PEDALLING podcasters have been getting on their vintage bikes to uncover the history on their doorstep.
The lockdown wanderings and restoration projects of friends, Johnathan Branson and Craig Spivey, inspired a podcast which aims to encourage others to discover the art, architecture, history and culture on offer in Warwick district.
Forced to keep their walks local throughout most of 2020, Johnathan and Craig developed a deeper appreciation of the streetscapes and stories to be found in Leamington, Warwick, Kenilworth and Whitnash.
But it was following Craig’s restoration of two vintage 1970s Raleigh Magnum road bikes that the new project was born.
The creative director from Leamingon said: “I did up a couple of old bicycles over lockdown, though it had been a long time since I’d done any town riding. Johnathan, who’s a regular cyclist, offered to take me around Leamington as a bit of a refresher.
“We’d often share exchanges on social media about what was happening locally and on the handful of times we had met professionally, we always ended up discussing what inspired us about the places we lived. I thought it would be fun to try and capture some of that.”
Johnathan, from Warwick, who also works in the cultural and creative sector, said the podcast started out as something of an experiment.
“We weren’t sure where any of it was heading or if anyone would tune-in, but listeners encouraged us to make it a regular thing.
“There are plenty of brilliant art and history podcasts out there, but our USP of visiting and discussing hidden or overlooked stuff on old bikes, combined with half remembered facts seemed like a good idea.
“We’re certainly having a great time making them!”
With downloads quickly reaching into three figures, the pair’s warm and accessible approach to local history soon found fans around the county as they visited the likes of the Leamington filming location for the 2000s reboot of Upstairs Downstairs, The Midland Oak, and Lillington’s modernist mid-century library.
The pair have put away the bikes for the winter but hope to get back in the saddle in the spring with a second series – with the promise of guest appearances and possibly a third vintage bike.
The free podcast, with music by local songwriter Andy Mort, and an interactive map of their travels can be found at www.upcjstreet.co.uk