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CULTURE

Embrocation Cycling Journal

by Brian Fichtner
on 05 November 2009
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Striking a deft balance between sports mag, arts journal and lovingly-crafted 'zine, Embrocation Cycling Journal addresses the world of bicycling like never before. Founded in January 2008 by avid racer Jeremy Dunn, the bi-annual journal covers road racing, touring, cyclocross and urban riding through surprising layout and typography, well-crafted storytelling and splendid photojournalism. (Click all images for detail.)

The most recent issue, Volume four, includes a humorous look at racing jerseys, the importance of the North American Handmade Bicycle Show (it's the people not the bikes), a profile on the legendary framebuilder Dario Pegoretti, and a grueling account of nine days riding in Belgium (click images for expanded views). Dunn fills the journal with many more "reflections" and "distractions," to borrow headers, but to discover those you should buy the issue ($25) on the Embrocation site.

We took a moment to ask Jeremy a few questions about making a sports journal in the (supposed) ice age of print. His answers prove that passion in the face of adversity—whether in creative pursuits or the punishment of racing—is an unstoppable force.

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For those who don't know, what's an embrocation?
My easy answer to this is "any of the balms, liniments or oils that cyclists apply to their legs." Traditionally, embrocations were used as a sort of muscle relief (similar to Tiger Balm or Icy Hot) however they can also be used to help keep muscles warm during activity. Not only that but they also add a little bit of shine to the legs, which never hurts anything.

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What led you to create Embrocation? Why publish a physical magazine when everything is going digital?
I grew up in a household without television. Both of my parents were teachers and a love of books was impressed upon me at an early age. So, I have to think that is where the love for printed materials came from. A few years ago I was helping run a cycling team out of a shop that I worked for (Harris Cyclery). We put together a little rag-tag band of bike messengers who were also into racing Cyclocross. Along the way I realized that not only was I surrounded by all these great people—artists, photographers shooting the races, graphic designers helping out with the kits, framebuilders making beautiful bicycles—that I was trying to think of a way to pay tribute to all of these things. Initially, I intended to keep it small and was hoping for more of a 'zine feel, something that was produced relatively quickly and cheaply. Very quickly that theory went out the window for what you see now.

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Interview continues with more spreads after the jump.

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