From Sublime to Ridiculous

jarryCopenhagen is widely regarded as the world’s most cycle-friendly city. I ask Copenhagen’s Mayor Klaus Bondam what advice he gives to other city leaders in how to emulate the Danish capital. Multitalented musician, songwriter and cartoonist Peter Blegvad reads Alfred Jarry’s proto-absurdist short story “The Crucifixion Considered as an Uphill Bicycle Race”. Jarry (pictured, above) was fond of cycling around Paris with a giant bell mounted on his bicycle and firing a pistol into the air to clear the road. While this is highly tempting, it may turn out to be counterproductive on today’s city streets. Why not try, instead, a website where you can record bike lane violations: Plus reflections on a big day in Le Tour De France.

Play on links below.

Podcast only: Theatre Review – Pedal Pusher

ppPedal Pusher is a play that follows three professional cyclists, Jan Ullrich, Marco Pantani and Lance Armstrong, in the most dramatic recent era of professional cycle sport. From the young prodigy Jan Ullrich winning the Tour in 1997, the doping scandals of 1998, Armstrong’s conquest of cancer and ending with Pantani’s exile from the sport and eventual death from a cocaine overdose. By interweaving the biographical stories with recreations of the Tour de France races onstage, the play tells the difficult but uplifting story of their lives through excitement and energy of the race itself. I speak with the four-man cast and director Roland Smith.

Pedal Pusher runs until Saturday 1st August 2009, showing on Monday to Saturday nights at 7:30pm. Tickets are £12 (£10 concessions). Rob Ainsley at Real Cycling has reviewed Pedal Pusher as has Edward R Burge.

Photo © Holly McGlynn

Play on links below.

Blazing Saddles: Inside the Brooks factory

For long-distance cycling they’re a must and they’ll improve the look of any bicycle. Brooks leather saddles date back to the 1870s and are still made in Birmingham where they were first invented. Steve Green of Brooks talks about the history and the craft of the most venerable and most comfortable bicycle saddle there is. We also listen to some of the fantastic machines (pictured, left) that are still going strong in the Brooks factory.

AudioBoo the Dunwich Dynamo

Update (6 July): Thanks to all those who took part. Interesting to hear the powers of reasoned speech decline as the night wore on. And there appeared to be problems uploading out of 3G range – something that should look into if this is really going to become a platform for mobile audioblogging. You can listen to all the audioBoos from the Dunwich Dynamo 2009 here. Some lovely photos here.

The Dunwich Dynamo is the greatest London cycle event, bar none. A free, turn-up-and-go night right to the Suffolk Coast. Just long enough to feel like a real achievement, but well within the reach of an averagely fit day-to-day cyclist. The Bike Show has featured DD16 and DD12 but this year, coverage is going to be a novel experiment in what Nathan Barley would probably refer to as “self-facilitating, crowd-sourced audio mashup”. But don’t let that put you off.

If you’re riding this year’s Dunwich Dynamo and you have an iPhone, then I hope you’ll take part in the experiment. Here’s how it works. audioBoo is a really nice free application (made by a London-based company) that allows you to record snippets of audio, up to three minutes in duration, and post them to the web. Audio blogging if you like. It’s incredibly easy to use and the sound quality from the iPhone’s internal microphone isn’t bad at all. You just need to sign up for a free audioBoo account and download the free app from the iPhone app store. Then you’re ready to go.

What I want you to do is to record moments from the night – before the start, during the ride, at the half-way stop, at the end, on the beach, in the cafe having breakfast… on the coach (or ride!) back, in the bath at home… wherever. Record anything you like. The ambiance, your own reflections, a short interview with a friend or stranger. Add the tag DD17 and all the snippets will be aggregated into a big pool of sound, a unique record of a unique night. If enough people do it, it should be possible to produce a feature on the radio show made up of everyone’s recordings. Simple as that. Any questions, hit the comments below…