The Coefficient of Drag: A Thing About Riding Bikes

In Interviews by Claire

Steve Hockett is a Manchester-based designer who likes cycling and who has made a strange zine about bikes and has laser cut some bananas in his excitement. The Coefficient of Drag is a new zine about riding bikes, which he’s made by accident. Steve introduces it: “It’s going to be really good. I mean, look, one person has already described it as “MAXIMUM ROCK ‘N’ ROLL BUT IN LYCRA AND ON WHEELS.” Someone else said it was like “A PERSON IN A BANANA COSTUME RUNNING UP THE COL DU TOURMALET”. That was me just now tbh, but I’m sticking to it. Issue one has over 100 rectangular pages with a bunch of interesting stuff printed on them like UFOs, sporks, legs, recipes, graffiti and lots of bananas.”

Hello Steve, who are you, where are you and what do you do when you aren’t making strange zines?

I’m an artist and I run a design studio called Wonder Room.

I’m based at Islington Mill in Salford – and I have to say, the Mill is THE BEST place in the entire world. I share a studio there called The Enginehouse with a bunch of amazing people.

Outside of that, I’d say my time is divided into the following categories:
– Riding
– Making pink artworks
– Hanging with my BFF C.Bradshaw 
– Chronic
– Eurosport
– Ghosts

What type of cyclist are you?

I like to wave at EVERYONE I see. If I have to compromise aerodynamics for a wave I will every time.

Where do you like going cycling?

Around Calderdale in Yorkshire, I’m saying I like it, it’s quite tough, it’s lumpy as shit, I mean it’s so lumpy! And it’s cold, and windy, and dark, and bleak on the tops and it rains a lot. Look, it’s kind of unpleasant at times tbh. But, there’s a few climbs that I really love to ride, I’ve seen big races go up them, plus there was an Alien abduction on one in the 80s so they have plenty of history which makes you feel engaged when you ride them. And CB loves riding this stuff so that makes me like it.

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Why did you decide to make The Coefficient of Drag?

We didn’t ever really decide to actually, it’s been pretty organic and it just kind of happened to be honest, for a few different reasons.

One is definitely that I’ve been working with Manual For Speed (who are my absolute heroes) on some projects which has been a huge inspiration to do more stuff within cycling. 

Then, me and CB both used to skate, and stuff like the early Toy Machine videos were really influential for us, in terms of art and music and lifestyle and everything. And I was talking to my friend Sam (Waller, who is a great writer and a BMX guy and is in the first issue) about that, and we got onto the idea like why don’t many other sports have that? I remember Sam saying “could you imagine like a cultural long jump scene?” and that really stuck in my head.  

Next thing, CB ended up with some spare time, due to events beyond his control, and that spiraled into a pretty deep Eurosport addiction. He started making screenshots of stupid stuff and writing bits and bobs, at the same time as all this I’d moved into this new studio space at the Mill. All the means of production are here thanks especially to Mono (John Powell-Jones & Textbook Studio) whose Risograph printer lives here. And everyone’s been helping out and giving ideas and advice and stuff, GF Smith helped out with the paper and Milltag and LMNH have all got behind it too which is ace.

Yeah I’d say we never meant to do this, it’s purely just a love of riding and having amazing, supportive people around.

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Can you explain the name using terms a five year old would understand?

No.

Just kidding, that’s my language actually. 

So, cycling is all about drag, which is a force that’s opposing your motion forwards. Drag is a bad thing, drag is what slows you down, it makes stuff hard. Drag is sad. And cycling is about fighting that drag, and trying to reduce it, which is a really positive thing I think. And that’s what the name is about.

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What are your contributors contributing? Why do you like them?

There’s writing, art, photography, interviews, lots of different stuff. It’s a mix of friends and artists we know locally, to people we’ve got in touch with through the www. Everyone’s been really into it which is exciting.

If there’s one thing that ties everyone together, it’s not even riding bikes which is pretty funny. It’s just that everyone is interesting, and doing stuff that’s interesting and stuff that can somehow relate to what we’re trying to do with the zine. 

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Explain the bananas please.

It runs pretty deep, but short answer, I can’t afford energy gels.

Find the Coefficient of Drag at tcod.tictail.com now, for sale in a shop along with peculiar other things, and on Instagram too.

ClaireThe Coefficient of Drag: A Thing About Riding Bikes