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.

Pushing the Limits


The Transcontinental Race is a test of body, mind and spirit. The format is simple. It’s a single stage race that begins on one side of the European continent (in Belgium) and ends on the other (in Turkey). Riders must plan their own routes and navigate themselves without any support. Jack hears from four riders readying themselves for the 2016 race. But not everyone is ready to race 4000km across Europe, and that’s why Transcontinental organisers Mike Hall and Anna Haslock dreamed up a shorter, more accessible format, called the Valleycat. Jack spends a weekend in deepest mid-Wales to find out more.