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06 January 2007

Cycle tourism was all the rage in the late 1800’s when getting on two wheels and heading off into the distance was described as the perfect way to escape and abandon the pressures of life.  This enthusiasm for bicycling holidays continued until travel by car and plane developed from the 1950s.

John McCarthy explores the development of cycling holidays with Mark Waters, information officer for CTC and talks to Wendy Law Suart who took 3 years to cycle around Australia in 1946.  

Wendy contrasts her experiences with Tom Kevill Davies, the 'hungry cyclist' who joins the programme from Colombia to give an update on his latest adventures cycling across America in search of a meal.  

John Muir
and Kieron Yates two cycling enthusiasts, who have travelled across the UK and Europe and down the length of the Mississippi river on their bikes, share their adventures.

Presented by John McCarthy

Touring cyclists by lake

Photo: Touring cyclists by lake (courtesy of CTC)

This week's guests:

Mark Waters is an information officer for CTC, the national cyclists’ organization, which has been offering practical advice on all aspects of cycling including touring, since 1878. This year CTC is organizing cycling holidays to over 35 countries.  Mark is also a touring cyclist.

Wendy Law Suart, is an author, travel writer, lecturer and professional musician.  Her books include The Lingering Eye – Recollections of North Borneo, Golden Morning – An Australian Childhood.

At the end of the Second World War while still in her teens Wendy and her friend decided to ride to Queensland to spend the winter hoping that by that time Europe would have settled down.  They eventually returned to Melbourne three years after leaving.

Known nationwide as the Girl Cyclists, they had no money and led a precarious existence during their trip.  They earned their way doing varied jobs ranging from canning fruit in a factory, selling sandwiches from their bikes during the Wet Season, helping on a cattle station and being mannequins at a large city store.  Wendy has recounted their adventures, soon be published, in a book entitled With Bags and Swags – around Australia in the Forties..

With Bags and Swags – around Australia in the Forties
For further info about publication please check Wendy's web site

Tom Kevill Davies, is a freelance graphic designer and part-time food writer based in London.  In May 2005 he set off on his cycle from New York his final destination is Rio in search of the perfect meal.  He wended his way to Toronto and Chicago, and then heading down through the states to South America. 

He is currently in Colombia. On his website he invites people to tell him where to go for his next meal on the journey.  Then having followed the Pacific coast south to Chile, Tom will cross the Andes. Go back to Ecuador and into the Amazon and continue all the way to the Brazilian coast on Rio de Janeiro’s famous Ipanema beach.

Money raised through The Hungry Cyclist's exploits will be used to help fund specialist Macmillan nurses and doctors in the UK.

Jonathan Muir set out to reach the highest point in 86 counties, but then decided to cross to Northern Ireland, which made it 92 counties and the idea of doing it in 92 days evolved over the course of the journey.  The total trip came to 4,400 miles, about 600 miles of walking and the rest on the bike, a totally self-propelled journey, no public transport (except ferries). 

Jonathan also cycled from John o'Groats to Lands End a few years ago, most of the mountain passes in the French Alps, through the Black Forest in Germany and up Mt Etna in Sicily.  He is currently planning his next trip from Keighley to Kathmandu.

Kieron Yates, studied anthropology at the University of London before starting a career in social work and later working as a restaurateur.  He is a regular contributor to the Bike Show broadcast on the experimental arts' radio station Resonance FM.

Last summer Kieron spent 7 weeks cycling 3,000 miles along the length of the Mississippi River on a single gear fixed wheel bicycle. He roughly followed the river’s course by road, from Fargo in North Dakota – down to Minnesota – then south to New Orleans.  In all it took 42 days, included a few stops with an average distance of 75miles a day. 

Resonance 104.4 FM Bike Show

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Sandi ToksvigSandi Toksvig:
The daughter of a foreign correspondent, Sandi has been travelling all her life more info

John McCarthy John McCarthy is a widely travelled journalist and presenter with a particular interest in the Middle East.
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