best in cycling gear, kit and tech and will be available to buy in stores and at Rouleur.cc from May 7th. Subscribe to Rouleur today and, as an extra thank you, we’ll send it to you for free.


    (If you’re already a subscriber, don’t worry – you’ll be receiving it at no extra cost and without having to lift a finger.)