As our judges start to deliberate over the 2021 entries, we look back to 2020 and speak to Simon Parker, who won the Travel Broadcast Programme of the Year Travel Media Award for Earth Cycle.
Can you tell us what Earth Cycle is about?
The show is about charting the seasonal cycles of the natural world, as I pass through on a bicycle. That’s where the play on words came from: Earth Cycle. In this first series I cycled 2,000 miles and documented lots of interesting projects along the way, such as endangered bee species, invasive king crabs and seasonal mushrooms.
What drew you to Scandinavia as a location?
I’ve worked on a lot of stories there in the past and it fitted perfectly for the concept of our show. It’s wild and open, and the right to roam allows for wild camping – which is a key part of Earth Cycle.
You cycled and sailed from China to London in 2016, racing with and against the Clipper Round the World Yacht Race. How did this compare to that other epic journey?
This journey was much more about the interesting projects we found along the way. My sail and cycle from China to London was more of a race — I much prefer the pace of Earth Cycle.
Why do you think the concept of slow travel is important?
It’s refreshing to see the planet unfold at the gentle speed of a bicycle and with the frantic speed of the news cycle these days I think that people are yearning for a slower pace of life. Social media and rolling news are far too fast. It’s restorative to slow down a bIt from time to time.
How do you feel about winning the Travel Broadcast Programme of the Year award?
Extremely chuffed. I jumped around my office when the announcement was made. Cliff, the team at 1080 Media TV, and I slogged away on this for a long time, so it means a great deal. Cliff and I have always known we’ve got a good concept for a show, and this proved to us that other people share that passion too.
Do you think the principles espoused in Earth Cycle will be taken on by more travellers after the Covid-19 crisis?
I would think so. I see bicycle touring becoming even more popular than it already is. In our Covid world it’s the best way to have a big adventure in your own safe bubble. Hopefully Earth Cycle can offer some inspiration.
Have you got other journeys in mind?
Always. I can’t wait to hit the road again. Cliff and I are hoping to do another series of Earth Cycle and I’m personally working on more adventure cycling content all around Britain and the world. Just need some normality to resume.