At the weekend I caught up with cycling legend Gary Fisher, one of the founding fathers of mountain biking. Gary was in the UK to lead some rides at Chevin Cycles of Otley. He rode his trademark 29er, but earlier that morning I grabbed Gary at breakfast and dragged him into a hotel ballroom to record the audio below (also available on the Quickrelease.tv podcast on iTunes). We didn’t talk about wheel sizes, we talked about transport bikes.
You can follow Gary Fisher on Twitter.com. [I’m here. 600 bike pro riders, shops, mags, blogs etc here].
The audio was recorded in a hotel ballroom, just after breakfast on Sunday. There had been a wedding reception in the room and it had been cleared of furniture. We sat on the floor; apologies in advance for some of the popping and rustling, that’s either Gary slapping his thighs or me wriggling on the carpet. Next time we upgrade to a table…
I also recorded Gary during the previous night’s screening of Klunkerz, the MTB history movie. I’ll release that audio next week.
If you frequent bicycle blogs and podcasts you’ll be hearing a lot about David in the next couple of weeks as he’s doing a virtual book tour.
His eBook – designed by his son, Evan – provides guidance to sport-recreational road cyclists on how to choose smart goals. The eBook was released earlier this month by RoadBikeRider.com, and went straight to the top of its best-seller chart.
During each stop of the Ride of Your Life eTour, David will discuss how riders can prepare mentally for completing rides of 100 or more miles in a single day. He will also describe his experiences riding some of the great long distance events held in the Pacific Northwest of the US, including the Cascade 1200, the Rocky Mountain 1200, and the Portland to Glacier 1000.
Listeners to the audio podcasts, and readers of the book tour blogs, will have an opportunity to win free copies of the eBook by posting questions, and by sending in stories about challenging events they have ridden. David is collecting stories from readers who overcame physical, mental, or equipment challenges to finish a challenging ride. He is going to publish a compilation of the best stories in an another eBook, which he will make available – for free – later this year. Riders’ whose stories are selected for publication will win a free eBook.
Last week I was at at cycle conference in London which was sponsred by a Dutch railway company. I managed to grab a ten minute interview with Peter Lensink of Ned Railways. He rides his Dutch roadster in London in a suit, and often with his girlfriend on the back rack, and he believes cycling to work is at a tipping point.
Grab the audio interview with Peter as an MP3 here or subscribe to my podcast on iTunes for free.
The audio will also appear on the Bike to Work Book podcast. This publication will be out in a month or so on Amazon.com and the like but you can get a big PDF extract of the book – for free – by signing up at Biketoworkbook.com. The PDF will be uploaded in a day or two.
The audio for the Peter Lensink interview was done with iProRecorder on my iPhone. Tell me what you think of the audio quality.
Women who cycle get given more leeway by motorists than men who cycle. This was the famous conclusion of a camera-on-a-bike study carried out two years ago by Dr. Ian Walker of the University of Bath. It got a load of media attention at the time, especially as the bearded Dr Walker donned his blonde wig for the paparazzi.
Nobody would dare skim too close to London’s blonde bicycling bombshell, Boris Johnson. The Mayor is an instantly recognisable figure on the roads of London. And this was Dr Walker’s point: drivers don’t lump all cyclists into one group, they perceive different cyclists in different ways, giving some more room than others.
Dr Walker talked about his findings, and other aspects of his job, on the second BiketoWorkBook.com podcast, recorded earlier today. He has provided a quote for the back cover of the book, and it’s all about how the risks of cycling are always far outweighed by the benefits, especially health benefits. The podcast starts on these life-enhancing benefits and then meanders into blonde wig territory.
My co-host, Tim Grahl, also wanted to find out whether Dr Walker knew of bike-skimming research from other countries. The podcast can be found on iTunes here or as a direct download here. I’ve also loaded an MP3 to the Quickrelease.tv podcast on iTunes.
I’ve just been fiddling with the text on my video podcast’s iTunes feed. While I was there I clicked on the Libsyn stats package. I thought you might like to see the results for the most popular episodes. They’re listed below in order of popularity. 56 episodes are hosted on Libsyn but these are the top ten.
Best Tour de France footage ever filmed?05/10/2007
Pre-production footage from the IMAX movie ‘Brainpower’. The Tyler Hamilton material was later cut.
APPLE TV: How to get kids to fix bicycles02/19/2008
Weldtech mechanic Jeff Beach teaches basic bike maintenance to eager kids at the Newcastle Phoenix cycling club.
APPLE TV: Bicycle Anatomy for Beginners04/01/2008
Loving close-ups of bike parts, named for newbies. This also features ‘bespoke’ music made from bicycle parts.
Phil Liggett and friends go cycling08/17/2007
A video of last year’s Phil and Friends ride in the Peak District. Two ‘voices of cycling’ are featured, the other being Eurosport’s David Harmon.
2 CHAIN GANG Wax or shave?04/24/2008
An episode from a 1990s TV series in which I get my leg hairs pulled out and then go for a ride in the country with a road club.
6 CHAIN GANG Jason McRoy MTB superstar (RIP)04/24/2008
This is also from the Tyne Tees series Chain Gang. It features the iconic rider on his home turf as well as competing against Myles Rockwell in the 1994 Reebok Eliminator on the Kamikaze course at Mammoth Mountain, California.
BIKE THIEVES: know thine enemy08/07/2007
This is a video short, first aired on Channel 4, interviewing a bike thief and putting his words on an animation of stealing techniques.
Kinda saucy: woman in shorts on bike from Oz comedy07/30/2007
I’m surprised this one isn’t higher up the list. It’s from 1980s hit comedy series the Paul Hogan Show. It’s sub-Benny Hill stuff.
Out for a cushy spin: Cyclists Special, 195507/12/2007
A full-length version of the famous cinema short about a train-borne CTC-led cycle tour of the Midlands.
John Burke: the Al Gore of the bike trade?05/09/2007
This is a bicycle advocacy talk given to industry leaders at the 2007 Taiwan trade show. Burke argued that bike companies should increase their financial support of bicycle advocates and political lobbying groups. He called the bicycle “the perfect product at the perfect time.” And bike companies would sell more of them if there were more places for folks to ride them.
“The number one way to grow the business and to have an impact on society, health, environment and congestion is to create a bicycle-friendly world,” said Burke.
He revealed that for every $100 of sales, bike companies typically spend $3.90 on marketing, $1.60 on R&D but just 10 cents on advocacy.
“That doesn’t make sense. As an industry we need to look at how we spend money. Why do we spend the amount of money on marketing and product and little on advocacy?”
Putting ‘APPLE TV’ at the front of an episode helps it to rise up the rankings. Personally, I’m using my Apple TV much more than my TiVo-style Sky HD box. This will only accelerate now that the UK version of Apple TV has two quid video rentals. Not that I’m lazy or anything but the ability to cut out the trip to the video rental store is a real boon.
The snippets – billed as ‘From the Archive’ – are brought to you in association with Muc-Off.
So, what’s available?
1 Mass v custom build, Raleigh v Dave Yates
This starts with some 1950s footage of the Raleigh factory, and includes a wonderfully cheesy ‘Head Designer’. The 1994 footage is also drenched in nostalgia. The factory – seen here humming with activity – was knocked down and made into student flats. Look out for the way Raleigh employees placed bike decals compared to the way a custom builder did it.
2 Wax or shave?
Bear in mind that I still look like this. I’ve not aged a bit. My leg hairs have grown back since, mind. This episode sees me going out with a road gang for the very first time. (And ripping their legs off…cameras never lie).
3 Bike versus sportscar
Car v bike through city centre traffic has been done umpteen times for TV cameras but this video is a little bit different, pitting as it does, an Aston Martin sportscar against an Aston Martin mountain bike (now a museum piece).
4 Malawi bicycle tour
Hi-8 footage from a hastily arranged bike tour of this beautiful African country. Along for the ride was Bob Strawson, owner of ‘trick bits’ maker Middleburn Engineering.
5 Behind the scenes
How the series was filmed. Helmet and bike cams are now ten-a-penny. In 1994 they were specialist items and required rucksacks…
6 Jason McRoy
Brilliant footage of the first British MTB superstar (RIP). He’s seen sliding around the NE of England as well as ripping down the Kamikaze course on Mammoth Mountain.
The videos will be placed on YouTube in daily installments next week, but are available as a package on iTunes right now. Subscribe to the podcast to start the episodes downloading, iTunes isn’t listing the individual episodes yet.
I’ve produced the above video for bike virgins. Click on full screen or go to the Vimeo site for the video in a wider format. The video zooms into bike parts and names them. It’ll hopefully get newbies up to speed on ‘bike talk’.
It might be aimed at people who don’t know their dropout from their seatpost but even enthusiasts will get a kick out of the music. It was created from twanging and fiddling with some of my bikes.
I recorded the sounds (my favourite is the disc rotor pinging) and then music maestro Greg Johnston turned my disparate recordings into ‘bespoke’ music. The track is now on Libsyn (or subscribe to my podcast on iTunes): it’s an MP3 called Bong. Psst. Twang. Whirr. Psst.
I love YouTube. It was the first kid on the block and gets huge numbers of visitors. The Quickrelease.tv videos on YouTube have had 464,993 views between them. A Tour de France movie vid has had 71,233 views. YouTube is great for quick vids but is not so hot on delivering hi-res footage.
To date I have also been loading some vids to the Quickrelease.tv podcast on Libsyn and iTunes. These were OK for iPod viewing but, after watching HD podcasts on the latest incarnation of the Apple TV, I’m going to deliver the vids in Apple TV’s m4v format.
Despite the name, the Apple TV podcast-to-movies-to-Flikr set-top box thingy is syncable to a PC as well as a Mac. In fact, with the latest software, it doesn’t even need a computer of any sort, just an HD TV.
If you’ve not got an Apple TV, the next best thing is to watch videos loaded to Vimeo.com. I’ve just created an account and will load all future vids to Vimeo as well as Apple TV. I’ll continue to place lo-res vids on YouTube.
It features a load of kiddie bike racing at the beginning and then leads into a bike mechanics training session for the Newcastle Phoenix kids.
I was really surprised at how enthusiastic they were to fix their own bikes. Some of the older kids had never mended their own punctures, always letting mum or dad get on with it.
I hope the Weldtech session by mechanic Jeff Beach gets them to do their own bike fettling. After all, if the older kids want to go out for long rides by themselves, they’ll need to know some bike tech basics.
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