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Debut episode featured Gary Fisher and Graeme Obree

ITV's Cycle Show debuted last night - proof, if it was needed, of a cycling renaissance in the UK.

The magazine-style chat show on ITV4 was met with enthusiasm by reviewers and viewers, although some expressed hope that the show might find more of a focus once it bedded in.

Last night's episode attempted to be something for everyone, with guests including Formula One racing driver-turned cyclist Nigel Mansell, mountain bike pioneer Gary Fisher and Graeme Obree, "The Flying Scotsman" who is hoping to break the human-powered land-speed record. 

Fisher and Obree rounded off the show with a Rollapaluza roller race.

Mountain biker James Bailey tweeted: #TheCycleShow wasn't great BUT its the first show, not aimed at me and next week they are covering last years #megavalanche give it time!

Another user, Gary Dawes wrote: #thecycleshow is a good effort but needs some tweaks - hope it will settle in. would have liked to have seen more Obree though.

The London cafe-bikeshop Look Mum No Hands was the venue for the first show.

Lewin Chalkley, one of the owners told the Independent: "I keep telling people it's like Top Gear without the tossers.

"We're so excited about it."

Sharon Fuller, operations director of Century TV, commissioned to make the show, made clear that the viewer response would shape the show in time to come.

She told Bike Biz: “Viewers need to get behind this show or it will be ten years before any broadcaster takes a chance on a show like this.

“This first series of eight half hour shows is like a pilot series. If viewers get behind this series there will be more chance of being able to make a second series, and perhaps a series with one hour per show.”

Did you miss the show? Watch again here.

Let us know what you thought of The Cycle Show in the comments below.

After an unpromising start, having to be bribed by her parents to learn to ride without stabilisers, Sarah became rather keener on cycling in her university years, and was eventually persuaded to upgrade to proper road cycling by the prospect of a shiny red Italian bike, which she promptly destroyed by trapping a pair of knickers in the rear derailleur. Sarah writes about about cycling every weekend on road.cc.

64 comments

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dmc [68 posts] 4 years ago
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Give it time  3

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mattsccm [330 posts] 4 years ago
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Have a look at the STW forum reactions!
Didn't see it but if its a naff as it seems then some one (who) needs to feed back to the producers. A bad program is worse than none at all.
Time wil tell but they don'thave too long.

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rjw [52 posts] 4 years ago
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It was pretty awful to be honest. As for being "Top Gear without the tossers", the tossers in this case were the audience. Interviewing guests in front of a load of people who won't stop chattering is never going to work on television, even if they are all wearing cycling caps with the peak flipped up to make it look all "cyclingish".

I'll probably watch next week just to see if they've learned anything from this week. I suspect they won't have though.

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John_the_Monkey [437 posts] 4 years ago
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I think they tried to fit too much in - half an hour isn't really enough time for what they were trying to do (imo).

They'd be better to focus a little more, I think. They also made the cardinal sin of letting someone mention h*lm*ts, which sent twitter into a fury, when they weren't being furious about their EXACT point of view being unrepresented in the first programme.

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OldRidgeback [2620 posts] 4 years ago
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I didn't know it was on, which just about sums up the promotion it's had.

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dreamlx10 [159 posts] 4 years ago
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Poor location in a cafe full of "Gringos", Obree is bonkers as is Gary Fisher, but as other people have said, give it time, at least it's here.

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JonSP [65 posts] 4 years ago
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Tuned in more in hope than expectation. Still, very disappointed.

I don't think they even have a sense of who this show is for... Is it for people who are already committed cyclists – and know who Gary Fisher and Graeme Obree are? Or is it aimed at the (presumably) large numbers who may have been excited and inspired by Brit success at the Tour and want to know more?

I think the latter group would get nothing from it but confusion. Fisher and Obree are great originals and innovators but it felt like they were communicating on their own planet.

Apart from getting a vague impression that Box Hill really is a hill – and not much of that because half of that segment was wasted on shots of faces and bits of bike – I don't think anyone would have learned anything from the show.

And the café setting was a big mistake. Just because it's cheap doesn't make it a good idea.

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Ronstermonster [6 posts] 4 years ago
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All the background noise of crockery being 'chinked' and constant chatter in the cafe did my head in. If they don't change the format for the interviews I don't think I'll be bothering for too much longer.

That said - I did find the section about how to put my helmet on my head rather than being worn on the back of my neck quite informative... I'd never thought of that before.  13

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leodhasach [7 posts] 4 years ago
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I'm not sure I like Sharon Fuller's tone. Smells a bit like 'Get behind this or else, if you don't like it then we won't make any more'. Doesn't sound like someone willing to listen to viewer feedback.

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Coleman [335 posts] 4 years ago
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"Like Top Gear without the tossers."

Excellent. Someone mentioned lack of promotion. They should have just had a few ads with that as the summary.

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bikeandy61 [533 posts] 4 years ago
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I have to say poor. As mentioned above in 30 minutes if you try to cover all sorts of stories you'll do none of them any good.

And I appreciate that Nigel Mansell was once a "star", spoke more TV friendly language than Mr Obree, and has his fingers in a cycle team but far too much on him when there were 2 genuine "stars" of cycling there.

Either make a program for cyclists or make an OK TV magazine that just happens to involve cycling.

As for threatening to make no more - well to be honest if you can't improve on that then TBH I'd rather you didn't. A program of that quality is only going to reinforce the negative impression of cyclists that it seems a lot of the general public have.

I wonder how long after BW took the Maillot Jeune that this series got commissioned?

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technojim [33 posts] 4 years ago
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That show had a producer? Really?

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Super Domestique [1605 posts] 4 years ago
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leodhasach wrote:

I'm not sure I like Sharon Fuller's tone. Smells a bit like 'Get behind this or else, if you don't like it then we won't make any more'. Doesn't sound like someone willing to listen to viewer feedback.

I read that the other way. Rather than just sit moan about it, which is what I said would happen in the thread on the forum, give feedback that can move the programme.

It's easy to complain. If that is all the tv station hear then the programme is pulled and its back to square one.

As I said in the aforementioned thread, I am just pleased to see a cycling programme. Cyclists arent all the same despite what everyone seems to think. What interests one won't interest another. How often have cycling magazines had articles slated by some but loved by others? Loads. In a mag you turn the page and start the next article. Tv is different.

Hopefully with a bit patience and yes, listening to constructive criticism, then the show will develop and there will be something for everyone in there during the series.

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Strathlubnaig [113 posts] 4 years ago
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It was right up there with that english anthem effort on sunday

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Cooks [491 posts] 4 years ago
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That Gary Fisher is a bit mental isn't he?

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nowasps [429 posts] 4 years ago
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It was nowhere near long enough, and went on far too long.

Each subject should be given more time and looked at seriously and intelligently. Why always assume your viewers are intellectually challenged newcomers to cycling?

Interviewing guests more or less "live"on the sofa is always going to make for painful viewing. The "star in a car" interview spot on Top Gear is the weakest, and often the most excruciating part of the whole show.

I thought the silly roller-race with the village fete display wheel behind it, had some potential.

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gazzaputt [215 posts] 4 years ago
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It was ok.

Having Fisher and Obree was a mistake. Two eccentrics together never goes well.

Agree about the location but seeing as it seemed to filmed on Sunday afternoon at the end of the TDF it would be noisey.

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scrapper [71 posts] 4 years ago
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Fantastic at least that theres an attempt to get a show about cycling on TV, long overdue.
However, i thought a live setting in such a noisy location was distracting, and the guests took up too much time chattering about not a great deal at all, or complimenting each other.

Id agree that it appeared that a target audience had not really been defined, would existing experienced cyclists be interested in beginnner commuting tips, especially being told the best tip is "looking wobbly"...and if the target audience was indeed beginners, then would they have appreciated (or known) the guest choices.

Scrub the live cafe setting, get individual guests in for a specific reason and go for quality not quantity in a 30 minute show with an ad break...

At least its a start though and congratulations to all those involved for at least having a go...a "winning" cycling programme within the next 5 years ...such dreams arent possible, are they?

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JonSP [65 posts] 4 years ago
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leodhasach wrote:

I'm not sure I like Sharon Fuller's tone. Smells a bit like 'Get behind this or else, if you don't like it then we won't make any more'. Doesn't sound like someone willing to listen to viewer feedback.

It does read that way, doesn't it? But in the hope she is genuinely interested in feedback, let's make positive suggestions for improvement:

1: Do something about the background noise. It was obviously distracting the guests. Lots of programmes have a live audience but they don't generally let them drown out the people we want to hear from,

2: Introduce guests properly, so uninitiated listeners get some idea of who they are.

3: Decide whether it's an 'in' show for the in-crowd or whether it's aiming to enlighten and inspire people who are new to cycling.

4: reduce the number of items so we actually learn something from them

Lots of people have referenced Top Gear in relation to this show. I hate TG's macho petrolhead ethos but they do actually know how to put together a TV show. Of course they have a much bigger budget but a lot of what they do is very simple to replicate.

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John_the_Monkey [437 posts] 4 years ago
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Cooks wrote:

That Gary Fisher is a bit mental isn't he?

He's brilliant, and could fill a programme on his own (as, I suspect Obree could). There's a really good chat on Carlton Reid's "Quickrelease TV" site with Fisher, where he talks about the beginnings of the mountain bike in the states, among other things - it's wonderful, and worth looking out.

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RhysW [81 posts] 4 years ago
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It's great to see a cycling magazine show on TV.

Despite the production issues that is!

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YORKWheeler [1 post] 4 years ago
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All in all I thought the program was a bit lame: good concept but poor execution.

Although a little disappointed, I'm sure that I'm not as disappointed as CRC who have chosen to plough their profits into a lame duck......  2

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jova54 [654 posts] 4 years ago
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I have to say I was disappointed and that the producers have missed a great chance to level the playing field by trying too many new things all at once and having Obree and Fisher as guests on the first show probably did more damage than good.

If you are preaching to a knowing audience then they were ideal as they will know who they are and what they have achieved, they will also be ready for Obree's inability to express himself and Fisher's apparently OTT mannerisms, but they are not.

The target audience is the 95% of the population who don't ride bikes but have suddenly been made aware of a new hero they can exploit until the football season starts again.

Having said that the Top Gear analogy could be closer than you think. The first couple of shows of the current format were pretty lame until they got the mix right and maybe having cycling related 'tossers' might help the format  4

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mooseman [87 posts] 4 years ago
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gazzaputt wrote:

Having Fisher and Obree was a mistake. Two eccentrics together never goes well.

Ooh no - they were the best bit, I could watch/listen to them talking for hours. Maybe make a great podcast?

As for 'Top Gear without the tossers' - really? I spotted plenty (IMHO, obviously). Certainly doesn't make me want to go to LMNH anytime soon.

Poor Wayne Hemmingway must've felt a right nob doing that 'ride safely' bit, esp. on a girls bike. Basic intention sound - poor delivery.

4/10 - could be done much better. Less is often more, needs some focus.

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antonio [1124 posts] 4 years ago
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Should be like a hard print Mag, each edition prioritize mainstream interests followed by niche items, a bit like Road. cycling UK, simples !

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John_the_Monkey [437 posts] 4 years ago
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BTW, in case anyone's interested, Gary Fisher on San Fransisco's "Bikescape" podcast;

http://bikescape.blogspot.co.uk/2009/01/interview-with-gary-fisher.html

Carlton Reid / Gary Fisher chat;
http://quickrelease.tv/?p=824

Graeme Obree on Veloclub Don Logan (bit of bad language here, sensitive types);
http://veloclubdonlogan.co.uk/2011/02/16/vcdl-episode-9-%E2%80%93-obree/

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djcritchley [181 posts] 4 years ago
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I don't know whether it was the intended production style but it seemed to be thrown together. As for articles, the show tried to be something for everybody so it had no clear direction.

I hope the show improves, but I'm not going to keep a reminder for now; especially if they continue to use that cafe for interviews.

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Tripod16 [157 posts] 4 years ago
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If you are going to have characters like Obree and Fisher on, it would be nice to do a quick biography of each (showing some 'best of' clips).

You can't expect everyone will know who they are, that is elitist, and if you are trying to get cycling, or at least the show, mainstream, you may have to educate your viewers.

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mrdescarga [32 posts] 4 years ago
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I thought the 1st show was disappointing but they were never going to get it right straight from the off. They need to cut the background noise down it was quiet obvious that Graham Obree Gary Fisher & Nigel Mansell were struggling to here the questions they were being asked. I think they also tried to cram to much into the 30 minutes. Having said that I hope it sticks around & I'm sure it will get better.

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Cervelo12 [77 posts] 4 years ago
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i thought it was just a vehicle for product placement which i found off-putting. Regarding the content it's impossible to please everyone which was what they were trying to do which ended up pleasing no-one by the sound of it.

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