The sporting rivalry between Chris Boardman and Graeme Obree is among the greatest in history, on a par with Ovett and Coe, Borg and McEnroe or Ali and Frazier. Twenty years on from their record-breaking exploits, Jack Thurston and Edward Pickering consider how their era marked a turning point in British cycle sport and how Chris Boardman’s scientific approach to training set the template for the top riders that followed him, from Chris Hoy to Bradley Wiggins, elevating Britain to the top of the Olympic medal table in cycling and Team Sky as the dominant force in road racing. Edward Pickering is the author of The Race Against Time: Obree, Boardman and the Quest to be the Fastest Man on Two Wheels.
Cyclists have a strange fascination with riding up hills and it’s definitely a pleasure/pain thing. Jack goes in search of the hill climb junkies, first at the Catford Hill Climb on Kent’s North Downs, the oldest continuously held bicycle race in the world, and then to Abergavenny where a new course has revived the local cycling club’s flagging hill climb event. Featuring Simon Warren, author of 100 Greatest Cycling Climbs. He’s also written a free ebook for Kindle: An Introduction to Cycling Climbs.
In the first show of the new season, Jack takes a leisurely ride in the Welsh Borders with Ned Boulting, one of the faces of ITV’s coverage of the Tour de France. They discuss Ned’s new book On the Road Bike: the Search for a Nation’s Cycling Soul, an engaging and ideosyncratic history of British bike racing.
Land’s End to John O’Groats is a classic cycle touring route. But it was also the blue riband distance among the long distance record-breaking heyday of the 1930s to the 1960s. In 1954 Eileen Sheridan, a diminutive cyclist from Coventry sponsored by the huge Hercules Bicycle Company, set a new record that stood for decades. Now over 90, Eileen recounts a truly epic journey and tells the story of how she became one of the best-known, and best-paid, cyclists in Britain.
On the eve of Kraftwerk’s eight night residency at the Tate Modern, Jack is joined by David Buckley, music writer and author of a new biography of the German electronic pop pioneers. Among the revelations in his book is evidence that a serious obsession with cycling contributed to the slowing of the band’s musical output in the 1980s and, ultimately, the break-up of the group’s classic line-up. Jack and David talk about Kraftwerk’s journey from experimental music-making to the pinnacle of influence over pop, rock, hip-hop and dance music as well as their love affair with riding their bikes.
Grant Petersen thinks most cyclists need to ‘unrace themselves’, that is to say, stop following what professional racing cyclists do. Instead we should all ride more comfortable bikes in more comfortable clothes and be more relaxed about the whole experience. He’s written a book called Just Ride: A Radically Practical Guide to Riding Your Bike and, in an extended interview, he tells Jack Thurston exactly what he means.
In the third and final instalment of the Raleigh mini-season, listeners to The Bike Show share their recollections of Raleigh bicycles they have loved – and loathed. Jack Thurston is joined by broadcaster and artist Ruby Wright and London man-about-town and Raleigh Twenty owner Jean-Marie Orhan. In a podcast-only bonus feature, Tony Hadland shares his thoughts on restoring old, neglected Raleigh bicycles.
Apologies to ‘Fun Run’ Robbie who is of course not ‘Fun Boy’ Robbie at all (or maybe he is?!) and yes, the town of Hawick in the Scottish Borders is pronounced like this.