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Arriving on-stage by suitable means (yes, he’s on a bike), Ned Boulting opens his Bikeology show with a plea to the audience. He implores us now to be stereotypical bike geeks. For the majority of the audience it’s already too late, but to suggest that his spoken word retelling of tales from his illustrious presenting and commentating career is a one-trick pony would be entirely wrong.
There’s plenty in Bikeology for even the most casual of cycling fan, or indeed sport or broadcast media fan. Boulting successfully manages to bring the topic to life, offering just the right amount of explanation and visual clues to entertain the entire audience. Yes, there are fair share of deep references to technical elements, but as long as you know your yellow jersey from your everyday yellow jumper, you’ll be more than fine.
It’s Boulting’s passion for the sport, and indeed for bikes, that drives the show forward. This, combined with his honed conversational skills, elevate his many anecdotes to fascinating heights. He takes the audience inside the commentary box (something he told us in a recent interview is as far from glamorous as you might think), and right into the heart of the Tour de France. It is here he becomes most animated. That, and an unexpected link between cycling and ISIS.
It’s testament to his intelligence and delivery that he manages to enthral all. It can’t be easy building a show around cycling that doesn’t alienate the non-cyclist. The success lies in him opening up and letting the audience into his world, and into his life. And it’s one that all would be very lucky to be part of, even just for an hour or two.
Following sold out shows at Edinburgh Fringe, Bikeology tours the UK in October and November 2017. Grab tickets now through Ticketmaster.co.uk.