No Bike Week: 8-15 March

nobikeweekNo Bike Week will soon be upon us. It is an experiment in asceticism and an attempt to subvert the tired notions of government-sanctioned “Bike Weeks” that take place from time to time.

Here’s how it works. You – a regular cyclist – vow not to ride a bicycle, tricycle, unicycle or other pedal-powered mechanical contrivance from 23.59 on Sunday 8th March for seven full days and nights. You may ride again from 00.01 on Monday 16 March. During this period, which you might like to think of as a “bikefast”, you will keep a record of how you manage to get around, how you’re feeling, what’s going through your mind from one day to the next. Your expectations, frustrations, unexpected pleasures, unbearable torments…. whatever they may be. The best way to do this is using a voice memo function on a mobile phone, or other recording device. Failing that, a pen and paper will do. The results will be compiled into a No Bike Week feature on The Bike Show.

I am inviting all those taking part to be my guest for a Last Supper Carnival on Sunday evening, 8 March, somewhere in central London, quite possibly at my house. If you don’t live in London or even in the UK, you can still take part. We will find a way to connect with you. If you’d like to join the brave souls who have already agreed to take part, please get in touch by email bikeshow@resonancefm.com.

2 March 2009: Riding and writing

the_rideThe Ride Journal was launched last year to widespread acclaim. Issue two is at the printers. Philip and Andrew Diprose, editor and art director, explain how they came to start a journal of personal stories about how bikes have changed people’s lives.

Among the articles in Issue 2 of The Ride Journal is Rediscovered by Rona Sutherland and is read by Ruby Wright. Ruby presents a fortnightly music podcast on Radio Nowhere called Ruby’s Chicky Boil-Ups. It’s great!. And if you want to read the article on the Highway Cycling Group from Issue 1, it’s here.

We also spotlight the new issue of Rouleur, the quarterly magazine from the Rapha stable, including an extract from Jean Bobet’s Tomorrow We Ride, translated by Adam Berry and read by Jean-Marie Orhan. To win a copy of issue 12 of Rouleur, send the correct answer to the question by email to bikeshow@resonancefm.com.

Play on links below. Other file formats (e.g. Ogg Vorbis) coming soon.

London cyclists in monkey attacks

London’s cyclists have plenty to contend with whether it’s deadly lorries and trucks, bendy-buses, white van man or suicidal pedestrians stepping out without looking. But now there is a violent cyclist-hating rollerskating monkey impersonator on the loose on our city streets. MovingTarget has the full story and the London Fixed Gear and Single Speed Forum has more, and it looks serious (well, serious and faintly amusing, if that’s possible).

Chandra, a London bicycle messenger, was assaulted earlier this week in Holborn. She recounts:

I saw him get close to a cyclist up front but couldn’t see what happened, then he headed straight for me. He threw a punch but it didn’t land straight, grazed my side more. I didn’t come off my bike or anything. Then I got really really angry and without quite thinking turned straight round and followed him onto Theobalds. I grabbed his shoulder from behind and then he swung round and hit me on the elbow…

Buffalo Bill, editor of Moving Target has taken up the matter with urbanMONKEYS (a group that represents London’s monkeys) and received this response:

[This is] the first i’ve heard of it. This is crazy. I’ve never heard anything like this before. Most monkeys I know, and I know most of them, are decent monkeys who work as or know couriers themselves. Whoever this lunatic is, I can promise you that he’ll get a serious hiding from the other monkeys if he’s caught. I seriously hope the people involved don’t hold this monkey’s actions against the rest of us and that no one is hurt further by his reckless behaviour.

Speaking for London’s bike messengers (and other cyclists), Bill offers some reassurance, “I seriously doubt that any London messenger (or any other cyclist) would hold the rest of the monkey community for this idiot’s behaviour.”

Well that’s good then. For now, dear listeners, my advice is steer clear of the monkey.

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23 February 2009: Bicycle Polo and No Bike Week

Picture credit: Roxy EricksonBicycle polo. It’s the latest sensation that’s sweeping the nation. After an account of bicycle polo played with Hungarian counts in 1934 from Patrick Leigh Fermour’s classic Between the Woods and the Water, we travel to De Beauvoir Town to find out how the game is being played in 2009. The European Hard Court Bicycle Polo Championships will be held in London this August. For more on where to play, there are lots of listings here.

No Bike Week – what happens to a cyclist when he or she can’t ride for a week? Let’s find out. More details soon. It’s likely that No Bike Week will take place at some point between now and Easter 2009. Expresssions of interest to bikeshow@resonancefm.com

Picture credit: Roxy Erickson.

Play on links below. Other file formats (e.g. Ogg Vorbis) over here.

16 February 2009: Cycling and the recession

CC Flickr - seaworthy With the UK mired deep in recession, unemployment on the rise, the value of the pound going down and consumer confidence at an all time low, we ask what effect this is having on the cycling business. We hear from the owners of two of London’s new breed of bicycle boutiques (Tour de Ville and Bobbin Bicycles), from bike messenger Nhatt Attack, who has swapped her bike for a Christiania tricycle and is delivering flowers, from Carlton Reid, cycling journalist and Executive Editor of bike industry magazine BikeBiz.com and from BikeSnobNYC who adds his two pennies from New York.

Play on links below, other file formats (eg. Ogg Vorbis) over here.

London cycle hire scheme – the lowdown

An accident of geography means that, official speaking, I’m a Lambeth Cyclist but I’m a Southwark Cyclist at heart, not least because of the dynamic Barry Mason, the quirky Rob Ainsley, the luminous Rebecca Lack and the feisty Ann Warren. I can even see the Southwark-Lambeth ‘county line’ from my doorstep. So I was delighted to be invited to attend their monthly meeting last night at which Transport for London’s project manager for London’s ‘Velib style’ cycle hire scheme gave a talk and answered questions. Continue reading