28 July 2008: Looking back at Le Tour 2008

TDF 2008

Looking back at this year’s Tour De France, with Guy Andrews, editor of Rouleur magazine and author and broadcaster Graeme Fife. As well as discussing the racing, we go into what it means for a small towns when it plays host to a stage of Le Tour de France. You can listen to an hour-long Tour De France themed edition of Ruby’s Chicky Boil Ups on Radio Nowhere, featuring Jack Thurston and a pile of cycling tunes over here.

Play on links below. Other file formats (Ogg Vorbis etc) over here.

  • Gordon

    Jack, have you seen this video of an NYPD cop assaulting a cyclist during a recent mass ride?
    http://gothamist.com/2008/07/28/cop_caught_on_video_assaulting_cycl.php

  • Jack

    No I’d not seen that. It’s quite a take down. While I would of course heartily approve of such antics on the bicycle polo field, it’s not really in keeping with the principles of enlightened community policing. I hope the rider is OK.

    Some time ago I said it was time to move on from Critical Mass, at least here in London. I had the strong impression that it was generating more antagonism than harmony with other road users and with such massive increases in cycling in our city in the past five years, it sometimes seems like every day has a little flavour of a critical mass ride. Some agreed with me, others didn’t. But over here CM is no longer the significant event on the cycling calendar that it once was.

    I guess cycling is still a bit more of a marginal activity in NYC and so this kind of visibility-raising event might still have its place, at least until riding a bike becomes more mainstream. I should stress that I don’t know much about the current state of affairs in NYC and so I probably shouldn’t comment any more on what I don’t know much about.

    Thanks for sharing!

  • Jack

    Update: Judging from today’s post from the ever-readable Bike Snob NYC and the comments which follow, it’s not just London cyclists that have had enough of CM. The last bit is especially worth quoting:

    “One of the things that make cycling so great is that it enables you to avoid crowds and pointless delays. Few things are more satisfying than effortlessly weaving your way through a traffic jam. So while I’ll begrudge nobody his or her Critical Mass, personally I don’t understand the appeal of forming a crowd and creating a pointless delay. And it is a delay, whether you’re in a car or on a bike. I once accidentally got caught in a Critical Mass ride while out riding. I felt like a dolphin ensnared in a tuna net. One second I was sailing along, and the next I was trapped among a bunch of people with rickety bikes rolling on wobbly, rusty brown steel rims on the verge of collapse. It was like watching a Beatles “Yellow Submarine”-esque cartoon LSD sequence where all the bicycles were rolling on pretzels. Sure, they had taken back the streets, but I wish that as a cyclist they might have saved a small sliver for me so I could get to where I was going.

    People do need to see other people out there on bikes. They need to become accustomed to them so they learn to respect them, and they need to see how practical and effective they can be so they consider riding them themselves. Many cyclists illustrate this day after day, not only by riding their bikes to and from work during rush-hour but also by using them for recreation and even racing on them. A driver who sees you zip past as you ride your bike to work, and then sees you riding your bike to dinner later with a date, and then sees you going for a road ride that weekend doesn’t realize he’s seen only one rider—as far as he knows he’s seen a bunch of riders, and he sees them using their bikes successfully. Effectively, you’re a Critical Mass of one. Meanwhile, a mob of people on crappy bikes blocking traffic one day a month isn’t a “mass” at all. At best it’s a party. At worst it’s effectively just one big stupid person.”