In the Beginning

In the beginning were thoughts, words and our story

Once upon a time, some years ago, I started sharing a big old house in South London with a boy and a bike called Barracuda. I was curious: cycling? in London? I decided to wait and see. Several months later, the boy was still alive and well and the bike in one piece. So another bike moved in, named Firmin, and it followed me everywhere. As time went by, not only did I enjoy immensely the freedom of urban cycling but I also wanted to share this fascinating new world with friends and the cycling community at large – with you – and to celebrate the simple poetic beauty of the bicycle. This is how Our Bicycle Lives came about.

Cycling is thinking. The slow rhythm of the spinning pedals brings about unhurried thoughts and ideas. To paraphrase Descartes’ famous statement, ‘I cycle, therefore I think’. Like an entomologist with her butterfly net, I’ve tried to capture and make sense of the many random thoughts that go through my head when I am on a bike and to pin them down on a web page before they flutter away. This blog was born out of hours spent watching, from the comfort of my saddle, the mores and foibles of various London cycling tribes with a kind, sometimes humorous, yet analytical eye. My observations originate in the ordinary rather than the exceptional, in the local rather than the national.

This is a reflective view from the (elusive) bike lane. I am a quiet campaigner. I don’t have the boldness, the quick thinking and the stamina of the long-distance activist. But I have the passion, and the belief that if we stand together as a community, we can create change. The deep conviction that cycling is a viable and enjoyable alternative to energy-hungry modes of transport and to our motor-centric society is only alluded to throughout this blog but it underlies everything I write.

If you’re curious, if your eyes are bright and alert, if you give your full attention to the moment; or if you seek poetry in everyday life and notice the moon on the way home, this blog is for you. These are our stories. In the beginning were my voice and our lives. Our Bicycle Lives.

By the way, what’s with the names?

As inspirational Graeme Obree once said, ‘every bike needs a name.’ I think bikes, just like their owners, should have a name that reflects their personality and individuality. That’s why, when I see a bicycle with character, I play the Game of the Names. If your bike has a name that you’d like to share with the world, email me a photo.

And if you get pensive or poetic on a bike, send me your thoughts.

All material © 2013 Our Bicycle Lives