The bicycle is one of the most potent symbols of freedom. Just ask some older children who have been given a bike and can suddenly set out to go where they want, when they want on a route of their own choice, at a pace that they set themselves and in the company of whomsoever they choose.
If you need further evidence, take a look at the classic 1948 Italian film “Bicycle Thieves.” A man needs a bicycle to move around Rome pasting up billboard advertisements which provides just enough income to support his struggling family. His bicycle is stolen jeopardising his family’s survival and he sets out with his son to find the thief.
If you’re still not convinced, remember that 43% of London’s residents have no access to a motor car which may help to explain why the introduction of the “Boris Bikes” has been so successful. In cities like York and Hull, the common sight of cycles has not diminished and is generally recognised as the speediest and most economical way of travelling around town. This is hardly surprising as the number of cars on Britain’s roads has increased ten fold since the start of the Queen’s reign with ever more difficult and expensive parking arrangements the inevitable corollary. Continue reading →