And on Channel 4!Wimbledon cycling instructor on Big Brother
Wimbledon Guardian article, Monday 21st July 2008
By Ben Thompson »
On live television a Merton cycling instructor taught a 44-year-old woman to ride a bike for the first time - and it took him just 20 minutes.
More than one million viewers tuned in as Big Brother contestant Belinda stunned viewers by taking to two wheels after a lesson from Cheam resident Fred Ellis.
"My phone rang and when I the person on the other end said it was Big Brother, well I nearly put the phone straight down. I just couldn't believe it."
And Fred, who teaches people to ride as a director of Wimbledon-based cycling organisation, pedal4health, was given just 24 hours notice before appearing on the hit Channel 4 show.
"My phone rang and when I the person on the other end said it was Big Brother, well I nearly put the phone straight down. I just couldn't believe it," he said.
"I was actually on my way back from an event in Sutton and it was completely out of the blue. They told me they wanted me to teach one of the contestants how to ride the bike."
People have even started stopping Fred in the street after his exploits on the show aired three times in the last week.
"I guess this does make me the country's first celebrity instructor!" he added. "I'd like to say that I was recommended to the program makers, but I think they googled "cycling instructors" and mine was the first name to come up.
Within 20 minutes Belinda was on her bike cycling, after which she went on air to demonstrate her new found skills by riding along an a short obstacle course.
Fred said: "The first thing the presenter asked was my success rate of successfully teaching someone to ride. I said 100 per cent and felt confident.
"I might have been a little afraid of it all going wrong on live television, but I just ignored the cameras and treated it as a normal cycling lesson."