The return of The Bike Show sees Jack chewing the fat with Max Leonard, author of Higher Calling: Road Cycling’s Obsession with the Mountains. They talk a lot about climbing, bikepacking, the evolution of cycling towards exploring new places, about cycling in France, and about Max’s Kickstarter project to republish a long-lost cycling guide to the off-road paths and gravel tracks of the Alps.
Peter Walker (pictured, above) is a political reporter at the Guardian newspaper. He set up the Guardian’s bike blog and his new book puts the case for a healthier, safer and more people-friendly nation. In short, a Bike Nation. In conversation with Jack Thurston, Peter talks about his past life as bike messenger, how his views on cycling have evolved and why he believes now is a critical tipping point in Britain’s long and chequered history of cycling.
This year marks 200 years since Karl Drais invented a two wheeled ‘running machine’. Since then all sorts of people have ridden all sorts of bicycles for all sorts of reasons. Looking back at two centuries of cycling and cyclists is Dr Michael Hutchinson, former professional bike racer and author of several books about cycling. His latest is “Re:Cyclists – 200 years on two wheels” is an engaging and affectionate look back at the cyclists of the past two hundred years and has just been published by Bloomsbury.
The Just Giving page for donations in memory of Mike Hall is here.
The Indian Pacific Wheel Race is a gruelling 5,500 km coast-to-coast bicycle race across Australia. The race features the two leading long distance bike racers in the world as well as dozens of other cyclists determined to push themselves to the very limits of physical and mental endurance. Jack is joined by Australian cycling journalist Craig Fry and long distance cycling expert Chris White to discuss what it takes to win the race, or even to get to the finishing line in Sydney, plus the long history of overlanding in Australia and the possibilities of making the journey in a more leisurely cycle touring style.
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.
Every 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.