Is London Air Killing Us?

Some people say that air pollution in big cities like London is a public health emergency, contributing to 4,300 premature deaths a year. But nobody seems to talk about it. Is the Government doing anything to deal with it? Are cyclists at risk more than other people?

Is the Mayor of London more concerned about avoiding fines from Brussels than cleaning up the air we breathe? And why is Boris trying to glue air pollution to the roads? Jack and Jen discuss the issue with experts Simon Birkett of the Campaign for Clean Air in London and environmental lawyer Alan Andrews of Client Earth.

More data and information including some amazing maps of air pollution in London are available from the London Air Quality Network.

The Competitive Impulse

Harriet Owen following Lydia Boylan

Why do some people like to race their bicycles? We discuss the world of amateur bicycle racing with Ian Cleverly, deputy editor of Rouleur magazine and Lydia Boylan (pictured, above) of the Look Mum No Hands! race team and current Irish national track sprint champion. We also hear from Dr Jo Corbett of Portsmouth University on his findings about how the competitive impulse can drive people to new heights of athletic performance.

You can check out the Rouleur podcast over here or find it in iTunes music store.

Image credit: Biker Jun

Lock it or lose it


Talking bicycle security with author and blogger Rob Ainsley and Anthony Lau, architect and designer of the excellent Cycle Hoop that cheaply converts street furniture into cycle racks. Anthony is also soon to unveil a new car-shaped bicycle storage rack (pictured, above) at the London Festival of Architecture. Rob gives his verdict on the new double-decker bicycle storage racks at Waterloo Station.

A Journey Into Tranquility

Sustrans is the sustainable transportation charity and lobby group that pioneered the national cycle network. It is also one of the UK’s biggest commissioners of public art. Today’s show is devoted to one of Sustrans’s new Prospectives series, a handful of deliberately experimental projects that are more conceptual and investigative in nature than the more traditional kinds of public art you might find on the National Cycle Network.


Entitled Tranquility is a State of Mind, the project was conceived and led by Liminal, the duo of architect Frances Crow and sound artist and composer David Prior. They brought together clinical audiology, computational neuroscience and acoustics in a quest to understand more about the relationship between our sonic environment and personal wellbeing.

The 2010 London Festival of Architecture features around 20 bicycle tours, including a Sonic London ride led by Jack Thurston.

If the bike fits…


Following on from last week’s show on well-being, we look at the importance of getting a good fit between rider and machine. Scherritt Knoesen of The Bike Whisperer, is a leading London-based bike fitter. We talk geometry, contact points and pedaling action. Read Grant Peterson’sPetersen’s article The Shoes Ruse on the folly of clip-in pedals and cycling-specific shoes. If you go for a fitting with Scherrit tell him you heard him on The Bike Show. You never know, you might get a discount!

Illustration from Cycling Manual, 23rd edition, 1954


January is the perfect month to take a closer look at how to stay feeling good on the bike. In the studio to share their expertise are Michael Crebbin, a sports physio specialising in cycling-related problems, and Rebecca Bogue who teaches a yoga class designed especially for cyclists.

Contact Rebecca via the Bodywise studio in the Roman Road, east London. Her yoga for cyclists class is on Thursday nights 8.15 – 9.30pm at Bodywise, 119 Roman Road, Bethnal Green, London E2 0QN. Read more about Why Yoga Is Good For Cyclists.

Contact Michael via the Complete Physio clinic. Read more about physiotherapy for cyclists at the London Fixed Gear and Single Speed Forum and at Rollapaluza.

Red light means go (or does it?)

Should cyclists stop at red lights? Why do we feel such a strong urge to keep rolling? Should our behavior be guided by the law of the land or the laws of common courtesy? What would Isaac Newton and Thomas Aquinas have to say about the matter? Bringing their expertise to a discussion of the physics and philosophy of cyclists and red lights are Nigel Warburton of the Open University, the popular Philosophy Bites podcast and author of several classic textbooks on philosophy and Mark Miodownik, head of the Materials Research Group at King’s College London and writer and broadcaster.