Land’s End to John O’Groats is a classic cycle touring route. But it was also the blue riband distance among the long distance record-breaking heyday of the 1930s to the 1960s. In 1954 Eileen Sheridan, a diminutive cyclist from Coventry sponsored by the huge Hercules Bicycle Company, set a new record that stood for decades. Now over 90, Eileen recounts a truly epic journey and tells the story of how she became one of the best-known, and best-paid, cyclists in Britain.
On the eve of Kraftwerk’s eight night residency at the Tate Modern, Jack is joined by David Buckley, music writer and author of a new biography of the German electronic pop pioneers. Among the revelations in his book is evidence that a serious obsession with cycling contributed to the slowing of the band’s musical output in the 1980s and, ultimately, the break-up of the group’s classic line-up. Jack and David talk about Kraftwerk’s journey from experimental music-making to the pinnacle of influence over pop, rock, hip-hop and dance music as well as their love affair with riding their bikes.
Grant Petersen thinks most cyclists need to ‘unrace themselves’, that is to say, stop following what professional racing cyclists do. Instead we should all ride more comfortable bikes in more comfortable clothes and be more relaxed about the whole experience. He’s written a book called Just Ride: A Radically Practical Guide to Riding Your Bike and, in an extended interview, he tells Jack Thurston exactly what he means.
In the third and final instalment of the Raleigh mini-season, listeners to The Bike Show share their recollections of Raleigh bicycles they have loved – and loathed. Jack Thurston is joined by broadcaster and artist Ruby Wright and London man-about-town and Raleigh Twenty owner Jean-Marie Orhan. In a podcast-only bonus feature, Tony Hadland shares his thoughts on restoring old, neglected Raleigh bicycles.
Apologies to ‘Fun Run’ Robbie who is of course not ‘Fun Boy’ Robbie at all (or maybe he is?!) and yes, the town of Hawick in the Scottish Borders is pronounced like this.
Bicycle polo has been played for more than a century but the ‘hard court’ variety is a relatively new, urban development. Todd, Mat and Rupert of London’s Cosmic Bike Polo team (pictured, above) explain how the sport came about, how it has developed in its short history and how bike polo players are pursuing a DIY approach to innovation in bicycle design. This conversation was part of the Design Museum’s Bike V Design night.
On the eve of the summer edition of the People’s Grand Tour, Jack goes for a spin around the back lanes of rural Hertfordshire with cycling journalist Lionel Birnie, a regular guest on The Bike Show, who writes about professional bike racing for the Sunday Times and Cycle Sport magazine. The People’s Grand Tour is open to anyone willing to commit to riding at least ten days over a 23 day period, starting this Saturday 11 August. It’s free to enter and a great way of increasing the amount of riding you’re doing. Our ride took in Ivinghoe Beacon, two punctures and ended with a coffee at The Hub, a fantastic new cycling cafe in Redbourne.
In a live broadcast from Belgium House, a temporary Olympic Village and ‘cycling paradise’ in London’s Middle Temple, Jack finds out about Flandrien cycling culture from Rik Vanwalleghem, director of the Tour of Flanders centre in Belgium. At the launch of the Rapha Cycle Club in Soho, Rapha founder Simon Mottram reflects on the eight years since the company was launched in 2004. London cyclist Nick Hussey of the recently launched Vulpine clothing brand talks about designing and making top quality, stylish apparel for the discerning cyclist. And Resonance FM engineer Chris Dixon rides up a virtual Koppenberg.
Photo credit: Belgium House
This is the last in the current season. The next season begins in October though there will be a few off-season podcasts to keep an eye out for.