The Cycling Podcast has launched a new six-episode series called Explore, taking coverage “beyond professional racing and into the world of bike-packing, unsupported racing, adventure cycling and record-breaking”.
The series is hosted by journalists Lionel Birnie and Hannah Troop, with contributions from producer Tom Whalley.
It is supported by The Cycling Podcast’s title sponsors Rapha and by regular sponsors Science In Sport, and The Economist magazine is the series sponsor.
Birnie, who co-founded the podcast with Richard Moore and Daniel Friebe in 2013, said: “It’s been great fun putting together the first series with Hannah and Tom.
“This is an area of cycling I’ve really enjoyed finding out about and our debut series contains some inspirational stories from all over the world.
“It’s not just about ultra-endurance riding and camping by the side of the road in a bivvy bag, although there is some of that, it’s about cycling as a form of adventure and exploration.
“The series features some incredible feats but I wanted it to remain relevant to people who just love riding their bikes and want to push themselves but who aren’t going to ride round the world or across continents.
“The idea of riding round the world might inspire someone to go on a three-day unsupported cycling trip just to enjoy the experience of setting off from one place and arriving at another under the own steam.
“I don’t think it all has to be about finding out where the limits of someone’s endurance lie.”
Series one of Explore kicks off with an episode focusing on the Transcontinental Race, which has been won for two successive years by James Hayden, who is the subject of an extended interview, as is Richard Abraham, who got 2,000 kilometres into the event before having to scratch.
Episode one also features riders from the Donnons des Elles au Vélo, a group of women who every year ride the full Tour de France route a day ahead of the race with the goal of raising support for a women’s Tour.
Future episodes include tales from the Indian Pacific Wheel Race across Australia and the Slow Cyclist’s ride from London to Brisbane.
It will also hear from round the world record breakers and the new Land’s End to John O’Groats record holder.
Moore said: “We’ve been working on this idea for a while and released two pilot episodes last year, both of which were well received.
“The time feels right to launch our Explore series as the worlds of competitive cycling and cycling for pleasure, adventure and exploration appear to be moving closer together.
“Top races are seeking out gravel and dirt roads, while events like the Transcontinental Race, and other endurance rides, are becoming ever more competitive — and a WorldTour team, EF-Education First, will run an alternative calendar in 2019, opening up some of these events to a new audience.
“It’s an exciting time as the sport evolves and we want to reflect that excitement, and showcase some of these events and riders, in The Cycling Podcast Explore series.”