Under Monmouthshire Skies: Riding with Mike Parker

Mike Parker is the author of the best-selling Map Addict, an affectionate history of Ordnance Survey maps and the people who can’t get enough of their beautiful maps. He’s an accomplished guidebook writer, a former stand up comedian and has presented TV and radio programmes about Wales, his adopted homeland. In 2015 he stood for Parliament for Plaid Cymru, the party of Wales and has written a book, the Greasy Poll, about the experience. We go for a spin from Castle Meadows in Abergavenny, as it hosted the National Eisteddfod, a huge annual festival of Welsh language, culture, music and song.

You can find out more about Mike and his work on his website.

If you enjoyed the musical choices in the show, then check out the two volume compilation Welsh Rare Beat, selections of 1970s Welsh folk-rock-psychedelia compiled by Super Furry Animal Gruff Rhys and DJs Andy Votel and Dom Thomas. It’s out of print but available as a download or via Spotify.

If you’re a Welsh learner, or want to read English translations of some great Welsh music, check out the DistantDreamer93 Youtube channel.

Decoding the Landscape with Mary-Ann Ochota

roman_roadEvery weekend many tens if not hundreds of thousands of people ride their bikes in the British countryside. But are we taking the time to really understand and appreciate the things we see and places we ride through? Or is it all day dreaming about the next cake stop or going hard for that next personal best on Strava?

Mary Ann Ochota has made it her mission to help people discover the history of the landscape by looking out for signs and clues that are often hidden in plain sight. She’s appeared on television presenting documentaries and archeology shows including Time Team and Britain’s Secret Treasures and is a Fellow of the Royal Geographical Society.

Mary Ann Ochota’s new book “Hidden Histories: A spotters guide to the British Landscape” is published by Frances Lincoln.

Photograph of Roman road near Bainbridge, North Yorkshire by Chris Gunns (CC-SA)

Bikelash!

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After the big victories for London cycle campaigners and the construction of two new fully segregated bike lanes in the centre of the city, the bikelash has begun. Lead by newspapers like the Daily Mail as well as a raft of celebrity commentators, taxi drivers and disgruntled business owners, the reaction to progress in cycle infrastructure has been vociferous. What is bikelash, why is it happening and what can we do about it? Joining Jack Thurston are the London Cycling Campaign’s ‘campaigner of the year’ Clare Rogers of the Enfield Cycling Campaign and Robert Wright of the Financial Times.

You can read Clare Rogers’s blog at subversivesuburbanite.wordpress.com Robert Wright’s cycling blog at invisiblevisibleman.blogspot.co.uk

Talking about Bikelash in Your City courtesy of Streetfilm http://www.streetfilms.org/talking-about-bikelash-in-your-city/ under a Creative Commons license.

Riding the Iron Curtain, with Tim Moore

mooreThe Cyclist Who Went Out in the Cold is comic travel writer Tim Moore’s third bicycle-based escapade, and perhaps his craziest. He attempts to ride the length of the Cold War’s Iron Curtain, from the north of Finland to the Black Sea coast. It’s near enough ten thousand kilometres, a challenge for any cyclist, and not least a slightly unfit middle aged man riding a secondhand East German shopping bike with small wheels and only two gears. Before a live audience at a book event in Monmouth, organised by Rossiter Books, Moore explains how he dreamed up the idea and how he got on.

Transcontinental Race Wrap-Up

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Wrapping up The Bike Show’s coverage of this year’s Transcontinental Race, Jack Thurston talks to race organiser Mike Hall and women’s race winner Emily Chappell. Mike also tells the story of his record-breaking ride in the Tour Divide race earlier in the year and reflects on the growth of bikepacking, as a sport and a pastime.

Photo credit: David Price / Instagram

Transcontinental Race Update Special

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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.

To follow the race check out:

1. The Tracker pages at Trackleaders and/or Free Route.

2. A Twitter List of all riders who are tweeting.

3. The Facebook Group of riders and their families and friends.

4. Behind the scenes daily video blogs by Francis Cade.

5. The race’s excellent daily blog.

Also search Twitter and Instagram for the race hashtag #tcrNo4

Pushing the Limits

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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.