In a talk recorded at Friday Late “Eat, Ride, Sleep, Repeat” held earlier this year at the Victoria and Albert Museum in London, Jack Thurston tells a secret history of British bicycle cultures, with help from Ruth Beale, Tim Dawson, Guy Andrews and Patrick Field.
This is an enhanced podcast with still images accompanying the audio.
You can also watch it here on Vimeo:
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“And sometimes the road was only a lane, with thick hawthorn hedges, and the green elms overhung it on either side so that when you looked up there was only a strip of blue sky between. And as you rode along in the warm, keen air you had a sensation that the world was standing still and life would last for ever. Although you were pedalling with such energy you had a delicious feeling of laziness. You were quite happy when no one spoke, and if one of the party from sheer high spirits suddenly put on speed and shot ahead it was a joke that everyone laughed at and for a few minutes you pedalled as hard as you could. And we chaffed one another innocently and giggled at our own humour. Now and then one would pass cottages with little gardens in front of them and in the gardens were hollyhocks and tiger lilies; and a little way from the road were farmhouses, with their spacious barns and oasthouses; and one would pass through hopfields with the ripening hops hanging in garlands. The public houses were friendly and informal, hardly more important than cottages, and on the porches often honeysuckle would be growing. The names they bore were usual and familiar: the Jolly Sailor, the Merry Ploughman, the Crown and Anchor, the Red Lion.”
From Cakes and Ale (1930) by W. Somerset Maugham.
Image from Lost Lanes, 36 Glorious Bike Rides in Southern England.