Home
So that's what he and James May were doing riding bikes in London a few weeks ago...

The mystery of exactly what Jeremy Clarkson and James May were doing tooling around the West End on bikes recently looks set to be revealed on Sunday when Chris Boardman will be on a panel that assesses the “public information film” the pair were filming.

The Top Gear presenters were spotted on bikes earlier this month, Jeremy Clarkson on an upright hybrid bike that appeared to be rather too small for him, and James May aboard a Brompton. The pair appeared to be filming their faces with GoPro cameras attached to the handlebars.

According to the Radio Times, they were making a ‘public information film’ to promote safer cycling. The feature will be shown in the fifth episode of the current series, which goes to air at 8pm this Sunday on BBC Two (10pm in Wales).

The film will be presented to a panel of experts including British Cycling policy advisor Chris Boardman and members of Westminster Council, one of the London boroughs most notoriously negative about cycling provision.

Chris Boardman couldn’t tell us much about the segment as he hasn’t seen the final edit.

“Anything to do with Top Gear is playing with fire, which is why people watch it,” he said. “On the flip side, it’s also a chance to reach a wider (motoring) audience and portray ourselves as ‘one of you’ rather than cycling fanatics. Just normal people with a sense of humour, who’d like to see more cycling.

“I’m not in control of the edit but knowing a bit about making telly, I could see how they could cut it to look several different ways!

“We’ll see on Sunday if the gamble has paid off.”

The theme of the segment explains why Mr Clarkson and Mr May had gone to some lengths to equip themselves with safety gear, including matching helmets, hi-viz jackets and gloves, and sunglasses despite the gloomy day.

It seemed Mr Clarkson’s jacket was so new he hadn’t removed the tags, leading to speculation he was planning to return them after filming.

Our official grumpy Northerner, John has been riding bikes for over 30 years since discovering as an uncoordinated teen that a sport could be fun if it didn't require you to catch a ball or get in the way of a hulking prop forward.

Road touring was followed by mountain biking and a career racing in the mud that was as brief as it was unsuccessful.

Somewhere along the line came the discovery that he could string a few words together, followed by the even more remarkable discovery that people were mug enough to pay for this rather than expecting him to do an honest day's work. He's pretty certain he's worked for even more bike publications than Mat Brett.

The inevitable 30-something MAMIL transition saw him shift to skinny tyres and these days he lives in Cambridge where the lack of hills is more than made up for by the headwinds.

54 comments

Avatar
rich22222 [166 posts] 2 years ago
0 likes

God help all cyclists

Avatar
oldstrath [703 posts] 2 years ago
0 likes

Replacing top gear by an hour showing the carnage inflicted by cars would be the best public information film. They could even let fst mouthy narrate it.

Avatar
Mr Agreeable [178 posts] 2 years ago
0 likes

We had to scrap our car earlier this year. There have been a couple of occasions when I've missed it, but in general I've been enjoying the increased disposable income and reduced exposure to morons.

We got rid of our telly and stopped paying the licence fee a few years back. There have been a couple of occasions when I've missed it, but...

You get the idea.

Avatar
thelimopit [144 posts] 2 years ago
0 likes

Good on you. They're both things that feel a bit dated now.

Avatar
bendertherobot [1323 posts] 2 years ago
0 likes

The tag thing has been a running joke for years

Avatar
ChairRDRF [322 posts] 2 years ago
0 likes

"The theme of the segment explains why Mr Clarkson and Mr May had gone to some lengths to equip themselves with safety gear, including matching helmets, hi-viz jackets and gloves, and sunglasses despite the gloomy day."

You mean that safety on the road is going to be thought of in the same non-evidence based, victim-blaming, just-buy-something-to-be-safe, usual old drivel.

Of course it is worthwhile getting through to a motoring audience, but this does not bode well for doing it properly. Chris Boardman is normally bang on when it comes to cyclist safety (see this for an example http://rdrf.org.uk/2013/04/27/get-britain-cycling-is-chris-boardman-righ...) . He is good at refusing to have anything to do with initiatives that don't really support cycling when they claim to, so let's wait to see him storm away from anything in this case that is not really helpful.

Which is what is likely to happen.

I mean, really...

Avatar
Rouboy [93 posts] 2 years ago
0 likes

Clarkson and cycling generally means one thing looking at past reports.
Bad news!!!!
Lets hope not?

Avatar
a.jumper [846 posts] 2 years ago
0 likes

Oh let's hope Clarkson suffered a punishment pass despite dressing as a luminous lemon and goes to remonstrate with a driver who idolises him... might explain the taped mouth. But I fear it won't be that good.

Avatar
NIrish [20 posts] 2 years ago
0 likes

Being a massive PetrolHead and cyclist gives a certain conflict in interest but I think this does have positive impact on cycling. TG has a big folllowing, and yes im aware some are narrow minded but the other year they did the race across LDN and the bike was well used. JC is in the public eye so ofcourse hes going to gob off from time to time, he lays the bait and different people bite.

My point being, until people with more power make the changes necessary to provide for the bike above the car we are always going to have these litte snipes at eachother.

Avatar
mtm_01 [196 posts] 2 years ago
0 likes

How are matching helmets 'safety gear'?

Avatar
bikebot [2149 posts] 2 years ago
0 likes

Despite the commonly quoted statistics for how many cyclists have a full license and drive, there are still people that for some reason think being pro-cycling must naturally be anti-motoring.

My own experience is that I've found more petrolheads amongst riders than average. In particular, I can think of a few cycling co-workers from past jobs who had expensive performance cars tucked away for weekends and evening. That just weren't daft enough to try to commute into London in it during the day, and the money saved on fares probably helped buy it.

I bet someone at Top Gear has worked out how many of their audience cycle. I'm sure they're going to rip on the subject in a pretty daft way, but thats just the humour of the show. Boardman's clearly walking into this with his eyes wide open. Join in and have a chuckle at the cliches.

Avatar
farrell [1950 posts] 2 years ago
0 likes

It'll be a lark. Japes. The usual mindless nonsense.

And in a few months time when Boardman tries to make a serious valid point the mass media will swing and refer back to whatever it was the editors of Top Gear made it sound like he said.

It's a hatchet job masquerading as light entertainment.

Avatar
mikeprytherch [223 posts] 2 years ago
0 likes

Comment about how shit it is after its shown not before, glad you lot are not on a jury, judged and sentenced before the the evidence has been shown, you just make cyclist look like a bunch of whiners.

Avatar
Nick T [983 posts] 2 years ago
0 likes

I'm expecting some humorous attempts at satire with what the production team deem an important message tucked away in the middle of it. Like they always do. Whatever is coming they've been building up to for a while, with Clarkson claiming to own a bike now for some time. There's no way a man with a reputation for preparation and planning like Boardman would go into this with his eyes closed either.

Avatar
md6 [181 posts] 2 years ago
0 likes

I expect that if they try and twist or make stuppid arguments that CB will be more than up to the task of putting them straight, taking them down a few pegs and putting the message across in a sensible, coherent and well thought through way. Hopefully he won't need to, but i'm sure he can do.

Avatar
farrell [1950 posts] 2 years ago
0 likes
mikeprytherch wrote:

Comment about how shit it is after its shown not before, glad you lot are not on a jury, judged and sentenced before the the evidence has been shown, you just make cyclist look like a bunch of whiners.

As far as I am aware, a jury would not paid a handsome wage via a tax on virtually everyone in the country and then given the opportunity to increase those earnings by selling their verdict to various other idiots abroad. I'm also fairly certain that a jury is to provide a verdict on the evidence they have been shown, not to provide fat, oafish, walking mid-life crises a soapbox from which to spew forth their cretinous views time and time again, marginally hiding behind the pretense that it is supposed to be humour but mainly protected by the fact that they make a lot of money for those that are supposed to be keeping them in check.

I could be wrong though.

Avatar
mtm_01 [196 posts] 2 years ago
0 likes
farrell wrote:

I'm also fairly certain that a jury is to provide a verdict on the evidence they have been shown

Which was the point the guy before was making! All your post does is reek of jealousy more than anything that you're not oafish or boorish enough to earn lots of money making TV programmes.

Avatar
andyp [1473 posts] 2 years ago
0 likes

'As far as I am aware, a jury would not paid a handsome wage via a tax on virtually everyone in the country'

Stopped reading at that point. It's really not a tax, now, is it. It's an optional payment, which you only need make if you use the product.

Avatar
Nick T [983 posts] 2 years ago
0 likes

Anyway, Top Gear creates vastly more revenue for the BBC than it costs to produce. It's an obscenely profitable franchise worldwide.

Avatar
KiwiMike [1244 posts] 2 years ago
0 likes

Clarkson is on record as really getting urban cycling: http://road.cc/content/news/56433-jeremy-clarkson-turns-cycling-advocate...

Avatar
oozaveared [947 posts] 2 years ago
0 likes

This is know.

Boardman is a really good advocate for cycling
Boardman is savvy media operator
Boardman is a good businessman with independent income that doesn't need to play politics. I trust him.
Boardman does not go along to get along with stuff he doesn't think helps cyclists
Top Gear is a massively popular programme
Clarkson has the attention of a lot of motorists
If you want to get a message to a lot of motorists Clarkson is the "go to Guy".
This may be risky.
It may yield high rewards

Clarkson et al may stitch Chris up. Could happen.

But Boardman is an Olympic medallist.
He is able to get media attention
He is a formidable opponent articulate, knowledgeable, he drives 25k miles a year, he is not a beardy, sandalist, type of cyclist.
If you wanted to try and stitch someone up on Top Gear he would not be your low hanging fruit.

Let's see how it goes shall we. But if you want to do something about driver attitudes there's no point to talking only to the faithful and preaching to the choir. You need to campaign amongst the heathens as well.

“If sinners will be damned, at least let them leap to Hell over our bodies. And if they will perish, let them perish with our arms about their knees, imploring them to stay. If Hell must be filled, at least let it be filled in the teeth of our exertions, and let not one go there unwarned and unprayed for.”
Charles Spurgeon

Allez Chris and chapeau!

Avatar
FluffyKittenofT... [1428 posts] 2 years ago
0 likes
mikeprytherch wrote:

Comment about how shit it is after its shown not before, glad you lot are not on a jury, judged and sentenced before the the evidence has been shown, you just make cyclist look like a bunch of whiners.

Yeah, because nobody can ever make a judgement about something based on prior knowledge and experience. Ever. Don't have a view on a possible BNP government till you've tried it, don't assume anything about how a particular paper (whether its the Mail or the Guardian) will cover a particular story, and don't believe decades of evidence tells us anything about Jeremy Clarkson's attitudes, or about the nature of TV-audience-chasing, because everything is a blank-slate, everything should be approached with the innocence of a new-born child!

And a jury? Are you saying this programme may be a crime? Will we have some sort of legal authority over its makers that gives us a strict burden of neutrality? I wish!

My prediction is this will be somewhat annoying, with plenty of the usual "I pay road tax" sort of guff, but not as bad as expected, because JC is a smart guy and probably at some level understands the issues a lot better than do most of the audience he happily panders to.
("Just because I don't care doesn't mean I don't understand" - as Homer Simpson put it)

Avatar
FluffyKittenofT... [1428 posts] 2 years ago
0 likes
mtm_01 wrote:
farrell wrote:

I'm also fairly certain that a jury is to provide a verdict on the evidence they have been shown

Which was the point the guy before was making! All your post does is reek of jealousy more than anything that you're not oafish or boorish enough to earn lots of money making TV programmes.

I often feel such envy! Deluded self-belief and a complete lack of desire to think critically about what you are saying seems to be a recipe for success in today's media. Don't worry about constructing careful rational arguments based on evidence and reason, that's boring and won't get you noticed, instead just suppress all moral qualms and be bullying and provocative (but always with an elegant prose style). Professional trolling is the way to go!

Wish I had what it takes!

To be fair, it also needs a very thick skin, given the animosity such a career can generate in sections of the public. I don't think I could take the heat.

Avatar
oozaveared [947 posts] 2 years ago
0 likes
FluffyKittenofTindalos][quote=mikeprytherch wrote:

My prediction is this will be somewhat annoying, with plenty of the usual "I pay road tax" sort of guff, but not as bad as expected, because JC is a smart guy and probably at some level understands the issues a lot better than do most of the audience he happily panders to.
("Just because I don't care doesn't mean I don't understand" - as Homer Simpson put it)

Yeah good. I hope it all comes up because then Boardman can nail it. You need Clarkson to bring it all out for Chris to address. There is no point having a soft ride and then people saying that Clarkson never asked him about Road Tax and was soft on Boardman cos it would be too hard for him to answer.

Drag it all out. Let's be having it. So the whole audience sees it all dealt with on prime time telly. That's what the opportunity provides.

Avatar
Simon_MacMichael [2471 posts] 2 years ago
0 likes
oozaveared wrote:

This is know.

[Boardman] is not a beardy, sandalist, type of cyclist.

I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but when I was at the British Cycling #ChooseCycling launch earlier this month, he was most certainly sporting a beard.

Didn't think to look at his footwear, I'm afraid.

Avatar
oozaveared [947 posts] 2 years ago
0 likes
Simon_MacMichael wrote:
oozaveared wrote:

This is know.

[Boardman] is not a beardy, sandalist, type of cyclist.

I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but when I was at the British Cycling #ChooseCycling launch earlier this month, he was most certainly sporting a beard.

Didn't think to look at his footwear, I'm afraid.

I have sported a beard and worn sandals. But even if I had done both at the same time I still wouldn't have been a beardy sandalist in my heart. If you follow my drift?

Avatar
dmc [69 posts] 2 years ago
0 likes

Not sure if people are aware that mrs Clarkson is a very keen cyclist she even rode with the injured soldier ride (blezma) last year finishing with a lap of the top gear test circuit. So will be interesting to see how cycling will be portrayed on Sunday. Either way im sure jc will get greif if not from us but from her.

Avatar
crazy-legs [825 posts] 2 years ago
0 likes

Anyone remember that episode of TG where he presented his "P45" car to Dragon's Den? And they ripped it to pieces.

Or the one where they had to make an advert for a car and present it to a panel of advertising executives?

Obviously both very staged but very funny. I can see this one going the same way, it'll be staged and scripted and done more for laughs than anything. Chris Boardman has got a very dry sense of humour, I can see him doing pretty well out of this. Looking forward to it, I like Top Gear - take it for what it is, a staged, scripted piece of light entertainment of (as Hammond once described it) "cocking about with cars".

Avatar
farrell [1950 posts] 2 years ago
0 likes
dmc wrote:

Not sure if people are aware that mrs Clarkson is a very keen cyclist she even rode with the injured soldier ride (blezma) last year finishing with a lap of the top gear test circuit. So will be interesting to see how cycling will be portrayed on Sunday. Either way im sure jc will get greif if not from us but from her.

I'd imagine that if she was going to give him stick about anything then his portrayal of cyclists would probably be well down the list, you know, far behind him leaving his family and him shagging other women. That sort of stuff.

Avatar
notfastenough [3719 posts] 2 years ago
0 likes

Remember though, that this is all down to the edit - Chris is no fool, but they could probably make it look that way...

Pages