The Fall and Rise of The Bicycle



BBC radio 4

Mark Stephen discovers the importance of the bicycle as a global barometer of social, economic and environmental change.

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Part 1 of 3 – Africa, the Power of Two Wheels

Aired Monday 17 July 2006

Namibia’s scattered population faces a huge struggle against poverty
and AIDS. A bicycle can provide great freedom – access to healthcare,
education and work – that sheer distance often renders impossible.
Taking a trip across this vast country, Mark sees for himself the
impact that owning a bicycle can have on the lives of Africa’s rural

Part 2 of 3 – Europe: The Once and Future King of the Road

Airs Monday 24 July 2006

Over 200 years after its invention, it could be that the humble bike
will once again be king of the road in the developed world. Alongside
an increasing number of commuters, Mark Stephen braves the cycle lanes
of London.

He then travels to Denmark to discover whether a
cycling revolution in the UK could ever match the number of cyclists
who take to the streets of bicycle-friendly European cities like

Part 3 0f 3China: Rejecting the Bicycle

Airs Monday 31 July 2006

In China, the bicycle has long been the transport of choice, but
economic growth has encouraged an explosive growth of cars. In 2006
alone, China is expecting to put a further 6 million cars on the road.
Taking an intimate journey through Beijing, Mark meets individuals
whose lives have been inextricably tied to the bicycle for generations,
and discovers that the bicycle is now at the very heart of a new
environmental threat.