About this Blog
I never had a bicycle when I was a child. I wanted one and the reasons why I never did still confuse me. Maybe I didn’t actually ask for one.
In my thirties a neighbour gave me an old bike and my life changed for ever. It was a yellow Coventry Eagle with gas pipe frame, 5-speeds, steel chainset and bent forks. I overhauled it with Richard’s Bicycle Book, bought a Carradice saddlebag, half-inch scale Bartholomews maps, and rode from Malvern Wells to Chepstow, then from Exeter to Plymouth across Dartmoor. My life was never the same again.
I joined the Birmingham cycle campaign, rode all over Warwickshire, Worcestershire and Shropshire and met my future partner cycling in the Welsh Borders. I commuted 20 miles a day studying at Coventry Polytechnic (sometimes with icicles hanging from my moustache) and felt terrific.
The bike died, forks bent beyond a joke when I tail-ended a commuter (he never noticed). Jane Barnes said “Oh your beautiful yellow bike!” and I realised that its aura transcended its humble construction. In an age of superlight frames, motorcycle suspension and multiple gears even a very basic bicycle gives you seven league boots.
So here are my cycling stories. I’m not an expert, I have prejudices and I am ignorant about many aspects of cycling. But I am a passionate traveller and, for me, cycling is the supreme form of travel.