Pedal America begins airing this weekend — except in Seattle

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Kati Lightholder and Ira David

A new 7-part public television series that examines bike culture in North America begins Saturday in some major cities, just in time for National Bike Month.

“Pedal America” is hosted by Ira David, a New York City native and avid cyclist who has criss-crossed the country many times on his bicycle to benefit charities and causes in the past.

Aiming to “educate, inspire, and motivate cyclists of all ages to rediscover the basic joys of cycling,” David and co-host Kati Lightholder visit far-flung locations to find examples of bicycling goodness in people and places for Pedal America.

Broadcast cities

Produced by Out-Write Media LLC and distributed by American Public Television, the half-hour weekly program is starting with a 78% coverage rate at PBS stations across the US. The list of cities where it’s showing includes Chicago, Houston, Minneapolis, Detroit, Denver, Cleveland, Austin, Raleigh-Durham, Indianapolis, Columbus, Greenville-Spartanburg, Knoxville, Columbia among many others.

Missing from that list is Seattle. I contacted KCTS-9 to see if they had plans to air the show. A station spokesperson said the seven episodes had been recorded, were not scheduled to air immediately, but to check back in 5 weeks.

I certainly look forward to KCTS airing Pedal America in Seattle, a gold-level Bicycle Friendly Community and one of the Top 10 cities to ride a bike in the nation.

Pedal America episodes

Here’s a rundown of the episodes as shared by WTTW National Productions:

#101 – “Let’s Keep It Weird” – Austin, Texas

Austinites don’t just party, they celebrate with bicycles to give added value to the city’s motto “Let’s Keep It Weird.”  Ira David hails Austin as a bicycle-friendly city when he visits a bicycle zoo and pedals in a bicycle parade. Journey along the Lance Armstrong Bikeway and Trail at Lady Bird Lake.  A visit to Austin’s Yellow Bike Project teaches the role bicycles can play in giving back to the community.

#102 – “In Search of the Raystown Ray” – Raystown Lake, Pennsylvania

Learn the story of The Allegrippis Trail System at Raystown Lake, Pennsylvania as Ira David introduces mountain biking to beginners while hoping to catch a glimpse of this town’s version of the Loch Ness Monster.

#103 – “Y’all Pedal and Eat Now!” – Savannah, Georgia

Ira David tours southern Americana in historic Savannah, Georgia. Pedal around the city’s architectural squares and visit The Wormsloe Historic Site, Bonaventure Cemetery, and Mrs. Wilkes Dining Room for authentic southern fare; plus, a look at the city’s initiatives that helped to earn itself “bicycle-friendly” status from the League of American Bicyclists.

#104 – “Bike the Vine” – Napa Valley, California

Come for the wine, but stay for the cycling. From Calistoga to the city of Napa, Ira David pedals his way along wineries and art museums to showcase Napa Valley as a family-friendly bicycling destination.

#105 – “From Liquor Bottle to Water Bottle” – Chicago, Illinois

Ira David pedals along The Windy City’s magnificent lakefront and downtown neighborhoods to show why Chicago is consistently ranked among the top five bicycling towns in North America. Stops include Museum Campus, Soldier Field, and the Lookingglass Theatre Company. Also, meet one Chicago resident, a former chain smoker and alcoholic, who traded in his liquor bottles for water bottles when he discovered the benefits of bicycling.

#106 – “Women of Red Rock” – Sedona, Arizona

It took 230 million years for Sedona, Arizona to surface from the bottom of the Pacific Ocean, but its receding waters left behind a spectacular field of red rock vortexes that many claim to heal and cleanse the body. Ira David pedals his road and mountain bike through the Bellrock Pathway and Mystic Trail to learn why women who visit Sedona choose never to leave and the role the vortexes and cycling have played in their newly found lifestyles. Learn about gear and apparel unique to women who bike.

#107 – “Living in Harmony” – Tampa & St. Petersburg, Florida

Ira David addresses the more serious issue of why this now “bicycle-friendlier” city was plagued with bicycle fatalities in 2009 and how the city responded to a create a dramatic increase in tolerance and understanding between cyclists and motor vehicle operators.

Where to watch

The first program in the series begins airing Saturday at WTTW11 in Chicago, home of WTTW National Productions, which is the presenting affiliate. Other cities on the list can run the program whenever they choose, so viewers will have to check local listings for dates and times.

The American Public Television website has a “Where to Watch” application on its Pedal America page to air in your search for stations airing the program.

This is a great idea for a series and I hope all the best for co-hosts David and Lightholder. The episode guide says the list is for Season One, so this may become a regular TV series.

The Pedal America website has a blog and other information about the series.


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  1. Yes! I’ve been hearing about this elsewhere on the Internet, and I’m really excited to check it out! Truly, the bicycle culture is a unique one. In my own tours, I’ve discovered that the hallmark of this culture is positivity, and if nothing else, it’s because of this that the bike culture is worth exploring and investing in further! Hopefully programs like this one will help further the cause.

    1. I agree. This type of show for cyclists and non-cyclists alike could only help to promote cycling, and at least encourage motorists to share the road.

    • Ira David on May 10, 2012 at 10:54 pm
    • Reply

    Thank you for the article; I found this by accident. Let us know your ideas and comments. Cheers!
    Ira David

  2. nice series; I liked the Forrest Gump impersonator from your Savanna episode. Bike focused Good cheerl

    B Braun

  3. I invite you to listen to our steaming broadcast of silent sports on our website at for in depth interviews with people involved in all aspects of silent sports.

    • Brian on January 24, 2014 at 1:01 pm
    • Reply

    Thanks to this show I know a lot more about bicycling and Chicago! Two of my favorite concepts and certainly favorites of my friend Scott as well, as he is…ChicagoMan!

    Looking forward to catching the other cities on the show, especially Austin, Sedona and eventually riding in them as well.

    Keep up the good work, Ira, but for some reason, Katie’s smile steals your show!

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