Tony Lenihan, a retired policeman, works for his local council in the English Midlands as their ‘Sustainable Travel and Wellbeing Coordinator’. He’s also a keen cyclist and, in the early autumn of 2022, after more than 40 years of work, he decided to take a career break and head off on a solo cycling adventure from Bilbao to Athens. It would be a 7-week ferry-hopping Greek odyssey that took him through northern Spain, to the islands of Sardinia and Scilly, across the heel of Italy to Brindisi before sailing the Adriatic to his final destination of Greece. He talked to The Cycling Europe Podcast about his continental experiences… but also about ‘active travel’ in the UK and how the country measures up (or not) to its European neighbours.
Tony Lenihan is a touring cyclist and in the next full episode of The Cycling Europe Podcast – number 068 – you will hear him talk about a journey he made ‘from B to A’ – Bilbao to Athens in the early autumn of 2022. The podcast was recorded at the same time as the British Chancellor of the Exchequer (the finance minister) was delivering his annual budget to parliament and the nation. Tony works for a council in the English Midlands and is their ‘Sustainable Travel and Wellbeing Coordinator’. Before we spoke about his trip, we took the timely opportunity to discuss his professional interest in cycling; active travel, which has recently seen a large cut in funding in England. I comment in the recording that what we said was worthy of a podcast in itself… so here it is. A little shorter than normal – just 15 minutes – with no introduction etc… Spolier alert: the chancellor didn’t announce a U-turn on funding, just £200 million for potholes… The full podcast will be published on YouTube: YouTube.com/@CyclingEuropeYouTube – on 18.3.23 and then across all podcast platforms on 25.3.23.
In June 2022, Tim Boden – an experienced group cyclist – set off on his first solo cycle tour, to Brittany in north-west France. His route took him from the port of Roscoff along the Vélodyssée / EuroVelo 1 to Redon. He then joined French regional route number 42 to follow the coast to Saint-Nazaire before returning to the Vélodyssée for a cycle beside the Loire to Nantes and back to Redon. Here he rejoined the eastern portion of route 42 to cycle north to Saint-Malo. Tim talks about the routes but also the history and culture of this distinctive French region. We also revisit two encounters from episodes 55 & 56 with three French cyclists – Fabian, Julian and Guillaume – and, from Breton Bikes and Camping de Gouarec, Geoff Husband.
A few months ago I was approached by Jet2 Holidays who asked if I would be interested in discovering the joys of cycling in one of their winter destinations in southern Europe. Of course I said yes and had a look at the map. Where would be nice and warm in the middle of February? The Canary Islands seemed the most likely place to deliver good weather so I arranged to travel to Costa Adeje on the island of Tenerife. I hired a bike and headed along the coast and up the hills… This was a different approach to travelling on two wheels. How did I get on without a tent and four panniers but in a luxury hotel on an unfamiliar bicycle?
Matthew Sturgeon is an architect and cyclist from Ilkley in Yorkshire and he’s on a mission to visit every one of mainland Britain’s 186 lighthouses. Inspired by his late late wife Angela, who raised £40,000 for cancer research, Matthew is raising money for his A Bit Of A Break charity. It funds visits for cancer patients and their families to holiday properties around the UK. He started collecting his lighthouses with a ride along the Northumbrian coast and has now visited 100. But why lighthouses? What’s his favourite lighthouse? What has been the most disappointing lighthouse? What has been the most difficult to cycle to? And what will be lighthouse number 186? Matthew tells his story to The Cycling Europe Podcast…
An ever-increasing number of people have cycled around the world. Not many have done it on a tandem. Even fewer have broken a world record in the process. Laura Massey-Pugh was on the back and her husband Stevie was on the front of their custom-made tandem when, in June 2022 they set off from the Brandenburg Gate in Berlin, destination the Brandenburg Gate in Berlin. 175 days later they completed their journey. Before setting off, Laura recorded a short monologue for episode 32 of The Cycling Europe Podcast. Now she returns to tell the full story of what it means to cycle 18,000 miles around the globe. Is it as easy as riding a, err… tandem?
“Hours, days, weeks and months in the saddle does something funny to your brain. We came back from the trip convinced that cycling was the answer to all of life’s problems and that if we could convince every last one of you to choose a bike not a car, we’d be well on our way to saving the planet. Easy, right?!” Those are the words of Beth Ward who, alongside her partner Robin, cycled from Wales to Istanbul in 2019. As they pedalled an idea grew in their minds to set up a community bike workshop. When they returned home, that’s exactly what they did in Llangollen. Beth has now been included in Cycling UK’s list of 100 women in cycling in 2022. The Cycling Europe Podcast headed down the Dee Valley to investigate…
Beryl Burton was born in Yorkshire on May 12th 1937. Her upbringing was tough. Her school report described her as a ‘stubborn little mule. At the age of 10 she spent 9 months in hospital and doctors told her never to ride a bike uphill. She went on to become one of Britain’s greatest ever athletes – of either sex – and a cycling world champion seven times over. She was the country’s ‘best all-rounder’ female cyclist for 25 consecutive years from 1959 to 1983. She died, cycling, a few days short of her 59th birthday in 1996. Jeremy Wilson – chief sports reporter for The Daily Telegraph – has written an awarding-winning book about the life of this cycling enigma who remains little known outside her home county or the world of cycle racing.