How to Ride Your Bike Faster


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.

Come the E-Bike Revolution?


Electric bikes are a rapidly growing area of the bicycle industry, offering the promise of effortless two-wheeled travel. Professor Mark Miodownik of University College London tests a Smart E-bike (pictured, above) as part of an in-depth look at e-bike technologies, for both utility and recreational riding.

Plus Dr Rachel Aldred explains the Near Miss Project. As part of the project that’s a partnership with The Bike Show, we want your audio stories of near misses. You can record your audio account of a near miss using the free recording widget below – just click record and speak into your computer – or, using a smartphone with the free Audioboom phone app (remember to use the tag ‘nearmiss’). Those three questions again:

1. What happened?
2. How did it make you feel?
3. Were there any lasting consequences?

High Tech and High Stakes in the Bicycle Boom

Hub gear manufacturer Sturmey Archer sits in the pantheon of iconic bicycle brands, most famous for its hugely popular three speed hub gears. Tony Hadland tells the intriguing story of the invention of the hub gear, a story of gifted young engineers, canny entrepreneurs in the high tech bicycle boom of the 1890s. Tony Hadland is the author of “Raleigh: Past and Presence of an Iconic Bicycle Brand” and “The Sturmey Archer Story”.

Soon We’ll Be Wheelbuilding

The spoked wheel is the unsung hero of the bicycle. Jack Thurston embarks on a journey of discovery, to understand how a bicycle wheel works with the help of engineer and materials scientist Professor Mark Miodownik, and then trying to learn how to build one, taking a class at London’s Cycle Systems Academy.

Spilling the Beans

Nick Larsen is founder and creative director at Charge Bikes of Frome in the west of England. Charge is a fairly new company, remarkable for many things and not least the fact that all its products are named after something you would normally find in the kitchen. There’s the Juicer (a road bike), the Spoon (a saddle), the Bowl (a pair of handlebars) and of course The Plug, a simple single speed bicycle that launched the company into the big time a few years ago.

Nick talks candidly about the bike industry, his own motivations and inspirations, where future trends are coming from and the potential of the exciting new technology of ‘3D printing’.

This conversation was recorded live at last month’s Bike V Design night at the Design Museum.

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.

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.