Sockology: the art of detailing and much more


Whether you're pounding away on the pedals or kicking back on a low intensity recovery ride you're always aware of your cockpit surroundings, handlebars, hands, legs and feet. In the glory days of the summertime everything around you is bursting out with life, with such extreme intensity. Bare arms and legs begin to gain colour, those winter miles now prove there worth as you drink in the sights and sounds you've longed for. When you glance down you see the machine-like movement your legs are making: the engine room in motion. For us there's a certain special relationship taking place, that change of angle where leg meets foot. It's celebrated by the sock, be it an intense pattern, an explosion of colour or just a combination of elements.

On a domestic level sock choice has always been a personal 'thing' - much maligned with the stigma of Christmas gifting but to the cyclist it's become an expressive format. Even the hallowed ground of sock height caused unrest within the cycling community. Started by the seven time dethroned Texan Lance Armstrong and further championed by Sir Brad Wiggins, the long cuff sock is state-of-the-art to many 'new generation' cyclists. Gone are the purity days when white ankle socks were the staple diet, cycling's high altar has been replaced by a technicolour revolution.

Our stance on this remains open minded, the tri-band intersection ranging from leg to sock to shoe remains as individual as any other major bike decision. We just love to see how riders embrace this relationship without being judgemental in any way. This said we do ride with a guy who sports white cotton towelling tennis socks - a really strong rider and extremely nice chap but someone needs to have a word with him on this front.

Apart from the demands of seasonal materials 'Sockology' is an all year round affair - the doors are wide open. Colour and pattern is there to brighten the bleakest of winter rides so go and embrace the revolution. Love your feet and they will love you back. Happy feet = happy riding.

What others say really counts

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Sometimes it's good to be questioned about what you do and why you do it. The voicing of an opinion gives one the opportunity to revisit/reassess the worth, the merits and ultimately the initial motivating force behind what you had set out to achieve.

Back in March 2013 when we launched Simpson it was based on the desire to communicate and share our love of cycling with other cyclists. Honesty and a sense of community inspired us to create a no bull***t publication about the sport we dearly love.

When Derby based creative content agency Crocstar got in touch wanting to interview us for their blog post we were, in all honesty, a tad hesitant. Things like this happened to more mainstream publications and not to us - but having discussed its merits we agreed it instinctively felt right. Crocstar's previous blog posts demonstrated a degree of both sensitivity and intregity that sat comfortably with us.

We would like to personally thank Crocstar's writer and content creator Shannon Watson for her crafted words they beautifully capture the essence of Simpson and all that it stands for - chapeau to you!


A material world: the resurgence of 80's music

For a post 90's generation bands like Tears For Fears, Depeche Mode, Joe Jackson and now even Devo are a foreign language, a mysterious entity locked into the bygone era of their parents. For those of us privileged to have grown up with the eclectic sounds of electronic music it's amusing not only to revisit such songs but to see how they are being presented to another generation.

It got us thinking, if we were to identify a song and associate it to us, which 80's song would it be? What could truly sum up Simpson, not only as a publication but as a whole philosophy? What would our choice be based on? Would we go down the well-trodden path of a cycling related song title i.e. Queen's 'I want to ride my bicycle' or should our search go deeper. 

Cycling like music is located in a place very close to our hearts (yes we'd better believe it - we are very passionate about both these subjects in our lives).  It's the beat, the rhythm that motivates us, a slow love song isn't for us. What sound would identify us, tie us in to what we do and believe in?

Kick against it as much as you like but musically the 80's was a hotbed of contrasting styles. Having gained inspiration from Big Country's album 'The Crossing' for our Romance of the Road feature in issue 11, we would look to Sheffield for our choice of soundtrack. Directly related to the manufacture of steel, Sheffield also produced a host of pioneering electronica bands like Cabaret Voltaire and The Human League.

Openly influenced by industrial sounds created by heavy machinery pounding raw materials that sounding out for miles from foundries working throughout the night. Our choice has to be The Human League 'Being Boiled'

The emotive power and rawness of this track remains ideal for turbo/roller/zwift workouts as well as staying in the mind on longer rides. It's a fitting cross over anthem to both the past and future.

Remembering what’s important


Earlier this week we were invited to take part in an interesting art and design project at Middlesex University.

The project, called I Am A Magazine, invited a group of art, design, photography and fashion students to create something interesting on the theme of magazines. One of the ways the organisers came up with to help the students find inspiration was to line up a number of guests – including us – to give talks about various aspects of magazines and publishing.

We gave the students a guided tour of Simpson’s conception in 2012, its birth in 2013 and its steady growth ever since. We talked about how the magazine is an expression of our passion for cycling, design and print journalism. We told them how Simpson has become a platform for emerging photographic and journalistic talent. We explained how our independence has enabled us to steer clear of the product-pushing clichés of some other publications we could mention. We shared our excitement about the opportunities Simpson has given us – to travel to places we’d never otherwise go to and meet people we’d never otherwise meet. 

We also talked about the growth of something bigger than just the printed magazine. We talked about our online presence, the Simpson team, the kit, T-shirts and other merchandise, the club rides and, perhaps most importantly, the sense of community and shared purpose that’s gradually formed around the Simpson name.

Delivering this talk served to remind us how far we’ve come in the last few years. It encouraged us to step back from the day-to-day plate-juggling exercise of work and family and cycling and everything else, just for a few hours, to reflect on how fulfilling it’s been and how lucky we are to be involved in the wonderful world of Simpson.

Christmas and what it means to a cyclist

 Forget the concept of having a white Christmas: snow rarely graces the UK until at least February

Forget the concept of having a white Christmas: snow rarely graces the UK until at least February

Whether it's the most eagerly awaited public holiday of the year is another topic for debate but the Christmas period for cyclists is a mixed blessing.

Like all public holidays the same amount of work is compacted into fewer days leaving us having to write off a day in order to catch up on sleep. Traditionally a time for family get togethers, of giving, receiving, of sharing and an excuse for overindulgence Christmas is a strange bedfellow. 

Thanks to the changes in the jet stream the only snow we now see at this time is found on greetings cards. You can safely say that, at least in the UK, Christmas Day will be mild, damp affair with a flat greyness to it. A perfect climate to try out all your new cycling related presents but shouldn't you be at hand to help with reading user manuals, topping up sherry glasses and making sure the children's new toys have there batteries fitted correctly - what do you?

The irony of it all lies, in part, in the temptation to over do things on the food & drink front. With every combination on the menu from gastro finger food to the traditional three bird roast it's difficult to retain any restraint. The same goes with alcohol consumption. The time you've spent finding the lightest frame/saddle/groupset/handlebars etc. those precious gram saving present ideas all go to waste as you pile the pounds on. Any benefits now lie in ruins. 

Our perspective is that you have to earn your freedom to cycle, create an environment where Aunt Vi enquires why you haven't been out for a ride yet. Be a martyr, be seen to abstain, refuse that extra mince pie, sausage roll and can of beer - publicly be seen to suffer for your cycling. 

At the end of the day it's all down to the individual as to how your Christmas pans out with your cycling. You're the one that needs to find the right balance between family and self at this time but from all at Simpson magazine we would like to take this opportunity to wish you a very Merry Christmas and a Happy healthy 2017.