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Raleigh (part two): The Fall

In the second of a two-part feature on the Raleigh Bicycle Company, historian Tony Hadland and Jack Thurston look at Raleigh’s post-war success as the world’s biggest bicycle manufacturing company and its long decline to a point where it was sold off to overseas investors and abandoned manufacturing in its home town of Nottingham. The Raleigh name lives on as a brand owned by Accell, a larger Dutch company.

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raleigh

Raleigh (part one): The Rise

In the first of a two-part feature on the Raleigh Bicycle Company, historian Tony Hadland and Jack Thurston chart the rise of the company from a small backstreet workshop in Nottingham in the mid-1880s to the mid-1950s when it was seemingly unassailable as the world’s biggest bicycle manufacturer.

Tony Hadland is the author of Raleigh: Past and Presence of an Iconic Bicycle Brand.

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belgium-house

Live from Belgium House

In a live broadcast from Belgium House, a temporary Olympic Village and ‘cycling paradise’ in London’s Middle Temple, Jack finds out about Flandrien cycling culture from Rik Vanwalleghem, director of the Tour of Flanders centre in Belgium. At the launch of the Rapha Cycle Club in Soho, Rapha founder Simon Mottram reflects on the eight years since the company was launched in 2004. London cyclist Nick Hussey of the recently launched Vulpine clothing brand talks about designing and making top quality, stylish apparel for the discerning cyclist. And Resonance FM engineer Chris Dixon rides up a virtual Koppenberg.

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1913-tdf-2

Taking the Long View of The Tour de France

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.

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Tourmalet600

Over the col du Tourmalet, 1879 style

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 […]

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Rover ÔsafetyÕ bicycle, 1885.

To Coventry: Birthplace of the Bicycle

Coventry has a very good claim to be the birthplace of the modern bicycle, the “Rover Safety” invented in the 1880s by John Kemp Starley, one of the city’s many bicycle makers. Someone very happy to make that claim is Steve Bagley, Head of Collections at the Coventry Transport Museum. We go for a ride around the city and a trip back in time.

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coppi

A Century of Italian Cycle Sport

At the start of the second week of this year’s Giro d’Italia, we take the long view of cycle sport in Italy with John Foot, professor of modern Italian history at University College London. His book Pedalare! Pedalare! tells the fascinating story of how Italy fell in love with the bicycle and how cycle sport took a central role in national life.

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