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Podthoughts: The Bike Show

Vital stats:
Format: talk about all aspects of cycling and cycling culture
Episode duration: typically ~30m, with occasional longer specials
Frequency: weekly

London’s Resonance FM broadcasts not what we would think of as straightforward talk programming, and not what we would think of as straightforward music programming, but something called “radio art.” This broad label turns out to cover a badly underutilized patch of radio’s philosophical spectrum, one safely distant from both bland jukeboxing and tiresome politicking. Eschew traditional news, sports, hits, and complaints, and you open up the creative space for shows a thinking listener might actually enjoy. This I realized when I Podthought about the podcast of every Resonance FM broadcast available in that form. I’d previously written up The Wire magazine’s Adventures in Modern Music, the most straightforward music show I’ve heard on Resonance (and The Wire has R. Stevie Moore on its cover this month). Now I’ve cycled back around, as it were, to listen hard to a program no other station has produced, or possibly could produce: The Bike Show [RSS] [iTunes].

When first I heard The Bike Show, host/producer Jack Thurston impressed me not only with his professionalism and stealthy production skill — qualities not immediately associated, alas, with freeform radio — but a dedication that had him not only chatting in the studio but recording out in the field, on long trips, and even while riding. (These signature “rolling interviews” have their own page on the show’s site.) But back then I lived in Santa Barbara, where cycling meant only an idyllic way to commute. Now that I’ve dropped myself into the vast complexity of Los Angeles with my old brown Nishiki as primary means of transport, cycling has taken a rather more essential place. An encounter with David Byrne’s Bicycle Diaries made me consciously grasp a fact my lifestyle had already incorporated: no more efficient, absorbing, and intellectually or aesthetically connected form of urban transportation exists. I had much to learn; I had to catch up on The Bike Show immediately.

Read the whole thing at Maximum Fun.

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