International Cycle Sport | April 1972 | Issue No 47
Editor John Wilcockson, BSc
Battle of the Veterans by John Wilcockson
19th International GP of Essex by John Wilcockson
No joy for British in Prague by David Saunders
Life & Racing begins at 40 by Dave Orford
Nearly a champion - 13 times by Roger St Pierre
The World’s Oldest Classic by Aurelio Gadenz
Peace Race Volunteer by John Wilcockson
A magazine on the move by NGH [below]
This extract from the magazine has been transcribed here because it puts ICS’s view of its own efforts during the first four years of operation.
Page 32 - A Magazine on the Move
by NGH [N G Henderson]
My introduction to "International Cycle Sport" came in a tobacconist's shop in a back street of Leeds. I had gone in to buy an evening paper, saw a man browsing over colour photographs of cyclists. He put down the object of his attention and went out: "I'll have that," said I, without pausing to examine the contents.
Some months later I was cycling in the Keighley area, and called at the Kennedy Brothers works to have a manuscript vetted. I was shown into a small shed behind the works. which I had found only with great difficulty. There was scarcely room for the unsold back numbers, but the production was continuing busily.
This was four years ago. Today Kennedy Brothers Ltd, occupies a modern building a few miles outside Keighley. At the front are the reception and administration offices, backing on to the printing works and binding department. A few hundred yards away is a separate building a showroom of sorts, featuring bicycles used by such as Beryl Burton, a place where cyclists are encouraged to drop in for a casual chat, but a place where the despatch side of the growing organisation is run.
The magazine used to sell about 2,000 copies each month. There is now another 'nought' to add to the end of that figure. Each month about 7,000 copies are sent to the United States. Since February of this year the U.S. subscribers have had their own special edition, basically the same as that on sale in Britain, but with different material in the centre eight pages. Last month. for example, British readers were offered a piece specifically British, about one of the great cycling clubs of the fifties, a feature on cycling developments in British schools, and a biography of a British Olympic hopeful. American readers were offered, on pages bearing identical numbers, a review of time trialing in the States, the second in a series of articles introducing the major Continental races, and a feature on an unorthodox hub, designed by a Californian.
The boom in cycling in America is not limited to the United States. Each month magazines are sent by air freight to Canada where the Tour de la Nouvelle France has given professional racing a tremendous fillip, and provided new outlets for an expanding magazine. Similarly there is a monthly air consignment to Australia, and it is not beyond possibility that a third set of centre pages will be appearing shortly for antipodean readers.
Virtually every country in the world receives "International Cycle Sport", be it only a single copy ohen ordered and paid for with charming eccentricity - a recent air-mail letter enclosed a 5-dollar Brunei note and a request to send as many magazines as possible.
Since Peter and Muriel Fretwell took over the magazine at issue no. 18, not only have sales increased, but there have been several ancillary developments. The first was the introduction of specialist publications, starting with a 10,000 word eulogy of Eddy Merckx by Jock Wadley, then magazine editor. Now there are a score of similar booklets available within two years of the appearance of the first. Further, most books published in Britain and having anything to do with cycle racing are marketed widely through the magazine. It is not unknown for a publisher to phone Peter Fretwell and ask for a probable order before commissioning an author. All in all about 30 titles are on sale at the moment, with many more to come in the next few months.
The proudest boast of the Kennedy organisation nowadays is that it exists not just to make money out of cycling. but to put money back into the sport too. This is being done in two ways, one local and one national. When the British Cycling Federation voted in December 1970 to re-introduce sponsored clubs, it seemed that half the clubs in West Yorkshire looked to a cycling magazine for sponsorship. In practice the fortunate club was to be Keighley Road Club, one of the weakest clubs in Yorkshire generally, with a membership of only about a dozen. Why? Because it was a club which took a great interest in young riders, and it was the policy of the magazine to provide encouragement at the grass roots level.
Nationally, sponsorship has been offered to a variety of race promoters, from Herne Hill on Good Friday to the Tour of the North, introduced in 1971 with the help of Ron Kitching, and voted immediately the best professional event in the year. This year the magazine is not only sponsoring the race, but is also organising it.
Perhaps even more important are the little touches: the gift of travelling expenses to Eric Stone who would otherwise have been unable to ride in the 1970 world cyclocross championships; the provision of free transport to a division team riding in Essex in summer, 1971; the free publicity given to the English Schools' Cycling Association through a regular feature known as 'School Report',
Such things as increased circulation and race sponsorship reflect a growing interest in cycling, a development which doubtless dates back to the world championships held in Leicester in 1970. That was also the year when "International Cycle Sport" doubled its circulation, published its first paperback booklet, and provided its first major sponsorship. British cycling may have stagnated slightly, but the Kennedy Bros. organisation has grown from a trickling. stream into a strongly flowing river.