This is a blog about bicycles. Riding bicycles, trying to get more people riding bicycles and bicycles themselves. A blog for banging on about bikes.
I learnt to ride a bike in 1975 at the age of three, meaning I’ve been balancing on two wheels on and off (mostly on) for a good 40 years. Throughout my adult life the bicycle has been my preferred mode of transport, primarily because I don’t have the patience to spend ages unnecessarily sitting in traffic. I can drive and have had cars but for the types of journey I make, it’s using a sledgehammer to crack a nut. On which topic there will be no end of musings and rants to follow. So a few years ago I swapped the car for a growing fleet of cycles, and haven’t looked back. Well, apart from to check for approaching cars, of course.
So the bicycle has been and remains as my primary mode of transport, cycling an average of 50 miles a week to and from work. And, as if that’s not enough, I also don the dreaded lycra at weekends and go on more or less challenging rides with (predominantly) men of a similar age. Holidays also usually involve a cycling element, be that pure cycle touring trips or “infrastructure safaris” to see how well or otherwise other places cater for cycling in their cities. Other leisure cycling activities include Manchester Critical Mass, which is immense fun and also a fantastic way of forming ties with others in the Manchester bike community.
My MAMIL (middle-aged man in lycra) tendencies aside, I am a passionate advocate of utility or everyday cycling, that is to say, using bicycles for short trips and errands around town without the need for any specialist equipment, or for that matter, self-identification as a cyclist. To that end I’m an active campaigner and former press officer (2015-18) for the Greater Manchester Cycling Campaign. This frequently sees me banging on about bikes in the newspapers, on the radio and occasionally on TV, where I try and communicate a positive and inclusive image of cycling to counter the baffling hostility and venom we encounter from certain aspects of the media and wider population.
But most of all, I just love riding bikes. It’s the cheapest, most reliable, most convenient, most sociable and most fun way to travel. Plus it’s the closest we can get to flying.
I hope you enjoy my ramblings.