It’s July, that means it’s the Tour de France. Jack Thurston talks with Ned Boulting, a sports reporter who has been covering the Tour for ITV since 2003. He talks about the rise in popularity of cycle sport and everyday cycling over the past decade and the high jinks he’s got up to while covering the last nine Tours de France Ned’s book, How I Won the Yellow Jumper, is out now, published by Yellow Jersey Press.
1987 was an annus mirabilis for Stephen Roche, one of a wave of world class Irish athletes that rose to fame that decade. He won the Giro d’Italia, the Tour de France and the World Championship road race. The only other rider to have accomplished this feat, know as the ‘triple crown’, is Eddy Merckx. Roche has a new book out called ‘Born To Ride’ and talks about his life in cycling, winning the triple crown, as well as his thoughts on today’s peloton, the scourge of doping and his own implication in an EPO doping conspiracy.
His new autobiography, Born to Ride, is out now, published by Yellow Jersey Press.
At the start of the second week of this year’s Giro d’Italia, we take the long view of cycle sport in Italy with John Foot, professor of modern Italian history at University College London. His book Pedalare! Pedalare! tells the fascinating story of how Italy fell in love with the bicycle and how cycle sport took a central role in national life.
Cross Elvis Presley with Muhammad Ali, raise him in a grocery shop in post-war Belgium, put him on a bicycle and what do you get? The greatest cyclist of all time: Eddy Merckx. Cycling journalists Daniel Friebe and William Fotheringham have both treated us to new books about Eddy Merckx, the Cannibal, winner of 525 professional races, five Tours de France, five Giri d’Italia and countless Classics. He was world champion and broke the hour record. We talk about his career, his motivations and the challenges of telling the story of the greatest racing cyclist who ever lived.
In the concluding half of an extended interview with engineer and bicycle inventor Mike Burrows, we talk about Mike’s biggest passion: laid back bicycles. He explains how these human powered vehicles came about and where he hopes they’re going. Plus Simon Nurse discusses the possibility of a cycling equivalent of the London Marathon.
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.
For a second year, the Bespoked show in Bristol has provided a platform for a new generation of British bicycle framebuilders to showcase their work. Featured in this episode: Paul Villiers, Tom Donhou, Ted James, Ricky Feather and Jonathan Paulus. In a podcast-only extra, cycle sport journalist Lionel Birnie gives his take on the spring classics thus far and a look ahead to this weekend’s Paris Roubaix.