This week features a ride in the hills of north Kent hills with writer, broadcaster and cyclist Graeme Fife. Graeme is the author of several of the best English language books about cycling and Le Tour de France. His new book has just been published. It’s a very personal memoir entitled The Beautiful Machine: A life in cycling from Tour de France to Cinder Hill.
The Bike Show returns to Essex and Martin Newell, writer, poet, musician and horticultural assassin, for another helping of Spoke N Word. This year’s programme features a new route from Wivenhoe to Bentley Green, reported to be the largest village green in England. We cross fields, pass through woodland and finish on a series of quiet country lanes. Rain threatens but Martin is equipped with a waterproof poetry kit.
In the studio is Andy Cox, with the latest developments on the UK premier of the Symphony for Singing Bicycles, set for Saturday 7 July. Got a dynamo? Want to take part? We need up to 24 riders, so please get in touch via bikeshow(at)gmail(dot)com.
Spoke N Word runs until 1 July, every Saturday and Sunday, with cycle rides on Sun 27 May, Sat 2 June, Sun 3 June, Sun 17 June, Sun 1 July. Tickets from Â£7 bookable at the Colchester Arts Centre on 01206 500 900.
Returning for the summer season, The Bike Show turns to the trials of US cycling star Floyd Landis, whose sensational victory in the 2006 Tour de France was thrown into doubt after he failed a test for the banned drug testosterone. We also hear an extended talk on road danger in a global context by Dr Ian Roberts, Professor of Public Health at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical medicine. Dr Roberts was addressing an event organised by Road Peace, the UK national charity for road crash victims. See also Moving Target Zine for excellent coverage of road danger issues London cyclists, plus top tips for all you fakengers out there. The ‘def track’ is by ex-bike messenger MC Abdominal who has given up being a courier in order to rap about being one. Is he serious??
To follow the latest twist and turns of the Floyd Landis doping affair, I recommend Trust But Verify, whose authors, devoted fans of Landis, have digested an ungodly amount about the science and law of anti-doping in cycling, and present their coverage in an honest, straightforward way. Cycling Post maintains a Landis Dossier.
After a refreshing break, the Bike Show will soon be taking back the airwaves. The new season starts on Monday 14 May at the usual time of 6.30pm: just after the Artrocker boys & girls have extracted their final sweat-splattered disc from the player before emerging, unwashed and somewhat slightly dazed, into the summer evening of Denmark Street.
The new season promises much – summer is always the best time to be riding a bike – and the opening show will include a look at the controversy over the numbers of UK cyclists killed on the roads by lorries. We’ll also be starting our coverage of the Tour de France, with an update on last year’s disgraced ‘maillot jaune’ Floyd Landis, whose US doping tribunal begins on the very same day. So, good cheerful stuff to kick off with.
The Bike Show is officially off air at the moment, but I couldn’t resist a podcast-only edition to discuss the Evening Standard’s Damscene conversion to the way of the bicycle. For years, London’s leading daily newspaper has been in thrall to unreconstructed petrolheads, but this week the paper has come out for cycling with a big front page splash on Monday and a series of double-page features during the rest of the week.
‘Buffalo’ Bill Chidley, a former London bicycle messenger who runs Moving Target Zine, tells it like it is, from trouble with heavy goods vehicles to running red lights. He is as bewildered as I am about the Standard’s volte face, and joins me for a look at the paper’s 12 point ‘charter’ for safer cycling in the capital. We a chat and spin a few 45s in the sunshine of my back garden.
(Normal Bike Show service will resume later in the month)