City Ride 2017

City Ride

I have to say I was dreading the prospect of spending much of a Sunday on the Push Bikes stand at City Ride. I still have memories of doing the same at the awful first Bikefest. And this time around I was going to be responsible for getting the entire stand to Victoria Square, because the Push Bikes committee has very reasonably taken the view that we should get ourselves and our kit to cycling events by bike.

I had previously borrowed and modified David's cycle trailer to carry the Push Bikes gazebo to the Bike Picnic, but we were told we wouldn't need one as there was space for us. On the assumption we would need a table (something we lacked at Bikefest), I bought a camping table from Amazon. This weighs just a couple of kilos, and folds up into a small bag (unfolded it is stable and strong enough). I also strapped a camping chair on to the trailer. David met up with me at my house, and we took the tow path into the city centre. It turned out we had not only been provided with a gazebo, but also a table and four chairs. They were padded, too. Not that we had much time for lounging around on chairs. There was an almost constant stream of people, and myself, David, John, and Bracken were all kept very busy talking to people. One of those who turned up at the stand was the man who ran Selly Oak Cycles until he retired many years ago (it took me a few minutes of thinking "I'm sure I know him" before the penny dropped). I still use a Suntour front mech he sold me about twenty or twenty five years ago. Like that mech, John is still alive and well and on a bike.

Since the day was so busy, I was not able to go on the ride route until the very end. Unlike at Bikefest, there was a light touch, and so myself and Kim turned up randomly at the start point and rode in the sunshine down the outside lane of the Hagley road with no helmets and no worries, chatting as we went. Rich22222 posted an excellent photo of others doing the same. It was a great end to a lively and pleasant day.


The Push Bikes Stand at City Ride

The Push Bikes stand at City Ride
John signs up another cyclist for Push Bikes, the owner of a bike with a single-digit weight.


Hand Cycle at City Ride

man on hand cycle
Cycles are more than just bicycles. Hand cycles are quite common in the Netherlands. Electric assist can be used to compensate for upper body strength being lower than lower body strength, giving a reasonable speed and range. They are of course much cheaper than assisted cars, and require less skill to operate. As such they provide transport for a wider range of people than do cars. British infrastructure, being so hostile to cycling, discriminates against people with disabilities.


Cycling is for All

children and adults with bikes
The relatively low level of skill required to operate a bike compared with that required to operate a car means that people of all ages can make use of them. Except in Britain, where hostile infrastructure means that children quickly become too big and too fast to ride on the pavement, but not responsible and skilled enough to ride on the road. Whichever they choose, they will be criticised. And when one gets too old and frail to be able to "take the lane", cycling becomes just too unattractive. Dutch people ride from their earliest years all the way through to when their personal cycle path runs out, all generations sharing the same, cycle-friendly infrastructure.


Coffee by Cycle

a mobile coffee stand built into a cargo trike
The only limit to what you can carry on a bike is your imagination. Cycle gearing works like a lever, and as Archimedes realised rather a long time ago, "Give me a lever long enough and a fulcrum on which to place it, and I shall move the world". As you can imagine, a coffee stall is quite a bit less of a challenge.


A Novel Folding Bike

a novel folding bike
Bikes come in many shapes and sizes, far more than you'll ordinarily see in the UK. Events like City Ride bring them out into the open.


Family Transport

a tandem towing a trailer
Bikes come in many shapes and sizes, far more than you'll ordinarily see in the UK. Events like City Ride bring them out into the open. This combo proves you do not necessarily need a family car.


The Push Bikes Pantecnicon

bike with loaded cycle trailer
This is how Push Bikes gets to events. The blue item is a gazebo. We also have an aluminium camping table that folds into a very small, light package, and camping chairs are easy enough to strap on too. The bike is geared low enough to climb even steep hills, but once on the flat it can be pedalled at a good speed.