Cycling is at the heart of the London Sports Writing Festival later this month with almost half of the programme devoted to talks, discussions and panels covering aspects of cycling from, inevitably, the sport’s problem with drugs to the role and life of a team domestique.
The London Sports Writing Festival runs from October 17 to 20 at Lord’s Cricket Ground in St John’s Wood, London.
After an intial couple of days devoted to cricket and football, the programme turns its attention to cycling in a discussion of cheating in sport between three authors who have followed the problem closely, Mike Rowbottom, author of Foul Play, talks to Richard Moore (The Dirtiest Race in History) and Jeremy Whittle (Bad Blood: The Secret Life of the Tour de France).
Things get rather cheerier on Sunday with Tim Lewis talking some of the real-life characters in his book Land of Second Chances: The Impossible Rise of Rwanda’s Cycling Team. Lewis’s book tells the stories of Adrien Niyonshuti, who was seven years old when he lost his family in Rwandan and went on to ride for Rwanda at the London Olympics; Jock Boyer, the first American to ride the Tour de France, coach of Team Rwanda and a man seeking redemption after his 2002 conviction for lewd behaviour with a minor; and Tom Ritchey, builder of many of the earliest mountain bike frames and the U.S. money man looking to recover from a profound personal crisis.
Most of the rest of Sunday is devoted to cycling, with a finale featuring Team Sky and British Cycling coach Rod Ellingworth with Garmin-Sharp pro David Millar. Hosted by Ellingworth’s co-write William Fotheringham, the three will discuss Project Rainbow, the book about Ellingworth’s four-year plan to get Mark Cavendish into the rainbow jersey of cycling world champion.
Here’s the full schedule, in case you’re misguided enough to be interested in sports other than cycling.
October 17, 2013 @ 6:30 pm – 7:30 pm
William Hill Sports Book of the Year Award: What Makes Great Sports Writing?
October 17, 2013 @ 8:00 pm – 9:00 pm
The Lions Victorious: Sam Warburton and Matt Dawson in conversation with Dan Jones
October 17, 2013 @ 9:30 pm – 10:30 pm
Late Night at Lord’s: The Nightwatchman Presents
October 18, 2013 @ 11:00 am – 12:00 pm
Played In London: Charting the Heritage of a City at Play with Simon Inglis
October 18, 2013 @ 12:30 pm – 1:30 pm
The Authors XI: A Season of English Cricket from Hackney to Hambledon with Tom Holland and fellow cricketers
October 18, 2013 @ 2:00 pm – 3:00 pm
REFEREE! Mark Halsey and Ian Ridley in conversation with Mike Calvin
October 18, 2013 @ 3:30 pm – 4:30 pm
The Beautiful Game: Anthony Clavane in conversation with Ledley King, Clarke Carlisle and Kelly Smith
October 18, 2013 @ 5:00 pm – 6:00 pm
The Men Who Made Arsenal. Tom Watt in conversation with Patrick Barclay, Amy Lawrence and Philippe Auclair
October 18, 2013 @ 6:30 pm – 7:30 pm
Fear and Loathing in La Liga with Sid Lowe and Graham Hunter
October 18, 2013 @ 8:00 pm – 9:00 pm
The Gaffer with Neil Warnock and Mike Carson
October 18, 2013 @ 9:30 pm – 10:30 pm
Late Night at Lord’s. Messi with Guillem Balague
October 19, 2013 @ 11:00 am – 12:00 pm
150 Years of Wisden with Lawrence Booth, Simon Wilde and John Stern
October 19, 2013 @ 12:30 pm – 1:30 pm
Writing Talk: Lord’s Sport Quiz with Brian Reade and guests
October 19, 2013 @ 2:00 pm – 3:00 pm
Making it to the Top with Katherine Grainger
October 19, 2013 @ 3:30 pm – 4:30 pm
Cheating in Sport with Mike Rowbottom, Richard Moore and Jeremy Whittle
October 19, 2013 @ 5:00 pm – 6:00 pm
Benn v Eubank: Ben Dirs, Donald McRae and Kevin Mitchell in conversation with Mike Costello
October 19, 2013 @ 6:30 pm – 7:30 pm
The Numbers Game: Why Everything You Know About Football is Wrong with Chris Anderson and David Sally
October 19, 2013 @ 9:30 pm – 10:30 pm
Late Night at Lord’s with The Blizzard
October 20, 2013 @ 12:15 pm – 1:15 pm
The Land of Second Chances – The Impossible Rise of Rwanda’s Cycling Team with Tim Lewis
October 20, 2013 @ 1:30 pm – 2:30 pm
Andy Murray: The Real Story with Mark Hodgkinson
October 20, 2013 @ 3:00 pm – 4:00 pm
On the Road Bike with Ned Boulting and Richard Moore
October 20, 2013 @ 4:30 pm – 5:30 pm
Domestique: Life in the Peloton with Charly Wegelius, Rob Hayles and Jeremy Whittle.
October 20, 2013 @ 6:00 pm – 7:00 pm
The Cycling Anthology Presents: An evening with Daniel Friebe, Lionel Birnie and Ellis Bacon
October 20, 2013 @ 7:30 pm – 8:30 pm
Project Rainbow: Britain’s domination of world cycling – a panel discussion with Rod Ellingworth, David Millar,William Fotheringham and Daniel Friebe.
Acknowledged by the Telegraph as a leading cycling journalist, John Stevenson has been writing about bikes and cycling for over 30 years since discovering that people were mug enough to pay him for it rather than expecting him to do an honest day's work.
He was heavily involved in the mountain bike boom of the late 1980s as a racer, team manager and race promoter, and that led to writing for Mountain Biking UK magazine shortly after its inception. He got the gig by phoning up the editor and telling him the magazine was rubbish and he could do better. Rather than telling him to get lost, MBUK editor Tym Manley called John’s bluff and the rest is history.
Since then he has worked on MTB Pro magazine and was editor of Maximum Mountain Bike and Australian Mountain Bike magazines, before switching to the web in 2000 to work for CyclingNews.com. Along with road.cc editor Tony Farelly, John was on the launch team for BikeRadar.com and subsequently became editor in chief of Future Publishing’s group of cycling magazines and websites, including Cycling Plus, MBUK, What Mountain Bike and Procycling.
John has also written for Cyclist magazine, edited the BikeMagic website and was founding editor of TotalWomensCycling.com before handing over to someone far more representative of the site's main audience.
He joined road.cc in 2013 and these days he lives in Cambridge where the lack of hills is more than made up for by the headwinds.