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Summer Guide 2013: Roads

Set a gentle pace on the highways of Mid-Wales in an electric car with Welsh Road Trips (welshroadtrips.com), an initiative by three hotels in the Green Tourism Business Scheme. Guests are given directions between the three properties, with two nights' B&B provided at each establishment – Lasswade Country House in Llanwrtyd Wells, The Old Vicarage Dolfor near Newtown, and Westview Guesthouse in Llowes. Price £595pp, including hire of a two-seat electric car.

Chris Cviic: Broadcaster and writer who became a leading expert on

Chris Cviic was a writer and broadcaster who became a leading expert on the former Yugoslavia and the Balkans. Born in Croatia, the son of a businessman, he settled in Britain in 1954. His career took him to the BBC World Service, to St Antony's College, Oxford, to Chatham House and finally to the European Bank of Reconstruction and Development, which promotes foreign investment and economic reform in former communist countries.

Europe's biker gangs set on a collision course with the police

In the middle of May this year, thousands of leather-clad bikers from across the Balkans gathered in the Croatian town of Slavonski Brod for a bash celebrating the unbridled joy that comes from tearing up the open road on a powerful two-wheeled hog.

Album: Portico Quartet, Isla (Real World)

Forget the ex-buskers' Mercury-nominated debut. With Isla, produced by John Leckie, Portico have found their mojo: a thrumming, intensely textured and dynamic sound flowing between sax, bass, drums and hang. (Looks like a wok, sounds like a steel drum.)

Album: Madness, The Liberty of Norton Folgate (Lucky Seven)

It's probably stretching a point to suggest that the current 2-Tone revival says as much about our present social corrosion as any learned sociological treatise; though certainly, the last time blue-eyed ska bands were this popular, the country was riven with inner-city riots and being bled dry by complete bankers. Sound familiar?

Album: Big Air, Big Air (Babel)

Big Air are a supergroup led by the Ornette Coleman and Don Cherry of UK jazz, Steve Buckley and Chris Batchelor, who are joined by pianist Myra Melford and drummer Jim Black, with Oren Marshall's tuba parping out the basslines.