Happy Christmas from the Vulpine Christmas Fête

In a seasonal podcast special, Jack heads to Balham, Gateway to the South, for the Christmas Fête organised by Vulpine, the London-based cycle clothing company. The Fête brings together the best and most creative British cycling enterprises including The Ride Journal, Artcrank, Michaux Club, Pannier.cc, Marsh-Mallows Cycling Holidays, and Fresh Tripe.

Image credit: Nick Hussey of Vulpine.

Podcast Special: The Gospel According to St Grant

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.

Grant Petersen is a highly regarded bicycle designer, formerly of Bridgestone USA and founder and owner of Rivendell Bicycle Works in northern California.

Across Africa by Bike (part two)

Pete Gostelow rode twenty thousand miles across Africa and passed through dozens of countries. In doing so he showed that the bicycle is the best way to travel. In this episode we continue our ride to Battersea Park and talk along the way about where he slept, what he ate, what his motivations were for making the journey and what it’s like to be back home after such a long trip. Pete also explains the inspiration he thinks ordinary cyclists can take from his long African adventure.

This is the first of a two-part feature. Listen to part one.

Photo: Pete Gostelow

Across Africa by Bike (part one)

As November brings cold, dark cycling conditions to Britain, there’s no better time to get out the maps and start dreaming up adventures for next year. How about 20,000 miles across Africa? That’s a journey recently completed by Pete Gostelow. After crossing the Sahara, the Congo and the Namibian badlands, will Pete survive the mean streets of south London in a rolling interview? This is the first of a two-part feature.

Listen to part two.

Image credit: Pete Gostelow

Cycle-touring at the Olympics

There’s a lot of cycling at the Olympics. On the road, on the track, BMX and mountainbiking too. But there is one aspect of cycling that is quite neglected by the UCI and the IOC: cycle-touring.

I propose for the 2016 Rio Olympics a new cycle-touring discipline. It will take the form of an Omnium, with the following eight events:

– Riding a bicycle with fully-laden rear panniers up an exceptionally steep hill, without getting out of the saddle and without lifting the front wheel off the ground. Any gearing permitted.

– Fording a stream, climbing a stile and safely crossing a field occupied by a bull.

– Removing an Ordnance Survey map from a handlebar bag-mounted map case, unfolding it, refolding it and returning to the case, while riding downhill at speed with a cross-wind.

– Effecting a surprise roadside bicycle repair task, with insufficient tools.

– Consuming a four course lunch including an Ile Flottante and half a bottle of rosé and then cycling a further 100 kilometres before nightfall.

– Putting up a tent in the dark without a torch.

– Cooking a tasty three course camp supper using the following ingredients: ramen noodles, a tin of sardines, a sachet of Cup-a-Soup, an egg, a malt loaf, Kendal mint cake and anything foraged from the roadside.

– The final, tie-breaker event is a roadside encounter with another competitor in which each must deploy false modesty to establish superiority in terms of distance travelled, physical prowess and choice of equipment.

To ensure faithfulness to the Corinthian ideals of the Olympics and old-fashioned fair play, the IOC will enforce a strict prohibition on the use of lycra and any other performance-enhancing clothing.

Will you add your voice to the campaign to have cycle-touring at the Olympics? What other events would you add to the cycle-touring Omnium?

Remembering Albert Winstanley and announcing the Bicycle Reader

Tim Dawson and Jack Thurston talk about Albert Winstanley, the Lancashire writer, broadcaster and cycletourist who died earlier this year aged 95. Winstanley was a top notch nature writer and had the rare talent to convey in his writing the pleasures of a simple bicycle ride.

One of Winstanley articles features in the first edition of the Bicycle Reader, a new collection of quality writing about riding, co-edited by Jack Thurston and Tim Dawson, and available for Kindle and other e-book readers for the very modest price of £1.53. If you’re in the UK you’ll find it for Kindle on Amazon.co.uk and if you’re elsewhere, Amazon.com. If you’re not a Kindle or iPad user, there’s more info at bicyclereader.com.

We hope you enjoy it!