What makes a 40-year-old man take up bike racing? Jack Thurston talks with Bill Strickland, American cycling journalist, author of a clutch of cycling books including a memoir, Ten Points, which tells of how his quest to make a mark on his local amateur bike racing scene helped him come to terms with his own inner demons caused by the torture he suffered as a child at the hands of an abusive father. Bill also talks about the fallout from the disgrace of Lance Armstrong, the state of doping in today’s pro peloton and his #CapsNotHats campaign. Plus Jon Spencer tells of his journey to become a Super Randonneur.
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 1892 a young accountant from t, USA, quit his job and set off to cycle solo around the world. Frank Lenz rode a Rover Safety Bicycle, a revolutionary new design that would soon consign the traditional high wheeler – or penny farthing – to obscurity. It was the birth of the bicycle as we know it today. And Lenz is one of the pioneers of cycle touring. Cycling historian David Herlihy’s latest book tells the story of his courageous, extraordinary and ultimately ill-fated journey.
Following on from last week’s documentary feature by Kieron Yates is a studio discussion of Paris-Brest-Paris, the world’s most venerable long distance bicycle race. In the studio are PBP veterans Judith Swallow and Dave Minter, and PBP debutant Pete Kelsey. Chris Ragsdale, one of this year’s stars, clocking in an exceptionally impressive sub-45 hour time, joins us down the line from his native Seattle.
Image credit: Wig Worland, from Pete Kelsey’s short film Towards the Ocean.
The messenger bag is one of the defining elements of the “new urban bike culture” and Bart Kyzar has been making bombproof bags for bicyclists since the mid-1990s, first with Chrome and now with Mission Workshop, based in San Francisco.
Last summer Mission Workshop opened a new store at the Truman Brewery, Brick Lane. While riding through the sunny streets of London, Bart tells how he and a couple of friends started making messenger bags while living in a warehouse in Boulder, Colorado, how rising osteopathy bills led to a fundamental rethink of traditional messenger bag design and why Mission Workshop is proud of its tiny niche in the US military industrial complex.
The cycle camping tour continues into the Adirondack Mountains of upstate New York, through Vermont and into Massachusetts. Struggles with thunderstorms and flying insects and a visit to the Crane paper mill where US dollar bills are made. Picture above shows the view back down the road from the summit of Whiteface Mountain.
Play on links below. There is an online map of the route here.
The first of two features on a north American cycle tour undertaken over the summer. Starting in cycle-friendly Montreal and Quebec’s routes vertes and camping on the shores of Lake Champlain, this episode ends with a mildly disturbing encounter with an over-talkative former NYPD officer and child abuse investigator.
Plus more from Paul Fournel’s Need for the Bike. This week he turns his attention to the question of the cyclist’s tan. If you buy the book online from Amazon using the link (left) Resonance gets some of the money. If you’d rather buy it from a shop, then choose the excellent Calder Bookshop in Waterloo. Music from Sharon Jones and the Daptones, Willie Nelson and R. Crumb and his Cheap Suit Serenaders.
Play on links below.