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A history of folding bikes with Mark Bickerton (and the story behind THAT very 80s TV ad) plus tales from Paris-Roubaix on the Podcast

Just managed to get the music from the 'Go Bag a Bickerton' ad out of your head 40 years on? Sorry for the reminder, but it's worth it to reminisce about Britain's most popular folding bike of the early 80s...

It's time for episode 75 of the Podcast, a two-parter that is as chalk and cheese as we've ever recorded in cycling terms... but that's how we like it!


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The gloriously retro 'Go Bag a Bickerton' tv ad: dated even for 1983 according to Mark Bickerton himself

Part 1 is all about folding bikes, and more specifically a fascinating chat with Mark Bickerton, whose father Harry invented arguably the first properly practical, lightweight folding bike in the early 1970s. By the early '80s the Bickerton Portable was a big British success story, boosted by a certain charming low-budget TV ad that became embedded into the public consciousness for various reasons (listen to find out why). 

While Bickerton isn't the folding force it once was and Brompton has long been the biggest British brand in portable cycles, the Bickerton name and bikes are still going strong, with Mark also now the main man in the UK behind the very popular urban bike brand Tern. The chat with editor Jack covers a brief history of Bickerton and folding bikes in general, what's going on with Bickerton and Tern today, and Mark's take on these turbulent times for the bike industry

Paris-Roubaix 2024 cobbles - credit Ryan Mallon
(Credit: Ryan Mallon)

In part two, Ryan and Dan delve behind the scenes at last week’s Paris-Roubaix, where Ryan was lucky enough to stand at the roadside as Lotte Kopecky, Marianne Vos, and Pfeiffer Georgi thundered over the brutal cobbles of the Carrefour de l’Arbre, watch Mathieu van der Poel receive a hero’s welcome in the Roubaix velodrome, and hitch a bumpy, often ferociously fast ride in the Grenke-Auto Eder team car during a dramatic junior edition of the Hell of the North.

Up for discussion is whether the world champ Van der Poel’s domination of the cobbled classics – and the blunt force with which he carries out his winning steam – is ‘boring’, where the Dutch phenom now stands in classic racing’s all-time hierarchy, British star Georgi’s hopes for the future, and the thrills and spills of watching a monument from the team car.

During his time in northern France, Ryan also caught up with 18-year-old Yorkshire-raised Irish rider Patrick Casey, who was making his debut at the Junior Paris-Roubaix for the Grenke-Auto Eder team, Bora-Hansgroghe’s development squad. 

A product of the inaugural Red Bull Junior Brothers online scouting programme last year, Casey’s path to the pro ranks is somewhat different than other riders from these shores in the past, but the lessons he’s already learned during his time in Europe – such as the folly of turning up with two right-hand track mitts to the hardest race of the year – are steadfastly old school…

If you’re an ambitious young male cyclist, born in 2007 or 2008, who thinks they can emulate Patrick Casey by racing on the continent, applications for this year’s Red Bull Junior Brothers programme are open until 30 April.

Applicants must register at and complete the Red Bull Junior Brothers Zwift workout to apply. This workout can be done from anywhere in the world.

The Podcast is available on Apple PodcastsSpotify, and Amazon Music, and if you have an Alexa you can just tell it to play the Podcast. It’s also embedded further up the page, so you can just press play.

At the time of broadcast, our listeners can also get a free Hammerhead Heart Rate Monitor with the purchase of a Hammerhead Karoo 2. Visit right now and use promo code ROADCC at checkout to get yours.

This content has been added by a member of the staff

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Chris RideFar | 1 month ago
1 like

I don't listen to podcasts. Can you please summarize this in text form. Thanks.

Secret_squirrel replied to Chris RideFar | 1 month ago

I second this.  With good quality transcript generation available pretty much everywhere now I'd love to see them for podcasts.

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