Jack goes for a ride with Dr Ian Walker, an environmental psychologist from the University of Bath and long-distance bike racer. Ian found global fame about fifteen years ago with an experiment he did to measure how close he was passed by overtaking cars, depending on what he was wearing.
Ian is also an accomplished bike rider, specialising in ultra long distance racing. He was a high placed finisher in the Transcontinental Race, he won the North Cape 4000 and last year set a new world record for riding across Europe in a north south direction.
The ride takes Ian and Jack from Abergavenny up the Usk valley and after a a climb via Pengenffordd into the Wye valley, returning via Cockitt Hill.
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.
Chris Boardman has done it all. Born into a cycling family he became a domestic time trial demon and won an Olympic Gold Medal in 1992. He set world records for the Hour on the track and raced on the continent as a professional, wearing the yellow jersey in the Tour de France. His R&D team helped British Cycling to world domination on the track and he founded Boardman Bikes, now the best selling brand of bikes in Britain. He has thrown himself into campaigning for everyday cycling with passion and is one of the most effective advocates for cycling, whether in the media or lobbying politicians. He has just written a new biography and is in conversation with the author Rob Penn, in front of a live audience in Monmouth, organised by Rossiter Books.
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.