101 reasons to love cycling in London #17 - it's egalitarian

Everyone learns how to ride a bike as a kid, everyone knows what fun it can be - regardless of who we are or where we come from.  The same can't be said about other forms of transport - I think we make certain assumptions about people who take the bus, or what kind of car people drive.  Indeed, where I work in Mayfair in London the only people who seem to be able to afford to drive a car are those who are being driven...

But cycling offers an opportunity for us all to interact.  I like the idea that cycling and walking can re-democratise our streets - riding around the streets of London you're just as likely to ride alongside a lentil-eating Polar Bear-saving full-blown Green as you are the fifth cousin twice removed of the Queen (that's David Cameron to you and me) or the long time descendant of King James I (or Mayor of London Boris Johnson as he is better known) - both probably the two most famous non-athletic cyclists in Britain today and both very much Conservatives... ...and one of whom is more than likely to be the next Prime Minister of Great Britain and Northern Ireland (and is a 'real cyclist' in my books as he has been observed at times cycling without his helmet, jumping red lights, going the wrong way up a one way street, has had his bike stolen - several times - and has his chauffeur sometimes drive behind him with his briefcase and a change of clothes.  Don't we all?)

In life, there aren't many opportunities to mix it up with people of all corners on an even playing field, but cycling offers us all that chance - and for this reason alone it's reasons number 17 to love cycling in London.

But let's not read too much into it all.  As Conservative Member of Parliament Oliver Letwin puts it: “I have been cycling for 10, 15 years and I use one of those sort of wonderful Brompton bikes - a splendid British invention.  But I have to say it is not an ideological crusade as far as I’m concerned. It is just a convenient way of getting about.”


Anne said...

Delightful post. Nothing in the US compares to this type of experience, I'm pretty sure.

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