Bicycle Polo, Cosmic-style

Bicycle polo has been played for more than a century but the ‘hard court’ variety is a relatively new, urban development. Todd, Mat and Rupert of London’s Cosmic Bike Polo team (pictured, above) explain how the sport came about, how it has developed in its short history and how bike polo players are pursuing a DIY approach to innovation in bicycle design. This conversation was part of the Design Museum’s Bike V Design night.

Podcast special: Lionel Birnie’s People’s Grand Tour

On the eve of the summer edition of the People’s Grand Tour, Jack goes for a spin around the back lanes of rural Hertfordshire with cycling journalist Lionel Birnie, a regular guest on The Bike Show, who writes about professional bike racing for the Sunday Times and Cycle Sport magazine. The People’s Grand Tour is open to anyone willing to commit to riding at least ten days over a 23 day period, starting this Saturday 11 August. It’s free to enter and a great way of increasing the amount of riding you’re doing. Our ride took in Ivinghoe Beacon, two punctures and ended with a coffee at The Hub, a fantastic new cycling cafe in Redbourne.

Live from Belgium House

In a live broadcast from Belgium House, a temporary Olympic Village and ‘cycling paradise’ in London’s Middle Temple, Jack finds out about Flandrien cycling culture from Rik Vanwalleghem, director of the Tour of Flanders centre in Belgium. At the launch of the Rapha Cycle Club in Soho, Rapha founder Simon Mottram reflects on the eight years since the company was launched in 2004. London cyclist Nick Hussey of the recently launched Vulpine clothing brand talks about designing and making top quality, stylish apparel for the discerning cyclist. And Resonance FM engineer Chris Dixon rides up a virtual Koppenberg.

Photo credit: Belgium House

This is the last in the current season. The next season begins in October though there will be a few off-season podcasts to keep an eye out for.

Tour de France Rest Day Chit-Chat with Lionel Birnie

Today is the last rest day in the Tour before the race heads into the Pyrenees for tomorrow’s frighteningly gruelling mountain stage around the Circle of Death. The rest gave Jack Thurston time to catch up with Lionel Birnie, The Bike Show’s favourite cycling journalist, as he was lounging poolside at his 5 star chateau hotel pacing the worn carpet of his grotty guest-house.

Lionel writes for Cycle Sport Magazine and the Sunday Times. You can follow him on twitter and read his articles in Cycle Sport Magazine and in the Sunday Times.

Image credit: Benat1731 (Creative Commons license)

Taking the Long View of The Tour de France

This year’s Tour de France is the 99th edition of a bicycle race that is rich in meaning and symbolism for the French nation. Christopher S. Thompson is professor of history at Ball State University in Muncie, Indiana and author of a widely acclaimed cultural history of the Tour de France. He discusses how the race came about in an era of rising nationalism and how the route itself was loaded with political meaning. Professor Thompson argues the race projected carefully constructed role models and entrenched traditional gender archetypes. More recently, controversies over doping in cycle sport can be linked to concerns about recreational drug use in wider society.

How Ned Boulting Stopped Worrying and Learned to Love the Tour de France

It’s July, that means it’s the Tour de France. Jack Thurston talks with Ned Boulting, a sports reporter who has been covering the Tour for ITV since 2003. He talks about the rise in popularity of cycle sport and everyday cycling over the past decade and the high jinks he’s got up to while covering the last nine Tours de France Ned’s book, How I Won the Yellow Jumper, is out now, published by Yellow Jersey Press.

Stephen Roche, twenty five years later

1987 was an annus mirabilis for Stephen Roche, one of a wave of world class Irish athletes that rose to fame that decade. He won the Giro d’Italia, the Tour de France and the World Championship road race. The only other rider to have accomplished this feat, know as the ‘triple crown’, is Eddy Merckx. Roche has a new book out called ‘Born To Ride’ and talks about his life in cycling, winning the triple crown, as well as his thoughts on today’s peloton, the scourge of doping and his own implication in an EPO doping conspiracy.

His new autobiography, Born to Ride, is out now, published by Yellow Jersey Press.

Get Out Of That Saddle, Stephen by Dermot Morgan.