Monday 18 October 2021

Diary of a Cycling Instructor (Week 31st May — 4th June 2021)

Summer’s finally here and so are showers 

Week 31st May — 4th June 2021

On my way to Enfield today, I choose the Green Lanes route. I’m co-delivering a playground-based, week-long, half-term, cycling training programme. As I ease down the still-new, Holland-inspired, off-road cycle lane, my mind wanders off.

I think of those pioneer record-holders at the 1896 Olympic Games, seeking to improve their fixed-sprocket frames. The result was an increase in size of the front wheel with the pedals still on it (no chain yet, in those days). And that’s how the penny-farthing was born.

Blue-shirted, dapper-looking elderly man with matching hat. I salute you, sir. And I thank you. That little nod and hand on heart as you walked past me in Victoria Park, Finchley, whilst I was talking a learner through a cycling drill was priceless.

I’m sure you were a cyclist in your younger days. Who knows? You probably still are.

I’m waiting for a learner for a 1–2–1 session in Priory Park, Hornsey, north London. The voices of two blokes working out not too far from me are drowned out by the sound-blasting fitness routine music unleashed on the park by a personal trainer. 

Whilst still in Priory Park, I suddenly remember that I’m not far from Campsbourne School, where a plaque celebrating a couple of years ago. I wonder if they let visitors in. Masked up and on two wheels. Worth finding out.

Some people get second cars. This cycling instructor just got a second bike: a folding Raleigh EVO 2 beauty. 

Someone forgot to tell Halfords that we no longer use the term “women’s bikes” in cycling training. 

On behalf of all cycling instructors in the world, or at least those based in the British Isles, 

Sometimes people ask me  How else do you think I can have some proper banter with parents/carers and their children without looking like a dodgy bloke?


  1. If only we could order up the weather the way we want it any time of the year!

  2. AFAIK cycling instructors don't exist over here.

  3. CiL writes: ".... with names such as Vengeance and Voodoo in the men's section, I can just imagine what sort of male customer Halfords is catering to.

    Fram replies: My guess is the same guys who paint names like "Renegade" and "Wild Bunch" on their cars ....

  4. Always loved reading your cycling 'diaries'. :)
    I have a Carrera Vulcan. Do their names always start with a 'V'?

  5. It's interesting that people need a cycling instructor, Bike riding is not terribly difficult, but I suppose it is like exercise workouts whereby you could do it on your own, but with a gym instructor, you go to a much higher level. This is all theory. There is nothing as fine as wobbling about on a bike.

  6. Always a pleasure riding with you.

  7. So awesome reading your cycling diaries. Thanks for sharing your journey.

  8. Hi ACIL - if only we could regulate the weather to suit ... it's just dumped some heavy wet stuff here, as I was about to walk to town. I no longer ride - though do have envy for an e-bike - but I have nowhere to store it. I hate to let you know ... I had a Brompton for a few years ... it was just brilliant - fold, pack and go ...

    It's great you're teacher-cycling training the kids to ride sensibly - it'll certainly help us all. I get so frustrated, but try to smother it, when youngsters on their (what I no know are 'desired by their owners to be' BMXers or Freestyle BMXers) rage or ponce about! through the Eastbourne Streets!

    Cheers Hilary

  9. I would love to attempt to ride one of those 1890 style bicycles (and relate to you bicycle envy). Good post



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