After eight varied and exciting days of bike racing, the riders in the Tour de France take a well-earned rest day. Cycling journalist and author Edward Pickering has been following the race and is on hand to review the first week and look ahead to how the race will unfold as the road heads uphill for three tough days in the Pyrenees. Edward Pickering is the author of The Yellow Jersey Club, published by Bantam Press, and editor of Procycling magazine.
With just a few days until the start of the 2015 Tour de France, cycling author, journalist and photographer Guy Andrews joins Jack Thurston to look forward to one of the most eagerly anticipated grand tours in decades. With four strong contenders and an action-packed parcours, the race promises three weeks of bike racing excitement.
Three months and 17,000 miles into his attempt to break the longest-standing record in cycling, Steve Abraham suffered a road crash with a moped, leaving him with two broken bones in his ankle. We hear from some of his many well-wishers and Steve explains how he came to the extraordinary decision to keep on riding, on a specially adapted tricycle.
As described in this week’s podcast, the Listener’s Hour is a cycling challenge open to all listeners to The Bike Show.
And the challenge is this: to ride your bike for one hour and in that time, to travel further than 35.325km.
Why 35.325km? This is the distance of the first ever hour record, set on the Buffalo Velodrome in Paris by Henri Desgrange in 1893. By riding further than this you’ll not only know what it’s was like to have been the fastest cyclist in the world in 1893 but you’ll have beaten the man who dreamed up the Tour de France and ran the race during its most brutal, punishing era.
How it works:
Record your hour attempt using the Strava app on a smartphone or a GPS device. Post your rides to the Listeners’ Hour club page. You can have as many attempts as you like.
Attempts shall be on a road course of your choice. Any pedal-powered machine is OK. Recumbents and trikes are more than welcome. You may find it less of a challenge on a super aerodynamic laid back machine, but the choice is entirely up to you.
The start and end points of the course should be within 3km of each other. So no sailing away to glory on a brisk tailwind.
The altitude of the end point of the course must be within 20 vertical metres of altitude of the start point. i.e. no going to the top of a mountain and riding down to the bottom.
No drafting. As this is impossible to police, we’ll rely on your honour here.
There are no prizes (as yet). Even if there are prizes the principal reward will be your own sense of achievement at succeeding at something that will be challenging for all but the fittest, strongest cyclists. Everyone who succeeds in the challenge will be honoured by name on The Bike Show and I’ll figure out a way of celebrating the challenge together later in the year. Maybe someone in the bike industry will donate us some prizes. If you can help with that, please get in touch.
The challenge is open to men and women. Women are also eligible to attempt the Listeners Hour (Women Only edition), which observes exactly the same rules, except that the distance is slightly less. The distance for the Women Only challenge will be determined following Dame Sarah Storey’s attempt on the Hour Record by taking her time as a percentage of the current men’s Hour Record and applying that percentage to Desgrange’s Hour Record distance of 35.325km. It’ll likely be around the 30km mark.
Please do share your experiences of trying to go faster. I’m going to be trying to break 35.325km myself. Let’s try to do this together!
Any other questions or clarifications, just holler. We may well need to make things up as we go along.
Good luck and ride fast!
With the recent reawakening of interest in the Hour Record, host Jack Thurston is joined by Michael Hutchinson (pictured, above), a professional bike racer who has dominated the UK time trialling scene for more than a decade, setting British national records for distances from 10 miles to 100 miles and winning 56 national time trial championships. He’s also an accomplished writer and his latest book Faster: The Obsession, Science and Luck Behind the World’s Fastest Cyclists documents with forensic detail and wry humour his career-long quest to ride his bicycle very, very fast. He looks back on the flurry of hour records over the past six months and sizes up the chance that Bradley Wiggins will put the record out of reach for a generation.
Jack and Michael also reveal a new hour record challenge for listeners to The Bike Show. For more details on The Listeners’ Hour, see the discussion section of The Bike Show’s Strava club page.
It’s the toughest and longest standing record in cycling. Only a handful of people have attempted to break the record Tommy Godwin set in 1939 for the greatest distance ridden on a bike in one year. But this year two extraordinary cyclists are having a crack at it. In an in-depth interview with British long distance legend Steve Abraham (pictured, above), who is already almost six weeks into his record attempt, Jack Thurston finds out what kind of person takes on the challenge of riding an average of 205 miles for 365 days in a row. Author Dave Barter is on hand to put the year record in historical and sporting context.
Photo (C) Jack Thurston
Jack Thurston is joined by a galaxy of stars from the world of cycling literature to pick over the cream of this year’s crop of bike books. Nominating their cycling book of the year are Feargal McKay, Ned Boulting, Herbie Sykes, Daniel Friebe, Tom Southam, Richard Moore, Max Leonard and Emma O’Reilly. Guy Andrews, founding editor of Rouleur magazine, is on hand with his crystal ball to look at what cycling books we might expect in 2015 and years to come.
Image credit: Sharkey / Flickr – Creative Commons