The Big Issue puts the Spotlight on Cycling

15 January 2018 Magazine

The Big Issue puts the Spotlight on Cycling

In the current edition of The Big Issue (with David Attenborough on the cover) we shine a spotlight on everyone’s favourite two-wheeled vehicle – the humble bicycle.

In Australia, bikes have transformed the way we work, live and love – and they continue to be an essential tool for a cleaner world.

With cyclists being ever-present in our cities and the Tour Down Under already underway, there’s never been a better time to go beyond the lycra and take a closer look at the stories and state of cycling.

Greg Foyster takes a look at the colourful history of the bicycle in Australia – from the early gold rush days to the suffragette movement to the first recorded road maps (which appeared in... wait for it... cycling journals):

“An estimated 200,000 Australians purchased new bicycles during the 1890s… The bicycle was so universally popular that in the lead up to federation one newspaper suggested it should be depicted on the new coat of arms.”


Nicole Eckersley wants motorists to know that cyclists come in all shapes and sizes:

“Every driver has an opinion about bloody cyclists. But one thing the plump cyclist gets that most cyclist don’t is random encouragement from strangers. For every ’Get off the bloody road!’ I’ve had a ‘Good for you!’ or ‘Keep it up!’ It’s kind of sweet, really, like patronising-flavoured ice cream, but it’s a reminder that being fat and riding comes with a weird moral-goodness value judgement attached.”


Lou Heinrich spent her childhood on a bike, peddling alongside dad clad in lycra (before it was cool!). She reveals why she’s decided to get back in the saddle.

“In Adelaide, specialist sports clothes were popularised by the Tour Down Under, which was first staged in 1999. The yearly race now sees middle-aged men in lycra (‘MAMILs’) come out in force to pedal beneath the boiling January sun, following the trail of international athletes across South Australia’s arid hills and plains. Seasonal cyclists take to the streets in colourful packs, climbing impossible hills before flooding small cafes for macchiatos.”


And Richard Rome recounts an epic bike journey from London to India, involving numerous dogs, donkeys and an unfortunate run-in with the Iranian military.

“Without doubt, the jewel of this journey is to cycle up the Karakoram Highway – one of the highest paved roads in the world, connecting Pakistan with China. Reaching an elevation of 4693 metres, it is sometimes referred to as the eighth wonder of the world.”


All illustrations by Daniel Gray-Barnett.

To read all of these articles and more, buy a copy of the latest Big Issue magazine from your local vendor – or subscribe online.

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