Rob Penn on Looking for the Perfect Bike

Cyclist, journalist and author Rob Penn travelled the world to put together his perfect bicycle. We talk about how his journey of discovery sheds light on the history of the bicycle and the contribution of bicycle technology to modern life. Rob is speaking at the Hay Literary Festival on 3rd June and is organising a ride there from Cardigan Bay on the west coast of Wales. All are welcome to join.

You can buy his book, It’s All About The Bike from Amazon on the link, below. Any purchases made after following this link will contribute a few pennies to Resonance FM, London’s non-profit community arts radio station.

A Green Mayor? On the Campaign Trail with Jenny Jones

Jenny Jones is a member of the London Assembly and is standing as the Green Party’s candidate in the 2012 London Mayoral elections. We ride from her home in Walworth/Peckham borders to City Hall and discuss cycling, liveable cities and the future of the Green Party.

Bike Blogging with Mark Ames of ibikelondon / Jan Gehl / Eric Pickles MP

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Mark Ames writes ibikelondon, one of the best of London’s blossoming bike blogs. We discuss the city planning ideas of Jan Gehl, the intellectual godfather of Copenhagenization. We hear what British Cabinet minister Eric Pickles MP has to say about cycling and Mark (pictured, above, with two devoted readers) gives his top tips for aspiring bike bloggers.

For more London bike blogging try 101 Wankers, Crap Cycling and Walking in Waltham Forest, Cyclists in the City, I am not a cyclist, Kennington People on Bikes, Lo Fidelity Bicycle Club, Velo Loves the City and War on the Motorist.

From further afield try A View from the Cycle Path, Lazy Bicycle Blog and Copenhagenize.

Audio clips of the Creating Tomorrow’s Liveable Cities conference thanks to The Economist.

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.

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.