Along For The Ride

resizedimage600402-5-hapenny-racing_2 In our next issue we have a little story on a fantastic new TV series featuring Wellington presenter, rider and all-round good guy Simon Morton. Called Along For The Ride, it starts this Saturday on TV One.

Bike-nut- slash-radio presenter Simon Morton rolls out on a nationwide quest to find out why NZ would be lost up a creek. If we hadn’t had the bike…

Starting in North Otago where he hunts down the very first photo of the ‘iron horse’, and carrying on to obsessive Kiwi characters, mad inventions, Kiwi world records and through to the Queen’s city, Simon discovers how much we all owe to the humble bicycle.

With trademark good humour, and the curiosity of an amateur enthusiast, Simon’s translates into a seven week tour with audience on the handlebars. During Along For The Ride, Simon shows that the ‘real stars of the series aren’t the bikes or me at all, they’re the NZ countryside and the people we meet.’

Simon uncovers hidden histories and new inventions behind the classic machine, and how it represents the Kiwi spirit of freedom, humour and adventure.

Could Richard Pearse have invented the plane (or Benz invented the motorcar) without first having a bike? Simon is in Temuka and Ashburton to try to find the answer. Along the way he has a crack at the Penny Farthing nationals in historic Oamaru – dicing with danger in an old woolen onesie.

He finds a total treasure trove of old bikes in Christchurch, on his way to hunt down Kate Sheppard’s bike and find out whether the suffragettes could have succeeded without some wheels. Up the West Coast, the Old Ghost Rd, and on through the capital to the great Taranaki republic of Whangamomona, Simon finds some weirdness, some wildness, and some nakedness. All of it bike inspired.

He barely has time to catch his breath before touring with an octogenarian legend in Taupo, trialing two world firsts in Rotorua (a monorail and a monocoque) then finds his way through the Waikato to Auckland. Could the City of Sails find new meaning as the City of Cycles…?

Cycling was at once Morton’s livelihood, as a tour guide in the French Alps in the 90s. It was the golden age of loud lycra and bouffant hair styles. He’s more streamlined on top these days, and along with series co-creator Richard Scott, he is the force behind the ever-fascinating Radio NZ show, This Way Up.

He has previously present the television series Why We Buy, Tales From Te Papa and Use As Directed.