In the concluding half of an extended interview with engineer and bicycle inventor Mike Burrows, we talk about Mike’s biggest passion: laid back bicycles. He explains how these human powered vehicles came about and where he hopes they’re going. You can see the world’s fastest human powered vehicles racing at the world championships this June at the Fowlmead country park near Deal in Kent.
Plus bike blogger and endurance athlete Simon Nurse discusses the possibility of a cycling equivalent of the London Marathon. The closest we could find is the Vätternrundan in Sweden: 300km, 23,000 participants.
Mike Burrows is probably best known for his design of the Lotus 108 pursuit bike that Chris Boardman rode in the Barcelona Olympics, winning the first gold medal for a British cyclist in over 70 years. But Mike has made a huge contribution to pedal powered machines more widely. His compact road frame first developed for Giant is now a design standard and his designs have moved the world of laid back or recumbent bicycles on from the early, pioneering days in 1970s California. Burrows remains inventive, opinionated and passionate about bicycles.
This is the first of a two part extended interview. Mike will be giving a talk on 19 June at the National Transport Museum in Coventry.
Jack travels over the Yorkshire moors to Nelson, Lancashire to visit one of the oldest and most venerable companies in British cycling. Cotton mill worker Wilf Carradice began producing his indestructible canvas saddlebags in the 1930s and in 2011 sales are booming. Owner and MD David Chadwick tells the story of a family business and we get a tour of the factory. For more history of Carradice, there is a good article over at Classic Lightweights.
On a Midsummer’s Night Dixe Wills, travel writer and author of a new book on Britain’s tiny campsites, guides us on a ride from central London up the Lea Valley to a wild camping spot for a ‘sub twenty four hour overnight’. Various pitfalls ensure that little goes to plan.
The new Bike Show jersey is unveiled and – in a podcast only bonus – Andrew Neather of the Evening Standard explains why the newspaper came out for London’s cyclists.
Community bike workshops are a beautiful idea. A place where anyone can learn the basics of bicycle repair by doing it for themselves with the help of volunteer mechanics – and have access to specialist bicycle tools. A stone’s throw from the Elephant and Castle, the venerable 56a food coop and radical infoshop has its own ‘do it together’ Bike Space, open 16 hours a week. Over in France, the Pignon Sur Rue association in Lyon runs a rather larger and more ambitious community workshop project, with 1200 members and support from the local city government.
If a shiny new bike is what you’re after, we hear from Chris Boardman on the recent advances in bicycle technology and the thinking behind his new range of Boardman bikes. Chris takes the view that while Italian consumers are most interested in style, US consumers most interested in good quality service, the British consumer is most interested in low prices. And his bikes certainly offer a lot of bicycle for the money, not least because they have cut out a stage in the retail chain by selling exclusively through Halfords, a combined distributor/dealer.