Since the very earliest years of the bicycle, adventurous cyclists have been unable to resist the allure of the mountains – the challenge of riding up and the thrill of freewheeling down the other side. Mountains are also the crucible of many of the most dramatic moments in professional bike racing. Daniel Friebe and Pete Goding, the authors of ‘Mountain Higher: Europe’s Extreme, Undiscovered and Unforgettable Cycle Climbs’ join host Jack Thurston to talk about the quest for ever more exhilarating climbs and breathtakingly beautiful places. In a podcast-only extra, Bill Chidley reports back from the Annual General Meeting of the London Cycling Campaign, where important details of the Space 4 Cycling campaign were agreed.
It’s just a few days until the start of the hundredth edition of the world’s greatest bike race, the Tour de France. Book publishers have taken this historic milestone as their cue to commission and produce an enormous quantity of books about the race, its history and legend.
To help sort the wheat from the chaff is Feargal McKay, a man who’s read more books about professional bike racing than there are hairpin bends in the Pyrenees. As the resident book reviewer at the Podium Cafe website, Feargal Mckay has built a reputation for outstanding book reviews that are both thorough and thought provoking.
This year’s Tour de France is the 99th edition of a bicycle race that is rich in meaning and symbolism for the French nation. Christopher Thompson is professor of history at Ball State University in Muncie, Indiana and author of a widely acclaimed cultural history of the Tour de France. He discusses how the race came about in an era of rising nationalism and how the route itself was loaded with political meaning. Professor Thompson argues the race projected carefully constructed role models and entrenched traditional gender archetypes. More recently, controversies over doping in cycle sport can be linked to concerns about recreational drug use in wider society.
This is an extract from an account of a summer touring trip to the Pyrenees, published in the London Bicycle Club Gazette (1879). The group of London cycle tourists rode their machines, or more likely pushed them, up all the major cols including the Aubisque, Tourmalet, Aspin & Peyresourde. They were almost certainly riding high [...]
With this year’s Tour de France just a few days away, Kieron Yates and Jack Thurston talk about the best places to go touring by bicycle in France. They share their ideas on where to go, where to stay and how to get there and back.
1987 was an annus mirabilis for Stephen Roche, one of a wave of world class Irish athletes that rose to fame that decade. He won the Giro d’Italia, the Tour de France and the World Championship road race. The only other rider to have accomplished this feat, know as the ‘triple crown’, is Eddy Merckx. Roche has a new book out called ‘Born To Ride’ and talks about his life in cycling, winning the triple crown, as well as his thoughts on today’s peloton, the scourge of doping and his own implication in an EPO doping conspiracy.
His new autobiography, Born to Ride, is out now, published by Yellow Jersey Press.
As governments around the world seek to improve conditions for cyclists, we take a look at France, a country synonymous with cycle sport but that has a lot of catching up to do when it comes to everyday cycling. From Paris, Kieron Yates talks about cycling in the French capital and the new measures being introduced by the national government to improve conditions for cycling. And Gregory Bossuyt tells of leaving Paris behind him and taking to his bicycle in search of a new life in a new town.