Saturday 1 June 2024

Down up pedals, down up down

Prompted by a recent trip to Amsterdam ('Bike City'), I was asking for photos of cycles and cyclists this month. And once again, the response has been amazing! Give yourselves a pat on the back. Right, let's get back in the saddle. Rol's up first and already appears to subverting the format - just as well I know him.

"Hello John, I'm here to bend the rules. Again. Attached is a photo of my first 'bike', which was actually a scooter. I loved that scooter and went everyone on it, including all over our favourite holiday park at Reighton Gap (where this picture was taken), usually sans parents, even at an early age. It was better than any bike. I don't have a photo of my first bike, because sadly it didn't last long. I left it out in the yard and my brother drove over it in a JCB. Not a toy JCB. My sister found it and brought it back to the house. "Look at your bike!" she said. And it looked OK the way she was holding it. Then she turned it round and I realised it was flat." Great photo, great story! Is that a Cortina or Granada? Thanks, Rol.

The lovely Jo has three for us: "Not many cycles in my photo collection, but then I didn’t have many revolving doors before your challenge last month 😂 Multi-storey bike park in Amsterdam! Xx"

"A beautifully decorated bike in Amsterdam." 

"And a bit of Lycra for you 😂 Tour of Britain cycle race came through out sleepy Cornish village." Brilliant, Jo! You're a superstar.

Over to you, David: "Hi John, loads to choose from this month but I’ll stick to three. Take your pick; a couple of local ones to start, the first when The Tour of Britain Cycle Race came to West Bridgford."

"The second taken in Nottingham Market Square."

"And the third, trying to live up to my ‘well travelled’ moniker, was taken in Shimla India earlier this year." Cheers, Cops. Your photo-roll  is amazing. 

Tim is now something of a regular: "I'll have to start with Nottingham's own short lived Banksy. Hot footed it over the morning it appeared and thankfully got loads of pictures before its was systematically dismantled."

"Corfu town - going aghast the steel or carbon fibre norm with a rather funky wooden number."

"Southbank, London hire bikes before he advent of Boris Bikes and the numerous bikes and scooters that are now the scourge of our streets."

"Speaking of which, at least these three blend in nicely with the street art where the've been dumped." 

"Bike racks in Manchester - liking the fact that a bit of effort has been made here." 

"A friend of mine attempting to negotiate a flooded River Soar during a bike ride to Calke Abbey. He failed!" Thanks, Tim. A most splendid collection.

A newbie this month - Miss Turner - my good friend and dark beer buddy took this in The Abdication micro-pub: ''My entry for your monthly photo thingy!" Love it, Miss Turner! The eagle eyed among you will, I'm sure, have worked out the Albert Finney/Raleigh/Nottingham connection(s).  

Martin makes a welcome return with a cracking pair of snaps: "The 'white bikes' of De Hoge Velum National Park in the Netherlands - completely free to loan, and utterly brilliant, just grab one and ride." 

"And a bike of mine, on Day 8 of a nine day Land's End to John O'Groats bike ride. Culloden Viaduct in the background." Thanks, Martin. A few Dutch entries this month. And as for viaducts, you're pushing at an open door here! 

Alyson from the Highlands next: "This knitted bike was from the local college's annual art show."

"And this one is from a cottage not far from us. Hope they pass muster." They certainly do, Alyson. Thank you.

(Swiss) Adam, over to you: "Tour of Britain Stage 1 in Manchester last September - the race for the line down Deansgate."

"And my bike propped up by the bus stop at the top of the Penines - the pinnacle of a ride I did last year from Sheffield to Manchester; mainly uphill, with two exhilarating downhill sections." A road I know well, Adam - tho' only as a motorist. Thank you for your valued contribution.

C from Sun Dried Sparrows with an email titled 'Psycle Sluts': "Sorry, I couldn't resist. A couple of cycles for you snapped on a recent walk, both now retired from the road..." 

"...and enjoying more sedentary roles." Lovely, C. Thank you.

The Swede, or TS as I like to call him: "I've been to Cambridge plenty of times over the years, I even worked there on and off in a former life. So I thought I knew all about cycle friendly cities...then last Summer I visited Amsterdam for the first time, where, holy moly, I was overwhelmed by the sheer volume of bikes on the roads, by the side of the roads and chained up in every available nook and cranny around town. This was the most Instagramable example I came across." 

TS goes on: "I note that this month's brief is 'cycles and cyclists' - I trust this includes tricyclists? Here's a grainy bonus shot of yours truly from January 1963, fully duffle-coated and tearing along our snow covered back garden." Absolutely! If Rol can have two wheels I'll certainly allow you three.

Pete Zab, another ex-newbie now full time regular - "Hi John, three very different bicycle shots for you: the first picture was taken at the start of the 2014 Milk Race in Nottingham."

"Number 2 is 'Chilling by the Trent' - from 2009."

"The third was taken at a 1940s event at Brewhouse Yard Museum in Nottingham in 2008." Thanks, Pete. Three more stunning images.

Charity Chic asks: "Where have all the bikes gone?"

"Ikea!" Thank you, CC.

Ernie from Bethnal Green: "I was in two minds about whether to participate this month as I hate London cyclists. As a pedestrian and frequenter of canal towpaths they are my mortal enemy. But then I found one who can't do me any harm." As I told Ernie when thanking him for his choice, I know this one. In fact I snapped him myself  last November whilst in the Brick Lane area.

"I have a second entry. I was strolling home and came across this bike carcass, picked clean by urban vultures. But that's Bethnal Green for you - nature tooth and claw." Thanks, Ernie. Psychogegraphy at it's best. 

Khayem, our Kotswold Korrespondent: "Hello John. My very loose theme within a theme this month seems to be ‘parked’ bicycles: one inside a building, one outside and one missing a wheel, hopefully intentionally but who knows? The absence of the cyclist in all three opens up all sorts of ideas about who they are, what they’re doing…and whether they even returned to their abandoned bicycles. Sad fact: the last time I rode a bicycle was on holiday in Belgium getting on for a decade ago! Best wishes, K"



'Missing wheel'. Thank you, K. Much appreciated. I hope you get your new camera phone sorted!

George next, all the way from Portugal:  Hi John Here's a couple of my photos of my bikes for your monthly photo challenge. The first shows the dog-trailer, but I'm transporting the dried washing not a dog." 

"The second is my old knackered "don't park in front of our garage you selfish thoughtless bastards" bike, that we leave outside the house in the summer months."  From George (in the Alentejo litoral, Portugal)." Thank you so much, George. More of this kind of stuff please!

Riggsby sent me these three this morning:  "A group of e-bikes that have become so popular in recent years. The yellow mascot adds a dab of colour."

"My bike, old and old fashioned. I chose red since it is a warning colour in nature. At that time I was commuting by bike through the Los Penasquitos Canyon where there are coyotes, and I was trying to think of ways to ward them off! I saw a number of them bit never had any issues."

This one is unsavoury. This was in Shanghai and this man was selling a live turtle dangling from a stick attached to his bike. He was objecting to me taking a picture." Great pics and great back stories - thank you, Richard!

As is tradition, I'll wrap things up. I love Totnes in Devon (we're going back there next week) and I particularly liked the lime green/red thing going on here.

I think Tim will like these bike racks in Albuquerque.

I took this shot of other cyclists in Santa Barbara 2022. Probably the last time I was on a bike.

King's Cross a couple of years ago. The sort of bike I'll probably use to do my charity bike ride, criss-crossing 26 London bridges.

This is Holland. Amsterdam to be precise. Taken last month.

The Tour de Yorkshire 2015. I was living in North Yorkshire at the time.

One of the Seven Wonders of the World. And the Grand Canyon.

James was busy this month so didn't have time to contribute, but he said I could use this picture I took last year of his flat in Manchester.

And finally, Amsterdam 2018. I went with a friend to see Baxter Dury at the Paradiso and happened upon this young lady while we were walking to the gig.

Thank you, again, to everyone who takes the time to send me their photos. I love curating them. Keep 'em coming! I'll post July's theme in the comments section below in a couple of days. 


Postscript 2.6.24

I got this email from Rol yesterday about an hour after I hit 'publish': "Hi John, considering that I didn't actually supply you with a bicycle photo this month (and I'm probably too late now) but I saw this today and thought of you." Rol, it's never too late. And what a zinger! Thank you.


Blue plaques, headstones, village fete placards, gig posters, old tax discs; anything with dates. July's Photo Challenge. By the 1st please. Or the 2nd, if your name's Rol.


  1. So many evil bicycles. This is scarier than the mannequins.

  2. Blue plaques, headstones, village fete placards, gig posters, old tax discs; anything with dates. July's Photo Challenge. By the 1st please.

  3. Superb, and thanks as ever for your expert curating. I only wish I'd been able to send you a photo of the young man who used to live round here who was frequently seen riding his Penny Farthing. I think he moved - or maybe he was only here on a secondment from the 1880s.

    1. We have a neighbour a couple of streets across who, I swear, is a time traveller. I'll tell you all about him in Newcastle.

  4. Another great monthly update John, well done for pulling this together every month as it gets bigger and bigger. Swede's photo of himself aged 2 wins.

    1. Thanks, Adam. Good call for TS's tricycle shot - a podium finish for sure. However, Riggsby's live turtle probably just shades it for me.

  5. Another excellent selection. I'm pretty sure my dad's car was a Granada.