For episode 58 of the road.cc Podcast, we’re turning our attention to two very different ends of the cycling spectrum, by exploring what it would be like to completely give up on any and all forms of motorised transportation – and to circumvent the globe in the process – before going in-depth on all things aerodynamics, and why a more efficient jersey could help you along on even the most sedate of Sunday spins.
First up, Jack sat down with Markus Pukonen, a Canadian firefighter and founder of the nonprofit organisation Routes for Change, who returned home to Toronto this summer after spending eight years making his way around the world – without availing of one single motor throughout his entire journey. Yes, that even includes lifts.
In a fascinating discussion, Pukonen – who has never owned a car throughout his life – chats about his eight-year-long human-powered trip, which he undertook to raise funds and awareness for small environmental and social organisations he encountered along the way, and the effects of cycling, walking, canoeing, kayaking, handcycling, and rowing his way around the world, while even pogo sticking an environmentally unfriendly Prime Minister out of office in the process.
He discusses the challenges and issues he faced along the way, such as having to navigate international borders that require use of a motor vehicle (a letter from the government goes a long way in those situations) and the paranoia of avoiding motors of any kind at all costs.
Pukonen also reveals, naturally, that a number of bikes were central to his journey, including one he rode for 10,000km despite being a touch on the small side, having to leave behind his original touring bike because there just wasn’t enough room on the boat, and watching another road bike sink on the Mekong River in Laos.
But after all that two-wheeled heartache – and the horrors of cycling through heavy traffic on some of the world’s most congested roads (enough, he says, to put anyone off cycle touring for life) – Markus says he’s still in love with cycling, and that one good day on a good road more than makes up for all the traffic horrors and painful legs that preceded it.
And what did he learn from his mammoth adventure? To always follow your instincts, and that exploring the world is best done by bike… or pogo stick.
Meanwhile, in part two, Jamie chats to Dr B Xavier Disley, the owner of AeroCoach, a UK company geared towards improving all things aerodynamics, working closely with riders to make them faster as well as coming up with innovative new products used by some of the best in the world.
We all know about the benefits of aero equipment and clothing at the highest level, but can a more efficient jersey, bib shorts, or even socks really make a difference for amateur cyclists riding around at 15mph?
And that’s before we tackle that age-old cycling question: Does shaving your legs make you more aerodynamic? As Xavier explains to Jamie, a smooth leg could be the cheapest route to some easy watts saving and performance benefits, and – in any case – you wouldn’t buy a hairy bike, would you? Though we’ll leave what you do to your arms up to you…
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Ryan joined road.cc in December 2021 and since then has kept the site’s readers and listeners informed and enthralled (well at least occasionally) on news, the live blog, and the road.cc Podcast. After boarding a wrong bus at the world championships and ruining a good pair of jeans at the cyclocross, he now serves as road.cc’s senior news writer. Before his foray into cycling journalism, he wallowed in the equally pitiless world of academia, where he wrote a book about Victorian politics and droned on about cycling and bikes to classes of bored students (while taking every chance he could get to talk about cycling in print or on the radio). He can be found riding his bike very slowly around the narrow, scenic country lanes of Co. Down.