Le Tour Redux

tdf
Joining me in the studio is Graeme Fife, author of the definitive account of Le Tour de France, updated each year. He’s also author of the beautiful Rapha Guide to the Great Road Climbs of the Pyrenees.

graeme_fifeWe discuss this year’s Tour de France, the most spectacular for some time, featuring the drama over the return from retirement of seven-time Tour winner Lance Armstrong, seeking to try his luck against a new generation of outstanding riders including two plucky Brits: Mark Cavendish and Brad Wiggins. Our discussion is leavened with some insighful comments from a handful of Bike Show listeners.

Thanks go to Dave at road.cc, Pete, David of the marvellous Highway Cycling Group, Jason and Adrian.

Photo:BERNARD PAPON/AFP/Getty Images

Play on links below.

More AudioBoo fun: Tour de France reflections

After the Dunwich Dynamo by AudioBoo, now a look-back at the Tour. My guest on tomorrow (Monday’s) show will be writer Graeme Fife, who has written widely about the Tour, cycling, French history and other things too. We’ll be looking back over the 2009 Tour. We’d like to hear your reflections, your most memorable bits, the things that will stay with you, the things that made you happy, made you angry or made you sad. And if you’ve got an iPhone, it’s a simple as laying down an AudioBoo. Just tag it with ‘tdf09’ and they’ll be played on the show. AudioBoo is a fantastic free audio blogging service from a London company based just a stone’s throw from Resonance FM.

Update: Apparently you can also do this from a normal phone. Just call +44 (0) 203 393 6430 and leave a message. Normal national call rates apply, though you could do it from SkyeOut to save a few pennies or if you’re abroad.

Charging up my iPod for a summer cycle tour

Last summer I spent three weeks cycle touring in France, following my own version of the Raid Pyreneean and continuing along the Mediterranean coast and up to the centre of France. This year I’m heading to North America for a ride from Montreal to New York, stopping for the wedding of two dear friends in Ludlow, Vermont.

Solo cycle touring is fun but for me, there’s a time, usually at the end of the day’s riding when you’ve pitched camp and are just enjoying the last rays of sunshine, taking care of any little chores and thinking about getting some supper organised, where it can sometimes feel a bit odd being alone. Last year during those hours of the day I averted the lonesome feeling by listening to spoken word radio on the iPod. It was a mixed bag but primarily BBC Radio 4’s In Our Time, This American Life and RadioLab (both from US public radio networks).

This summer I want to freshen up the mix and am going to add in some Philosophy Bites and some Speechification. What else should I be downloading in the two days before I fly? Please add your top picks in the comments…

And please, while flattery will get you anywhere, don’t suggest The Bike Show. That way lies insanity.

From Sublime to Ridiculous

jarryCopenhagen is widely regarded as the world’s most cycle-friendly city. I ask Copenhagen’s Mayor Klaus Bondam what advice he gives to other city leaders in how to emulate the Danish capital. Multitalented musician, songwriter and cartoonist Peter Blegvad reads Alfred Jarry’s proto-absurdist short story “The Crucifixion Considered as an Uphill Bicycle Race”. Jarry (pictured, above) was fond of cycling around Paris with a giant bell mounted on his bicycle and firing a pistol into the air to clear the road. While this is highly tempting, it may turn out to be counterproductive on today’s city streets. Why not try, instead, a website where you can record bike lane violations: MyBikeLane.com. Plus reflections on a big day in Le Tour De France.

Play on links below.

Podcast only: Theatre Review – Pedal Pusher

ppPedal Pusher is a play that follows three professional cyclists, Jan Ullrich, Marco Pantani and Lance Armstrong, in the most dramatic recent era of professional cycle sport. From the young prodigy Jan Ullrich winning the Tour in 1997, the doping scandals of 1998, Armstrong’s conquest of cancer and ending with Pantani’s exile from the sport and eventual death from a cocaine overdose. By interweaving the biographical stories with recreations of the Tour de France races onstage, the play tells the difficult but uplifting story of their lives through excitement and energy of the race itself. I speak with the four-man cast and director Roland Smith.

Pedal Pusher runs until Saturday 1st August 2009, showing on Monday to Saturday nights at 7:30pm. Tickets are £12 (£10 concessions). Rob Ainsley at Real Cycling has reviewed Pedal Pusher as has Edward R Burge.

Photo © Holly McGlynn

Play on links below.

Vive la bicyclette!

Blazing Saddles: Inside the Brooks factory

For long-distance cycling they’re a must and they’ll improve the look of any bicycle. Brooks leather saddles date back to the 1870s and are still made in Birmingham where they were first invented. Steve Green of Brooks talks about the history and the craft of the most venerable and most comfortable bicycle saddle there is. We also listen to some of the fantastic machines (pictured, left) that are still going strong in the Brooks factory.