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At the Fayre

At the fayre

Bicycles and play

Bicycles and play

The school run by bike

After watching the video above the other day over at David Hembrow’s blog I realised our version of the school run is quite civilised in comparison. 

It starts off on a supposedly traffic calmed 20mph street which would be quiet apart from parents dropping off their kids at nursery and then using the street as an unofficial park and ride facility, making it more and more chaotic as further parents hunt for parking spaces.

The next bit is through what should be some quiet residential roads, except at school time they become rat runs with cars hurtling through at 40mph. One of the upsides of the recession has been the closure of the private school, which means we no longer have to run the gauntlet of the RangeRovers and Porche Cayenne’s double parked on the roundabout and crossing the road is much easier and safer!

Anyway through all this eldest daughter cycles on the pavement and I ride next to her on the road. 

We continue this arrangement onto the main road - a bus route and in the last 12 months a rat run for HGV’s (which is clearly a result of increased sat-nav usage)


Eldest daughter likes her independence so usually deviates from the path to ride through the church car park. 


I cant see her for a while until we meet at the other side.


At this point the cars parked at the side of the road usually increases to the point where I can’t see her properly and she doesn’t like it so I join her on the pavement.


There are a few side roads to cross which at school time are busy with parents trying to park. Usually we start to see quite a few other kids cycling at this point.


Heading down the hill is very congested with loads of kids and their parents walking, scooting and cycling on a narrow pavement. The road is usually backed up with cars at a standstill queuing to get to the roundabout.

Finally at the school playground and there is plenty of evidence of cycling parents…October2011055 October2011056

and kids

October2011057 October2011058

School pickup time is a slightly different affair. Youngest daughter likes to go and pick up big sister on her balance bike, but this takes time…


I’ve got something in my welly…


off again


have you got “baby”?


are you sure?


look I’ve found something…


Wow! It’s a stick!


Ok Ok I’m going…



Look a bus!

And so on…

And so on…

Eventually we get there


I’m sure she only wants to show the big kids she can do it too!





you’ll look sweet

upon the seat


of a bicycle made for two!

Because food tastes better on a bike


what do you need a table and chair for when you have a bike :-)

As promised, to celebrate 2 years of Sheffield Cycle Chic.

With thanks to the people of Sheffield, without you this wouldn’t have been possible!

Keep on riding in style :-)

Cycling to School no2


First cycle trip in the snow


Youngest daughter made her first cycle trip in the snow the other day on her balance bike.


Halfway down the road she fell off, so eldest daughter had a go.


but it wasn’t long before she was ready to give it another go!

10 Good Reasons for Playing Out

  1. Children need to play. It is vital for their physical and emotional development and for their social learning. It is also a human right under the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child.
  2. Play England defines play as “what children and young people do when they follow their own ideas and interests, in their own way and for their own reasons”. This implies a degree of freedom and independence, which cannot be satisfied by organised or over-supervised play.
  3. Children like to play near home and have traditionally done so. A 2007 poll found that 71% of adults played out on their street every day compared to only 21% of children today. (Play England). The main reason cited for not playing outside was traffic.
  4. Children need space to play energetically. Many city homes do not have gardens with ample space for broad physical activity. Parks are great but children don’t always have independent access to these so the street is a convenient place for everyday play.
  5. Playing in the street increases a sense of community by bringing neighbours of all ages together. It encourages feelings of belonging and shared responsibility. These qualities can increase the safety of the neighbourhood.
  6. It enables children to meet and develop friendships outside school and also increases contact between children and adults, helping to build up familiarity and trust.
  7. Through dealing with situations that arise independently, children can learn valuable social skills and gain understanding about the world around them.
  8. Playing in the street allows for ‘semi-supervised’ play. Parents can get on with responsibilities inside the house while allowing children to play outside. Children are far more likely to get a good daily dose of physical activity if allowed to play outside their home, rather than relying on parents to take them somewhere.
  9. The street is the “starting point for all journeys” (Tim Gill, 2007) and the ability to play out in the street is an important step towards greater independence and self-reliance. Children gain vital skills and confidence to visit friends, go to the park or walk to school on their own.
  10. Streets make up the major part of public space in the city. To limit them to being only places to drive and park cars is to massively undervalue them. Streets can and should be places where people can sit, talk, read, play and walk – and even sing and dance if they want to! The only way this will happen is if we start to use them differently.

Purple Tartan Hat



Cycle Chic in the snow is a bit thin on the ground so far this year, but kids know how it’s done!

Rare Species


Yes, it’s the lesser spotted teenage girl on a bike - an extremely rare species in britain and thought to be almost extinct!

From the archives of the BFI:

Betcher! 1971

"Few child stars have managed to maintain such a varied career into adulthood as Cheggers (aka Keith Chegwin). Did Elizabeth Taylor end up on Naked Jungle (2000) or harassing GMTV viewers with cheques for £10k at the crack of dawn? No she didn’t.

A very young Cheggers started his career in a clutch of comic capers for the Children’s Film Foundation. He even turned up as Martin Shaw’s son in Polanski’s Macbeth (1971). After various episodes of The Liver Birds (1972), Z Cars (1972) and The Adventures of Black Beauty (1974), Cheggers finally found his niche as Noel Edmonds’ sidekick in Multi-Coloured Swap Shop (1976-81) before unleashing the hyperactive madness that was Cheggers Plays Pop (1978-86).

Here is one of Cheggers’ earliest performances - as an improbably angelic (and just a little prissy) chap demonstrating his cycling prowess in this film made to promote the National Cycling Proficiency Scheme. Notice how Cheggers hardly says a word; clearly the filmmakers didn’t think that delicate southerners were quite ready for his Scouse accent. (Robin Baker)

You can watch 1000 other complete films and TV programmes from the BFI National Archive free of charge at the new BFI Mediatheque - http://www.bfi.org.uk/mediatheque (less info)

Seaside Cycle Chic

at Worthing on the south coast of England. 

What cycling would look like everyday in Britain if there was proper segregated cycling infrastructure. Not a Hi-Viz vest in sight and virtually no helmets… draw your own conclusions

(Apologies if this doesn’t load, doesn’t seem to work on my laptop, not sure why as the preview version is fine. If it isn’t working for you, try clicking on the vimeo logo and watching it there - you can also see a bigger version too.)

My first bicycle…

my first bicycle

My first bike was chosen purely on looks from the Littlewoods catalogue. Shiny red frame and matching red tartan box bag (you have to remember that this was the height of Rollermania and the coolest accessory around) on the rear carrier. And, the all important, white tires, with matching white pedals and grips.

I was very lucky, in those days choosing a bicycle for it’s looks didn’t mean you were fobbed off with a substandard machine. Instead, I got probably my best ever bike, superb Raleigh quality (the brake and cable have survived to this day and have replaced the broken one on my daughter’s bike) which managed to survive the abuse of 3 kids learning to ride. It finally collapsed after my youngest brother lent it one to many times to the teenagers in the park to do wheelies on, which incidentally it was rather good at!

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