23 Apr 2012

Challenge to SBS

Posted by Mike Rubbo

Last week, SBS TV was  running the velodrome championships. Blanket coverage.  Australia did well and I got quite mesmerized by the rather robotic riders,  circling the banked track.

I’ve never used racing as a a theme for my bike art. I guess this is because it’s so dominant in our bike culture  that  I’ve felt it needs no boost from the artist.

Moreover, with the standardized gear, their heads down,  racers don’t give me much to work with.

The face is the mirror of the soul, someone said. Well you usually can’t see the face of the sports or racing cyclist, and so no soul searching  is possible.

But here’s what came of my viewing. It was fun  to try an entirely new theme

I like first conga line a bit better than this busier version of the same thing.

What do you think?

The riders do look like machines to me and so I made the most of that.

This theme, below,  I also tried as a solar print. Here’s the lino cut version.

and here’s the solar print .

Whilst I enjoyed this foray into a new field, that’s enough.

I rushed back to doing what appeals, to where I could see faces, play with relationships,  and celebrate the small moments of everyday biking, like this woman unlocking her bike.

That’s a solar print. With the help of my mentor, Leonard Matkervich, I’m now able to get the feel of a drawing into my solar prints.

Here is the same plate, printed so as  to bring out the drawing aspects.  Which do you like better?

This one is based on Saskia with a Dutch child added.

Here’s a relationship  image. This woman, stepping off in Amsterdam , is  in many other works of mine, and often given the cold shoulder.

But here she might be about to meet someone.

We’d had a demo in Sydney,  Rolling with Clover, which called for riders to come in  suits. The turnout was great, about 500, but few suits. It was organized by Jane Salmon

Riders in suits often turn up in my art. A dream of things to come I hope,  shared  by Saskia  and her Sydney cycle chic blog.

This fattish man  forever rides away from me and from the big bottomed lady, a  frequent visitor in this art.

So, what’s this about a challenge to SBS?

I  invite the network to spend some of their bike programming  money on utility cycling,

Get out and meet  cyclists who don’t want to go that fast, who get around in their normal clothes, just going the places they need to go.

No audience for such a show, for a one off documentary, a series, you say?

Done the focus group tests, have you,  and found Australians just don’t see bikes as transport, or not  in numbers that count for ratings?

Even if that’s true,  there’s drama in  such disinterest since it puts us so out of step with much of the world

Create an audience, SBS.  You’ve  built one for you endless parade of cooking shows.

You’ve done your little bit  to create  a nation now desperately needing to trim down. So, get them on bikes for some program, and body, balance

Let me be even more specific. Your off to the London Olympics soon, are you not?

Lot’s of build up programming is in the works, I’m sure as audience anticipation  builds.

Well, how about  an in depth doco on the Boris bikes, the  5000 public bikes  named after Mayor, Boris Johnson, which are  such a success.

And an unexpected success at that.  No one predicted it. Can that  really be of no interest here?  Is it not the perfect  balance to all that competing, winning,  you are going over for?

Let’s  ask the million dollar question. Why can London have a successful public bike scheme and we cant?

Why do the Melbourne and Brisbane schemes  languish, and Sydney can’t even get started.

We can guess why. Well, let’s  see SBS showing  the courage to address that thorny issue  instead of just sticking with the safe cycle wicket your now on.

Such a program  can take us to the bike  future we have to have, at least to talk about it.

Here, I’ve made my own little movie, The Return of the Speedwells,  as a pump primer, grabbing a bit of your pzazz in passing.

Your turn now, SBS (from a fan)

Late Edition, this great site on how bike can change our economies which Violeta has sent me.











Subscribe to Comments

3 Responses to “Challenge to SBS”

  1. Was surprised to see you do some ‘racing cyclists’ but I really enjoyed them. Opposite feel to your softer everyday cyclists, but they stand up one their own superbly. I’m sure they will sell whether you want them to or not?
    The solar prints and sketches have different aspects to each that I like. To push the decision, would say I prefer the solar prints as they have a different character to more commonly seen sketches.
    Keep up the beautiful work, artistically and advocately!
    I may just write to sbs myself as this is a great idea!



  2. The reason why upright bikes dissapeared is that stupid helmet law. It’s just not convenient to take a bike to shop, to go out or go to a friend if you have to lug that helmet with you, into shops,cinemas, theatres and othe people’s homes. And you can’t leave the helmet with the bike; it might get stolen. So people took their cars for those trips.

    Only those who ALREADY used helmets – the racing enthusiasts whose kits included the helmet anyway – got left over. It’s great that there are enthusiasts who try to restore the sit-up bikes, but it will never take off as a everyday, don’t-have-to-think-about-it, convenient way to travel as long as that helmet law is in about.



  3. I like first conga line a bit better than this busier version of the same thing. What do you think? […] The riders do look like machines to me […].

    I prefer the first version also, it’s cleaner and more dynamic. If I may, I’d add that “all” athletes nowadays look like machines… some of them even run on artificial, metallic legs…



Leave a Reply