03 June 2009

Fair weather cycling

My friends at the puncture repair outfit factory tell me three things. One, bike sales are either (a) up or (b) down since the recession started, depending on who you talk to. Two, sales of repair and maintenance gear are slightly, but definitely, up over the same period. Three, they sell more puncture repair kits in good weather, and are keeping an eye on the mid-range forecast in case they need to call in reinforcements from the town's casual labour pool.

Is the sunny weather bringing out more cyclists in London? It feels that way, with the additions less likely to be wearing helmets or reflective tops, and more likely to pedalling in jeans or skirts. Yesterday evening I was particularly pleased to see, in the space of 20 minutes en route home through central London, three of those cycle-wheelbarrow jobs each containing one or two kids, piloted by smiley bare-headed adults in sunglasses evidently out for a jaunt. I was too intent on my appointment at the No. 1 Off Licence in Kennington to research Kronenbourg's quality control to take any photos.

And this morning, a quick straw poll at the north end of Waterloo Bridge (right; it's not Beijing, but then, where is?) over a few pulses of traffic lights suggested that, around 9am, cyclists outnumber private cars by at least 50 per cent. If the promised drizzle comes tomorrow I'll do another count to see how many fair-weather cyclists get the bus instead.

(Added 23 Jun: The Grauniad's new bike blog links to this post saying it's a complaint about "unsuitably attired" cyclists. Uh? No it isn't - it's exactly the opposite, a celebration of normal people cycling in normal clothes. What this blog is all about, in fact. Note to Graun hacks: try reading the full post, or at least the title of the blog, before inserting a knee-jerk link to the result of a Google search. Thanks guys.)


  1. Worth noting that there is nothing wrong with a bare head. And nothing wrong with normal clothes. Utility cycling requires no special equipment other than the bike and that should be encouraged. Cycling is good.

  2. Get off your high horse. If people want to ride a bike in warm weather, they have every right to. Piss off.

  3. @Anonymous, whoever you are, relax! No need to shout and swear. Save that for the drivers that cut you up.

    Actually I've never been on a high horse. I did go on a trek in New Zealand once on some old nag, but I wasn't very good at the steering or braking side of things.

    @Neil - I agree entirely; in fact it's a recurring thread through all 200-odd posts on this blog so far.

  4. OK - you were referenced from the Guardian blog as complaining about "unsuitably attired" fair weather cyclists, and I could easily read your post that way but wasn't 100% sure.


  5. Ah; thanks Neil, that explains it.

    I'm genuinely puzzled as to how the Graun blog thought my post was about "unsuitably attired" cyclists. I don't say anything of the sort! That's not what the post was about, and the opposite of what 'Real Cycling', the title of this blog, is about. Cycling in normal clothes is exactly what I do, exactly what I promote, and exactly what this blog celebrates!

    Maybe I should follow Anonymous's lead above and post a sweary comment on the Graun blog without bothering to read the post it refers to. (Joke.)