A life in cycling with Isla Rowntree


As a bike racer Isla Rowntree took on almost every discipline in cycling, rode professionally for the Raleigh MTB team and won the British national championships in cyclocross on multiple occasions. But it is as a bike designer and entrepreneur that she’s made the biggest impact, transforming the market for children’s bikes. The high quality kids bikes she designs have given a generation of children the best possible start to a life of cycling. Jack visits Islabikes HQ just outside Ludlow, Shropshire to find out about how Isla got into cycling, how she got where she is now, and where she’s going in the future.

Bonus material:

1. Isla on her experiences as a woman in the male-dominated bike industry:

2. Isla on the Islabikes Icons range of bikes for elderly people:

Preston by Bike with Gavin Renshaw

Jack goes to Preston, Lancashire to ride with artist Gavin Renshaw. They ride out on some of the City of Preston’s bicycle infrastructure before heading for the wild uplands of the Forest of Bowland. Along the way they talk about cycling in Preston and Gavin’s work with In Certain Places, a long-term project that is bringing artists and creative thinkers into the process of city planning and urban development.

Image above is View of Preston from Brindle by Gavin Renshaw, 2016.

Gavin Renshaw

The Expanded City – Gavin Renshaw

To watch the Routes In Routes Out discussion event on YouTube, go here:

Routes In, Routes Out: Gavin Renshaw in conversation with Jack Thurston

Gavin Renshaw is on Instagram at https://www.instagram.com/mrteaone/

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.

Ain’t Nuthin’ but a G Thang: Geraint Thomas’s World of Cycling

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In a live event Jack Thurston talks to double Olympic gold medallist and top Team Sky rider Geraint Thomas about his life in cycling as told in his new book The World of Cycling According to G.

If your cycling is more pottering than peloton, then you can find out more about Jack’s latest book: Lost Lanes Wales over here.

How to Ride Your Bike Faster

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With the recent reawakening of interest in the Hour Record, host Jack Thurston is joined by Michael Hutchinson (pictured, above), a professional bike racer who has dominated the UK time trialling scene for more than a decade, setting British national records for distances from 10 miles to 100 miles and winning 56 national time trial championships. He’s also an accomplished writer and his latest book Faster: The Obsession, Science and Luck Behind the World’s Fastest Cyclists documents with forensic detail and wry humour his career-long quest to ride his bicycle very, very fast. He looks back on the flurry of hour records over the past six months and sizes up the chance that Bradley Wiggins will put the record out of reach for a generation.

Jack and Michael also reveal a new hour record challenge for listeners to The Bike Show. For more details on The Listeners’ Hour, see the discussion section of The Bike Show’s Strava club page.

A Year on Two Wheels

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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

The Politics of Adventure

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Jack Thurston’s guest this week is self-confessed angry young man, Julian Sayarer (pictured, above), who, five years ago, set a new record for cycling around the world. Having taken a strong dislike to Mark Beaumont, the previous record-holder, whose record attempt was backed by big business and, thought Sayarer, represented everything that was wrong with the world. He wanted to beat Beaumont and take the record back ‘for the people’.

They meet on on the banks of the River Wye a few miles downstream from the city of Hereford. Julian Sayarer’s book Life Cycles is published by John Blake and available in paperback and on the Kindle.