As a bike racer Isla Rowntree took on almost every discipline in cycling, rode professionally for the Raleigh MTB team and won the British national championships in cyclocross on multiple occasions. But it is as a bike designer and entrepreneur that she’s made the biggest impact, transforming the market for children’s bikes. The high quality kids bikes she designs have given a generation of children the best possible start to a life of cycling. Jack visits Islabikes HQ just outside Ludlow, Shropshire to find out about how Isla got into cycling, how she got where she is now, and where she’s going in the future.
1. Isla on her experiences as a woman in the male-dominated bike industry:
2. Isla on the Islabikes Icons range of bikes for elderly people:
Jack goes to Preston, Lancashire to ride with artist Gavin Renshaw. They ride out on some of the City of Preston’s bicycle infrastructure before heading for the wild uplands of the Forest of Bowland. Along the way they talk about cycling in Preston and Gavin’s work with In Certain Places, a long-term project that is bringing artists and creative thinkers into the process of city planning and urban development.
Image above is View of Preston from Brindle by Gavin Renshaw, 2016.
Bike sales are up, cycling is suddenly all over our newspapers and magazines. We in Britain are in the middle of a bonafide bike boom. So says veteran cycling journalist Carlton Reid, who’s writing a book about the bike boom, that’s called, imaginatively, “Bike Boom“. But fellow long-in-the-tooth cycling journalist John Stevenson of Road.CC disagrees. Cycling in Britain is far from booming, it’s flat-lining. The pair lock horns on air, joining host Jack Thurston to debate the bike boom.
Jack Thurston’s guest this week is self-confessed angry young man, Julian Sayarer (pictured, above), who, five years ago, set a new record for cycling around the world. Having taken a strong dislike to Mark Beaumont, the previous record-holder, whose record attempt was backed by big business and, thought Sayarer, represented everything that was wrong with the world. He wanted to beat Beaumont and take the record back ‘for the people’.
They meet on on the banks of the River Wye a few miles downstream from the city of Hereford. Julian Sayarer’s book Life Cycles is published by John Blake and available in paperback and on the Kindle.
Statistics tell us that for the same distance travelled we’re more likely to come to physical harm riding a bike in Britain than using most other modes of transport. But even so, crashes are quite rare. Much more common yet much less studied and understood, are the almost crashes, the near misses, that are so much a part of the experience of cycling in Britain. The Near Miss Project is an academic-led study that seeks to find out more about the experience of near misses.
Joining host Jack Thurston to look more deeply at near misses and perceptions of road safety among cyclists are Dr Rachel Aldred, of the University of Westminster, Dr Kat Jungnickel of Goldsmiths College and John Dales, a leading UK traffic engineer and transport planner and director of Urban Movement consultancy.
As part of a partnership between The Bike Show and the University of Westminster’s Near Miss Project, we want to hear your audio stories of near misses you’ve experienced while out riding. We’ll play them on an upcoming edition of the show.
You can record your audio using the free recording widget below – just click record and speak into your computer. Or you can do it using a smartphone with the free Audioboom phone app (remember to use the tag ‘nearmiss’ when you hit save).
Klaus Bondam, Director of the Danish Cyclists Federation and former deputy mayor in charge of cycling in Copenhagen rides with ‘Buffalo’ Bill Chidley to the Hackney Cycling Conference. En route they try to find out how London’s roads compare with cycling cities like Copenhagen. Then Bill joins Kieron Yates and Jack Thurston to discuss what happened at the conference, and where things are with the Mayor of London’s much heralded cycling revolution.