Can street art get more people on bikes?

I’ve spent months writing and photographing to create the 98-page Bike to Work Book which, as a freebie, will hopefully encourage lots of newbies to try bicycle commuting. That’s a lot of words and hundreds of pix. Could the same task be achieved with just this one pic?

'This one runs on fat & saves you money' by Peter Drew of Adelaide

It’s by artist Peter Drew of Adelaide. I’m interviewing him for the next iteration of the Bike to Work Book. I love his work. It’s guerrilla stencilling.

Want to print out the top image as a poster or plaster on a t-shirt? Peter has agreed to give the image a Creative Commons licence so feel free to downloada hi-res version)

Here’s one of his car/bike-parking stencils:

Bike Parking by Peter Drew of Adelaide

His Facebook presence contains more examples of his work, including this pic of him leaning by one of his artworks:  

Artist Peter Drew of Adelaide

His linkage between driving cars and portliness reminds me of this 2006 poster campaign by and Manchester Friends of the Earth:


Thing is, who will the stencil messages reach? Drivers likely won’t see them, except when they’re pedestrians. Existing cyclists will like them for sure, confirming their mode of transport has two noteworthy merits. But I think the biggest potential for Drew’s images isn’t in downtown Adelaide: it’s on blogs, it’s on t-shirts, it’s on viral emails. His artwork – which will be copied and adapted – could go viral, passed along by cyclists but reaching a non-cycling audience.

Many of the recipients won’t care. Such imagery may be laughable to some; offensive to others. But for some people, an image like this can be the tipping point. Bold imagery can work wonders. My 98-page book can give a newbie cyclist a lot of information but the Bike to Work Book will only be read by those wanting to give cycling a go. Peter Drew’s images – and others like them – can flick switches in the brain. We need more of these switch flickers.

Image hat-tip to

Bunch of my fave clicky-flicky mags & books

I use to store and display the Bike to Work Book samplers (and will use it to store the full book when it’s ready, which is getting closer) and am loving this new feature: personalised bookshelves. Top work.

And there’s even an RSS feed for seeing when the list gets updated.

Bike the Strike Special

Next week’s planned London tube strike may never happen, but if it does, droves of Londoners will get on their bikes.

London Cycling Campaign has been quick off the mark with a Bike the Strike website and campaign, called To help promote this site I’ve partnered with LCC to produce this special edition of the Bike to Work Book sampler.

It’s also my first attempt at making the links and ads all clicky. Later on I’ll also play with embedding movie files.

How to Lock Your Bike video

I produced this bike security video for Northumbria Police. Newcastle students get their bikes nicked hand over fist. And walking around the campus, it’s clear to see why: many of the bikes are poorly locked with weak locks, easy prey to scallies with bolt croppers and bottle jacks.

Naturally, many of the locks could be breached with pliers never mind meaty bolt croppers.

The video – flagged as produced by the forthcoming Bike to Work Book – is just two and a half minutes long but gets across the main messages from this long and detailed bike locking article.

The other videos in the Bike to Work Book series are:

Hi-re versions of these videos can be found on the podcast, available on iTunes.

[Audio] Gary Fisher on transport bikes

Gary Fisher in his Dashing Tweeds cycling suit

At the weekend I caught up with cycling legend Gary Fisher, one of the founding fathers of mountain biking. Gary was in the UK to lead some rides at Chevin Cycles of Otley. He rode his trademark 29er, but earlier that morning I grabbed Gary at breakfast and dragged him into a hotel ballroom to record the audio below (also available on the podcast on iTunes). We didn’t talk about wheel sizes, we talked about transport bikes.

You can follow Gary Fisher on [I’m here. 600 bike pro riders, shops, mags, blogs etc here].

The audio was recorded in a hotel ballroom, just after breakfast on Sunday. There had been a wedding reception in the room and it had been cleared of furniture. We sat on the floor; apologies in advance for some of the popping and rustling, that’s either Gary slapping his thighs or me wriggling on the carpet. Next time we upgrade to a table…

I also recorded Gary during the previous night’s screening of Klunkerz, the MTB history movie. I’ll release that audio next week.

Gary Fisher on his Superfly, Chevin Cycles, Otley

Quick vids for bike newbies

You know how to correctly fit and wear a bike helmet. You know it’s best to pedal with the ball of your foot not the arch. But beginners tend not to.

That’s why I’ve made some video shorts. There are two online right now, more are in the pipeline. Future shorts will focus on why it’s important to look behind before signalling and to watch out for motorists opening doors in your face. All are branded as ’60 Second Bike Tips’.

The videos are to promote the Bike to Work Book. I could have placed them on a high-quality video sharing site such as Vimeo but I want the vids to get lodged in all sorts of digital nooks and crannies, and only YouTube can do this. The full catalogue of videos have been watched 1,188,401 times on YouTube.

The two videos above – and the three to be edited soon – feature the following:

1 Karl McCracken
1 Cannondale Bad Boy singlespeed stealth commuter
1 sensible jumper
2 Doc Martens
1 borrowed helmet
1 beta testing waterproof rucksack

I’m keen to produce more video shorts, none of them lasting more than a minute. The shorts will be collected on this YouTube group. What mistakes do you see newbies making?

Bike to Work Book tweaked

The main Bike to Work Book sampler on has had nearly 15,000 views, with nearly half of readers clicking through every single one of the 50 pages.

The sampler can be personalised for any bike shop, bike company or advocacy group. Here’s one I just produced for Canada’s Momentum Magazine:

This version of the sampler has a new back cover and a new sidepanel on page 12. The new text reads: “No need for Spandex or Lycra, bike to work in ordinary clothes. Start with short trips.” It then links to the Clif Bar 2milechallenge website.

Momentum – the ‘magazine for self-propelled people’ – is brilliant. Here’s the latest issue (also flickable on

Issuu plugs Bike to Work Book

Bike to Work Book Issuu has placed the Bike to Work Book on its homepage bookshelf. It’s up there alongside the Jamie Oliver magazine and lots of cool magazines from around the world.

I guess the link love is mutual. I’m a big fan of the Danish PDF-to-Flash website and was happy to write this glowing testimonial.

The Bike to Work Book can be flipped through here or watch a video short on the page-flipping process:

What do you think to the back cover?

You know what the front cover looks like (I’ve pasted it all over this blog often enough!) but what do you think about the first draft of the back cover?

I designed it last night. I like it a lot but am a bit worried that it doesn’t look anything like the front cover. So, do you like it but you find it a bit jarring because it shares no design elements with the front? Do you like it, either way? Or do you dislike it immensely?


Soon after I designed it I posted it to Flickr and then Twittered it. I got some immediate feedback.

Jamie Fellrath said: “I think the back cover looks terrific. Great attention-grabbing graphics and quotes make this a winner!”

Track_Stand said: “Maybe make Phil’s quote more visible. Switch it with Dr. Ian Walker’s, unless Ian has better name recognition than Phil.”

Tim ‘Masiguy’ Jackson said the cover was: “Freaking incredible!”

He also praised the artist, Kathleen King of California. Her brilliant work graces the inside of the book, too.

Now, what do you think of the cover? As always, I’m open to suggestions. I liked some of the early front covers too but intelligent and insightful comments from you lot made me see the error of my ways. I tweaked and tweaked the cover until it became the keeper, and I’m really pleased with it.

If you don’t mind helping me out again, I’d love to hear your thoughts on the back cover.

Commute book heading for 15,000 views

The Bike to Work Book is going great guns. The page-flippy versions on have had 14,444 views between them.

There’s more than one because I produce personalised versions for anybody with an audience, be that an email list or a website on which to embed the book.

Here’s one I did for a British bike shop, Mr Cycles:

One of the personalised versions – produced for the Cadence Revolution podcast – has had nearly 1000 views. The main Bike to Work Book on has had 11,272 views. The back-end stats show me that nearly fifty percent of readers flick through to the very end of the book.

To ramp up views even further I created a ‘Social Media Release’ on the book yesterday. I placed this on PitchEngine, a spiffy new place for storing and broadcasting press releases. This release and another I created on helped get the Bike to Work Book high up on Google News.

PitchEngine is the more tech-savvy of the two services, featuring lots of social media bells and whistles, including embedding of YouTube videos. I created this short for PitchEngine: