Next Monday evening, ITV4 will begin airing an eight-part weekly series, The Cycle Show, filmed at the Look Mum No Hands café in London and which promises to be packed with cycling chat, news and features. The show is launched as the impending London Olympics and Team Sky’s success in the Tour de France and growth in the number of Britons taking to two wheels result in increasing mainstream media coverage of cycling.
Graham Little will present the 30-minute show, helped by Olympic medalist and former Madison world champion Rob Hayles and Anna Glowinski, the woman behind the Ana Nichoola brand and herself a bike racer across a range of disciplines. The launch of the show as the impending London Olympics and Team Sky’s success in the Tour de France see increasing mainstream media coverage of cycling.
The show, which is being produced by Century TV and sponsored by online retailer Chain Reaction Cycles, will be aired at 8pm on Monday evenings starting 23rd July and will be repeated on Saturdays at 5.30pm and on Sunday mornings. It can also be viewed on the ITV4+1 channel and online via ITV Player.
It won’t just focus on road racing either – bike culture and fashion will also be explored, as well as challenges that according to the programme’s makers are similar to those on a certain motoring show – we’re sure you can guess which one. Star names lined up for the first few shows include Eddy Merckx, Wayne Hemingway, Graeme Obree, and Nigel Mansell. Meanwhile, viewers will be given the opportunity to interact with the show through Facebook and Twitter.
Rohan Browning, Managing Director of Century TV, said: "We'd really like to thank all of the people who have believed in and backed this series, particularly our sponsors Chain Reaction Cycles.
“We feel that there is a real gap in the market for a programme such as this and we're looking forward to getting the show underway. ITV4 are an ideal partner for a programme such as this and it will really complement their cycling portfolio."
Damien Duggan, Chain Reaction Cycles’ Marketing Manager, added: “This is another positive signal that cycling is finally hitting the mainstream, so we’re delighted to be supporting such an exciting new show.
“The beauty of The Cycle Show is that it’ll appeal to a wide range of viewers, and with its debut to coincide with the start of the London 2012 Olympics we hope it’ll inspire more people to discover the joys of riding.”
The Cycle Show isn’t the first cycling magazine show to be shown on ITV, however – in 1994, Carlton Reid of BikeBiz and I Pay Road Tax fame presented a six-part series on Tyne-Tees TV called Chain Gang. In this clip, he races an Aston Martin car on an Aston Martin bike. More archive footage can be found on his YouTube channel.
The new shows launch follows a weekend in which several newspapers examined how Britain has emerged as a power in world cycling, and how that is helping fuel growth in the number of people getting on their bikes.
Cycling writer William Fotheringham provided a detailed analysis of the issues in The Observer, while Scotland on Sunday, in a comprehensive piece, reviews the situation North of the border – although curiously, there is no mention of three of the finest cyclists the country has produced, Graeme Obree and Robert and David Millar (unless that’s the latter in the Saunier Duval jersey in the picture).
Yesterday, The Mirror asked, ‘Is Cycling Becoming The Cool Way To Get Around?’ linking increases in bike riding with the success of stars such as Bradley Wiggins, Victoria Pendleton and Sir Chris Hoy.
The way we see it, success of British riders on the track and road is just one factor that is raising cycling’s profile, and there’s plenty of evidence of growth in road cycling, for example, that owes a lot to that.
But more importantly, boosted by the Cycle To Work scheme over the past few years, there have also been big increases in commuter cycling and in many cases people who start off riding to work as an alternative to the car or train, once bitten by the cycling bug, go on to develop a serious interest in the sport.
Increasing coverage of cycling in the mainstream media can only be a good thing, but as plenty of stories here on road.cc attest, it needs to be accompanied by a real will on the part of national and local politicians as well as urban planners to make it a safe and convenient choice for people to use a bike for their daily transport.
Born in Scotland, Simon moved to London aged seven and now lives in the Oxfordshire Cotswolds with his miniature schnauzer, Elodie. He fell in love with cycling one Saturday morning in 1994 while living in Italy when Milan-San Remo went past his front door. A daily cycle commuter in London back before riding to work started to boom, he's been news editor at road.cc since 2009. Handily for work, he speaks French and Italian. He doesn't get to ride his Colnago as often as he'd like, and freely admits he's much more adept at cooking than fettling with bikes.