Cyclosportives are the glamping of amateur cycling – but there is an alternative

One of the highlights of the last season of the show was Kieron Yates’s feature Up the ‘Uts, looking at the historic 32nd Association of cycling clubs, whose membership is dwindling even at a time when cycling is booming. In the discussion that followed both Kieron and Nigel Wood, chairman of the Dulwich Paragon club, expressed concerns that the voluntarism of traditional clubs is being supplanted by a profit-driven motivation as cycling becomes ever more commercialised. Continue reading

Abercrombie and all that

Utterly brilliant primer on the post war history of road building in London. Better than TV.

Bart Kyzar: Man on a Mission

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The messenger bag is one of the defining elements of the “new urban bike culture” and Bart Kyzar has been making bombproof bags for bicyclists since the mid-1990s, first with Chrome and now with Mission Workshop, based in San Francisco.

Last summer Mission Workshop opened a new store at the Truman Brewery, Brick Lane. While riding through the sunny streets of London, Bart tells how he and a couple of friends started making messenger bags while living in a warehouse in Boulder, Colorado, how rising osteopathy bills led to a fundamental rethink of traditional messenger bag design and why Mission Workshop is proud of its tiny niche in the US military industrial complex.

A Christmas Stocking: Apprenticeships, L’Eroica and MyBikeLane.com

eroica-bigIn the last show before Christmas, Jacqui Shannon reports on new opportunities for paid bike mechanic apprenticeships and Matt Sparkes files a report from Italy on L’Eroica, the annual vintage cyclosportive (pictured, left).

Civic hackers Greg Whalin and Richard Pope talk about MyBikeLane.com, Greg’s website for crowd-sourcing bicycle lane violations.

Four Great Lives in Cycling: Kuklos, Robinson, Mustoe, Fignon

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Studio discussion of four great lives in cycling: Kuklos, the prolific journalist who documented British cycling scene in the first half of the twentieth century; Brian Robinson (pictured, above), the first Brit to win stages in the Tour de France; intrepid cycle tourist Anne Mustoe; and Laurent Fignon, perhaps the last truly great French professional bike racer.

Expert guests are Graeme Fife, author of a newly published biography of Brian Robinson, and Tim Dawson, columnist on the Sunday Times and editor of the Cycling Books website. Plus a chance to win a set of Gavin Turk Les Bikes de Bois Rond postcards. Answers by email to bikeshow@resonancefm.com.

Further reading:

Of Wrigging – Kuklos. A 1927 essay taking on John Ruskin’s opposition to cycling.

Brian Robison: A Pioneer – Graeme Fife (Mousehold Press, 2010)

A Bike Ride – Anne Mustoe (Virgin Books, 1991)

We Were Young and Carefree – Autobiography of Laurent Fignon (Yellow Jersey Press, 2010)

Ron Cooper on Ron Cooper

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Ron Cooper is a legend in frame-building. He started as a fifteen-year-old apprentice with A.S. Gillott, and his frames have come to define the very best of the British lightweight style. He talks about the early days learning from master frame-builders like Jim Collier and Bill Philbrook, his own racing career and his commercial success in the US in the 1970s. Along the way he explains the technique and motivation needed to hand build more than 7,000 racing frames. Having turned 79 in June this year, Ron Cooper is still building three mornings a week.

Look out for the cover story in Rouleur 19 on Ron Cooper, with photos (including the above) by Nadav Kander.

Velocio’s 7 Commandments for the Wise Cyclist

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Paul de Vivie (1853-1930), who wrote as ‘Velocio’, was an early advocate of the bicycle, supposed inventor of the derailleur and the father of French cycle touring. Here are his seven commandments for the wise cyclist:

1. Keep your stops short and few.

2. Eat before you’re hungry, drink before you’re thirsty.

3. Never get too tired to eat or sleep.

4. Add a layer before you’re cold, take one off before you’re hot.

5. Lay off wine, meat and tobacco on tour.

6. Ride within yourself, especially in the first hour.

7. Never show off.