Like this site? Help us to make it better.

14 of the best cycling TED Talks

We've rounded up our favourite bike-related TED talks from around the interweb. Soak up some of the witty two-wheeled wisdom

TED stands for technology, entertainment and design... of which all three relate to cycling in many forms, so there are plenty of TED talk videos out there on numerous subjects from cycling infrastructure, the health benefits of cycling and bike innovation. Here's a round-up of some of our favourites.

Arend Schwab: Why bicycles do not fall

One of the most remarkable yet poorly understood aspects of bikes is that they're stable when moving and therefore keep themselves upright. But why? Arend Schwab, assistant professor in theoretical and applied mechanics from Delft University of Technology demolishes some traditional explanations and comes up with some new answers.

David Camarillo: Why helmets don't prevent concussions — and what might

You get a concussion when your hit your head and your brain smashes against the inside of your skull, right? Wrong, says David Camarillo, and that's why helmets designed to prevent skull fracture don't prevent concussion.

Sanelma Heinonen: Spokes UP! Bicycle Commuting

Sanelma Heinonen is known at her high school as the girl who goes everywhere by bike, and she is — rightly — proud of it. She explains why.

Matthieu Witvoet: How can cycling change the world?

Although his first long bike ride after graduating ended on a wet and foggy English beach, that didn't put Matthieu Witvoet off. He went on to ride round the world with his cousin and in this talk shares five lessons he learned about minimalism, the circular economy and more.

Adam Stones: How cycling transforms people and places

Adam Stones hears a simple bicycle bell as the sound the future, the cha-ching of progress. The bike, he says, can be the single greatest tool in history for human progress, changing people and places and enhancing human happiness.

Jacob Klink: Why do I ride bicycles while all others are driving?

From his bike shop in Chengdu, China, Jacob Klink is trying to reverse China's recent decline in bike usage, and combine his love of bikes with his fascination for the Middle Kingdom.

Mark Martin: Bicycling for life

"You really cannot be sad on a bicycle", says Martin at TEDX Louisiana, as he explains how he thinks bike riding can generate positive change in the world. He hasn't driven a car in 22 years and also compares cycling head injury stats with car accidents, falls at home etc to dismiss proposed mandatory helmet laws in his state. Great points, even greater moustache and chops, slightly annoying bell...

Anthony Desnick: The amazing way bicycles change you

Another personal and persuasive case for riding a bike, Desnick goes as far as to claim cycling saved his life by managing his Crohn's disease. After being told his illness was terminal and spontaneously going out on a bike ride, Desnick built up his mileage, changed up his diet and is now able to manage his illness into his 60's.

Lee Craigie: Ride Like a Girl

A former pro mountain biker, Craigie says she learned more about herself in four days of battling through the epic 550km Highland Trail Race than she did in a whole career of elite-level sport. Craigie can certainly tell a story, and accompanied by her trusty custom Shand bike called Jimmy she explains how camaraderie and being inspired by your surroundings can sometimes get you to the finish line much easier than just with sheer brute strength.

Ned Phillips: How endurance athletes are using the power of the now

Phillips discusses endurance sports in general, but goes on to explain how the philosophy of 'thinking in the now' helped him to overcome a 9000km ride across Mongolia amongst other challenges; the idea being that the way endurance athletes think of nothing except their immediate goal to conquer the challenge in front of them can be applied to every day life.

Mikael Colville-Andersen: Why We Shouldn't Bike with a Helmet

Colville-Andersen is Copenhagen's bicycle ambassador, and talks about how important the bicycle is for liveable cities. he claims that the bike helmet is threatening its usage because it creates a "culture of fear". He uses other examples of over-zealous safety products such as a crash helmet for children learning to walk (they do exist, and are actually made in the UK), and questions the validity of the bike helmet as a safety device.

Dotsie Bausch: Olympic Level Compassion

Dotsie Bausch won a silver medal on the track at the 2012 Olympic games, but her path to the pinnacle of the sport was far from conventional; previously Bausch was a model with a cocaine addiction and a life-threatening eating disorder, and an epiphany following a second suicide attempt led her to take up cycling, originally just to start being active again. She goes on to advocate vegetarianism, urging the audience to try going meat-free to make "a positive impact on the environment".

Martyn Ashton: In Disaster There is Opportunity - Finding a Path Through Paralysis

Martyn Ashton was a pioneering mountain biker and world champion in the 1990's, and went on to perform in the popular YouTube live stunt series 'Road Bike Party'; however during one of the shows Ashton suffered a spinal injury and was left paralysed. Despite this he goes on to explain how his greatest days of riding were still to come, after managing to get back on a bike again by working out that "all you need is gravity" to steer downhill...

Bobby Gadda: How Do You Get Off That Thing?

"The initial reason was for attention", says Gadda as he explains how and why he pedalled 1600 miles from Vancouver to Los Angeles on his crazy custom tallbike. Gadda is a bicycle advocate who runs bike workshops and the CicLAvia organisation, that organise closed road events so locals can experience riding and walking the streets without cars whizzing past. He runs us through his gear, how the journey went and most importantly, how the hell you'd go about getting off the bike...

What have we missed? Let us know in the comments!

Arriving at in 2017 via 220 Triathlon Magazine, Jack dipped his toe in most jobs on the site and over at eBikeTips before being named the new editor of in 2020, much to his surprise. His cycling life began during his students days, when he cobbled together a few hundred quid off the back of a hard winter selling hats (long story) and bought his first road bike - a Trek 1.1 that was quickly relegated to winter steed, before it was sadly pinched a few years later. Creatively replacing it with a Trek 1.2, Jack mostly rides this bike around local cycle paths nowadays, but when he wants to get the racer out and be competitive his preferred events are time trials, sportives, triathlons and pogo sticking - the latter being another long story.  

Add new comment


mark1a | 1 year ago

Tyler Hamilton, Truth and transformation worth a watch:

check12 | 3 years ago

good list, thanks 

ScottHutch | 4 years ago

Great list! With personal bias on this recommendation, I love what Jimmy Lizama had to say about getting out to ride locally and knowing your neighbors, he helped start the Bicycle Kitchens in Los Angeles. One fun guy full of life and love for all things bicycles.

Scott (TEDxUCLA)

peted76 | 5 years ago
1 like

Super, that's this week's bedtime viewing covered.

Smultie | 5 years ago
1 like

Nice link, but DAMN that bell is annoying...

Latest Comments