It’s the middle of winter, unless you’re a pedant, in which case we’re only just out of autumn. It’s bleak enough out there without you telling me that in meteorological terms winter lasts until February 28th. Hang on a minute is February 28th even a real date? It’s not that date that only comes around once every 4 years is it? Does that mean it might be winter until the next Olympics? Best remember to start killing my neighbours to steal their stockpiles of canned goods until I can go outside wearing shorts and a t-shirt again. What’s that? Oh it’s February the 29th that’s the magical disappearing day. Thank god for that.


Anyways as most of you out there know, during the winter it’s a bit of a challenge to get outside on the bike. Especially if you live in a rural area like I do where it’s light for about 5 minutes a day and there’s no street lights apart from the one outside your house. Also the 5 minutes that it’s light are the designated time for it to rain, or snow, or do both, or just oscillate wildly between the two.


It’s extreme circumstances like these that call for extreme measures. When Steven Segal is tied to a bomb with only seconds to save his life and the planet does he just sit there and accept his fate? No he doesn’t. He escapes, has a very long knife fight with a baddie and then sorts the bomb out. Similarly when it’s shitty outside do I sit inside eating crisps and watching bullseye? Nope. I get on the turbo and sweat myself into a mess.

I speak jive.

I speak jive.


In order to make this winter’s turbo action more fun I’ve decided to turn it into a kind of feature for the site. As I don’t have a turbo that’s good enough to be allowed on Zwift I have to provide my own distraction. That normally takes the form of some new telly.  I think I watched the whole of Luke Cage whilst working out on the turbo. That’s why I can’t remember anything that happened and why I can only identify the characters by the shape they made through my tears.


So to make indoor training more worthwhile I’ve decided to create a new series where I review new TV shows through the prism of a man perspiring into oblivion. First up in the series is a show presented by three men who definitely always have a starter and dessert, even with breakfast…. it’s Amazon Prime’s The Grand Tour. To get myself in the right frame of mind I will be doing this workout in jacket and jeans whilst occasionally saying something that is politically incorrect and then looking at the camera as if I didn’t know that what I said was horrendous.


If you don’t know, The Grand Tour is basically Top Gear without anyone saying “we really should edit that bit out.” On the basis of 2016 so far it is also presented by the people who will probably be forming Britain’s next government and will ban art, cats, vegetarianism, and any music that wouldn’t sound right on a CD with a name like “Best Driving Man Time Volume 4.” If you’re thinking “I wonder what that would be like?” then imagine living in Footloose except you are allowed to dance, but it has to be to Radar Love by Golden Earring. 


Now I’m not actually going to write these reviews while I’m on the Turbo as I haven’t quite mastered typing whilst doing pyramid intervals. I did manage to scrawl some notes during my session, though. Looking back at them I’ve managed to write “Clarsn scxuly excited”, “BMW” and what looks like “DorsEhe.” Pretty sure that last one was an attempt at Porsche, although that helps me very little.

The Turbo version of Shorthand. 

The Turbo version of Shorthand. 


The first thing that is of importance with any TV show that you watch during a turbo session is can you hear it? Over the incessant whir of the flywheel, it’s often quite difficult to follow some shows. I had The Grand Tour plugged into my speakers and turned up to a level that meant the neighbours could easily follow the dialogue. Following it is helped by the fact that much of the dialogue is shouted and most of it is a joke about James May being different to Jeremy Clarkson. Jeremy Clarkson quite likes doing things without thinking about them whilst James May likes to plan things. The big problem with The Grand Tour is that quite often they do a bit with a car and unless you can reach the volume control, these bits are going to sound as though your house is collapsing and mean you’ll have to turn off all the lights and hide until the council noise inspector has gone away.


30 minutes into the turbo session and I’m desperate for some distraction from the hideous pain I’m inflicting on myself. Unfortunately I can’t reach the remote control.  I only made that joke so as I’ll want to make it in every subsequent Turbo TV Review so it’s good to get it out of the way. In truth The Grand Tour was quite a good distraction from the ever increasing lactic acid levels in my legs. At the point where I’m suffering most, the three presenters are driving around in cars that they’ve made from natural materials. There’s something quite comforting about watching Richard Hammond drive around in car made out of a shrubbery whilst Clarkson shouts at him, he’s probably having a worse time than me. At one point Clarkson makes a thinly veiled dig at Chris Evans and in order to understand the joke you need to know that Chris Evans made Top Gear for a bit and it was awful. The fact that I managed to follow this probably means that I’m not working out hard enough and that I need to try and know a bit less about Top Gear.


When I’ve finished a 5 minute maximum effort interval and my vision has returned it’s nice to be able to rejoin the show having not missed any plot. Not like that time I tried to watch House Of Cards whilst on the Turbo and missed one of those bits where Kevin Spacey talks to the camera, like Lovejoy, and says something really revealing and important. It effectively ruined the whole season for me. Also I must do a Turbo review of Lovejoy, I bet Tinker’s antics perfectly complement an FTP test.


I’ve realised that I’ve got to the end of this review without actually thinking of a scoring system so if any of you have any ideas can you please email me?