NOTE: The episode "The Cycling Tour" is a single continuous narrative, as opposed to the normal Monty Python convention of multiple sketches. For convenience of reading we have divided the episode in to sections.




Nice gentle music. The camera is tracking along a hedgerow beside the road. We see just the head of a cyclist going along along, sometimes just above the hedgerow and sometimes bobbing out of sight, occasionally for long periods. He is smiling and having a fantastic time.


Superimposed Caption: 'THE CYCLING TOUR'


Mr Pither, our cyclist and hero, bobs up and down a few more times, then disappears from sight. There is a crash and clang of a bicycle in collision, mixed with the scream of a frightened hen, and stifled shout of alarm. We are still in long shot and see nothing. The music stops abruptly on the crash.


Pither: (M.P.) (voice over) August 18th. Fell off near Bovey Tracey. The pump caught in my trouser leg.


Cut to interior of a transport cafe. A rather surly proprietor with fag in mouth is operating an Espresso coffee machine. Pither is leaning over the counter, talking quite cheerfully. The proprietor on the other hand couldn't care less.


Pither: The pump caught in my trouser leg, and my sandwiches were badly crushed.


Proprietor: (E.I.) 35p please.


Pither: These sandwiches, however, were an excellent substitute.


An enormous lorry driver comes up to counter.


Driver: (J.C.) Give us ten woods, Barney.


Pither: Hello! (the lorry driver looks at him without comment) It's funny how one can go through life, as I have, disliking bananas and being indifferent to cheese, and then be able to eat, and enjoy, a banana and cheese sandwich like this. (the driver goes off with his cigarettes)


Proprietor: 35p please.


Pither: Ah! I have only a fifty. Do you have change?


Proprietor: (with heavy sarcasm) Well I'll have a look, but I may have to go to the bank.


Pither: I'm most awfully sorry.


Proprietor: (handing him change) 15p.


Pither: Oh, what a stroke of luck. Well, all the very best. (Pither proffers his hand, the proprietor ignores it) And thank you again for the excellent banana and cheese delicacy.


He exits busily. The proprietor looks after him. Cut to hedgerows. Theme music. Pither's head bobbing up and down. At the same point in the music it disappears and there is a crash mingled with grunting of pig.


Pither: (voice over) August 23rd. Fell off near Budleigh Salterton.


A brief shot of an unidentifiable animated Gilliam monster looking over the top of a hedge. Cut to a woman gardening. Behind her we see Pither's head peering over the hedge.


Pither: ...and the pump caught in my trouser leg...(she carries on digging trying to ignore him) ...and that's how they were damaged...(no reaction)...the remember...the hard-boiled eggs I was telling you about...they were in a Tupperware container, reputedly self-sealing, which fell open upon contact with the tarmacadam surface of the road.... (she carries on digging)...the B489...the Dawlish road... (again no reaction) That shouldn't really happen to a self-sealing container, now should it? What do you keep your hard-boiled eggs in?


The lady gardener goes back into house. Pither waits for a few moments.


Pither: (shouting) I think in future I shall lash them to the handlebars with adhesive tape... this should obviate a recurrence of the same problem... well I can't stand around here chatting all day... I'm on a cycling tour of North Cornwall. Must be off.


Cut to hedgerows again. Mr. Pither barrelling along. Theme music. He dips out of sight. Crash and a cow moos.


Pither: (voice over) August 26th. Fell off near Ottery St Mary. The pump caught in my trouser leg. Decide to wear short trousers from now on.


Another brief shot of the animated monster peeking over a hedgerow. Cut to another hedgerow. Pither's head bowling along. Short burst of music. Crash.


Pither: (voice over) Fell off near Tiverton. Perhaps a shorter pump is the answer.


Another monster peeps briefly. Cut to a tiny village high street, deserted save for an old lady. Pither cycles into shot. He is in shorts, but still has his bicycle clips on. He approaches the old lady.


Pither: Excuse me, madam, I wonder if you could tell me of a good bicycle shop in this village, where I could find either a means of adapting my present pump, or failing that, purchase a replacement?


Old lady: (E.I.) There's only one shop here.


She points with a shaking finger. Camera pans very slightly to one side to reveal a shop with a huge four-foot-high sign: 'Bicycle Pump Centre - Specialists In Shorter Bicycle Pumps'. Another sign: 'Short Pumps Available Here'. Another sign: 'We Shorten Pumps While-U-Wait'. The camera shows the shop only for a couple of seconds and pans back to the old lady and Pither.


Pither: What a stroke of luck. Now perhaps cycling will become less precarious.


Cut to interior of doctor's surgery. There is a knock on the door.


Doctor: (E.I.) Yes? (a nurse puts her head round the door)


Nurse: (C.C.) A Mr. Pither to see you, doctor. His bicycle pump got caught in his sock.


Doctor: Oh, thank you nurse, show him in please.


Nurse: This way, please.


The nurse exits, Pither enters in shorts and sweater.


Doctor: Morning.


Pither: Oh, a very good morning to you too, Doctor


Doctor: Ah, I understand you had an accident?


Pither: That's right, my pump got...


Doctor: ...caught in your sock.


Pither: Absolutely. Yes. My fruit cake was damaged on one side.


Doctor: Well...


Pither: It's got grit all over it.


Doctor: Well now, are you in pain?


Pither: Oh, heavens no.


Doctor: Ah well, where were you hurt?


Pither: Oh, fortunately, I escaped without injury.


Doctor: Well what is the trouble?


Pither: Please, could you tell me the way to Iddesleigh?


Doctor: I'm a doctor, you know.


Pither: Oh yes, absolutely. Normally I would have asked a policeman or a minister of the Church, but finding no one available, I thought it better to consult a man with some professional qualifications, rather than rely on the possibly confused testimony of a passer-by.


Doctor: Oh all right. (he scribbles something on a piece of paper and hands it to Pither) Take this to a chemist.


Pither: Thank you.


Cut to exterior of a chemist's shop. A chemist comes out holding the paper and points up the street. Pither thanks him and mounts his bike. Cut to the hedgerows again. Pither's head. Theme music reaches the point where Pither normally falls off, his head disappears, the music cuts off. There is no crash. 


Pither: (voice over) September 2nd. Did not fall off outside Iddesley.


Mr. Pither's head reappears further on and the music starts up again. Cut to a small market town. A line of cars. Pither's head just above roofs of cars. Theme music. He suddenly disappears, the music stops and there is a crash.


Pither: (voice over) Fell off in Tavistock.


Cut to a discreet corner of a Watney's pub. Soft music. A middle-aged businessman and a sexy young lady who obviously want to be alone are sitting huddled over a table. At the next table is Pither, with half-pint in front of him.


Pither: My foot caught in my trouser leg and that's how the bottle broke.


Girl: (C.C.) Tell her today, you could ring her.


Man: (J.C.) I can't. I can't.


Pither: I said you'd never guess.


Man: Sixteen years we've been together. I can't just ring her up.


Girl: Well, if you can't do it now, you never will.


Pither: (tapping the man on the leg) Do you like Tizer?


Man: (to Pither) What? No. No.


Girl: Do you want me or not, James? It's your decision.


Pither: I suppose it is still available in this area, is it?


Girl: Do you want me or not, James?


Man: What?


Pither: Tizer.


Girl: Yes or no.


Pither: Is it still available in this area?


Man: (to Pither) I don't know.


Girl: I see, in that case its goodbye for ever, James.


Man: No! I mean yes!


Pither: Oh it is, is it?


Man: (to Pither) No.


Girl: Oh! You never could make up your mind.


Man: I can... I have...


Girl: (taking off ring) Goodbye James.


She runs out sobbing.


Man: No wait, Lucille!


Pither: Does your lovely little daughter like Tizer? Eh?


Man: Lucille!


Pither: Wouldn't mind buying her a bottle of Tizer... if it's available in this area, that is.


Man: (turning on Pither) Would you like me to show you the door?


Pither: Oh, that's extremely kind of you, but I saw it on the way in.


Man: You stupid, interfering little rat.


Pither: Oh! The very words of the garage mechanic in Bude!


The man picks Pither up by the scruff of the neck and the seat of his pants. He carries him bodily towards the door.


Pither: I had just fallen off my bicycle, this is most kind of you, and my lemon curd tartlet had...


Man: Damn your lemon curd tartlet!


Pither is thrown out. He picks himself up and sees girl outside sobbing.


Pither: Just had a chat with your dad.


Girl bursts into further tears. Whistling cheerfully, Pither gets on his bicycle and, happier than he has been for a long time, he cycles off down the road and round a corner. Sounds of car-tyre screech and crash of Pither going straight into a car.



The Cycling Tour continues...




Back to index