Active Vocabulary

Friendly classes in English as a foreign language


Listening Practice: BBC videos from YouTube

The man who rides a floating bike

Videos from the BBC’s YouTube channel are a really good resource for learners and improvers of English. I often use them in my classes. Here is one example. As you can see, I’ve produced a transcript. I recommend that students watch the video once or twice, without using the transcript. Then, use the transcript to help with any difficulties.

Mouse over the underlined words and expressions for a quick explanation.


In 2015, I raced a 70-foot yacht from London to Rio de Janeiro and, in the middle of nowhere, we found these two turtles caught in a maze of fishing nets and water bottles.

He’s got yellow and orange round its front-right fin, and blue. Well done.

In the middle of nowhere, in this amazing ocean, you know, like, it’s blue water everywhere and then you have all this plastic.

But it starts right here. Everything needs to stop at a source and what is the source? The source is us.

In London, sixty-six thousand tonnes of plastic were sent for recycling last year alone. But nobody knows how much was simply discarded elsewhere. And while the government has pledged to ban all avoidable plastic waste by 2042, some Londoners are taking action now. After cycling a hundred and fifty miles on the Thames, ex-city worker Drew Borrower is now clearing plastic from London's canals on board his floating bamboo bicycle.

Just one hour on the canal, I collected these two fishing nets full of plastic rubbish, from balls to styrofoam packets to water bottles to energy drinks to single-use packaging. I can’t collect everything, because if I collect everything, you know, I will sink.

The plastic that’s being dumped in our waterways is having a huge impact on marine life. A recent study by the Royal Holloway University found up to seventy-five percent of fish living at the bottom of the Thames have plastic in their guts.

It’s really disgraceful. We’re harming the life even right here. Obviously, we’re harming us in the end, you know, we’re going to eat the fish as well.

The reaction from the public is amazing. They stop and they see. So what are you doing, you know? Are you off-road cycling? Is that your road bike? A few people on the lock, they are like, “You can’t escape cyclists, not even on the canal”.

Cleaning up the canals or cleaning up the river, you know, for me, I don’t believe it’s the solution. And my whole goal is to get people (to) know more about plastic pollution. Go and learn about it, talk about it. Ultimately, if we are going to solve this, we have to go and educate the young people and make them more aware of how damaging this is, and how we are destroying their world, their planet, you know. We are making it worse for them.