It was a bitterly cold place to be, but this did nothing to dampen the spirits of the people there. During the afternoon the club ran one of its very successful children’s mountain bike events, the turnout for these is exceptional. A range of kids from around five take part, and even in this class there is a field of ten or so riders.
In the next two age groups there is easily double that number and the racing is very serious, the tears of fallen riders are quite clearly frustration rather than the pain of a cut knee.
In the oldest group, tactics crept in and apart from the size of the riders this could have easily been a group of experienced cyclists twice their age.
In all, it was a very entertaining day; from the red-faced fathers trying to chaperone the smallest riders around, the biggest challenge for most of these dads being just keeping up; to the next age group where victory fell to he, or she, who cycled fastest, longest, no pre-race plans here, just pedal as fast as you can and hope no one else can pedal faster; to the oldest group, where the seeds of race tactics are sown, nurtured and reaped.
So can I offer my thanks to the club for their kind invitation, and for finding the time and inclination to put on these races. If even half of these kids become life-long cyclists, it’s a great result.
Devon plans to develop cycle tourism
Devon County Council has agreed to invest £25M in a new plan to make the county a top destination for cycle tourists. Devon already has 1,000 kilometres of cycle routes, and the plan proposes to improve cycle routes to schools and complete Devon’s section of the National Cycle Network, which will link all the principal coastal and market towns in the county.
A number of other schemes will be subsidised, these include the Stop Line Way, the Teign Estuary and the Ruby Way and the Exe Estuary Way. Though the Exe Estuary Way awaits completion, nearly a quarter of a million people have already used it in the past year, and cafes and shops in the area have reported a surge in trade due to the trail’s popularity.
Boris rides to the rescue
Boris Johnson, well known cyclist and Mayor of London, came to the aid of a young woman who was being mugged by a group of girls.
The incident occurred last Monday in Camden, north London, when film maker and climate change activist, Franny Armstrong was approached by a group of girls, one of whom was carrying an iron bar.
The group surrounded Ms Armstrong and pushed her against a car. She cried out for help to a passing cyclist, who happened to be Boris Johnson. Boris came to her assistance, picking up the iron bar and chasing the hoodie-wearing gang away on his bike.
He returned a short time afterwards and escorted Ms Armstrong home. Ms Armstrong later admitted that she had voted for Ken Livingstone in the 2008 mayoral election.
You could buy a car for that!
And on this occasion I’m almost inclined to agree. The occasion was the Bikes of Stages auction which was being held at Sotherby’s, in New York City on November 1st. The auction was held to raise money for Lance Armstrong’s cancer charity, Livestrong, and the items being sold were six of Armstrong’s own personal bikes. Each bike had been decorated by a contemporary artist, and all had actually been ridden by Armstrong during 2009.
The bike which attracted the highest bid was a Trek Madone that had been covered in real butterflies’ wings by well-known artist Damien Hirst. Hirst had raised the butterflies himself especially for the project, and at auction the bike realised $500,000.
Each of the other five bikes had work by another individual artist. These artists were Kenny Scharf, Marc Nelson, KAW, Shepard Fairey and Yoshitomo Nara. Altogether the auction raised $1.3M dollars.
Those of you who didn’t see BBC’s Watchdog program on Thursday about cheap bikes, delivered unassembled, in a box to the consumer, might like to log onto http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/watchdog/2009/11/flat_pack_bikes.html
It gives good advice on bicycle buying for the layman, and goes some way to explaining why certain cycle shops wouldn’t repair this type of bike.
• Arthur Lamy is the manager of Boudins for Bikes, in Sand Street, and author of Jersey Cycles. He has spent 15 years as a tourist guide and writer, and is also a keen photographer.
More information can be found on his website: www.arthurlamy.com