Thursday, 19 May 2011

Human Scale Transport

On my lovely ride to Chorlton for groceries today (via the Fallowfield Loop Floop) I saw a few older folk on bikes.

I saw the lady with the bike parking up at the cross-roads at the time I went into the supermarket. When I was leaving, it looks like she had bumped into a friend and elected to push her bike for a while so they could chat. Bicycles are remarkably "human" modes of transport, travelling by car, these two would never have had their chance encounter and a chat.

I bumped into this chap locking my bike up at the supermarket, he was sorting out a puncture. He seemed very impressed with my bike, mainly because he didn't know they still made, "Proper bikes." I saw him again on my way home via the Floop and I rode with him for a few minutes chatting about where he got his bike from and how he enjoys it because "It gets me around."

The encounter left me in a good mood, and I hope I had the same effect on him. This is the sort of interaction which only happens when transport is on a human scale, another one of the benefits of cycling.

Tuesday, 10 May 2011

Bike Babble: Vicky

Manchester Cycle Chic bike babble Vicky and Pashley
Vicky, outside Bicycle Boutique

Hello! What are you riding?
A Pashley Poppy - handbuilt in Stratford, weighing 18kg, with some fetching but quite useless Japanese cherry blossom and gingham panniers from RideLow. She is covered in stickers for Boneshaker Magazine and Copenhagen Cycle Chic and is called Maggie May. I love her so much I even had her name tattooed on my arm, which is increasingly a sartorial challenge when working with young people as I have to keep it covered up. I got her in 2009 on the bike to work scheme. She has cork handle bar grips, drum brakes and hub gears.
And where are are you going today?
The Spokes Royal Wedding Alley Cat which was an alternative celebration of Wills and Kate getting married and a chance to be silly on bikes around the town centre!Then went on Critical Mass and a street party in Hulme.
What's the best thing about cycling in Manchester?
The variety of cyclists - from hardcore mountainbikers through to hipster students on fixed gears. There aren't many other cities where there's such a range of people doing great things on two wheels - from bike dance groups to bike film's all going on.
What could be improved?
The infrastructure in Manchester is woeful and could be improved - in Trafford they've started taking away any cycle lanes that aren't at least a metre wide so that'll be most of them. This means I've lost count of the number of times my flatmate has nearly been killed by a taxi driver, there's always people parked in the cycle lanes and Oxford Road is a bit of a death trap. That said I'd rather be freewheeling with Maggie than sat on a bus.

Manchester Cycle Chic tattoo and Kellog's reflector

Wednesday, 4 May 2011

Bike Babble: Amy

Amy, Oldham Street

Why do you cycle?
It's fast and it's pleasant, especially in summer. Also you get to see loads of things that you wouldn't usually see if you are on public transport.
What tip would you give others to try cycling?
Just give it a go, find a cheaper bike from a local bike shop but get a good lock!
What would you like to see improved for cycling/cyclists?
Get proper lanes, nice and wide, so not to be pushed against buses. A new system that encourages cycling!

Thanks Amy! We hope you enjoy this glorious sunshine!

Tuesday, 3 May 2011


Cycling; it's not just for the healthy. This is Coyote (named for his bike), spotted at Critical Mass having a smoke on his bike. Just like in any group, some cyclists are also smokers. We are all just people after all.
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