August 24, 2014

This Week in Cycling History

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Current episodes available via paid subscription at Velocast, much older episodes available at this website.

For a change from ancient history, I have started listening to a podcast on cycling history. Produced by the people at Velocast.cc, it is also notable as the first podcast or MOOC I have reviewed that actually costs money. For £8/month a subscriber gains access to weekly news and history podcasts and daily new podcasts during major races (Tour de France, Giro d’Italia, Vuelta a Espana and the Classics). I received a years subscription as a gift and consider it good value (so will probably resubscribe at the end of the year). All the podcasts are very entertaining, including TWiCH (as they refer to it). Production quality is high.

Each episode is roughly 45 minutes to an hour long and endeavours to reference events that happened during the same week in previous years. So in May most episodes refer to events that occurred during the Giro, during March it is the classics, and so on. This plan breaks down a bit with races that move around the calendar (like the Vuelta) and during the winter off-season. The episodes contain 3 segments. Each segment starts with a few minutes of pre-recorded introductory context on a particular event or aspect of bicycle racing. Then there is 10-20 minutes of lively discussion between the two presenters. Often they deviate wildly from the topic at hand, but it is always entertaining (and usually informative). Recent stories include: the hotly-contested Tour de France Lanterne Rouge (last place) “competition” in 1979; Stephen Roche winning the Giro in 1987 against his own teammate; and Jacques Anquetil winning his only monument, Liege-Bastogne-Liege in 1966. In general the stories are interesting and not the traditional famous ones heard repeatedly. The subsequent discussions are lively and entertaining. The two presenters have an immense knowledge of cycling history between them. Although they do often seem to mention cycling clothing fashion, pedalling style and Irish cyclists (one of the presenters is always Cillian Kelly who is Irish, so familiarity is probably the reason).

For fans of cycling who want to know more about the colourful history of the sport.


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