Are TfL’s cycling promotion campaigns worth the money?

From the Dutch government’s Bicycle Master Plan (1999):

The Dutch citizen knows what a bicycle is and how to use it. The promotion of bicycle use does not require billboards, but instead adequate, suitable facilities.

(via the ever-fiery Crap Cycling in Waltham Forest blog)

After questions to the Mayor from Richard Tracey AM, we learn that Transport for London spent £341,000 on a recent campaign to promote cycling including series of five YouTube videos and a cinema advertisement.

The film production costs were £224,400, including paying Big Brother presenter Dermot O’Leary and Edith Bowman (who she?) £5,000 each for a day’s filming – nice work if you can get it! TfL paid a further £141,000 to have the 90 second advert screened in more than 800 cinemas over a six week period in the late summer.

With impressive precision, TfL say that that 2,880,825 people saw the advert. But I wonder how many of them didn’t know what a bicycle is, or how to use it.

In praise of Le Prof

Last week I was in France when it was announce that Laurent Fignon, two time winner of Le Tour de France (1983, 1984) and France’s last genuine superstar pro bike rider, had died of cancer, aged 50. His first win was in his Tour debut, aged just 22. Fignon was also the man who came closest to winning the Tour, losing by a mere 8 seconds to Greg LeMond in 1989. I have nothing to add to what has been written about Fignon, including by himself in his excellent autobiography Nous étions jeunes et insouciants (We were young and carefree).

However, on Saturday L’Equipe published a 27-page tribute to Le Professeur, and I want to repost one of the images, which shows Fignon’s Directeur Sportif and close friend Cyrille Guimard giving his rider a push after a puncture in Stage 7 of the 1983 Tour. It’s a charming picture. Just as you’ll not see any of today’s riders wearing Fignon’s trademark spectacles while racing I can’t quite imagine a DS in 2010 sporting a bare chest, jeans, clogs and aviator shades. Maybe the Tour would be a little more ‘rock and roll’ if a few of them did.


More Fignon photos from the L’Equipe archive are available here.