Reading and riding: Christmas books special

Tim Dawson, cycling columnist for the Sunday Times, runs the Cycling Books website, the most compendious review website for cycling books. He joins me in the studio to discuss the literature of cycling, from Tour de France to cycle touring. Paul Fournel reads another extract from Need for the Bike. Below is a list of the books discussed in the show. If you would like to buy them, follow the links to Amazon and Resonance FM will get a share of anything you buy, even if it’s stuff not on the list. What a nice way to help your favourite bicycling art radio station!

The Classics
The Rider by Tim Krabbé
The Escape Artist by Matt Seaton
Need for the Bike by Paul Fournel

Tour de France
Bad to the Bone by James Waddington
Sweat of the Gods by Benjo Masso
Wide-eyed and Legless: Inside the Tour De France by Jeff Connor
Le Tour: A History of the Tour De France by Geoffrey Wheatcroft
My Comeback: Up Close and Personal by Lance Armstrong and Elizabeth Kreutz

Cycle touring & travel
Thunder and Sunshine by Alistair Humphreys
The Hungry Cyclist by Tom Kevilll-Davies
French Revolutions by Tim Moore
Full Tilt: Ireland To India With a Bicycle by Dervla Murphy
Transylvania and Beyond by Dervla Murphy
Blue River, Black Sea by Andrew Eames
A Bike Ride by Anne Mustoe

Advocacy, philosophy
Richard’s Bicycle Book by Richard Ballantine

Those we didn’t get time to talk about
Tomorrow We Ride by Jean Bobet
The Passion of Fausto Coppi by William Fotheringham
The Noiseless Tenor by James Starrs
Golden Age of Handbuilt Bikes and Competition Bikes by Jan Heine
Rouleur Annual 2009
Fixed: Global Fixed-Gear Bike Culture by Andrew Edwards and Max Leonard

To win copies of the current issues of Rouleur and The Ride Journal, send answers to the competition questions to bikeshow-at-resonancefm-dot-com. Thanks to these fine publications for donating the prizes.

And if that leaves you wanting more chat about cycling books, the 2007 Christmas books show is still online to listen again as is the show featuring Andrew and Philip Diprose of The Ride Journal. Matt Seaton wrote an excellent round-up over at The Guardian.

Getting to Le Grand Départ

They may still be testing the syringes used by riders in the 2009 Tour De France but that hasn’t stopped the organisers announcing the course for the 2010 edition. And it’s a cracker. I didn’t much care for this year’s figure-of-eight route with its anticlimactic ascent of Le Ventoux and total neglect of northern France which – with Brittany – is really the home of cycle sport à la Francaise. 2010 makes up for the omission with a Grand Départ in Rotterdam and four days winding along the roads (and over the cobblestones) of northern France, before branching east into the Champagne region.

Then come the Alps and an extended stay in the Pyrenees, climbing le col du Tourmalet not once but twice, in honour of the centenary of the first time Le Tour featured the climb back in 1910. Of course it was not uncommon for holidaying cycle tourists, men and women both, to ride over the Tourmalet and the other cols of the Pyrenees years before the Tour ever did. So potent is the self-mythologising of Le Tour I expect to tire of commentators informing me that Octave Lapize was the first man to summit the Tourmalet on a bicycle.

But back to the opening weekend, which strikes me as offering a great opportunity for a little jaunt across the Channel. Bike Show contributor, Bob Dylan buff and sometime journalist Matt Tempest has already expressed his delight at the prospect of “watching the Prologue in Rotterdam with a big fat one” (by which I assume he not referring to a Dutch version of the Camberwell Carrot but to the splendid hookers immortalised in Jacques Brel’s Amsterdam). And who am I to disagree? But how to get over there for all the fun? Continue reading

Le Tour Redux

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Joining me in the studio is Graeme Fife, author of the definitive account of Le Tour de France, updated each year. He’s also author of the beautiful Rapha Guide to the Great Road Climbs of the Pyrenees.

graeme_fifeWe discuss this year’s Tour de France, the most spectacular for some time, featuring the drama over the return from retirement of seven-time Tour winner Lance Armstrong, seeking to try his luck against a new generation of outstanding riders including two plucky Brits: Mark Cavendish and Brad Wiggins. Our discussion is leavened with some insighful comments from a handful of Bike Show listeners.

Thanks go to Dave at road.cc, Pete, David of the marvellous Highway Cycling Group, Jason and Adrian.

Photo:BERNARD PAPON/AFP/Getty Images

Play on links below.

From Sublime to Ridiculous

jarryCopenhagen is widely regarded as the world’s most cycle-friendly city. I ask Copenhagen’s Mayor Klaus Bondam what advice he gives to other city leaders in how to emulate the Danish capital. Multitalented musician, songwriter and cartoonist Peter Blegvad reads Alfred Jarry’s proto-absurdist short story “The Crucifixion Considered as an Uphill Bicycle Race”. Jarry (pictured, above) was fond of cycling around Paris with a giant bell mounted on his bicycle and firing a pistol into the air to clear the road. While this is highly tempting, it may turn out to be counterproductive on today’s city streets. Why not try, instead, a website where you can record bike lane violations: MyBikeLane.com. Plus reflections on a big day in Le Tour De France.

Play on links below.

Podcast only: Theatre Review – Pedal Pusher

ppPedal Pusher is a play that follows three professional cyclists, Jan Ullrich, Marco Pantani and Lance Armstrong, in the most dramatic recent era of professional cycle sport. From the young prodigy Jan Ullrich winning the Tour in 1997, the doping scandals of 1998, Armstrong’s conquest of cancer and ending with Pantani’s exile from the sport and eventual death from a cocaine overdose. By interweaving the biographical stories with recreations of the Tour de France races onstage, the play tells the difficult but uplifting story of their lives through excitement and energy of the race itself. I speak with the four-man cast and director Roland Smith.

Pedal Pusher runs until Saturday 1st August 2009, showing on Monday to Saturday nights at 7:30pm. Tickets are £12 (£10 concessions). Rob Ainsley at Real Cycling has reviewed Pedal Pusher as has Edward R Burge.

Photo © Holly McGlynn

Play on links below.

London to Bristol (part one)

bicycle_windowPart one of a ride from London to Bristol, in which presenter Jack Thurston is guided by listeners to the show. First stop is St Giles’ Church in Stoke Poges, home to the ‘bicycle window’ (pictured behind Jack and Denis Hartley, the Verger of the Church). One element of the window dates from 1642 and said to be the earliest ever depiction of a velocipede. The route passes through Willesden, Stoke Poges, Cookham, Henley-on-Thames before ascending the Berkshire Downs. Tune in next week for part two.

Photo credit: Michael Dunne

bicycle-window

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