Superb BBC Radio 4 documentary about bike messengers in London

Over the summer BBC Radio 4 aired a half-hour programme about life as a bicycle messenger here in London. First of all, what the programme does really well is convey the magic of daily cycling in London – the vistas, the skies, the sun, the wind and the rain, the secret places. This is something that any everyday London cyclist can appreciate, whether or not they work as a messenger. The documentary avoids the usual traps of romanticising the job, focussing obsessively on risk and danger, the bikes, the machismo, the fashions and so on. It’s telling that there is not a single mention of ‘fixed wheel’. The contributions from working messengers and former messengers are honest and thoughtful.

This half-hour radio documentary is way better than any film, television or radio feature about bicycle messengers that I have ever seen and, thanks to the marvelous Bicycle Film Festival, I have seen enough for a lifetime! In short, if you like The Bike Show, you will love this.

It should come as no surprise that the documetary features friends of The Bike Show like Buffalo Bill & Nhatt Attack, the latter I hope will be making her Bike Show debut on the next season of the show. Of course, where The Bike Show leads, the BBC follows. For the two part rolling interview with Buffalo Bill that aired on Resonance FM back in May 2005 click here (part one) and here (part two).

Listen to the BBC Radio 4 documentary over here, courtesy of Messenger of Doom rjs.

27 September 2008: Bicycle Film Festival comes to town

The Bicycle Film Festival comes to London from 1-5 October. Laura Fletcher is the BFF’s London ambassador and she previews a handful of highlights from the seven screenings at the Barbican Cinema plus all the parties, art shows, polo matches and roller-racing that make the Festival a veritable jamboree of bicycle culture. Plus a very special message from the Founding Director, Brendt Barbur. Buy tickets online here.

Play on links below. Other file formats (Ogg Vorbis, 64kb MP3) over here.

22 September 2008: Grant Petersen on overnight trips and a visit to London’s ‘anti-bike shop’

Grant Petersen of Rivendell Bicycle Works urges us to get on our bikes for sub-twenty four hour overnight camping trips. Plus a visit to a fantastic new ‘anti-bike shop’ in Finsbury Park, specialising in classic English and Italian steel road bikes. The shop doesn’t have a name yet, but you can drop in at 74 Mountgrove Road, Finsbury Park, London N5 2LT – MAP. Some photos below, more here:

Play on links below. Other file formats (Ogg Vorbis and 64k MP3) over here.

15 September 2008: Are cargo bikes the future of urban transport?

Do the rising oil price, the growing concern about man-made climate change and breakthroughs in cycle design mean we’re on the verge of a pedal-powered cargo revolution? Discussing the past, present and future of cargo bikes and pedicabs is Leslie Wacker, a Chicago native who placed second in the cargo bike race at this year’s World Cycle Messenger Championships, Buffalo Bill author of Moving Target Zine and controller at Creative Couriers. We also hear from Mark, controller at from Zero Couriers, London’s first and only dedicated cargo bike courier company about the challenges his company has faced convincing potential commercial clients to choose pedal-powered cargo delivery. 8Freight photo thanks to BikeFix.

To donate to Resonance FM, follow this link.

Play on links below. Other file formats (64kb MP3 and Ogg Vorbis) over here.

1 September 2008: Around the world the hard way (part two)

Alastair Humphreys has cycled round the world ‘the hard way’: four years, sixty countries and forty-six thousand miles. In the second of a two part special he tells the story of his epic adventure: from Mexico to Alaska, through Siberia, Japan, China and central Asia.

Thunder and Sunshine, the second volume of his travelogue is out now, published by Eye Books.

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

11 August 2008: Around the world the hard way (part one)

Alastair Humphreys has cycled round the world ‘the hard way’: four years, sixty countries and forty-six thousand miles. In the first of a two part special he tells the story of his epic adventure from Yorkshire to South Africa and Chile to Colombia. Thunder and Sunshine, the second volume of his travelogue is out now, published by Eye Books.

The studio at Resonance FM is closed on 18th and 25th August so there will be no show on those dates. The second part of this two-show special will be broadcast on 1 September.

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

14 July 2008: Vive Le Tour // Civilised Streets

Celebrating Bastille Day and the first week of Le Tour De France plus a discussion of civilised streets with Louise Duggan, streets advisor at the UK’s Commission for Architecture and the Built Environment (CABE). Just six days until this year’s Dunwich Dynamo….

Play on links below. Other file formats (e.g. Ogg Vorbis) over here.