The holidays are here! Well, half term. Just a week but the sun is shining and my bicycle – the one I use when I’m pottering around and about the area where I live – will be back from its impromptu service tomorrow morning. On my commute to work earlier in the week I got a puncture. Not in itself a reason for giving the bike a service but since I purchased the Ribble hybrid bike about 18 months ago, I’ve been keen to replace the Schwalbe G-One tyres with Schwalbe Marathon Plus, and here was my opportunity. It made sense to give the bike a service at the same time and the mobile mechanic that I use will be delivering the bike back to me in the morning. I hope the weather continues to be nice for the rest of the week and, indeed for the rest of the summer (that’s perhaps hoping for too much) as I continue my daily commutes to and from work.
The first full week of June is actually Bike Week here in the UK. And not just any Bike Week; the 100th anniversary of the event. Who knew that the Edwardians were into their marketing / publicity ‘events’ as well? More details about what the week is all about can be found on the dedicated page of the Cycling Uk website but in a monumental bit of shameless copying and pasting, here’s the summary:
Bike Week 100 is all about workplace cycling, and we want to encourage as many workplaces as possible to support their staff to ride during the week, it can be anything from organising an event ride to simply encouraging staff to choose the bike instead of the car.
- This year, the UK’s largest cycling awareness week is celebrating the power of active travel for businesses and us all.
- We’re offering free event insurance and promotional materials for workplace cycling events
- We’re setting a series of challenges as part of the Bike Week 100 celebrations, highlighting the benefits more cycling can bring to our health, our finances, our communities and the natural world.
So, this Bike Week, from 5-11 June, let’s make it count. It’s the perfect chance to get active travel on the agenda in an engaging, tangible way.Cycling UK / Bike Week
In other news, a few emails have landed in my inbox this week. The depressing reality is that whilst the UK government is gaslighting us on spending money on ‘active travel’ (promising much, delivering very little, especially out the great urban areas of England), our neighbours on the continent are, as usual, outdoing us on every level of the cycling agenda. Simon Johnson has emailed writing: “France’s national Plan Vélo aims to train an entire class of school children nationwide – or about 800,000 kids – per year in cycling readiness by 2027. Launched in 2019, the program received a boost with €250 million invested in cycling in 2023 alone.” He links to this article all about the scheme. In comparison, the Bikeability scheme here in the UK had a budget of £20 million in 2022/23. And we wonder why we have such unhealthy, unhappy children in the UK compared to elsewhere in Europe.
Meanwhile from The Netherlands another email arrives:
My name is Bart Verhulst, a resident of the Netherlands. I am writing to you as on September 17th it is yet another anniversary of WWII’s Operation Market Garden, in which British armed forces played a key role. Last year I launched a small website on cycle touring the infamous Hell’s Highway, also known for the movie “A Bridge Too Far”. The website might be of interest to British citizens and/or servicemen who have had family members that took part in this operation (September 17-25, 1944), or just have a keen interest in this battle and are in for a great remembrance ride. There is so much to see and experience as this part of history is kept very much alive.
I launched the site with no commercial intent and no commercial affiliations. This is simply a guy that loves cycling and has a fascination for this military operation that helped liberate Europe during WW2. As every year… I will be starting at the Firefly Tank (opposite the Splendid Cinema) in Leopoldsburg on September 17, 0630.Cycling Hell’s Highway
I happened to be cycling through Arnhem just before the commemorative events of 2022 towards the end of my European ‘Grand Tour’ last summer and I featured a chat with a local policeman who was taking parts in events in episode 059 of The Cycling Europe Podcast.
A third email is a request for help. Can you advise Richard Beard? Here’s what he had to say:
Hi guys. Great info on your site thanks. I am planning a bike packing trip along some of the EuroVelo rides in France in Sept/Oct. Am coming over from New Zealand. Looking to buy a bike in England and looking for recommendations. Would like something that can take panniers, be comfortable and reasonably quick. Would a gravel bike be suitable, if so any in particular?
Any thoughts? Leave them here and I’ll pass them onto Richard:
And finally... look out for episode 072 of The Cycling Europe Podcast in the next few days. It's all about cycling in, err... Russia! Mmm.... Alas not currently an option but is was certainly an option back in 1993 for Greg Yeoman and he will be reflecting upon his trip 30 years later.
And finally finally, if you happen to be a member of Cycling UK, look out for your June / July copy of Cycle magazine as you may spot a familiar face writing about a certain cycling trip around Europe...
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