The Velocast is a podcast about the world of professional cycling.
The show is hosted by John Galloway and Scott O’Raw with regular contributions from Cillian Kelly. It is a generally fairly lighthearted look at the world of procycling, the hosts are jovial and humorous for the most part although they manage to consistently strike the right sombre serious note when required.
All three men are united by a genuine burning passion for the sport and this shines through in the work. They attempt and succeed in bringing their passion through a polished and well run podcast. There are lots of podcasts out there where the host is knowledgable and passionate but the production values are so poor that it makes it intolerable to listen to. Not so with the Velocast.
I have been listening since before they made a decision to go from a free to air show to a subscription feed. It’s now what both John and Scott do full-time and this shows through in the quality of the product we get.
The regular features of the show are the weekly show, all year round which is a summary and discussion of the previous weeks events. During the grand tours there are daily shows discussing the days racing and previewing the following days race. There is also a preview and a wrap up show for each of the grand tours. In addition there are extremely in-depth previews and reviews of each of the monuments. John and Scott will tell you that their best work is the daily shows but I dare to disagree and I believe their best work is done in the spring around the cobbled classics and I think that’s because of John’s love of Paris-Roubaix. I am probably biased because it is far and away my favourite race of the year and I find myself in early January wondering if I can get a weather forecast for northern France in April.
The third musketeer is Cillian Kelly who is a follower of cycling and writes periodically for a variety of online publications as well as his own blog and more recently featuring on GCN no less. Cillian is the main provider of content for “This week in cycling history” which is a look back and a chat about two or three events in cycling history, often contrasted against events in the current peloton. Generally John acts as the foil for this podcast with much of the discussion over to Cillian who seems to carry around with him a fat suitcase full of fascinating facts and obscure details that he manages to breathe life into. His interest in the history of the sport is infectious. Any cyclist who scratches the surface of the sport generally gets interested in the history and will know the tales about the 400 kilometer stages in the early Tours de France and mending forks with bellows in the local blacksmiths. Cillian takes this discussion to another level bringing up things that you might vaguely be aware of but putting such context and detail around them that you are given a whole new view of whatever the event is. The research he does is superb and he genuinely puts real effort into ensuring what he is presenting is both accurate and interesting.
If the above wasn’t enough there are sporadic book shows, which take the format of an interview between Cillian and the author of the book. These are a good guide to a book and more importantly a good reference point for what you might want your better half to give you for Christmas/Birthday/whatever. Cillian has a knack for getting into the writing process with the author to understand what drove the author to write the book and what the process was for actually producing the book which leads to interesting conversations about people met and interviewed, obstacles overcome and a nice insight into what its like to write for a living and then within that to write for a niche like cycling aficionados.
When things go calm in the winter the lads bring in special guests to cover cycle cross as well as discussing the various rider moves and the machinations at the UCI as the politics takes over for the winter. If I was to make a minor criticism it would be that the shows in the winter understandably change in their content and nature. Its hard, what are you going to talk about on a cycling podcast when there’s no cycling happening. Don’t get me wrong, the shows are still good and will keep you up to date with whatever is going on, but obviously there’s no racing to dissect to the content will invariably be different.
Both John and Scott are extremely helpful if there are any issues. Twice in the course of the many years I have been listening I have had to email them to sort out an issue with my feed (both times my fault) and they were extremly supportive and quick to respond. They genuinely value their customers (not in a corporate Vodafone bullcrap kind of way) and are keen to assist subscribers who migth be having an issue with a feed or a technical issue of somekind.
The Velocast represents great value at around £60 for the year if you buy the early bird or there is a pay monthly option which will be a little more expensive. At just over £1 a week though, for frankly more content that you can listen to in peak season, all of it high quality, you really can’t argue that its anything but extraordinary value for money. I can’t think of any means of entertaining yourself for so little on a cost-per-hour basis.
Ed Rating: 9/10
Regular readers will know that nothing gets 10/10 because nothings perfect, so 9/10 is as good as it gets. The Velocast is an excellent addition to your life if you have even a passing interest in procycling. If you’re just getting into it, it will bring on your knowledge leaps and bounds. If you’re a long-term follower of cycling it will bring in-depth quality analysis and knowledge that you won’t get elsewhere and will bring you new perpectives on the sport that it is so complex, it surprises you every time you think you have just started to get your arms around it.