What Goes Around

chappell Jack Thurston heads to mid-Wales to meet Emily Chappell (pictured, above), former London bike messenger turned author turned ultra endurance racer. Her book, What Goes Around: A London Cycle Courier’s Story is published by Faber & Faber.

Plus the social enterprise that’s finding a new use for the Royal Mail’s unwanted fleet of postal bikes, as Elephant Bikes.

Bart Kyzar: Man on a Mission


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.

Podcast only: Theatre Review – Pedal Pusher

ppPedal Pusher is a play that follows three professional cyclists, Jan Ullrich, Marco Pantani and Lance Armstrong, in the most dramatic recent era of professional cycle sport. From the young prodigy Jan Ullrich winning the Tour in 1997, the doping scandals of 1998, Armstrong’s conquest of cancer and ending with Pantani’s exile from the sport and eventual death from a cocaine overdose. By interweaving the biographical stories with recreations of the Tour de France races onstage, the play tells the difficult but uplifting story of their lives through excitement and energy of the race itself. I speak with the four-man cast and director Roland Smith.

Pedal Pusher runs until Saturday 1st August 2009, showing on Monday to Saturday nights at 7:30pm. Tickets are £12 (£10 concessions). Rob Ainsley at Real Cycling has reviewed Pedal Pusher as has Edward R Burge.

Photo © Holly McGlynn

Play on links below.

The end of the road

It’s the end of the road for The Bike Show. Find out why in this special podcast only final edition featuring many Bike Show favourites including Buffalo Bill, editor of Moving Target, cycle sport correspondent William Greswell, London bike messenger Nhatt Attack, Barry Mason of Southwark Cyclists, and Joe and Wes from the London Bicycle Repair Company.

Please note that this special episode was broadcast on 1 April and is what is known, in France, as Un Poisson D’Avril.

9 March 2009: Legends of the Rás

Photo Credit: Kieran D. MurrayThe Rás Tailteann is an 8 day stage race in the Republic of Ireland held each May since 1953. A particularly gruelling race, some say it is Ireland’s ‘Tour de France’ and it is a much cherished tradition, far more so than the Tour of Ireland. John Herety, Directeur Sportif of the Rapha-Condor road racing team and formerly DS of Recycling.co.uk talks about the modern Rás. We also tell the story of possibly the greatest legend of the Rás: ‘Iron Man’ Mick Murphy, the blood-drinking, fire-eating hard man who won the 1958 race in quite extraordinary circumstances. Peter Woods is a documentary-maker at RTÉ and tracked down Murphy (pictured above, at his home-made stone gym) and tells the story of one of sport’s living legends. Woods’s 40 minute documentary is compulsory listening. You can find it on the RTÉ website.

Photo credit: Kieran D. Murray.

London cyclists in monkey attacks

London’s cyclists have plenty to contend with whether it’s deadly lorries and trucks, bendy-buses, white van man or suicidal pedestrians stepping out without looking. But now there is a violent cyclist-hating rollerskating monkey impersonator on the loose on our city streets. MovingTarget has the full story and the London Fixed Gear and Single Speed Forum has more, and it looks serious (well, serious and faintly amusing, if that’s possible).

Chandra, a London bicycle messenger, was assaulted earlier this week in Holborn. She recounts:

I saw him get close to a cyclist up front but couldn’t see what happened, then he headed straight for me. He threw a punch but it didn’t land straight, grazed my side more. I didn’t come off my bike or anything. Then I got really really angry and without quite thinking turned straight round and followed him onto Theobalds. I grabbed his shoulder from behind and then he swung round and hit me on the elbow…

Buffalo Bill, editor of Moving Target has taken up the matter with urbanMONKEYS (a group that represents London’s monkeys) and received this response:

[This is] the first i’ve heard of it. This is crazy. I’ve never heard anything like this before. Most monkeys I know, and I know most of them, are decent monkeys who work as or know couriers themselves. Whoever this lunatic is, I can promise you that he’ll get a serious hiding from the other monkeys if he’s caught. I seriously hope the people involved don’t hold this monkey’s actions against the rest of us and that no one is hurt further by his reckless behaviour.

Speaking for London’s bike messengers (and other cyclists), Bill offers some reassurance, “I seriously doubt that any London messenger (or any other cyclist) would hold the rest of the monkey community for this idiot’s behaviour.”

Well that’s good then. For now, dear listeners, my advice is steer clear of the monkey.


16 February 2009: Cycling and the recession

CC Flickr - seaworthy With the UK mired deep in recession, unemployment on the rise, the value of the pound going down and consumer confidence at an all time low, we ask what effect this is having on the cycling business. We hear from the owners of two of London’s new breed of bicycle boutiques (Tour de Ville and Bobbin Bicycles), from bike messenger Nhatt Attack, who has swapped her bike for a Christiania tricycle and is delivering flowers, from Carlton Reid, cycling journalist and Executive Editor of bike industry magazine BikeBiz.com and from BikeSnobNYC who adds his two pennies from New York.

Play on links below, other file formats (eg. Ogg Vorbis) over here.