The Cycle Show on ITV: what did you think?

Debut episode featured Gary Fisher and Graeme Obree

by Sarah Barth   July 24, 2012  

The Cycle Show logo

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.

64 user comments

Latest 30 commentsNewest firstBest ratedAll

I'm pleased that ITV4 has commissioned the series and I thought it was a decent first effort.

The positives:

+ great to have a cycling magazine show on TV

+ impeccable timing with Wiggo winning TdF the day it was recorded and the show captured the mood well

The areas for improvement:

- striking a better balance between educating the uninitiated and satisfying knowledgable enthusiasts. Some archive footage of Fisher and Obree to establish their credentials would have helped.

- the Wayne Hemingway VT was cringeworthy. The key practical issues for anyone new to cycling are adjusting the bike so it's comfortable and knowing how to secure if leaving it.

- too much sofa chat in the cafe - the programme would have felt pacier if the Obree, Mansell and Fisher interviews had been pre-recorded in different locations

posted by Campag_10 [153 posts]
25th July 2012 - 6:56


That clip of the Cav sprint, the uninhibited crowd participation, they were there, that was a gem worth everything, forget the dross.


antonio's picture

posted by antonio [1108 posts]
25th July 2012 - 8:59


10/10 for getting the show to air. A lot less for focus, the show seemed to have a bit of a scattergun approach, lots of short disconnected segments, and it was not very clear who is the target audience. A bit of focus and tidying up, and it has a lot of petential as a magazine/feature show.
But please get out of that cafe - it's fine to have odd characters, but when they won't stop babbbling in the background, it's a massive distraction. I guess it may be cheaper than a studio hire, but when quality suffers, a bit of budget massage is needed to improve the chances of getting established. Otherwise I fear it may go the way of many shows, which would be a great shame, as the production team clearly do have a lot of drive to promote cycling.


posted by doc [167 posts]
25th July 2012 - 10:24


It sailed around the plughole of SadTV and then, with a resounding Plop! disappeared down it.
Still, early days; and if the producers have the slightest clue, they'll rapidly learn from the opening debacle and try to be less of all things to all people per show.
Also, the whiff of sweaty lycra was a bit off-putting. Do these feckers never wash?

posted by Cauld Lubter [131 posts]
25th July 2012 - 17:25


It's a shame there's so much negative spin here.

Yes, the programme could benefit from some improvement but we should be looking to encourage rather than deride.

The fact that there is such a programme at all, even if it is hidden in the depths of ITV4, shows cycling is here.

Programmes in the mould of Top Gear, Gadget Show etc. work. Let's try and bring this one up to standard, rather than kick it into the trash can!

posted by DAG on a bike [78 posts]
26th July 2012 - 5:49


I see John the monkey is still up his own ass just like he was on cycle chat.

Grow up Jon - wearing a helmet saves lives and stops you becoming a vegetable - stick to the clicque of cycle chat pal - your out your depth here.

posted by yenrod [107 posts]
26th July 2012 - 7:32


getting the slot should be applauded, but i imagine that when sky tv (inevitable i think) get around to doing a show i imagine it will be done a lot more professionally - so, should the itv show still exist it should hopefully be dragged up by competition.

charisma of presenters wasn't there for me, and the content was very poor with few exceptions.

coffee shops and cycling is a cliche - no denying a strong link for many - but the set was all a bit "good old days" in its styling. i will watch the remaining shows, but as my wife (not a cyclist) put it - "that wasn't very good, was it"....

posted by dwbeever [49 posts]
26th July 2012 - 7:55


You can't please everyone and judging by some of the comments here impossible to please anyone!!

Chill out, let it bed in...much better that it starts with rough edges, than like a polished corporate show. I like the fact that they tried to tie in veteran viewers with newbys. Remember early days of spring a very professional show.

Good stuff, looking forward to more. Big Grin


posted by emily.b [15 posts]
26th July 2012 - 9:17


I thought it was poor and didn't really know if it was for cyclists or would be cyclists (or wouldn't be cyclists).

I would look to what cycling magazines do:

News & comment - demonstrate knowledge of subject
Feedback from readers - connect with the audience
Technical Tips (mechanical or riding) - offer something for enthusiasts
Weekly Feature - something that might tempt people to tune in
Regular Feature - build some continuity and loyalty

It will improve but needs to soon.

posted by chedlee [2 posts]
26th July 2012 - 9:47


yenrod wrote:
I see John the monkey is still up his own ass just like he was on cycle chat.

Grow up Jon - wearing a helmet saves lives and stops you becoming a vegetable - stick to the clicque of cycle chat pal - your out your depth here.

Where on earth did that come from? Look back at what I said, please, I'm commenting on the way they're debated, not whether folk should use 'em or not.

"Tant que je respire, j'attaque!"

John_the_Monkey's picture

posted by John_the_Monkey [428 posts]
26th July 2012 - 9:54


I think I broadly agree with most people here. It's great to have a cycling TV show but the end product is not fantastic and it will need time.

I'm not sure that the producers really know their audience, and to be fair it is a tricky one to pin down. It'll settle in, I'm sure, and continued 'well dones' to ITV who have creditably stuck at it with cycling in a way that is now starting to pay off.

Ghedebrav's picture

posted by Ghedebrav [1133 posts]
26th July 2012 - 9:57


More Rob Hayles please.

posted by mrsminx411 [86 posts]
26th July 2012 - 10:18

1 Like

This is traditional England, lets slam it destroy it and then have nothing. Moan moan moan but never accept anything and moan for what (Sleepy want and take it out of context and out of reality. I liked the show. I like Graeme Obree and Gary Fisher, Nigel Mansell not really my cup of tea but I liked the venue its the first show and will grow and adapt.

What I would hate to see is it becoming a one cycle genre to suit the bulling road lobby or any other cycling lobby. Its about cycling not road, mtb, tricks/trails, commuting etc. Its about the whole thing.

Well done to ITV to start to develop what will be an iconic TV like Top Gear has developed its own iconic format and is successful whether you like it or not it is unique. The Cycle Show needs to find its own platform, if they are allowed to but it will die with this continual moaning and sniping.

posted by Ciaran Patrick [119 posts]
26th July 2012 - 12:49

1 Like

Cycling is in all the news papers and on every ones lips but ITV have done us no favours with this trash.It seems to be produced by someone with no idea about cycling.A missed chance to bring Britain into the 21st century.I hope all of you have e-mailed Sky thanking them for their great effort winning the tour and support of grass root cycling in Britain.Lets hope Sky make some programmes about cycling because they seem to share our passion of it.

big mick

posted by big mick [209 posts]
26th July 2012 - 13:39


I'm in agreement with those who found the background noise distracting. It also seemed a bit rushed.

What I'm hoping for, once the show has got going, is some results on national and international competitions that haven't been broadcast, Premier series, more womens comps, etc.

I think an hour would do it more justice.

David Palmer
Milton Keynes

Specialized Secteur Elite 2013
Team Raleigh Road Bike
Carrera Vulcan V-Spec

djpalmer32's picture

posted by djpalmer32 [70 posts]
26th July 2012 - 13:56

1 Like

The setting was wrong, it reminded me of The Tube in the 80s where the presenters didn't appear to have a clue what was happening next. Seemed to cram too much into a half hour show cutting the guest speakers off in mid sentence. I would have liked to hear more about what Nigel and Graeme had to say and a studio setting with more time would have been much better. A good idea but not executed very well at all. If it was half as good as Top Gear in production/presentation then it would be getting there. Make it an hour long and plan it better. Hopefully next weeks will be an improvement.


posted by jazzdude [66 posts]
26th July 2012 - 14:08


Strangely unenjoyable. Was a roller-race the best they could come up with? This ranks just above the omelette making on that cooking show. And there's a reason Nigel Mansell has not been on tele since he stopped racing. Obree looking and acting like some sort of idiot savant. Temporarily interested white middle-class LMNH audience celebrate stage result in that half-hearted British way...
In the age of Rouleur, Privateer, Rapha and I was expecting a bit more humour and style. Were you approached? Maybe you should offer!

posted by robert_obrien [120 posts]
26th July 2012 - 15:53


i recorded the show and was very soon fast forwarding. as mentioned above the back ground noise was not helpful even Obree appeared to be having trouble hearing what he was being asked. the bit on safe cycling was a waste of time they would be much better either taking bits from the cycle training manual and demo them or get out with a camera and film both good and bad cycling and compare that with expert comments. that said i will give it a few more episode before switching off completely.

Zero emissions so Zero tax

posted by petethegreek [23 posts]
26th July 2012 - 18:48


I wasn't that impressed but I'm hoping that it continues. I agree that there is loads of room for improvement.
But ITV has a huge task on their hands if they can continue to attract the BIG cycling figures. I was very impressed with Gary Fisher being there. He's an important figure in the MTB world. Someone wrote that Fisher is "bonkers". If you read articles or watch interviews about these outward thinkers, inventors and innovators, you'll find most of them are pretty strange, even "bonkers". Howard Huges, Steve Jobs, Hugh Hefner to name a few.
Overall, I doubt the show will last more than six months given ITV's love of Murder She Wrote and all those horrible reality programs.
Lets hope the big knobs at ITV are following this.

Great site, keep it up.

What rain?

posted by avigazed [1 posts]
27th July 2012 - 1:14


First show was a bit cringeworthy. Obree was a mad as a box of frogs and Mansell, his usual monotone-self. Not terribly inspiring. Needs to find its feet before it is written off.

The second show was much better. Eddy Merckx and Gary Kemp were great (no need to sell the Kemp/Spandau back catalogue though).

Things the show needs to do going forward:

1. Keep a healthy mix of topics.
2. Aim high. Enlighten and entertain. Don't aim at the lowest common denominator like Top Gear (i.e ignorant petrol heads)
3. Make sure all sections of the show follow the same order each week. The viewers will find it easier to follow.
4. Explain the finer details of the past-time and sport.
5. Cycling is romantic, exciting, ubiquitous, and part of the zeitgeist. Keep those elements and the show will go far.
6. Avoid the urge to put Z-list celebs in the audience. Cheesy.

posted by BigBear63 [79 posts]
2nd August 2012 - 22:14


I just got around to watching episode 2 - what an improvement that was. It's now settled a bit and not trying to do too much, in fact the pace was just about right.
If it carries on in this vein I'll continue to watch it. Well done to all involved for taking notice of audience reaction and constructive criticism.

posted by Cauld Lubter [131 posts]
4th August 2012 - 11:51


I just watched episode n (I have been away so it could have been 3 or 4) and it might as well just be shown in London. Every single article was about London, that's an hour of broadcasting on national TV about cycling in London.

I doubt I will be making an effort to watch it again.

posted by chedlee [2 posts]
15th August 2012 - 10:48

1 Like

I echo chedlee.

Just watched the first one hour episode and there was not one thing about cycling outside london!!! So whats the point of the programme? And to comment on the Top Gear comments, if they could make it 50% as good as TG then it would be great. At least TG looks at cars.... thats what its about FFS. Who wants to see turbo offs and see someone pootling about london canal paths??? Lets get some kit, bike reviews on there and lets get some good presenters!!!!! Rob Hayles.. Awsome rider not a presenter..... It could be so good:-(

posted by Coops007 [1 posts]
15th August 2012 - 11:49

1 Like

Lets give it a chance. The programme attempts to give a flavour of the freeedom of bike riding, even admitting to the 'fun' of outrunning motorists. Admitedly the sight of people trying to look intelligent while spilling sauce down their statement T shirts is rather distracting but its all we've got between watching the Tour of Freedonia on late night TV and loosening our limbs on a sunny Sunday. Mind you, i do find that Anna Glowinski scarey.

Singlespeeder's picture

posted by Singlespeeder [2 posts]
16th August 2012 - 12:25


Naff. Dreadful. Awful. An opportunity missed. Sorry, but I've tried 2 episodes ans shall not watch any more. Why interview people in a noisy cafe with a background of people acting and continually chatting? Why have Nigel Mansell on wIth Graeme Obree? The latter could be the subject of a whole programme. The former is mildly interesting in cycling terms, but together the combination seemed ridiculous to me. Lastly, who is the presenter? Was nobody else available? As I've already, I think this is a real opportunity missed, particularly after the media-grabbing Olympic events and success! Sad

posted by Aminthule [16 posts]
17th August 2012 - 20:54

1 Like

I agree with everything said above Big Grin Considering the haste with which the show was put together, presumably in an effort to retain the viewing figures generated by the excellent TDF coverage on ITV4, it was unlikely ever to appeal to the cognoscenti.

I'll watch it again to see if it improves, and if it does I will be pleasantly surprised!

Edit - 23 August 2012:

Having watched it a few more times since, I'm still not enthusiastic. The one-hour format should give greater scope, but that in-depth review of folding bikes last week wasn't exactly incisive wasn't it? I really wish they would lose the cafe background - having people immediately behind the presenter and guests chatting, eating dinner, wiggling their toes, smoking a fag outside the window - it's more than distracting, it's disgusting!! Sick Even an OB interview had to be conducted in a busy street cafe with similar microcosmic urban background.

posted by Nigel Jennings [8 posts]
23rd August 2012 - 17:49


You have to work hard to make cycling this dull - even Steve Peat and downhilling came off the fizz....

- one of last nights features was about sending your 4 year old on a course to learn how to balance on a 2-wheel bike. Have you ever heard of anything so ridiculous - and dull?

There's way too much sofa chat. Where's the cycling and the madness that makes it fun?

Last nights episode saw the presenter take his bike for a service - it was immaculate! And the discussion with the verrry borrring mechanic went something like...

'Your chain is stretched - you need a new chain'.

Oh do I?

'Your cassette is worn - you need a new cassette'.


'Your tyres are worn and need replacing'.

OK - so that's a new chain. a new cassette, and new tyres?

'Yes, that's right'.

'So there you have it folks - Mike has done his magic and we'll be on the road in no time'


posted by Mel Glass [3 posts]
4th September 2012 - 14:29

1 Like

I really enjoyed it. Good work guys. Liked the maintenance tips especially and the Rollapoluza is a great way to end the programme!

Windyhead's picture

posted by Windyhead [6 posts]
11th September 2012 - 10:52

1 Like

It got a bit better week by week and improved whenever they left LMNH. The bit where the superbikes were tested was actually what I expected every show to be like. Amazing lack of humour though and in a year of the World Championship, Tour de F, Olympics and Tour of Britain who'd have thought you could create an unengaging programme about cycling!

posted by robert_obrien [120 posts]
21st September 2012 - 14:49


missing the cycle show, is it coming back? Crying

posted by pmr [193 posts]
5th February 2013 - 18:32