Burrows on the Bicycle (part one)

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.

Down at the London Bike Show

Made in London: Lovely cycling mackintosh from Water Offa Duck's Back

Jack goes down to the London Bike Show, an annual fair of bicycles and cycling paraphernalia. He eschews the latest electronic gear systems in search of novel products made by interesting people.

The following products are featured on the show:

Georgia in Dublin: Stylish and waterproof clothing for women and men.

Respro: High viz gear for cyclists including the ubiquitous hump and the evergreen elasticated ankle bands.

Bill’s Bike Tools: Makers of the Pedal Aid, an ingenious tool for assisting the removal of difficult bike pedals.

Hornit: The world’s loudest bicycle horn at 140 decibels.

Water Offa Duck’s Back: Classically styled cycling macs with ingenious reflective properties.

Another day for you and me in Carradice

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.

This is the latest in a series of special features on British cycling manufacturers. Listen to previous features on Brooks saddles, Brompton folding bikes and Alex Moulton.

Some of Jack’s photographs from the factory are below.

A Midsummer Misadventure with Dixe Wills (and a podcast bonus)

Wild camping sunrise

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.

The Bike Show Jersey: Orders now closed

Richard Mitchelson and Milltag have designed a beautiful Bike Show jersey.


Continue reading

Fix Your Own Bike

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.

Rob Penn on Looking for the Perfect Bike

Cyclist, journalist and author Rob Penn travelled the world to put together his perfect bicycle. We talk about how his journey of discovery sheds light on the history of the bicycle and the contribution of bicycle technology to modern life. Rob is speaking at the Hay Literary Festival on 3rd June and is organising a ride there from Cardigan Bay on the west coast of Wales. All are welcome to join.

You can buy his book, It’s All About The Bike from Amazon on the link, below. Any purchases made after following this link will contribute a few pennies to Resonance FM, London’s non-profit community arts radio station.