Have you ever read the free paper, “cycle”? Those who haven’t should pick it up the next time they are at OVE. Your first impression of it will no doubt be, “This is a cycle paper?”
The charm of the quarterly cycle published by Ms. Sugitani is different from typical cycling information magazines. It is packed with contents that become more and more interesting as you read them such as features on cafés, recipes for home-made snacks as well as an introduction to bird-watching.
“I love bikes, of course, but I don’t see myself as a someone who enters races and is a stoic cyclist in combat with my bicycle. When I was thinking about how to enjoy my bike as this kind of person, this magazine was the end product!”
Publisher of a cycling information paper. You may have been imagining someone who seriously loves bikes but Ms. Sugitani is exceedingly relaxed. She was surprised at how many people were enjoying different things through bikes. So, why is she using a free paper to communicate the things that she enjoys? The story goes back to a particular newspaper from her childhood.
“The Sugitani household had a family newspaper called Suginoko Tsushin from when I was a little girl. Mum was chief editor and the rest of the family wrote articles. Then we distributed it to the family, relatives and friends.”
The Sugitani family moved around a lot due to job transfers. Moving all over the country gave rise to Sugikono Tsushin as a way of keeping in touch with the family and friends they left behind.
“It started when I was in the latter years of elementary school and it was fun - I wrote my own articles from the very first edition. I communicated my thoughts and feelings and when replies came, I was so happy. Suginoko Tsushin continued for 13 years right up until I got married.”
Communicating your thoughts and sharing them with someone else. Ms. Sugitani felt the joy of this from the time when she was an elementary school student onwards. This also translates into cycle which communicates her thoughts rather than simply transmitting information.
Ms. Sugitani says that the free paper cycle is for beginner cyclists and cultural bike riding. It naturally contains a lot of information about bikes but it also has a lot of information that makes you want to go out and have fun when you read it. So, why do we get excited just from reading it?
“I talked about my family moving around a lot earlier but from kindergarten to elementary school, it felt like I was changing schools all the time. No sooner had I felt like I had made friends with the children around me than the next move was waiting for me. Consequently, I became someone who naturally discovered fun and interesting things and told everyone about them so that I was able to make friends quickly at my new school. Saying things like: “That’s really fun!” or “Have you heard of this?””
Ms. Sugita made friends by sharing what she felt with the people around her. She is still the same to this day.
“Basically, I include articles about places I have been to and things I have seen that I felt were fun. Of course, it is also possible to search information about shops and restaurants on the internet, write introductory articles about them and say, “Enjoy them while you’re cycling!” But there is no point in doing that. I think the reason that people take in the information I give out is because it comes from real experiences. This doesn’t change even if we are talking about a free paper.”
Ms. Sugitani has one thing that she is careful of as a publisher.
“This may be a little contradictory but although I share what I feel, I don’t over-recommend. I often get questions such as “How do I enjoy this?” or “Where should I go to have fun?” but I think that enjoyment depends on the person. It’s OK if you see a recipe for cycling snacks and you make it at home with the kids without going cycling. And the current stance of the magazine, cycle, is that it’s no problem if you feel like going out on your bike for a bit due to having made these snacks - enjoy yourself however you like!”
The reason why we feel empathy with Ms. Sugitani, who teaches us how to enjoy our bikes in our lives in an unaffected way, may be due to her attitude of not forcing things on people and enjoying them first herself.
Ms. Sugitani and OVE have many things in common. These stem from the concept of looking beyond bicycles in order to enjoy bicycles. And it is a place where the people who share the same thoughts can gather. Ms. Sugita does this through her free paper and OVE does it through the café, its products and books. People connect in such places.
These places facilitate diverse ways of thinking and encounters and there are new discoveries. But, in order to obtain enjoyment from this, we must direct our own antennae outwards as much as we can and project our curiosity further and further afield. And when you communicate your thoughts and share them with other people and they spread to more and more people, you may encounter something that is really fun!
cycle, which is also edited by Ms. Sugitani, will continue to deliver a lot of excitement to our lives. By capturing each of these by opening up our curiosity antennae, our everyday lives will become more and more enriched.
Born in Osaka in 1981. Editor. Representative of Piknik Co, Ltd. Graduated from the Information Design Course at the Faculty of Art & Design, Kyoto University of Art & Design in 2004. Being involved in editing Kyoto Bicycle Life while she was studying gave her the opportunity to work for Workroom Co., Ltd. after graduation. At this company she was involved in editing books and corporate media such as Kyoto Cycling Days and Osaka Cycling Holidays and became freelance in 2015. Ms. Sugitani has been the chief editor of cycle since 2008. She has also been a part-time lecturer on the Information Design Course at the Faculty of Art & Design, Kyoto University of Art & Design since 2014. She has also authored Kobe Cycling Holidays.