The Rouleur Classic moved to a new home this year in the Art Deco splendour of Victoria House in Bloomsbury Square. Having set the bar so high last year we were intrigued to see if "The world's Finest Cycling Exhibition" could pull it off a second time round. The opening night kicked off with copious amounts of complementary refreshments which were appreciated, not only by the punters, but by the Rouleur staff headed by Ian Cleverly. The night was hosted by Ned Boulting who interviewed some star speakers including Sir Dave Brailsford (launching the new Team Sky/Castelli kit), Christian Proudhomme and Jan Ullrich.
Check out Ride Velo's highlights of the show.
The Sean Kelly Collection
It's easy to forget when you're listening to Sean Kelly shoot the breeze with Carlton Kirby on Eurosport just what a phenomenon this man was and what he acheived in his racing career. Not only was he one of the best Classics riders of all time, with one of the longest careers to date (1977 – 1994), he had a string of stage victories to his name in the Vuelta, Giro and, of course the Tour, as well as making Paris-Nice his own, with seven consecutive victories from 1982-1988. There was a magnificent display of Sean's trophies, jerseys, bikes, shoes and memorabilia from his 17 years as a professional.
The Rouleur Classic is quite simply an orgy of bike porn. There was a fantastic collection of world Tour bikes including Peter Sagan's world championship bike. Meanwhile some of the top brands in the business like Passoni, Dassi and Look were displaying their latest models for middle aged men to drool over. But it was Miguel Indurain's Hour bike that had us lingering with intent for the longest.
Cycling photographer Scott Mitchell had a fantastic display in the warren of corridors and rooms and Michael Blann's 'Mountains' photography exhibition was stunning. But it was Martin Procter's humorous cartoons that we pored over the most for their wit and detail. An affable Yorkshireman hailing from Harrogate we're looking forward to a trip up north to God's own country to visit his studio in the near future. He was busy working away on three separate works to mark each grand tour.
Clothing, Accessories and Apparel
Definitely the high end of the market here with Ashmei, David Millar's Chapter 3, Castelli, Poc and Giro's beautiful shoes. But it was Velobici's stylish and retro looking clothing that had us stroking smooth merino wool and composing christmas wish lists.
Rouleur manages to attract the most prestigious line up of speakers. Ably interviewed by Ned Boulting, Orla Chennaoui, Anthony McCrossan, Matt Stephens and Matt Barbet, there were regular talks from the likes of David Millar, Frank Strack (of Velominati fame), Graeme Obree and many, many more. We loved listening to Jens Voigt AKA The Jensie the most, though, for his humour, courage as a racer and down to earth matter of factness. Great guy.
The Maserati Lounge was a good place to mingle with speakers like David Millar and Jan Ullrich. Meanwhile Grand Tour Cookbook chef Hannah Grant was rustling up delicious dishes from her stall. But my mouth is still watering thinking about the fabulous Taleggio sandwich from Look Mum No Hands where founder Lewin Chalkley was busy scurrying around, ducking, diving and changing beer kegs in the way he usually does at these events.
So, the Rouleur Classic does it again for the second year running having won the AEO Best Launch Show Award for its first outing. This looks set to continue to be THE cycling event to go to for many years to come. Any cycling nut could not fail to enjoy themselves here. If you've not been before, it's a must for next year.