DRIVERS and cyclists should stop seeing themselves as rivals fighting for road space, says TV commentator Ned Boulting ahead of a visit to Swindon next week.

Boulting will poke fun at cyclists’ ‘quirks and foibles’ in his show Bikeology at the Wyvern Theatre, while celebrating the 200th anniversary of the bicycle’s invention and the aspects of cycling he clearly adores.

He has covered the Tour de France for every year since 2003, commentating since 2015, his involvement coinciding with the rise and rise of British racing cycling.

“Only a few years ago Brits barely registered on the Tour - of all the European nations we were an irrelevance,” he says.

“Now we have names like Wiggins, Cavendish, Froome. To go from zero per cent to dominance in that time is quite something.”

But Boulting is under no illusions about how and why the public can be cynical.

“Cycling has probably done more than any other sport to put its house in order over drugs but people are right to have some suspicion, in fact they would be stupid not to,” he says.

“It’s cleaner than it’s ever been but nobody can say the Tour is clean - there is still work to be done.”

Boulting, who doesn’t own a car but does recall driving across the Magic Roundabout during his football pundit days, says that for most people having a bike is means of keeping fit or getting from A to B, or doing both at the same time… but cycling in the UK isn’t as easy as it could be.

“Even in London, after the great boom we’ve had, cycling still only accounts for about two per cent of journeys - it’s 30% in some parts of the Netherlands,” he says.

“There’s a huge lack of respect for cyclists here and it can be quite scary to ride in traffic.

“Motorists are in such a rush they seem forget as soon as they get behind the wheel that what they are driving can be threatening. They are disconnected from things once they're inside them being protected from so much.

“Yes, there are riders that do things wrong but the amount of vitriol poured onto cyclists is so disproportionate compared to the deaths and injuries caused by drivers - it’s really peculiar.

“We should stop thinking of ourselves as drivers and cyclists fighting for the same patch of road and realise that we’re all human beings trying to do much the same thing."

But he thinks there is always hope for someone who's forgotten the joys of two wheels and pedal power.

“It’s funny", he says. “We all learn to ride bikes as kids and have a great time and then, for some reason I’ve never understood, we start driving around and become fat and weary and sad.

“The thing is, if you go out to the shed your old bike will probably still be in there.

“Dust it off, take it out and get active again.”

  • Ned Boulting presents Bikeology at the Wyvern Theatre on Wednesday, November 15, at 7.30pm with tickets available here.