Merckx, Merckx, Merckx

Cross Elvis Presley with Muhammad Ali, raise him in a grocery shop in post-war Belgium, put him on a bicycle and what do you get? The greatest cyclist of all time: Eddy Merckx.

Cycling journalists Daniel Friebe and William Fotheringham have both treated us to new books about Eddy Merckx, the Cannibal, winner of 525 professional races, five Tours de France, five Giri d’Italia and countless Classics. He was world champion and broke the hour record. We talk about his career, his motivations and the challenges of telling the story of the greatest racing cyclist who ever lived.

Burrows on the Bicycle (part two – laid back)

In the concluding half of an extended interview with engineer and bicycle inventor Mike Burrows, we talk about Mike’s biggest passion: laid back bicycles. He explains how these human powered vehicles came about and where he hopes they’re going. You can see the world’s fastest human powered vehicles racing at the world championships this June at the Fowlmead country park near Deal in Kent.

Plus bike blogger and endurance athlete Simon Nurse discusses the possibility of a cycling equivalent of the London Marathon. The closest we could find is the Vätternrundan in Sweden: 300km, 23,000 participants.

Burrows on the Bicycle (part one)

Mike Burrows is probably best known for his design of the Lotus 108 pursuit bike that Chris Boardman rode in the Barcelona Olympics, winning the first gold medal for a British cyclist in over 70 years. But Mike has made a huge contribution to pedal powered machines more widely. His compact road frame first developed for Giant is now a design standard and his designs have moved the world of laid back or recumbent bicycles on from the early, pioneering days in 1970s California. Burrows remains inventive, opinionated and passionate about bicycles.

This is the first of a two part extended interview. Mike will be giving a talk on 19 June at the National Transport Museum in Coventry.

All the Young Dudes: The Revival of Bicycle Framebuilding in Britain

Ted James explains the frame-mounted hub gear in his

For a second year, the Bespoked show in Bristol was platform for a new generation of British bicycle framebuilders to showcase their work. We profile Gillingham-based petrolhead turned touring bicycle framebuilder Paul Villiers and at hear from Tom Donhou, Ted James, Ricky Feather and Jonathan Paulus about how they got their start and what it takes to become a good framebuilder.

This coming weekend in Glasgow, live art group Fish & Game present their own 21st Century re-imagining of the 1901 Cycling Gymkhana. Tweed-loving artistic director Eilidh MacAskill explains more.

In a podcast-only extra, cycle sport journalist Lionel Birnie gives us his take on the spring classics thus far and looks ahead to this weekend’s Paris Roubaix. Watch A Sunday In Hell on YouTube.

Summer’s here! Get on your bike and ride

Velonotte Rome - picture by Alan Vouba/Moskultprog

With the start of British Summer Time we look ahead to two upcoming mass rides: Velonotte London and the Edinburgh Pedal on Parliament.

On the night of Saturday 23rd June, Sergey Nikitin‘s Velonotte (pictured in Rome, above) will come to London as part of the 2012 London Festival of Architecture. A night ride starting at St Paul’s cathedral, traversing the East End to the Olympic Park and finishing with a live orchestra welcoming the dawn at the London Pleasure Gardens. The ride will feature a simultaneous broadcast on Resonance FM of soundscapes and Velonotte’s expert guides including Peter Ackroyd, Ricky Burdett, David Adjaye, Sergey Romanyuk and Peter Murray.

Meanwhile, on 28 April, Scottish cyclists will take to the streets of Edinburgh to call for the Scottish government to put more investment in cycling infrastructure and cycle safety. Sally Hinchcliffe is one of the organisers of the Pedal on Parliament.

And if you’re taking part in either of these rides, there’s no more stylish and practical bike to ride than the Paper Bicycle. Its designer Nick Lobnitz explains the thinking behind a bicycle that could join the F-frame Moulton and the Brompton folding bicycle as a British design classic, pictured below.

Paper Bicycle Lausanne

Paper Bicycle in Lausanne

Christian Wolmar on London’s Transport Choice

A rolling interview with Christian Wolmar, journalist, cyclist and Britain’s leading transport commentator. We ride from Tufnell Park to St Pancras and encounter a flood, demon drivers and Camden Council’s contraflow cycle track. Christian explains where it went wrong with London transport and what’s needed to get things back on track. He also offers his take on choice facing Londoners at the upcoming Mayoral election.

The Obree Way

Graeme Obree & Jack Thurston - Photo © Anna Gudaniec

Earlier this month, Graeme Obree was at Look Mum No Hands! for the London launch of The Obree Way, a training manual for cyclists.

Obree is a two time individual pursuit world champion, has twice broken the world hour record and is multiple winner of British national time trial championships. He is renowned not just for his athletic prowess but for his technical innovation on the bike and with the bike itself. His autobiography, The Flying Scotsman, was made into a major feature film. At 45 he is still on the bike and currently planning an attempt on the world land speed record for a human powered vehicle.

In a wide ranging conversation with Jack Thurston, presenter of The Bike Show, Obree talks about his own life as an elite athlete, his approach to training and his enduring love of just riding a bike.

“It’s a sport, it’s a pastime and it’s a form of transport. You don’t football down to the shops.”

Graeme Obree, 19 January 2012.

Channel 4 produced an excellent documentary about the rivalry between Graeme Obree and Chris Boardman. It’s on YouTube in four parts.