On Two Wheels in France

Photo credit: Jack Thurston

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 reports about cycling in the French capital and the new measures the national government is introducing to improve conditions for people on bicycles. And Gregory Bossuyt tells of leaving Paris behind him and taking to his bicycle in search of a new life in a new town.

For more information on the Big Ride on 28 April, head over to the London Cycling Campaign. And if you fancy joining other friends of The Bike Show for the Oyster Run on 14 April, there are more details over here.

Raphaël Krafft: reportage on two wheels

Raphaël Krafft is a radio journalist working for the French national broadcaster who for the past ten years has been finding his stories by bicycle. Krafft’s two wheeled reportage has taken him around Latin America, the Middle East, the French West Indies and on several occasions his own country, which he has toured during presidential election years, to find out what France really thinks.

Kieron Yates visited Raphaël Krafft in Paris for this extended profile, which features audio material from his radio broadcasts.

You can follow Raphaël and Alexis on their current trip La Campagne à Vélo.

Across Europe by Bike

The St Gotthard Pass

Andrew Sykes tells of his six week summer journey from his home in Reading in Berkshire to Puglia, on the southern tip of Italy, along the Eurovelo 5 long-distance cycle route. He reads from Good Vibrations: Crossing Europe on a Bike Called Reggie, the book he’s written about the trip. Andrew will be appearing at Blue Door Bicycles this Wednesday 15 February at 8pm for a book reading and discussion.

Jen and Jack talk about the terror of the Waterloo bridge roundabout and the Mayor’s plans to remake it (again). Finally, a tribute to Henry Warwick, a veteran London bicycle messenger who was killed in a crash with a coach while working earlier this month.

Find out more about the Resonance FM fundraising auction.

Or just donate right now. The first 20 donations in excess of £10 (UK), €15 (Europe) and $20 (rest of the world) will get a Bike Show screen print by Richard Mitchelson.

Photo credit: Andrew P. Sykes

Paris-Brest-Paris: part two

Following on from last week’s documentary feature by Kieron Yates is a studio discussion of Paris-Brest-Paris, the world’s most venerable long distance bicycle race. In the studio are PBP veterans Judith Swallow and Dave Minter, and PBP debutant Pete Kelsey. Chris Ragsdale, one of this year’s stars, clocking in an exceptionally impressive sub-45 hour time, joins us down the line from his native Seattle.

For more information about audax in the UK see the Audax UK ride calendar and the audax pages of Yet Another Cycling Forum.

Image credit: Wig Worland, from Pete Kelsey’s short film Towards the Ocean.

Paris-Brest-Paris: part one

The 1200km Paris-Brest et retour was first raced in 1891 and is the oldest bicycle race still in existence, currently held as a brevet de randonneur every four years. Kieron Yates shares the agony and ecstasy of his second outing in an event that is only for the toughest of the tough.

Next week we’ll be talking about the race with a handful of other riders who will share their experiences and tips for anyone considering taking part.

The 2011 Tour de France: a modern classic?

Looking back at the this year’s thrilling Tour de France are Lionel Birnie of Cycle Sport magazine and Alex Murray, London cyclist, amateur road racer and blogger at chasingwheels.com.

Image by Neil Stevens, part of a series of illustrations for this year’s Tour, available to buy at Crayon Fire

How to follow the Tour de France on TV, twitter, newspapers, blogs and podcasts

Pity Lionel Birnie. For the cycling journalist and regular Bike Show contributor, following the Tour means being stuck in a smelly Skoda with three other hacks for 5+ hours a day, living out of a suitcase, sleeping in tatty hotels with paper thin walls (if he manages to find a hotel room at all) and getting fat eating junk food (all the more galling in the land of haute cuisine). He’ll get a few fleeting glimpses of the racing, but mostly he will be stuck in traffic jams, waiting around in the press centre and trying to get a few moments of face time with knackered or nervy riders who’d rather express themselves on twitter than submit to the questions of a seasoned sports journalist.

For the rest of us who are not part of the media caravan, and thanks to the efforts of a legion of Lionel Birnies, we are spoilt for choice. Here are a few suggestions for getting the most from following the three week festival of cycle racing, the world’s biggest annual sporting event on its grandest stage. Continue reading