30 November 2009

On the saddle of Solsbury Hill

The rain scuppered our cycling weekend in the Peaks. (We looked for a replacement activity which might benefit from the introduction of water. So instead we had a whisky tasting weekend in the Peaks.) Meanwhile we entertained ourselves by compiling our Top Entries for the British Songbook. (I've discussed bike-related pop songs, like Elton John's Sprocket Man, in a previous post.)

One of the suggestions was Peter Gabriel's Solsbury Hill. I was delighted to see on the YouTube video of his 2003 World Tour that he performs the song by cycling round stage on a folding bike. (I see that kimbofo, whose London cycling diary is still alive, had spotted the video before.)

It looks like a Moulton to me. That would make sense given that it comes from Gabriel's stomping ground of Wiltshire. Solsbury Hill itself is between Bath and Box, his home town. The lanes round its east side, easily accessed from the Kennet and Avon canal (on which you can cycle all the way to Reading), are lovely cycling country. When it's not cascading with rain.

Anyway, as Mr Gabriel is riding in his normal clothes, without a helmet, and is clearly enjoying the whole thing enormously, we're happy to elevate him to the status of Real Cyclist.


  1. He's quite keen on performing whilst using innovative (and expensive) means of transport, as can be seen on this video of Mr Gabriel singing "Games without Frontiers" whilst riding around the stage on a Segway.

  2. Indeed, it looks like a Moulton New Series Pylon to me. The sort of thing that only the likes of Mr Gabriel could afford... But don't call it a folder in Dr Moulton's hearing! The approved terminology is "demountable"!

  3. I'm sure we could come up with an additional verse to Solsbury Hill, cleverly rhyming 'demountable' with 'unaccountable', 'disassembly' with 'trembly', and so on...