Jack rides with singer-songwriter and cycle-tourist Jet McDonald (pictured, above), setting out from Bristol on a summer evening, riding along the banks of the River Avon, through the industrial landscape of Avonmouth to the banks of the River Severn and beyond. Along the way they talk about Jet’s ride from Bristol to India, a journey that inspired an album, Soft Soft Soft the Sparrow Sings.
For many cyclists, breaking through the 100 mile barrier opens up a whole new world of long distance cycling. Kieron Yates, a two time finisher of the 1200km Paris-Brest-Paris ride, joins Jack Thurston to talk about the allure of going the distance, with advice from a handful of members of the global randonneuring scene. For more on randonneuring in the UK, check out Audax UK’s calendar of events.
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
Photo credit: Pete Goding
In a talk recorded at Friday Late “Eat, Ride, Sleep, Repeat” held earlier this year at the Victoria and Albert Museum in London, Jack Thurston tells a secret history of British bicycle cultures, with help from Ruth Beale, Tim Dawson, Guy Andrews and Patrick Field.
This is an enhanced podcast with still images accompanying the audio.
You can also watch it here on Vimeo:
“And sometimes the road was only a lane, with thick hawthorn hedges, and the green elms overhung it on either side so that when you looked up there was only a strip of blue sky between. And as you rode along in the warm, keen air you had a sensation that the world was standing still and life would last for ever. Although you were pedalling with such energy you had a delicious feeling of laziness. You were quite happy when no one spoke, and if one of the party from sheer high spirits suddenly put on speed and shot ahead it was a joke that everyone laughed at and for a few minutes you pedalled as hard as you could. And we chaffed one another innocently and giggled at our own humour. Now and then one would pass cottages with little gardens in front of them and in the gardens were hollyhocks and tiger lilies; and a little way from the road were farmhouses, with their spacious barns and oasthouses; and one would pass through hopfields with the ripening hops hanging in garlands. The public houses were friendly and informal, hardly more important than cottages, and on the porches often honeysuckle would be growing. The names they bore were usual and familiar: the Jolly Sailor, the Merry Ploughman, the Crown and Anchor, the Red Lion.”
From Cakes and Ale (1930) by W. Somerset Maugham.
In the last show of the summer season, Jack goes for a leisurely spin around the Welsh borders with local cyclist Owen Davies as his guide, from Abergavenny to Monmouth and back, past Raglan Castle (pictured above), Rockfield recording studios and the unlikely Welsh residence of the notorious Nazi politician Rudolf Hess.
Image credit: Cadw
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.