Burrows on the Bicycle (part one)

Mike Burrows is probably best known for his design of the Lotus 108 pursuit bike that Chris Boardman rode in the Barcelona Olympics, winning the first gold medal for a British cyclist in over 70 years. But Mike has made a huge contribution to pedal powered machines more widely. His compact road frame first developed for Giant is now a design standard and his designs have moved the world of laid back or recumbent bicycles on from the early, pioneering days in 1970s California. Burrows remains inventive, opinionated and passionate about bicycles.

This is the first of a two part extended interview. Mike will be giving a talk on 19 June at the National Transport Museum in Coventry.

The Obree Way

Graeme Obree & Jack Thurston - Photo © Anna Gudaniec

Earlier this month, Graeme Obree was at Look Mum No Hands! for the London launch of The Obree Way, a training manual for cyclists.

Obree is a two time individual pursuit world champion, has twice broken the world hour record and is multiple winner of British national time trial championships. He is renowned not just for his athletic prowess but for his technical innovation on the bike and with the bike itself. His autobiography, The Flying Scotsman, was made into a major feature film. At 45 he is still on the bike and currently planning an attempt on the world land speed record for a human powered vehicle.

In a wide ranging conversation with Jack Thurston, presenter of The Bike Show, Obree talks about his own life as an elite athlete, his approach to training and his enduring love of just riding a bike.

“It’s a sport, it’s a pastime and it’s a form of transport. You don’t football down to the shops.”

Graeme Obree, 19 January 2012.

Channel 4 produced an excellent documentary about the rivalry between Graeme Obree and Chris Boardman. It’s on YouTube in four parts.

Is London Air Killing Us?

Some people say that air pollution in big cities like London is a public health emergency, contributing to 4,300 premature deaths a year. But nobody seems to talk about it. Is the Government doing anything to deal with it? Are cyclists at risk more than other people?

Is the Mayor of London more concerned about avoiding fines from Brussels than cleaning up the air we breathe? And why is Boris trying to glue air pollution to the roads? Jack and Jen discuss the issue with experts Simon Birkett of the Campaign for Clean Air in London and environmental lawyer Alan Andrews of Client Earth.

More data and information including some amazing maps of air pollution in London are available from the London Air Quality Network.

The Competitive Impulse

Harriet Owen following Lydia Boylan

Why do some people like to race their bicycles? We discuss the world of amateur bicycle racing with Ian Cleverly, deputy editor of Rouleur magazine and Lydia Boylan (pictured, above) of the Look Mum No Hands! race team and current Irish national track sprint champion. We also hear from Dr Jo Corbett of Portsmouth University on his findings about how the competitive impulse can drive people to new heights of athletic performance.

You can check out the Rouleur podcast over here or find it in iTunes music store.

Image credit: Biker Jun

Lock it or lose it

anthony-lau

Talking bicycle security with author and blogger Rob Ainsley and Anthony Lau, architect and designer of the excellent Cycle Hoop that cheaply converts street furniture into cycle racks. Anthony is also soon to unveil a new car-shaped bicycle storage rack (pictured, above) at the London Festival of Architecture. Rob gives his verdict on the new double-decker bicycle storage racks at Waterloo Station.

A Journey Into Tranquility

Sustrans is the sustainable transportation charity and lobby group that pioneered the national cycle network. It is also one of the UK’s biggest commissioners of public art. Today’s show is devoted to one of Sustrans’s new Prospectives series, a handful of deliberately experimental projects that are more conceptual and investigative in nature than the more traditional kinds of public art you might find on the National Cycle Network.

AuditoryLisener_s

Entitled Tranquility is a State of Mind, the project was conceived and led by Liminal, the duo of architect Frances Crow and sound artist and composer David Prior. They brought together clinical audiology, computational neuroscience and acoustics in a quest to understand more about the relationship between our sonic environment and personal wellbeing.

The 2010 London Festival of Architecture features around 20 bicycle tours, including a Sonic London ride led by Jack Thurston.

If the bike fits…

bike-fit

Following on from last week’s show on well-being, we look at the importance of getting a good fit between rider and machine. Scherritt Knoesen of The Bike Whisperer, is a leading London-based bike fitter. We talk geometry, contact points and pedaling action. Read Grant Peterson’sPetersen’s article The Shoes Ruse on the folly of clip-in pedals and cycling-specific shoes. If you go for a fitting with Scherrit tell him you heard him on The Bike Show. You never know, you might get a discount!

Illustration from Cycling Manual, 23rd edition, 1954