As the owner of a bike shop I’m lucky to do something that makes a difference for so many. The bicycle a wonderfully simple design classic. The reason it’s not largely changed is because it’s near perfect. Progress has been made in different ways.
When I first discovered the bicycle as a teenager it was the sense of freedom, being able to get to places without having to relay on my parents. My introduction was really accelerated by a teacher who was a keen touring cyclist and organised several school bike rides for the other kids in my school year group. It was my introduction to the bike in where, with a little imagination, it could take you. On that first little tour, we only covered 50 miles in 2 days with a youth hostel overnight.
Since then I’ve been fortunate to have a lot of very nice bikes. I worked hard to get my bikes. The weekends meant freedom. I got into competitive cycling in my 20’s and would describe myself as a clubman. A good rider, but not a leader perhaps more like a team player. Cycle racing is something that appears to be a solo sport from the outside, though it’s surprising how much of a team effort it is. Without his team mates the competitive cyclist is isolated and subject to attack. With talented teammates he/she is part of a greater whole.
We live in challenging times. We are all being squeezed financially. Part of my cycling life has been using my bike as a commuter. Not only are there health benefits but in these days of rising fuel costs the bicycle has its part to play. Most of us commute less than 5 miles, use our car to go to the supermarket for a basket full of shopping. Commuting by bike isn’t going to practical for everyone but I believe that it has its place in our future transport system. Particularly in Towns like ours. The infrastructure needs to be improved, but it’s really just creating links to what’s already there.
Maybe this is the year to make a small change. Become more green or just enjoy a different kind of holiday that doesn’t involve getting on a plane. Enjoy an active holiday and spend some dough in the UK. The hardest thing is to turn the first pedal stroke, once you do you’ll open yourself up to a world of adventures and freedom on your doorstep and then wherever you’re willing to go.