Did you get hooked into watching the Veledrome  race coverage? I watched more than I planned. It occurred to me that it's high time SBS, which calls itself, Bike Central, devoted some substantial coverage to utility cycling.

Racing is all well and good, but its not going change our world for the better as we know that using bikes as transport, surely can. I don't have to list the ways. You know them already.

My specific challenge to SBS, which I spell out on my blog, http://situp-cycle.com, is to do an in-depth look as the public bikes of London, in the lead up to the Olympics

. Find out why there are working better than expected. Delve their ability to bring non riders to the idea of bikes as transport.Ask the key question, why cant we have the same?

Think this is a fair challenge? Then support it, please. Add your own variant on the utility bike story that you'd like SBS to get their teeth into .

To prime the pump further,   I add this  cut down version of one of my films, now called. The Return of the Speedwells.


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The W League has been covered by ABC. Pity that the A League is in the throes of deciding that women's football is too much of a liability to fund. 

When National Geographic's A-1 adventure sports channel (which is now called Nat Geo Adventure) was first introduced to Australia, many of the documentaries were about cycle touring. Mongolia and the Altiplano Plateau and other fascinating places were shown in great light and the joy of cycling was equally well portrayed.

The programmes didn't just look at doing the touring but usually included something about the cycling culture of the countries being visited and tour planning and showed riders being resourceful.

Then to out-do each other the doco makers started turning the amazing journies into the histrionics of cycle touring. I soon switched off.

I didn't want to follow the cosmic dreams of others,  detailing cycling journeys by eccentric outsiders that in themselves are an enigma to this modern day. Or with riders agonizing about visiting Australia, on roads less travelled. The torment of remembering that it isn't about good roads, bad roads or how numerous or large the size of the potholes are but about finding one's self, through adversity and hardship were the only issues of cycle touring.

The real torment early on was only about starting the journey ... but what was being shown on Nat Geo Adventure was the real torment, the riders.

Now when I go to Nat Geo Adventure, this ANZAC Day, there's Food School, The Delinquent Gourmet, several episodes of Bondi Rescues, and several programmes about food from around the world.

SBS covering the non-reality of cycling,  would be excellent. Something showing that not every cyclist has a victim's mentality or an entitlement mentality, would be very good to see.


A bit like "long way round" but done without the engines then?

Or the Hannibal Trail one that actually was on bicycles.  Not sure if it has been shown on TV here but I really want to go on the ride that they are now offering commercially.  There's a few hills...

Interestingly, SBS (or maybe it was ABC, I forget) has already shown a show a little bit like what you are describing, Kylie. It was Nicholas Crane's "Britannia", a journey through England, Scotland and Ireland using a guidebook published in Elizabethan times. The third ep featured him cycle-touring through the backblocks of Ireland, with his trademark trusty umbrella.

He is, of course, English, and quite mad -- in the way that many of us cyclists are mad -- but he is largely responsible for getting me into international cycle-touring with his 1984 book, "Cycling in Europe" and I will be ever grateful to him for that..

No it was 7Two. I remember it was on a Sunday night.


If you can get your hands on it I suggest reading his book he wrote with his cousin called 'Journey to the Centre of the Earth'.

His cousin was Jules Verne? 


No dear, he's cousin is Richard. I've found an electronic copy of the book. If you're into adventure and long distance cycling I highly recommend reading it.

I have a copy. It is very amusinge.

The premise of the adventure is to ride from the sea at the Bay of Bengal to the place on earth most remote from the sea, hence, somewhat contrived, the centre of the earth. This place happened to be in China and they were arrested before they could reach their goal but did a runner from the authorities to complete their journey. Takes guts, but backs up my theory that Nick and his cousin, Rick, are English and quite mad.

They are, however, experts in minimalist cycle touring and the list of what they took, or what they didn't take, is amazing and hilarious.

You are welcome to borrow the book if you like, Mr O' but I want it back.

Nicholas Crane is also a presenter on a current doco called "Coast" which is on SBS or ABC or 7Two or...

Well I have that book somewhere in the shed as well. Good read and yes mad (both)

Edit On the bookshelf in hard cover.  I may scan some of the photos.

The "didn't take" list appears to include bar tape.

Also the handles of toothbrushes, WYB.


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