Talking Le Tour with Paul Fournel

paul_fournelAn extended, hour long edition of the show featuring French writer, poet, cyclist and cultural ambassador Paul Fournel (pictured). We stroll from the French House in Soho to the Rapha Cycle Club in Clerkenwell, to visit an exhibition of a hundred years of racing bicycles. The exhibition runs for two more weeks and is well worth a visit. Paul Fournel’s book Besoin de Vélo is one of the loveliest pieces of writing about cycling and is available in English translation as Need for the Bike. If you buy it after clicking through on the link, Resonance FM gets a few pennies. Rob Ainsley of the Real Cycling blog reports on the launch of London’s two new cycle superhighways.

Un Tour de France de Londres with Stephen Bayley

DSC_0560As part of this year’s London Festival of Architecture, Stephen Bayley leads a ride around the best of French architecture, art and design to be found on the streets of London. Stephen Bayley is the Observer’s architecture and design critic, the founding director of the Design Museum and in 1989 was a made a Chevalier de L’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres, France’s top artistic honour.

If you’re interested in my drinking guide for this year’s Tour De France, it’s here.

Photo credit: Rebecca Stephens

Le Tour des Vins de France (part two)

After a week of hard drinking racing, the peloton will have earned its high altitude rest day on 12 July. The race continues with another punishing Alpine stage in which the riders must haul themselves over four different climbs culminating in the Col de la Madeleine (2000 metres above sea level) and you may want to join them in spirit by lining up four different wines from a dazzling Savoyard selection. The high altitude and dry soil of this region is only suitable for specific varieties of vine that are rarely cultivated elsewhere. So fill up while you can. Look out for Jacquère, Roussanne, Altesse and Gringet whites and Mondeuse reds. The stage finish is in Saint-Jean-de-Maurienne where the iconic French Opinel brand of penknife is made. So celebrate by getting out the whetstone and introducing your blade to a few hearty Savoyard cheeses. Tome, Beaufort, Abondance and Reblochon would make a fine quartet for a dégustation fromages et vins. Continue reading

Le Tour des Vins de France (part one)

Saturday sees the start of this year’s Tour de France, the world’s biggest annual sporting event. While the athletes will be subsisting on little but Lucozade and saline drips, we spectators can thankfully pass on such revolting fare and instead charge our bidons with the finest vintages and watch as the scintillating landscapes of La Belle France unfold before our eyes (live coverage on ITV4, I’m told). What follows is a handy guide for those who’d like to match their wines with each of the twenty stages of the three week race. Continue reading

Giro d’Italia at Look Mum No Hands

coppi-bartaliAs the Giro d’Italia enters its third week, we discuss Italy’s great stage race with Lionel Birnie of Cycling Weekly, in an experimental live broadcast from Look Mum No Hands, London’s newest and best cycle-cafe. Sam Humpheson shows us around the premises. The show also features a look back at Fausto Coppi, one of the biggest stars of the golden era of cycle racing, with a visit to the exhibition of Coppi-related memorabilia at the Rapha Cycle Club, just down the road and a chat with bicycle collector Kadir Guirey. Simon Rose, who put together Rapha’s new Giro-inspired compilation CD also puts in an appearance.

Listeners may notice slightly sub-optimal audio in parts of this broadcast. These should be fixed in future live broadcasts.

The Racing Year with Lionel Birnie


In an off-season podcast-only extended episode, Lionel Birnie of Cycling Weekly joins me to talk about the year ahead in professional road racing. We talk about the season-openers in the Gulf, the Monuments and Cobbled Classics and of course the Grand Tours, where Britain’s Team Sky is hoping to make a big impact in its debut season. We round off the discussion with a look at the explosion of amateur cyclo-sportives. Many of the big sportives are already sold out but there are plenty of others to choose from. Cycling Weekly maintains a very comprehensive sportive calendar.

Photo credit: Team Sky

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.