Top Gear: Race Across London

The last thing you’d expect a hardcore motoring show to promote is cycling, but that’s what Top Gear did — quite unintentionally — in last night’s episode screened on BBC2.

In a little stunt called "Race Across London" the three presenters and the show’s infamous test driver "Stig" raced each other across the capital during peak hour traffic using four different forms of transport — a speed boat (along the Thames), a bicycle, a car and the bus/tube/rail network — to see who would get to London City Airport first. Guess who won?

Yes. The cyclist!!

Here’s a preview, on You Tube, which will give you some idea of how the race worked.

Unfortunately, it doesn’t really convey how aggressive Richard Hammond has to be to tackle London traffic. I’ve never heard so much swearing in my life!

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5 thoughts on “Top Gear: Race Across London

  1. I’ve heard of the cyclist winning similar “races” in Brisbane, Melbourne and Auckland so far — and that’s not counting the number of cars that I pwn everyday on my own commute. I think most of the time the motoring lobby just use it as a reason to ask for more roads than a reason to reconsider their mode of transport — which is fine by me. I’d rather them stay in their cars and out of my way 🙂 .
    It would be interesting to find out if the attitude was similar in London after that result.

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  2. This surely not news we all know that two wheels will beat four in city traffic. I suspect that had Hammond been on a motorcycle the result would have been different and I speak as a cyclist, motorcyclist and car driver.

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  3. First time I crossed London between rail stations with my bike I used a taxi. Now I ride every time I visit; it is quicker. Thank you Ken the maps are great. Pass to tfl.

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  4. Tower Hamlets Wheelers (LCC) used to run an annual Great Beigel Race. The cyclist usually won: I think the motorcyclist did once. I hear that one year a journo covered the start, then said (rather missing the point), Well, I’ll just drive over to cover the finish … of course she arrived well afterwards.

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  5. you could say the bicycler won, but i would call it a Pyrrhic victory. he ran himself ragged, risked life and limb and was in a horrible mood most of the time, and forget about two or more people or carrying a suitcase, a backpack on you back would seem uncomfortable too. for me it did the opposite of pushing bikeriding. the boat is absolutely the most pleasant way on a good day and not in a rush, but not practical. carpooling, a motor scooter or public transportaion would seem to be the best ways, too bad they didnt have a motor scooter.

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