Anyone who enjoyed the Silverstrange Sessions during lockdown should wrap their ears around the Spindrift Podcast.
Pete sits down for a chat with Aoife Glass, who brought you the Silverstrange Sessions during lockdown, about her new podcast, Spindrift.
Photos by Phil Hall.
Who is Aoife Glass?
I’m a writer and content creator with a passion for cycling and a background in presenting and science communication. I like all flavours of cycling, but off-road has my heart. I love riding trails, particularly rocky natural singletrack, and am also into a spot of gravel exploring. I was actually quite relieved when gravel bikes were ‘invented’ because I had a bad habit of taking my road bikes off-road anyway.
What’s your background in cycling?
Like a lot of women, I cycled as a wee kid but then stopped for reasons I can’t remember in my teens, and then got back into cycling in my twenties. I started off commuting, then a friend took me mountain biking and I became hooked on that, then I bought a road bike as well.
Around this time I was looking for a change of scene work-wise, and was really into riding, so I started to contribute to this new website that had just sprung up, Total Women’s Cycling. Then a job came up and I thought ‘why not!’ So quit my old job and became Deputy Editor, focusing on MTB.
A few years later, I decided to move South West, and was approached to help improve and develop content for women on BikeRadar.com, eventually becoming the BikeRadar Women’s Editor which I did for four and a half years.
I decided to go freelance at the end of 2019 (great timing) and since then I’ve been writing for quite a few different places like BikeRadar, MBUK, Wideopenmag, Red Bull, Bike Perfect, Cycling News and the Trek UK blog.
I’m all about the adventure side of cycling, so I love big days or multi-days out in the mountains or long gravel rides, so I’m getting a touch of cabin fever being stuck locally at the moment. It’s for the greater good though so it’s worth it, and I’ve kept myself occupied by planning future adventures…and setting up a podcast.
Why a podcast?
I really like podcasts. I listen to them when I’m chilling out or cooking in the kitchen or going places, and they’re a great format for storytelling and conversation. Film is great too, but a LOT more involved, and also pretty difficult at the moment when we’re all staying local. The great thing about recording a podcast is that both me and my guest can be at home, in our pyjamas, sitting nice and comfy and still have a great chat. Not that I record my podcast in my pyjamas…
Well, it was actually supposed to launch at the end of last year, but I was waaay too busy! It’s something I’ve wanted to do for quite a while, but never quite got the nerve up. I couldn’t do it while I was on staff at the previous places I worked, so being freelance presented the perfect opportunity. I kept putting it off, then realised it was because I was scared of the reaction and of putting my work out there. So I decided to stop overthinking it and just do it.
Did you consider a more specialist podcast?
I did, and I might yet delve into some ‘Spindrift X …’ series where I talk the specifics of a certain topic with a variety of experts. But I’ve so many ideas, and there are so many brilliant stories out there I decided not to limit things to start with, go broad, see what I like doing and what people like listening to, and go from there.
Plus there are a fair few podcasts out there focussing on specifics, and I’ve always liked exploring the broader picture and the wider context of things.
Who makes up Spindrift and what do they do?
Spindrift is me, and also Phil Hall who provides most of the lovely photos that you’ll see on the website and on Instagram. Basically, I do words and he does pictures, and we both have similar aims with what we’re trying to achieve despite the different mediums. Phil is interested in telling stories in the photos he takes, capturing mood and atmosphere, rather than just pure action.
How did you decide on the format for your podcasts?
I could say the format came from the Instagram Live chats I started during the lockdowns of 2020. I wanted to do something that would brighten up everyone’s spirits when we were all stuck inside for weeks at a time, so I thought about having some live sessions with different guests, a different one each day. I called them the Silverstrange Sessions, because Silverstrange is my Instagram handle. In the end, I think I did something like 60 sessions, and I had some really cool people join me!
But really, the format is from my pre-cycling life. I used to work as a presenter/event organiser at the Natural History Museum in London on a programme called Nature Live. I’d host daily chat-show style sessions with Museum scientists in a studio with a live audience of museum visitors, and it was amazing. I did events on everything from dinosaur fossils and meteorites to forensic entomology and deep sea fish. So basically I’m handy to have around for the natural history/science round in pub quizes.
I just really like having chats with people and seeing where the conversation takes us. I like to think the podcast is a bit like the chats we have with people we meet in the pub or over coffee and cake when we’re riding.
Did Spindrift come to you as the perfect name or was it a mission to find a name?
I’ve actually loved the word spindrift for years and years, before I even got into cycling. Spindrift is technically the spray blown from the crests of waves by the wind, or powder snow blowing from mountain peaks, but it also has those pleasing bike overtones what with it being a portmanteau of ‘spin’ and ‘drift’ which are both very mountainbike-y and I think it could equally apply to that luscious loamy scatter you get when you ride a corner just right in perfect conditions.
How do you go about getting the right people on board to talk to?
Luckily, I made contact with loads of people during the Silverstrange sessions last year, so I’m hoping to chat to a few of them again and so far they seem keen. I’ve met a lot of amazing people during my
And also, while I’ve not explicitly mentioned it anywhere, you might spot that the guest list is very womxn-focussed. I’ll definitely be chatting to men, but womxn in the bike world typically get fewer opportunities to share their stories, and especially those who aren’t already well-known, so again like the Silverstrange Sessions I’m planning on having a mix of names you know and names you don’t, but I can guarantee they will ALL have brilliant stories and experiences to share.
Too many to list… One of the best things is when you get into a flow with a guest, and you’re just chatting away and almost forget that you’re recording a podcast. It’s also the little snippets and details of someone’s experiences that make me smile or laugh that stand out. I always come away from the chats feeling like I’ve learned something or I’m inspired to try something, and I hope the people who listen to it get that too!
Oh yes. The very first podcast I went to record, I forgot to turn on the recorder. I got to the end and realised the little red ‘record’ light wasn’t on and I nearly cried. Then I remembered I’d asked my guest to set their phone to record an audio note alongside my recording, so the conversation was saved and actually the quality was really good.
That was an extremely helpful tip I’d heard from a few sources, and it saved my bacon. And of course I’m now absolutely paranoid about making sure the bloody recorder is actually switched on.
Anyone to thank?
I’m sure I’m going to accidentally forget some people here, but I really have to thank all the people who helped make those first Silverstrange Sessions happen, showed their support and connected me with some incredible speakers.
Hannah Wilson of Extra UK was incredibly helpful as was Pete Scullion, Chris Hall of Downtime Podcast fame has provided helpful advice on the mechanics of the whole thing, Paul Haysom aka Paul the Punter and Ryan Oldfield of #TotalMTB who both supplied loads of encouragement.
You can check out the Spindrift Podcast on their website here.
Read our Wise Words interview with Aoife on our Features page here.