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.
I imagine that if there were cycling instructors around back then, they’d have had a nightmare telling their learners to set their pedal up correctly every time they came to a complete stop.
Still, it must have been fun.
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. The first few days of June have not only brought the sun out but also ear-splitting songs. Fun days ahead.
Whilst still in Priory Park, I suddenly remember that I’m not far from Campsbourne School, where a plaque celebrating Britain’s first black female football player, Emma Clarke, was unveiled 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. At 16 kilos, it’s a bit on the heavy side but as an alternative to my hybrid, it serves its purpose. My only gripe? It doesn’t fold like a Brompton.
I realise that I’m beginning to develop Brompton envy.
Someone forgot to tell Halfords that we no longer use the term “women’s bikes” in cycling training. “Step-through” or “step-thru” bikes works better and it takes away the stigma of a man riding what could be seen a lady’s two-wheeler. Then, again, 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.
On behalf of all cycling instructors in the world, or at least those based in the British Isles, I demand warm sunny days during the summer, for the whole duration of the season. If rain must be had, can we put a request in that it happens only at night, between the hours of 11pm and 6am? Nothing like waking up to a bout of morning fresh air.
Sometimes people ask me if I wear my cycling instructor hi-vis when I’m riding to and from work. Yes, I do. How else do you think I can have some proper banter with parents/carers and their children without looking like a dodgy bloke?