Under Monmouthshire Skies: Riding with Mike Parker

Mike Parker is the author of the best-selling Map Addict, an affectionate history of Ordnance Survey maps and the people who can’t get enough of their beautiful maps. He’s an accomplished guidebook writer, a former stand up comedian and has presented TV and radio programmes about Wales, his adopted homeland. In 2015 he stood for Parliament for Plaid Cymru, the party of Wales and has written a book, the Greasy Poll, about the experience. We go for a spin from Castle Meadows in Abergavenny, as it hosted the National Eisteddfod, a huge annual festival of Welsh language, culture, music and song.

You can find out more about Mike and his work on his website.

If you enjoyed the musical choices in the show, then check out the two volume compilation Welsh Rare Beat, selections of 1970s Welsh folk-rock-psychedelia compiled by Super Furry Animal Gruff Rhys and DJs Andy Votel and Dom Thomas. It’s out of print but available as a download or via Spotify.

If you’re a Welsh learner, or want to read English translations of some great Welsh music, check out the DistantDreamer93 Youtube channel.

Decoding the Landscape with Mary-Ann Ochota

roman_roadEvery weekend many tens if not hundreds of thousands of people ride their bikes in the British countryside. But are we taking the time to really understand and appreciate the things we see and places we ride through? Or is it all day dreaming about the next cake stop or going hard for that next personal best on Strava?

Mary Ann Ochota has made it her mission to help people discover the history of the landscape by looking out for signs and clues that are often hidden in plain sight. She’s appeared on television presenting documentaries and archeology shows including Time Team and Britain’s Secret Treasures and is a Fellow of the Royal Geographical Society.

Mary Ann Ochota’s new book “Hidden Histories: A spotters guide to the British Landscape” is published by Frances Lincoln.

Photograph of Roman road near Bainbridge, North Yorkshire by Chris Gunns (CC-SA)

Riding the Iron Curtain, with Tim Moore

mooreThe Cyclist Who Went Out in the Cold is comic travel writer Tim Moore’s third bicycle-based escapade, and perhaps his craziest. He attempts to ride the length of the Cold War’s Iron Curtain, from the north of Finland to the Black Sea coast. It’s near enough ten thousand kilometres, a challenge for any cyclist, and not least a slightly unfit middle aged man riding a secondhand East German shopping bike with small wheels and only two gears. Before a live audience at a book event in Monmouth, organised by Rossiter Books, Moore explains how he dreamed up the idea and how he got on.