Home Roads is a new cycling podcast in which Matt Barbet interviews professional cyclists and other well-known figures from the sport as they ride their favourite routes.
You may well know Barbet as the presenter of ITV4’s Cycle Show and he was also Channel 5’s newsreader until last year.
A keen cyclist, Barbet was the fastest celebrity to cross the line in the 2015 RideLondon, completing the 100-mile course in 4h24m. He’s clearly maintained decent fitness as he’s taken on the somewhat challenging task of holding a conversation while riding alongside the likes of David Millar, Alex Dowsett, Nicolas Roche and Philippa York.
I had a listen to the episode in which he went for a ride with Dame Sarah Storey, taking on a route from her home in Disley which packs in 1,200m of climbing in an hour-and-a-half (although the episode was recorded earlier in the year and Storey qualified that description by saying “I’m not at hour-and-a-half-speed yet.”)
If the Storey episode is representative, I’d characterise the Home Roads content as slightly out of breath life stories, in the athletes’ own words.
Storey talks us through her broad and astonishing sporting career, but the fact that they are riding near her home means there is perhaps more emphasis on her early and personal life than there normally would be (she’s pretty much always lived in Disley).
Riding makes for a relaxed interview, where they occasionally admire the scenery or remark on the gradient. At one point Barbet says, “bit unnecessary,” as a truck beeps them. You’ll feel a little like you’re riding alongside them, eavesdropping.
Other episodes see Millar riding near Girona, admitting that he doesn’t really enjoy riding a bike any more; Dowsett talking about his haemophilia and close-knit family during a ride through Essex; and Roche explaining how he often heads back to Ireland to toughen up before big races.
Future episodes will focus on polar explorer Ben Saunders, 100 Climbs legend Simon Warren and Rapha founder and CEO Simon Mottram.
“There are some brilliant cycling-related podcasts out there, but when I can’t ride my own bike and chat with my own mates, I’d like to listen to something that can at least try to replicate that, and transport me somewhere else. That’s where the idea for Home Roads came from,” explains Barbet.
“It’s not about the magnificent mountains or the courses of famous races – they’re the rides all cyclists get out on, whether they’re pros, ex-pros, others who like to ride, or even commute. Everyone has their special routes that begin and end at the front door, and sharing them means they also share more insights about their lives and the stories behind their successes and failures.”
You can find Home Roads here, or search iTunes for Home Roads.