…but you probably are.
Although much of my working life has been devoted to the task of promoting cycling I cannot deny the fact that, deep down, a part of me doesn’t really want cycling to become mainstream. I enjoy being a member of an exclusive club of like minded individuals, when the day arrives when the UK rush-hour looks like The Netherlands, when everyone rides a bicycle I (we) will have lost something. When cycling eventually hits the mainstream we will have become, like the Borg off of Star Trek; assimilated.
I’m not absolutely certain that the World of Cycling has more Good People in it than the worlds of, for example, deep-sea diving or accountancy. But I’d like to think that the humans who chose to propel themselves around on the surface of the planet on the most efficient and environmentally friendly mode of transport ever devised are ‘a cut above the rest’. More civilized on the whole, kinder. Better. I think it was Richard Ballantine who suggested you tell your children: ‘If you get separated from mummy and daddy and cannot find a policeman – ask a cyclist’.
Cyclorama always aims to bring you the people behind the products. Because just as a bicycle is nothing more an inanimate object without a rider, we think that a bike (or bike accessory) is just a commodity when presented in isolation from its maker. We believe that if we are going to inspire more people to ride bikes we must present the human side of cycling. It’s not enough to see the products, we want to see the people behind the brands. What inspired them? What makes bike people tick? (and no, it’s not the freewheel…)
It’s too easy to get caught up in the technology, so many brands are battling it out for a tiny slice of the prestigeous high-end pie at the sharp end of the industry. It’s all carbon this and titanium that and the eternal ‘who’s the lightest’ peeing competition. Which is so far away from what the every-day bicycle buying public actually want that they might as well be on a different planet. I’ve seen beginner cyclist’s eyes glaze over in bike shops – I’ve seen them talked out the door – because folk don’t want a lecture on the subject of materials technology and the differences between heat treatment processes. They just want to buy a bike.
We’re getting there. A few forward-looking companies like Kona have worked out how to have their cake and eat it. They produce high-tech super-bikes alongside good quality entry-level bikes that ordinary people will want to ride. Good people, their Africa Bike / Bike Town project is a truly wonderful thing, check it out.
There are some great people in the cycling industry and in the cycling world. Cyclorama’s latest friend is Trudi Edmunds of Innipooh. Innipooh makes bicycle baskets. Attractive, durable, fair-trade baskets that don’t cost the earth.
Innipooh Bicycle Baskets available in Cambridge as of Saturday 16th April 2011. From Martin the CycleSmith in the Market Square 07851296161
Wibbling Wools of Bury St Edmunds will be stocking Innipooh from May www.wibblingwools.co.uk