As we emerge from coronavirus lockdown, is there a better summer holiday, a better way to get a change of scene, than heading out on your bike to explore the country where you live?
This episode of the podcast is all about cycle touring, cycle exploring, bikepacking, adventure cycling or whatever term you prefer to use to describe heading out into the world on your bike for a few days, a week or even longer.
Joining host Jack Thurston is Richard Fairhurst, creator of the brilliant cycle.travel website and (from 43 minutes in) Josie Parkinson, first time cycle traveller talking about her tour from Abergavenny to the Isle of Wight via Stonehenge.
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Jack’s Lost Lanes books are full of ideas for day rides, weekends away and multi-day tours.
And do check out cycle.travel for planning your next long distance bike adventure.
A ride report from the time before coronavirus. Jack heads into the wild uplands of the North York Moors on an audax event organised by Dean Clementson and hosted by Mike Metcalfe. “Don’t Keep to the Road” promises gravel tracks, broken roads and brutal climbs. Plus podcast listeners share their Covid-19 lockdown tales from the turbo. To order a signed copy of Lost Lanes North go to the web shop at https://lostlanes.co.uk/shop and for a free embroidered Lost Lanes cloth patch designed by Adam Hayes enter the coupon code ‘thebikeshow’ at checkout. Limited to the first fifty purchasers.
There is more information on the event, including a PDF route sheet and GPX file, on the Audax UK website.
Tom Isitt (pictured above) has spent the past few years cycling around the battlefields of the first world war. He talks about his experiences on the Western Front and the mountainous border between Italy, Austria and Slovenia and tells the story of the extraordinary bike race that was held in spring 1919 across the devastated lands of Northern France and Belgium. The Rough Stuff Fellowship is the oldest off road cycling club in the world and club archivist Mark Hudson talks about unearthing a photographic treasure trove of inspirational adventure cycling from the 1950s to the present day.
This year’s Tour de France starts on the island of Noirmoutier, on the Atlantic coast of western France. Jack rides the route of Stage one, in a touring style, taking in the rich landscape of sand dunes, beaches, tidal lagoons and salt marsh and sampling the gastronomic delights of the region.
Is bikepacking the most exciting new thing in cycling since the invention of the mountain bike or a much needed rebranding of the venerable pastime of cycle touring? Or is just another cynical ruse to get us to buy more stuff, an attempt to commercialise that wonderful thing called adventure. Jack heads to mid-Wales for the Bear Bones Winter Event to find out, and meets up with Beth Barrington of WildCat Gear to hear about the homespun beginnings of a small company that makes some of the best bikepacking gear available.
Bespoked, the UK’s Handmade Bicycle Show is Britain’s biggest annual showcase for custom bike builders. It’s full to the rafters of beautiful bikes but Jack Thurston went in search of the most useful bikes at the show, from an off-road porteur to a separable road bike to a childback tandem in titanium.
Bikes discussed as follows:
George Longstaff: RuffStuff adventure touring bike / tandem trike with integrated wheelchair carrier
Caren Hartley: Demi-porkeur off road cargo bike
Richard Hallett: 650b Adventure
Wheeldan: Childback titanium tandem
Sven Cycles: Roadster
Sword Cycles: Cargo-trike
Teague Bicycles: Separable road bike
Sturdy Cycles: no maintenance audax bike and steel TT bike