Review of podcasts: The Guardian’s ‘the bike podcast’

The Guardian’s The Bike Podcast really isn’t for me. It clearly tries very hard to come across as accessible and suitable for all, particularly leisure riders and commuters.

However, patronising is not too strong a word to use in relation to this podcast. Explaining what a cyclocross race is can perhaps be excused- it is after all a slightly obscure discipline, one that your average bike rider might not have heard of. I am being generous there. Other low points were: “What do you do when you are cycling? I sing, imagine I am in a movie, think about what I am going to do that day, compose poetry…”

The iRide bike speakers were recently recommended- whoops. The product reviews- including winter jackets and road bikes- sound like people who don’t ride bikes describing the product. Fail. And in December, the top 5 things to make cold wet roads more bearable were: 1- fit mudguards, 2- clean and lube your bike, 3- winter clothing, 4- service brakes, 5- grips, pedals and tyres (basically a description of what grips, pedals and tyres do).

“Make sure your grips are not worn. If they are, you’ll need new grips.”

The most recent edition was saved slightly by some good insight from Guardian writer Richard Williams reviewing and recommending a few cycling books. He covered ground that I didn’t anticipate (I expected the Chris Hoy autobiography for example) and I added a few bikes to my to-read list: The Rider by Tim Krabbe, Matt Seaton’s The Escape Artist, and books about the Tour by Geoffrey Wheatcroft and Geoffrey Nicholson, and Jean Bobet’s Tomorrow We Ride.

One of it’s redeeming features is that it is short. If you’re into urban riding or leisure rides, you might get something out of it but I really can’t see how anyone who is in the slightest way a bike enthusiast could bear to listen to it. They should change the name to The Beginner’s Guide to Cycling Podcast.