Riding with Patrick Field, legendary London cyclist, thinker and writer, on a leisurely route east from Hackney along the top of a giant Victorian sewerage outflow pipe towards the River Thames. We take in ancient trading routes, cross the River Lea and pass through land that will be home to the London Olympics in 2012. We discuss the ethos of cycling as travel and Patrick’s hopes for returning to an age of pre-industrial idleness… (part two follows next week).
In the Belgian capital of Brussels, road-testing Cyclocity, a new concept in bicycle hire – sturdy bikes you can pick up and leave in different places around the city that cost just one euro an hour. Jack Thurston and William Greswell are soon distracted by EU monumentalist architecture, horse meat steaks and a winter wonderland in the Grand Place.
It makes perfect sense to travel to Ediburgh with a bicycle overnight on the sleeper train. Once there, I find out what it’s like on two wheels in Scotland’s capital city – watch those cobblestones! Also chatting with Ed Gillespie, who’s about to embark on a round-the-world odyssey of slow travel / low carbon travel: by train, camel and container ship.
Riding with London-based desiger and artist Julia Lohmann. We begin at the Velorution bike shop in the West End, where Julia’s giant backlit illustration of animal-bicycle metamophosis is on display. We ride down through the park via the Serpentine Gallery to her studio in Fulham and then south over Wandsworth Bridge and via Wandsworth Prison to Tooting to see one of her cowbenches – lifesize cow-shaped benches upholstered in a single cowhide – and to talk about her current project involving a sculpture of a tricycle in Shanghai. We talk about design, cycling, creativity and much more along the way.
London’s eight Royal Parks stretch from Greenwich in the east to Richmond in the west and make London one of the greenest big cities in Europe. Between them, the parks’ 5500 acres of land are the lungs of the capital. But they have remarkably few paths where cycling is allowed.
Mark Camley has been Chief Executive of the Royal Parks Agency for just over a year and is convinced more can be done to make the Royal Parks work for cyclists. I talk with Mark about the issues he’s facing in making this happen, and then go for a ride around Hyde Park and Kensington Gardens with Ruth Holmes, a landscape management officer at the Royal Parks with special responsibility for cycling.
Mark welcomes all comments and suggestions from park users, and says he reads all his email personally:
As he crosses the Hudson River into Brooklyn, things take a turn for the weird on Jack Thurston’s bicycle adventure in New York City. A visit to the drummers’ circle in Prospect Park, a one man bicycle soul machine and sociological analysis of ‘hipsters’ in Williamsburg.
In the first of two shows devoted to cycling in the NYC, Jack Thurston takes to the streets of Manhattan on a sunny spring Sunday and meets cyclists and assorted Gotham oddballs.
Listen to Part Two.