Bicycle Diaries on BBC World Service

Third documentary to be broadcast on Friday

The Parisian Velib was designed to be chic and understated.

The BBC World Service is broadcasting a three-part series called The Bicycle Diaries, which looks at how the bicycle has affected people’s lives across the globe.


The third programme is due to be broadcast on Friday. Details will soon be posted on the BBC World Service website.

The first documentary covered Paris’s Velib public bike hire system and featured comments from some of the city’s residents and the system’s designer, Patrick Jouin. 

Jouin revealed that the metallic grey colour of the Velib bikes was chosen to fit in with Paris’s understated yet chic image. Another Bicycle Diaries interviewee revealed what any visitor to Paris immediately observes: that the French “don’t like to wear helmets, they want to be beautiful”.

The second programme focused on the Ugandan capital Kampala and its bike-based businesses. These include mobile payphone stalls, ice cream stalls and “boda-bodas” – taxis that carry passengers and luggage.


Dennis from Entebbe, just outside Kampala, showed off his wheelchair made from a bicycle. Uganda has a shortage of 1.5 million wheelchairs nationwide, but Dennis’s makeshift chair gives him the independence to travel to and from work every day.