Season 4

Bicycles (S04E03)

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This episode’s vocabulary

  • Cycle machine/Stationary bike (noun) — an exercise machine that can be pedaled like a bicycle
  • Like riding a bike (phrase) — said of a skill that, once learned, is never forgotten.
  • Cycle lanes (noun) — a part of a road that is separated by a line from the rest of the road, for the use of people riding bicycles.
  • To maintain (verb) — to keep a road, machine, building, etc. in good condition.
  • Upside (noun) — the advantage of a situation.
  • Stable (adj.) — firmly fixed or not likely to move or change.
  • Stabilizers (noun) — small wheels attached to each side of the back wheel of a bicycle to prevent it from falling over when a child is learning to ride it.
  • Versatile (adj.) — (of people) able to do many different things or to adjust to new conditions, or (of things) able to be used for many different purposes.

We have also added these words to a “Quizlet” set for you to study and revise in your free time:

Questions and Answers

Maria: Rory, how often do you ride a bike?

Rory: Probably not as much as when I was a child. To be honest, I think the closest I get these days is on a cycle machine at the gym. But that’s hardly ever…

Maria: Did you learn to ride a bicycle when you were a child?

Rory: Yeah, my mom and dad taught me. It took ages, but it was worth it in the end. And you never forget how to do it either. Which is why I guess people have that expression — it’s like riding a bike.

Maria: Is it easy for you to ride a bicycle in your country?

Rory: Well, I think it’s easier to ride a bike than in a lot of countries in the world. We have a lot of cycle lanes and people are encouraged to be healthier. Um, it’s not as easy as it is in a small number of countries. Like, I think in maybe the Netherlands, they have a more bike-friendly culture.

Maria: Yeah, but in Amsterdam, there are very angry cyclists.

Rory: Why?

Maria: Aggressive cyclists, because there are a lot of tourists and they get in the way and the locals don’t like it. Have you ever been there?

Rory: I have, but I didn’t notice people being angry on bikes. I thought everyone was very relaxed 🙃

Maria: Oh, good. What are the benefits of riding a bicycle for a child?

Rory: Um, well, I suppose they have a greater sense of freedom than if they’re just walking around everywhere. They can just jump on their bike and go anywhere they want to. And they can do that with their friends. So it’s good for encouraging their social relationships. And if I suppose if they were encouraged to maintain their bike, it makes them more responsible as well. So there are a lot of upsides to this, really.

Maria: Is it safe to ride bicycles on the roads?

Rory: Well, in Russia, probably not… There are fewer cycle lanes and the driving is generally more aggressive. Probably, if we think about it more generally, it might not be safe to ride the bike regardless of the country if the weather’s bad, because you could be blown off your bike in high winds, for example. I think it’s probably safer and quieter in more sheltered and more developed areas.

Maria: How popular are bicycles in your hometown?

Rory: Um, it’s hard to say. I don’t think it’s as popular as in some parts of Europe, for example. But we already talked about Amsterdam. It’s not as popular as it is there. You’re more likely to see cars. But I think quite a few people still cycle. It’s not an unusual sight to see someone on the bike.

Maria: Do you think that bikes are suitable for all ages?

Rory: Um, I suppose as long as you can keep them stable. Yeah! Maybe if you’re very old or very young, you might need to reconsider it, because, of course, if you’re very young, then you don’t really know how they work so well… Although, you can have stabilizers on your bike. So it’s not that bad. And if you’re older as well, you might struggle to keep things upright, but the vast majority of people should be fine.

Maria: What are the advantages of a bicycle compared to a car?

Rory: Uh, that’s a good question, actually! I am a little bit biased because I prefer cars to bikes, but no that I think about it. You don’t have to pay for petrol. So there’s like no petrol costs, and it’s probably more versatile because you can go to more places. For example, cars usually almost always need roads, but with a bike you can go mountain biking, for example. You can’t really do that in a car. And it’s healthier and quieter, I suppose. And that’s a good thing if you don’t like having a lot of people when you’re driving, for example.

Maria: Would you like to go travelling by bicycle?

Rory: If it’s a short journey. I don’t see why not. But not if it’s, like, going between countries, for example. I don’t like the idea. I’d prefer to to take the train. I like the train.

Maria: No, like for a month or something... Just riding your bike, travelling around the world.

Rory: Um, no, I’d prefer not to, but I can see why it’s attractive for some people. But it’s not my thing.


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