High on a Mountain Top

Since the very earliest years of the bicycle, adventurous cyclists have been unable to resist the allure of the mountains – the challenge of riding up and the thrill of freewheeling down the other side. Mountains are also the crucible of many of the most dramatic moments in professional bike racing. Daniel Friebe and Pete Goding, the authors of Mountain Higher: Europe’s Extreme, Undiscovered and Unforgettable Cycle Climbs join host Jack Thurston to talk about the quest for ever more exhilarating climbs and breathtakingly beautiful places. I

In a podcast-only extra, Bill Chidley reports back from the Annual General Meeting of the London Cycling Campaign, where important details of the Space For Cycling campaign were agreed.

Photo credit: Pete Goding

C’est Magnifique! C’est le Tour de France!

Mont Ventoux graffiti

This year’s Tour de France was the hundredth edition of the world’s biggest and best bicycle race – and it proved to be a race to remember. Jack Thurston talks with ‘Buffalo’ Bill Chidley about three weeks of outstanding bike racing. Next year the Tour will begin in Yorkshire and cycling journalist Peter Cossins is already excited about the race passing right by his house in Ilkley, West Yorkshire.

Image credit: ironmanixs via Flickr Creative Commons

How Britain Stopped Worrying and Learned to Love Bike Racing

In the first show of the new season, Jack takes a leisurely ride in the Welsh Borders with Ned Boulting, one of the faces of ITV’s coverage of the Tour de France. They discuss Ned’s new book On the Road Bike: the Search for a Nation’s Cycling Soul, an engaging and ideosyncratic history of British bike racing.

Podcast special: Reading Le Tour de France

1979 - Peugeot - Tour de France

It’s just a few days until the start of the hundredth edition of the world’s greatest bike race, the Tour de France. Book publishers have taken this historic milestone as their cue to commission and produce an enormous quantity of books about the race, its history and legend.

To help sort the wheat from the chaff is Feargal McKay, a man who’s read more books about professional bike racing than there are hairpin bends in the Pyrenees. As the resident book reviewer at the Podium Cafe website, Feargal Mckay has built a reputation for outstanding book reviews that are both thorough and thought provoking.

The books discussed are as follows:

Tour de France: The Official 100th Race Anniversary Edition by Françoise Laget, Gilles Montgermont, Serge Laget & Philippe Cazaban. Publisher: Quercus.

Tour de France 100 by Richard Moore. Publisher: Bloomsbury Sport.

Mapping Le Tour de France: 100 Tour de France race route maps by Ellis Bacon. Publisher: Collins.

Mountain High: Europe’s 50 Greatest Cycle Climbs by Daniel Friebe. Publisher: Quercus.

French Revolutions: Cycling the Tour de France by Tim Moore. Publisher: Yellow Jersey.

The Secret Race: Inside the Hidden World of the Tour de France by Tyler Hamilton and Daniel Coyle. Publisher: Corgi.

Seven Deadly Sins: My Pursuit of Lance Armstrong by David Walsh. Publisher: Simon & Schuster.

Bad to the Bone by James Waddington. Publisher: Dedalus.

Consumed by Jonathan Budds. Self-published.

The Sweat of the Gods: Myths and Legends of Bicycle Racing by Benjo Maso. Publisher: Mousehold Press.

The Tour de France A Cultural History by Christopher S. Thompson. Publisher: University of California Press.

Het feest van list en bedrog by Herman Chevrolet. Publisher: De Arbeiderspers.

Podcast special: Did Cycling Kill Kraftwerk?

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.

Podcast special: Lionel Birnie’s People’s Grand Tour

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.

Tour de France Rest Day Chit-Chat with Lionel Birnie

Today is the last rest day in the Tour before the race heads into the Pyrenees for tomorrow’s frighteningly gruelling mountain stage around the Circle of Death. The rest gave Jack Thurston time to catch up with Lionel Birnie, The Bike Show’s favourite cycling journalist, as he was lounging poolside at his 5 star chateau hotel pacing the worn carpet of his grotty guest-house.

Lionel writes for Cycle Sport Magazine and the Sunday Times. You can follow him on twitter and read his articles in Cycle Sport Magazine and in the Sunday Times.

Image credit: Benat1731 (Creative Commons license)