Three days and three nights since setting out from Belgium, riders in the Transcontinental Race are deep in the Swiss Alps, en route for the finish in Turkey. The Transcontinental is one of the world’s most extraordinary and compelling bicycle races. Jack Thurston is joined by two time Transcontinental finisher Gareth Baines for an update on this year’s race and a discussion of the demands of a 4000 km non-stop bicycle race across Europe.
The Transcontinental Race is a test of body, mind and spirit. The format is simple. It’s a single stage race that begins on one side of the European continent (in Belgium) and ends on the other (in Turkey). Riders must plan their own routes and navigate themselves without any support. Jack hears from four riders readying themselves for the 2016 race. But not everyone is ready to race 4000km across Europe, and that’s why Transcontinental organisers Mike Hall and Anna Haslock dreamed up a shorter, more accessible format, called the Valleycat. Jack spends a weekend in deepest mid-Wales to find out more.
The Devon Coast to Coast is a 99 mile long route across England’s third largest county, from the Bristol Channel in the north to the English Channel in the south. It is 70 per cent traffic free and passes through the dramatic upland landscape of Dartmoor National Park, following the course of three old railway lines. It’s an ideal route for family cycling tour and Jack and Sarah and Adam and Sarah discuss riding the route with a 3 year old, a 2 year old and an 11 month old. In addition Jack talks to some of the key players at Devon County Council who have worked to build the county’s enviable network of traffic-free walking and cycling trails.
Chris Boardman has done it all. Born into a cycling family he became a domestic time trial demon and won an Olympic Gold Medal in 1992. He set world records for the Hour on the track and raced on the continent as a professional, wearing the yellow jersey in the Tour de France. His R&D team helped British Cycling to world domination on the track and he founded Boardman Bikes, now the best selling brand of bikes in Britain. He has thrown himself into campaigning for everyday cycling with passion and is one of the most effective advocates for cycling, whether in the media or lobbying politicians. He has just written a new biography and is in conversation with the author Rob Penn, in front of a live audience in Monmouth, organised by Rossiter Books.
In a recording of a live event held as part of the CycleScreen bicycle film festival at the Watershed Cinema in Bristol, Jack Thurston talks with author Herbie Sykes about his highly acclaimed book The Race Against the Stasi. It’s a gripping story, a true story, that took place at the height of the Cold War, a tale of young love and bike racing, of political ideology and state surveillance set in a Europe rebuilding after the catastrophe of the second world war.