From Peace Race to Tour de France


In a recording of a live event held as part of the CycleScreen bicycle film festival at the Watershed Cinema in Bristol, Jack Thurston talks with author Herbie Sykes about his highly acclaimed book The Race Against the Stasi. It’s a gripping story, a true story, that took place at the height of the Cold War, a tale of young love and bike racing, of political ideology and state surveillance set in a Europe rebuilding after the catastrophe of the second world war.

Cycle Revolution at London’s Design Museum


Tim Dawson has the lowdown on Cycle Revolution, a major new exhibition of bicycles at London’s Design Museum. The show including cargo bikes, city bikes and the bikes used by Merckx, Moser and Wiggins to break the Hour Record. He speaks with the shows curator Donna Loveday and consider the show’s strengths and weaknesses. Tim and host Jack Thurston then wonder if it’s right and proper to fall in love with a bicycle and discuss other great cycle collections in the UK and overseas.

Image: Donky Bike by Ben Wilson

Cycling and Modernity in 1930s London


Historians often regard the defining events of the 1930s as the Great Depression and the march towards the second world war. Yet the decade also saw something of a consumer boom, at least among well-to-do inhabiting the suburbs of London and the south east. Historian Dr John Law of the University of Westminster joins Jack Thurston to share his research into the a new suburban lifestyles of the interwar years, including the dramatic increase in private, personal mobility though the use of cars, motorcycles and bicycles. They discuss how these new transport technologies shaped London and Londoners and how drivers and cyclists fought for the right to the road.

John Law is the author of a The Experience of Suburban Modernity: How Private Transport Changed Interwar London. Manchester University Press, 2014.

A Year on Two Wheels


It’s the toughest and longest standing record in cycling. Only a handful of people have attempted to break the record Tommy Godwin set in 1939 for the greatest distance ridden on a bike in one year. But this year two extraordinary cyclists are having a crack at it. In an in-depth interview with British long distance legend Steve Abraham (pictured, above), who is already almost six weeks into his record attempt, Jack Thurston finds out what kind of person takes on the challenge of riding an average of 205 miles for 365 days in a row. Author Dave Barter is on hand to put the year record in historical and sporting context.

Photo (C) Jack Thurston

Rapha at 10 and L’Eroica comes to Britain

The Bike Show and the cycle clothing company Rapha share a birthday, and while The Bike Show keeps on keeping on, Rapha has grown into a global brand and is toasting its success on the Champs-Élysées as suppliers of clothing to the Sky Pro Cycling Team. Jack checks in with Laura Bower and James Fairbank at Rapha to talk about Chris Froome’s fishnets and what the company is doing to encourage more women to ride bikes. Summer is festival time and Jack chews over the Rapha Tempest and the Eroica Britannia with Howard Smith, author of The Jersey Pocket cycling blog.

Taking the Long View of the Giro d’Italia

Mini Giro

In the opening week of the Giro d’Italia, or Tour of Italy, Feargal McKay joins Jack Thurston to cast a historian’s view over the race, looking into its origins, its rivalry with the Tour de France and where the race is heading in the years to come.

Feargal’s new book is The Complete Book of the Tour de France, and is out soon.

Listen to an interview with John Foot, author of Pedalare, Pedalare: A History of Italian Cycling from The Bike Show in 2012.

Image credit: …some guy (Flickr, creative commons)

High Tech and High Stakes in the Bicycle Boom

Hub gear manufacturer Sturmey Archer sits in the pantheon of iconic bicycle brands, most famous for its hugely popular three speed hub gears. Tony Hadland tells the intriguing story of the invention of the hub gear, a story of gifted young engineers, canny entrepreneurs in the high tech bicycle boom of the 1890s. Tony Hadland is the author of “Raleigh: Past and Presence of an Iconic Bicycle Brand” and “The Sturmey Archer Story”.