The Listeners’ Hour Explained

 

As described in this week’s podcast, the Listener’s Hour is a cycling challenge open to all listeners to The Bike Show.

And the challenge is this: to ride your bike for one hour and in that time, to travel further than 35.325km.

Why 35.325km? This is the distance of the first ever hour record, set on the Buffalo Velodrome in Paris by Henri Desgrange in 1893. By riding further than this you’ll not only know what it’s was like to have been the fastest cyclist in the world in 1893 but you’ll have beaten the man who dreamed up the Tour de France and ran the race during its most brutal, punishing era.

How it works:

Record your hour attempt using the Strava app on a smartphone or a GPS device. Post your rides to the Listeners’ Hour club page. You can have as many attempts as you like.

Attempts shall be on a road course of your choice. Any pedal-powered machine is OK. Recumbents and trikes are more than welcome. You may find it less of a challenge on a super aerodynamic laid back machine, but the choice is entirely up to you.

The start and end points of the course should be within 3km of each other. So no sailing away to glory on a brisk tailwind.

The altitude of the end point of the course must be within 20 vertical metres of altitude of the start point. i.e. no going to the top of a mountain and riding down to the bottom.

No drafting. As this is impossible to police, we’ll rely on your honour here.

There are no prizes (as yet). Even if there are prizes the principal reward will be your own sense of achievement at succeeding at something that will be challenging for all but the fittest, strongest cyclists. Everyone who succeeds in the challenge will be honoured by name on The Bike Show and I’ll figure out a way of celebrating the challenge together later in the year. Maybe someone in the bike industry will donate us some prizes. If you can help with that, please get in touch.

The challenge is open to men and women. Women are also eligible to attempt the Listeners Hour (Women Only edition), which observes exactly the same rules, except that the distance is slightly less. The distance for the Women Only challenge will be determined following Dame Sarah Storey’s attempt on the Hour Record by taking her time as a percentage of the current men’s Hour Record and applying that percentage to Desgrange’s Hour Record distance of 35.325km. It’ll likely be around the 30km mark.

Please do share your experiences of trying to go faster. I’m going to be trying to break 35.325km myself. Let’s try to do this together!

Any other questions or clarifications, just holler. We may well need to make things up as we go along.

Good luck and ride fast!

Jack Thurston

How to Ride Your Bike Faster

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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.

A Year on Two Wheels

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It’s the toughest and longest standing record in cycling. Only a handful of people have attempted to break the record Tommy Godwin set in 1939 for the greatest distance ridden on a bike in one year. But this year two extraordinary cyclists are having a crack at it. In an in-depth interview with British long distance legend Steve Abraham (pictured, above), who is already almost six weeks into his record attempt, Jack Thurston finds out what kind of person takes on the challenge of riding an average of 205 miles for 365 days in a row. Author Dave Barter is on hand to put the year record in historical and sporting context.

Photo (C) Jack Thurston

Christmas Books Special

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Jack Thurston is joined by a galaxy of stars from the world of cycling literature to pick over the cream of this year’s crop of bike books. Nominating their cycling book of the year are Feargal McKay, Ned Boulting, Herbie Sykes, Daniel Friebe, Tom Southam, Richard Moore, Max Leonard and Emma O’Reilly. Guy Andrews, founding editor of Rouleur magazine, is on hand with his crystal ball to look at what cycling books we might expect in 2015 and years to come.

Image credit: Sharkey / Flickr – Creative Commons

Rapha at 10 and L’Eroica comes to Britain

The Bike Show and the cycle clothing company Rapha share a birthday, and while The Bike Show keeps on keeping on, Rapha has grown into a global brand and is toasting its success on the Champs-Élysées as suppliers of clothing to the Sky Pro Cycling Team. Jack checks in with Laura Bower and James Fairbank at Rapha to talk about Chris Froome’s fishnets and what the company is doing to encourage more women to ride bikes. Summer is festival time and Jack chews over the Rapha Tempest and the Eroica Britannia with Howard Smith, author of The Jersey Pocket cycling blog.

Taking the Long View of the Giro d’Italia

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In the opening week of the Giro d’Italia, or Tour of Italy, Feargal McKay joins Jack Thurston to cast a historian’s view over the race, looking into its origins, its rivalry with the Tour de France and where the race is heading in the years to come.

Feargal’s new book is The Complete Book of the Tour de France, and is out soon.

Listen to an interview with John Foot, author of Pedalare, Pedalare: A History of Italian Cycling from The Bike Show in 2012.

Image credit: …some guy (Flickr, creative commons)

Lance Armstrong: My Part in His Downfall

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New York Times reporter Juliet Macur has covered the Lance Armstrong doping story for almost a decade. Her bestselling new book Cycle of Lies: The Fall of Lance Armstrong, reveals how he won a record seven Tour de France victories and how the truth about his team’s doping finally came out. We discuss whether cycling is cleaning up its act and the risks of sports journalists becoming over-invested in the success of the stars they report on.