Tour de France: Rest Day Review with Simon Warren

Toni Rominger on Alpe d'Huez  in 1996 / (C) Piano Piano - Flickr CC

Toni Rominger on Alpe d’Huez in 1996 / (C) Piano Piano – Flickr CC

It’s the end of the second week of this year’s Tour de France, just time for us – and the riders – to catch our breaths before the final week and the showdown in the Alps.

Joining Jack Thurston for this Rest Day Review is Simon Warren, a man who knows cycling’s great ups and downs better than almost anyone outside the professional peloton. Simon is an accomplished amateur racing cyclist and author of the 100 Greatest Climbs series of pocket sized books cycling hill climbs. His latest is a guide to the greatest climbs of South East England.

Tour de France: Rest Day Review with Edward Pickering

Photo credit Frans Berkelaar / Flickr - CC-SA

Photo credit Frans Berkelaar / Flickr – CC-SA

After eight varied and exciting days of bike racing, the riders in the Tour de France take a well-earned rest day. Cycling journalist and author Edward Pickering has been following the race and is on hand to review the first week and look ahead to how the race will unfold as the road heads uphill for three tough days in the Pyrenees. Edward Pickering is the author of The Yellow Jersey Club, published by Bantam Press, and editor of Procycling magazine.

Tour de France preview with Guy Andrews


With just a few days until the start of the 2015 Tour de France, cycling author, journalist and photographer Guy Andrews joins Jack Thurston to look forward to one of the most eagerly anticipated grand tours in decades. With four strong contenders and an action-packed parcours, the race promises three weeks of bike racing excitement.

Put Me Back On The Trike


Three months and 17,000 miles into his attempt to break the longest-standing record in cycling, Steve Abraham suffered a road crash with a moped, leaving him with two broken bones in his ankle. We hear from some of his many well-wishers and Steve explains how he came to the extraordinary decision to keep on riding, on a specially adapted tricycle.

Bike Boom? What Bike Boom?


Bike sales are up, cycling is suddenly all over our newspapers and magazines. We in Britain are in the middle of a bonafide bike boom. So says veteran cycling journalist Carlton Reid, who’s writing a book about the bike boom, that’s called, imaginatively, “Bike Boom“. But fellow long-in-the-tooth cycling journalist John Stevenson of Road.CC disagrees. Cycling in Britain is far from booming, it’s flat-lining. The pair lock horns on air, joining host Jack Thurston to debate the bike boom.

The Listeners’ Hour Explained


As described in this week’s podcast, the Listener’s Hour is a cycling challenge open to all listeners to The Bike Show.

And the challenge is this: to ride your bike for one hour and in that time, to travel further than 35.325km.

Why 35.325km? This is the distance of the first ever hour record, set on the Buffalo Velodrome in Paris by Henri Desgrange in 1893. By riding further than this you’ll not only know what it’s was like to have been the fastest cyclist in the world in 1893 but you’ll have beaten the man who dreamed up the Tour de France and ran the race during its most brutal, punishing era.

How it works:

Record your hour attempt using the Strava app on a smartphone or a GPS device. Post your rides to the Listeners’ Hour club page. You can have as many attempts as you like.

Attempts shall be on a road course of your choice. Any pedal-powered machine is OK. Recumbents and trikes are more than welcome. You may find it less of a challenge on a super aerodynamic laid back machine, but the choice is entirely up to you.

The start and end points of the course should be within 3km of each other. So no sailing away to glory on a brisk tailwind.

The altitude of the end point of the course must be within 20 vertical metres of altitude of the start point. i.e. no going to the top of a mountain and riding down to the bottom.

No drafting. As this is impossible to police, we’ll rely on your honour here.

There are no prizes (as yet). Even if there are prizes the principal reward will be your own sense of achievement at succeeding at something that will be challenging for all but the fittest, strongest cyclists. Everyone who succeeds in the challenge will be honoured by name on The Bike Show and I’ll figure out a way of celebrating the challenge together later in the year. Maybe someone in the bike industry will donate us some prizes. If you can help with that, please get in touch.

The challenge is open to men and women. Women are also eligible to attempt the Listeners Hour (Women Only edition), which observes exactly the same rules, except that the distance is slightly less. The distance for the Women Only challenge will be determined following Dame Sarah Storey’s attempt on the Hour Record by taking her time as a percentage of the current men’s Hour Record and applying that percentage to Desgrange’s Hour Record distance of 35.325km. It’ll likely be around the 30km mark.

Please do share your experiences of trying to go faster. I’m going to be trying to break 35.325km myself. Let’s try to do this together!

Any other questions or clarifications, just holler. We may well need to make things up as we go along.

Good luck and ride fast!

Jack Thurston

How to Ride Your Bike Faster


With the recent reawakening of interest in the Hour Record, host Jack Thurston is joined by Michael Hutchinson (pictured, above), a professional bike racer who has dominated the UK time trialling scene for more than a decade, setting British national records for distances from 10 miles to 100 miles and winning 56 national time trial championships. He’s also an accomplished writer and his latest book Faster: The Obsession, Science and Luck Behind the World’s Fastest Cyclists documents with forensic detail and wry humour his career-long quest to ride his bicycle very, very fast. He looks back on the flurry of hour records over the past six months and sizes up the chance that Bradley Wiggins will put the record out of reach for a generation.

Jack and Michael also reveal a new hour record challenge for listeners to The Bike Show. For more details on The Listeners’ Hour, see the discussion section of The Bike Show’s Strava club page.