Sound and vision blog

07 August 2023

Recording of the week: Cycling

A photo of a man cycling

Photo by Keswick Sportive, used under CC 2.0 licence.

The BBC made their final recordings for The Listening Project last year, and we are currently in the process of adding these to the British Library collections. With over 2,000 conversations recorded over 10 years, the archive is a real treasure trove of stories and voices - full of laughter, tears, and human connections.

With the Tour de France taking place in July, I was reminded of this sweet and funny chat between two cycle enthusiasts. This was one of the earliest recordings added to the archive, and was made by Radio Cumbria in 2012. The conversation took place between partners Geoff and Midge, who discuss their shared history and love of being out and about on their bikes.

They first met through a local cycling club, and during the recording they reminisce about many of their experiences travelling together. In this clip they talk about riding on their tandem, including an accident they once had, and going on holiday to Mallorca:

Listen to cycling clip 1

Download Transcript for cycling clip 1

Throughout the conversation they speak of the amazing feeling they always get from cycling. Midge describes the magical buzz from being out in nature, and they agree cycling gives them so much freedom. In this clip, Geoff describes when he first learned to ride a bike as a child, and they then talk about how they plan to continue on their bikes for as long as possible. They hope that other people will also leave their cars, and join them on two wheels:

Listen to cycling clip 2

Download Transcript for cycling clip 2

The Listening Project is an audio archive of personal conversations, collected by local and national BBC radio stations. From 2012 to 2022, people were invited to have a conversation recorded and broadcast (in edited form) by the BBC, and archived by the British Library. You can currently listen to over a 1,800 of the recordings in full through our Sounds website, and learn more about the project at the BBC.

Today's post was written by Sarah Kirk-Browne, Digital Multimedia Collections Cataloguer.