Archives for category: interviews

Exploring the many fascinating facets of cycling and bike culture, Jack Thurston’s The Bike Show is a weekly radio broadcast on London station Resonance 104.4fm. But just as the content isn’t confined to its London setting, the show reaches a global audience thanks to its popular podcasts with several years of shows, and hours of entertaining listening, available to download. If you’re discovering the show for the first time then you’re in for a real treat as you wander through the archives – Jack’s enthusiasm for all things cycling is infectious and makes for both charming and insightful radio. Just as the latest season hits the airwaves, we chat about his passion for touring, love of Moultons, and his thoughts on Boris Bikes…

Give us a brief account of your cycling background. My earliest cycling memory is riding behind my mum as a young boy, across Midsummer Common in Cambridge, where we lived; to me she looked huge on this giant upright Raleigh, while I zipped along on my little red bike. Then in the sixth form at school in north London my friend Daniel Start was granted permission to start a cycling club as a way of getting out of doing normal games which by that point, we hated. An understanding and rather eccentric chemistry teacher supervised a small group of us on touring rides in Hertforshire, and the school even provided us with pack lunches. I didn’t regard cycling as sport but as a way of getting around independently. As a fifteen year old I remember riding down to the West End to the Virgin Megastore and Ray’s Jazz Shop, and as I was getting there for free without having to pay for a bus or tube fare it meant I could buy more records. I was quite taken by that idea. I also remember being about twelve and my parents allowing me to do the London to Cambridge ride (a mass participation event much like London to Brighton) on my own – they seemed to think nothing of it. They took the train to Cambridge to meet me at the finish.

How did you first getting in cycle touring? My first touring trip was with a group of friends to Ivinghoe Beacon in the Chilterns after doing our mock GCSEs. We made all the basic mistakes and were totally unprepared, not bringing warm enough kit or any waterproofs and allowing our tents and sleeping bags to become drenched on the back of our bikes.  It was February and at night it was snowing and got so cold we couldn’t even light our stove, and all we could eat was some raw tinned ravioli. I imagine some of us were very close to hyperthermia. Strangely that experience didn’t seem to put me off.

What bikes do you ride? Luckily I have a bit of storage space near where I live so at the moment I have eight bikes. I think I’ve just bought a tandem too – a friend is bringing it down from Manchester. The collection also includes three Moultons which I have a particular interest in. They make for fantastic touring bikes, incredibly comfortable and well designed to carry a touring load. Their smaller wheels actually make them faster than normal bikes, particularly on the downhills. Tom Simpson even raced one on the track until the UCI banned them. Read the rest of this entry »


Is southern California the perfect place to ride your bike? Yes, according to racer and photographer Jordan Clark Haggard. His intimate photographic journal The Blue and Red documents a life of riding and racing to a backdrop of beautiful landscapes, unfinished roads, crashes and punctures. From the epic to the mundane, all of cycling life is captured through the lens.

Give us a brief account of your cycling background. I suppose the story of how I fell in love with cycling is pretty typical. I began riding as a kid and spent a lot of time charging up and down the dirt trails around my house. In high school I saved up enough money to buy a full suspension mountain bike and rode it every day. Then when at college I signed up to the triathlon team and it happened that I was pretty good at it. After graduation I started racing crits and on the road, and though it has its high and low points, bike racing has on the whole been a great experience. At the moment I race Cat 2 on the road. I have bounced from team to team over the years. This season I’ve landed with the Riders One team, which is focused on cycling and sustainability.

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After racing at the top level as a junior, Camille McMillan swapped his bike for the camera to become one of the top cycling photograpers around. Le Métier was published last year, with Camille’s photographs illustrating Michael Barry’s life as a pro, and his work has featured in magazines such as Rouleur and their photography annuals. He is currently embedded with Team Sky for the classics season, shooting and blogging for The Times. The photographs below are from this year’s season openers Omloop Het Nieuwsblad and Kuurne-Brussels-Kuurne.

Give us a brief account of your cycling background. As a little boy my life was peppered with watching Six Days and the classics. After watching the Worlds at Goodwood I started racing cyclo cross as a school boy. I left school at 16 and signed on, trained, raced my bike and slept. I raced all year round, up and down the country with excursions to Europe.

What made you quit racing and take up the camera instead? I’d been racing and training since I was a kid – my Dad had me out riding behind a motorbike after school. At 20 I was burnt out, living in London and out raving. I won my last race, got home, chucked my bike in the shed and didn’t touch it again for years. I’d been in a race, saw a break form up the road and thought ‘I might as well get in it’ and bridged across – but I was just going through the motions. Then the sprint came and I won. But I didn’t care, all I was interested in was who was coming to the pub afterwards. After I quit I eventually managed to get myself to St Martins College of Art, had some more fun for five years and left with a camera in my hand. The camera is still there… and now so is the bike.

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Ben clinches 3rd place in the recent Red Bull Hill Chasers event. Photography by Roman Skyver

Condor Cycles is a London institution, with their own iconic brand of bikes, and long-standing shop on Gray’s Inn Road. They’ve been serving the local cycling community since 1948, and have strong ties with the racing scene, their bikes having been ridden in the Tour de France and by the likes of Tommy Simpson and Bradley Wiggins. They’re also currently co-sponsors of the Rapha Condor Sharp professional team. Ben Spurrier has the enviable job of designing the Condor range, and with his own racing pedigree, the brand is in good hands…

Give us a brief account of your cycling background. I grew up in London and cut my teeth racing at Beastway and in the London Cyclo Cross League. I got my first job in a bike shop at 15 which I kept going through the holidays when at university. I did a block of time as a workshop manager in a large chain where I gained a Cytech 3 mechanic’s qualification, then in 2005 I started at the head office working on the up-coming own brand. This wasn’t the most creative role but it was my big break and it got my foot in the door. It gave me the opportunity to travel to the Far East and I racked up a lot of invaluable experience. I also did a stint in the Product Department at Madison, the importer and distributer of Shimano and other brands such as Cervelo, San Marco and more. I’ve done ten 24hr MTB races (one solo), the Paris-Roubaix VTT stage race twice, Cape Epic MTB stage race, 3 peaks Cyclocross race 3 times, I race cyclocross at league level and in the National Trophy and I have worked as mechanic and tech-support on a UK pro road team.

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The Ride Journal is a lovingly – and beautifully – produced magazine that celebrates cycling in all its many incarnations. From pros to postmen, the magazine captures the personal stories of anyone who has found their lives touched by the bicycle – whether road or cross, mountain or track, or any other shape or form. If it’s about bikes or cycling then you’ll find it in The Ride, and the editor Philip Diprose (who started the journal with his brother Andrew) is more familiar than most with our broad church…

Give us a brief account of your cycling background. Excluding childrens bikes my real cycling background began when Andrew (my brother and the art director of the journal) and I started mountain biking in the late eighties. I was a mid-teen at the time and it made me realise that my hatred and inability to play ball sports didn’t mean I was useless and that exercise could be fun. Once the nineties began I raced XC, and did my bit to make the faster riders look even faster. Someone needs to fill the ranks and keep the mid-pack chugging along. Through years of mountain biking I moved from fully rigid bikes to full-suspension and back to hardtails. Gears to singlespeed and now bikes with both. A brief dally with BMX had me sitting in A&E after breaking my nose and almost putting my teeth though my lip on a bad landing down in Brixton. Commuting on the mountain bike lead to a singlespeed road bike, which lead to a fixed gear then a geared road bike and a CX bike (I’m sure you can see a theme emerging here). I was quite late to the road side of things and it was only last year that I had a proper road frame built for me. And later this year I’m finally getting to take it to the Alps. Read the rest of this entry »

Turbo training is like penance for the racing cyclist, paying the price of boredom and tedium during the winter in order to be fighting fit when the summer season comes around. Fortunately for us David McQuillen – fed up with staring at the wall or listening to some hyped up fitness instructor – began creating the Sufferfest workout videos when training for an epic ride across Tibet and Nepal. Combining real race footage with a motivational soundtrack, it’s the best – if not the most painful – way to get through those winter turbo hours…

Give us a brief account of your cycling background. I started riding when I was 16. At first to get to the ice cream shop down the road. Which sort of defeated the purpose. But then my brother and I got into junior racing. Since then I’ve raced a bit, toured a bit, crossed Tibet on my bike, done cyclosportives in Europe and now ride road and mountain bike. And I commute by bike to work and back everyday.

I believe you now live in Singapore – what’s the cycling like out there? I moved here from Switzerland, which is probably as close as you can get to cycling paradise. I figured when I moved to Singapore, which is only tiny and has more than five million people in it, that I’d have to give up my bike. But since getting here, I’ve found an incredibly passionate, vibrant cycling scene that rivals any place on earth. It’s incredible. If you look out your window here at six o’clock on a weekend morning, you’d think the country was run by cyclists.

If you were to play a cyclist in the film of their life, who would it be and why? Who was the guy who got all the girls, drank and partied lots and won everything? I’ll be him.

What’s been your greatest achievement on a bike? Several years ago, I rode my bike from Lhasa, Tibet to Kathmandu, Nepal with a friend to raise money to fight illiteracy. That was a brutal ride, and the day we rode up to Mt. Everest base camp was the single hardest thing I’ve ever, ever done physically. It was brutal. I’m very proud of what we accomplished on that trip.

Power meter, heart rate monitor or perceived effort? I don’t care how you measure it, you should be suffering.

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