Issues and Inspiration

This section of Bike Culture contains some of our favorite bits of cycling writing. Read these and you'll never be far from your bike again.

The Shoes Ruse

The Shoes Ruse

In this extract from his book JUST RIDE, Grant Petersen of Rivendell Bicycle Works explodes some of the myths surrounding clip-in pedals

Balancing Act

Balancing Act

Do we shape history or does history shape us? Can we understand the forces that govern this world and use them to shape the future for homo-sapiens? By RICHARD BALLANTINE

Worlds of difference

Worlds of difference

A slip-up during a radio-interview reminded JIM McGURN just how varied is the international world of cycle culture.



RICHARD BALLANTINE asks; 'Where are we going, and how are we going there'?


People with Brown Shoes

Why do people hate cyclists? Because they do – only some of them, true, but more than we like to think. ROBERT POOLE recounts a painful experience.


“Please Let Me Change Your Life”

It’s a daily dilemma: I ride up the side of a long, static queue of traffic, and, on my other side, past a group of people waiting at a bus stop......


Russian along with the pack.

JEFF POTTER rode a Russian bike on a journey through American attitudes to cycling.


Aluminum, The World Tour..

Even bicycles leave a carbon footprint.


The Apple Macintosh was nearly...the Apple Bicycle!

Our thanks to CARLTON REID, founder of for finding this.


I have seen the future and it's got pedals attached.

Englishman ROBERT POOLE experiences a very different approach to cycling on a visit to Germany.


Nirvana and back the long way round

A guide to Cycling and Ecology. By GRAHAM BELL


The Wonder of Almost Nothing

JIM McGURN on bikes and literature.


Helmets or Not: Research Findings Turn Up the Heat

Englishman COLIN CLARKE was working in Australia when compulsory helmet laws were introduced. This prompted him to study the worldwide research on the subject, with some surprising results.


The Outsider

MIKE BURROWS gained public recognition after designing the Olympics superbike, and cyclists had been aware of his inventiveness for years before that. We talked to him about his feelings and his future.


Doctor Bike

Cycles of every kind are the medicine dispensed by Doctor COLIN GUTHRIE.


Heads & Tales

Once again, the pro-helmet lobby, consisting largely of non-cyclists, is pushing for compulsion. Never before has there been such need for facts and analysis. Confirmed helmet-wearer STEVEN McKAY looks at the latest findings. TIM KIRK helped with the research.


Cycling the Solar System

JIM McGURN finds that we often travel further than the distance we cover.


Back to the Future

The relationship between cars and pedal cycles is a long and complex one. JOHN STUART CLARK takes a sideways look.


Getting the Bikes to the People

JIM McGURN discovered that most people don’t discover just how magic cycling can be unless you put them on a saddle and say ‘Pedal!’


The machine we really need

IVAN ILLICH's incisive insights into the social and economic role of the bicycle and the wastefulness of our current transport system are an inspiration


Modal Guilt



Cycling Plus: combining cycling with other activities

"Follow your genius closely enough and it will not fail to show you a fresh prospect every hour." (Thoreau).


Critical Mass, Critical Thinking, in the USA

This piece is as relevant today as it ever was. Compiled and edited by ROBERT POOLE.


Class act

When teacher GRAHAM PATIENT brought cycling into the curriculum, school became the smart place to be.


Trouble in store

Ex-bike mechanic ALEXANDER J. BIER gives some impassioned insights into the world of bike mechanics and customers’ expectations.


The Invisibility Machine

This article by Jim McGurn first appeared in the Ecologist Magazine, in the UK


*Strange Meetings

On leaving the sanctuary of eternal neatness.

Rover’s Return

Rover’s Return

How do world travellers settle down again to their own beds? Or do they ever? LYNNE CURRY went to meet Anne Mustoe


A Convivial Life

EDGAR NEWTON writes about the life and philosoophy of Ivan Illich


De Motu Urbanorum

Celebrated cycling physician Dr Williams makes good use of hu­mour. Here is an extract from an article first published in The British Medical Journal 4th Oct 75


Who owns the roads?

Historian ROBERT POOLE describes how common rights to the highways were abandoned decades ago.


The things we share

Life does not always lay itself out in happy patterns. This occurred to the two young Washington Post reporters who tracked down the Watergate culprits. They discovered that one of the President's guilty team, a suit with few scruples, was also, like them, a card-carrying bike freak. They found it very hard to take. By JIM McGURN

Touring into trouble

Touring into trouble

JOSIE DEW is a keen cycle tourist. Here she explains how she deals with the kind of harassment and problems experienced by many women cyclists


The Fantasy Man

Amsterdam-based artist ERIC STALLER has come to hope for a future that is technological yet human. Among his works, which range from large-scale architecture to whimsical mini-sculpture, there is a strong pedal-powered element, closely allied to his personal philosophy.


*Bangladesh: Rickshaw riders

In many cities of the world, the rickshaw is the only way to travel - although it's not without its cost...


Never Too Old: ‘Rickshaw Willie’ is a Hometown Hit

DAN WERNER tells the tale of Rickshaw Willie, rejuvenated by his Main Street Pedicab.


High on bikes

JEAN ASCHER of the Copenhagen-based Circus ChangHigh describes how it all started, and how he's now part of a profitable unicycle circus with a worldwide reputation.


The Rinky Dink

The travelling pedal-powered sound system against war and injustice!


Profile: Maurice Burton

It’s Leicester’s Saffron Lane velodrome, August 1974. The newly crowned British 20 kilometre champion, Maurice Burton waves his bouquet. Sections of the crowd are booing. Is it because the champion rode a tactical race – or perhaps because his skin is a different color? By EDMOND HOOD


Hello, Sweetie!

Trudi Edmunds was inspired to start her bicycle basket business by a gift from a friend. By STEVEN RUSSELL from an interview originally published in the East Anglian Daily Times


You are never too old!

If you haven't learnt to ride a bicycle by the time you reach adulthood, the chances are you never will. Paramedic STEVE EVANS, bucked the trend, proving that an 'old dog' can indeed learn a new trick!