Life is like riding a bicycle.

2013-04-20 12.52.30

Hargrave, Northamptonshire

Honestly, there was no prompter off-stage when Jenny said to me this morning: “Let’s get the tandem out and cycle somewhere for lunch”. As I picked myself up from the kitchen vinyl, I looked out at the bright sunshine and simply had to agree with her……this was a day for cycling somewhere for a pub lunch….after all, it was my day for cooking

Upper Dean, Bedfordshire

Upper Dean, Bedfordshire

Now the tandem had been hibernating for the past 4 months in the garage, so the dust and cobwebs of its winter inactivity had to be brushed off, chains and gears lubed up, tyres inflated, and a general check that everything was as it should be. The conditions were perfect. Cloudless sky, a gentle breeze, cool temperatures……so good, in fact that, now’s the time to unearth some of those time-honoured statements, made by notable figures in the past, that helped to improve the ‘street-cred’ of cycling:

Albert Einstein is credited with this: Life is like riding a bicycle. To keep your balance, you must keep moving.


And this from H.G.Wells: Whenever I see an adult on a bicycle, I have hope for the human race.

Even Ernest Hemingway had something to say: It is by riding a bicycle that you learn the contours of a country best, since you have to sweat up the hills and coast down them. Thus you remember them as they actually are, while in a motor car only a high hill impresses you, and you have no such accurate remembrance of country you have driven through as you gain by riding a bicycle.Hemingway with a bicycle

And Arthur Conan Doyle is surely right when he says: When the spirits are low, when the day appears dark, when work becomes monotonous, when hope hardly seems worth having, just mount a bicycle and go out for a spin down the road, without thought on anything but the ride you are taking.

And the last word from John Lennon: As a kid I had a dream – I wanted to own my own bicycle. When I got the bike I must have been the happiest boy in Liverpool, maybe the world. I lived for that bike. Most kids left their bike in the backyard at night. Not me. I insisted on taking mine indoors and the first night I even kept it in my bed.Lennon bike


About Frank Burns

Looking for the extraordinary in the commonplace………taking the road less travelled……..striving for the ‘faculty of making happy chance discoveries’ in unremarkable circumstances. Click on the Personal Link below to visit my webpages.

Posted on April 20, 2013, in Cycling UK and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 6 Comments.

  1. Give a man a fish and feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish and feed him for a lifetime. Teach a man to cycle and he will realize fishing is stupid and boring. –Desmond Tutu (so they say??)

  2. Peter Staples

    Did you get a chance to go inside Hargrave church ?
    They’ve made a very attractive wood and glass viewing platform half way up the bell-tower which combines the ancient and modern perfectly.
    My first school was at Upper Dean !!!
    Now long closed, called Dean Grange, it was (even then) a very rare boarding primary school. When my cousin Matthew comes back after 50 years in Australia, what does he want to see first ? Big Ben ? Stonehenge ? The London Eye ?
    No, Dean grange …

  3. A lovely collection of cycling quotes.

    By the way, Brian and I have just come back, via the Princes Highway, from Sydney. Boy! You really did some very strenuous riding when you were here. That was quite some trip, and we were in a car! We called in at Genoa and there is absolutely nothing there as you so rightly said.

    • You’re right, Heather, it was quite a journey. Not just the terrain… day I was cycling through floods near Milton, then on my approach to Melbourne temperatures rose to 38 degrees C. Then there was the full day’s ride (passing through Genoa) with no services, not even drinking water. The stuff of adventure……

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