Oct 25, 2011
Andrew Budd

It’s not about the bike

It’s not about the bike, or the bus, or the car. Working in the field of travel planning we can sometimes get so engrossed in bus discount tickets, car sharing parking spaces and the minutiae of bicycle deals (salary sacrifice, VAT, residual value, tax liability and so on…..). We overlook the human aspect at our peril, if we expect that people are going to change their lifestyles, from their less than ideal but maybe fairly comfortable current arrangements.

β€œIf you want to build a ship, don’t drum up people together to collect wood and don’t assign them tasks and work, but rather teach them to long for the endless immensity of the sea” Antoine de Saint-Exupery.

So here’s a picture taken at the Hoge Veluwe National Park, in the east of The Netherlands. An area of rolling countryside, heaths, woods and sand dunes. Inaccessible by car, but threaded with a narrow ribbon of tarmac, taking you by bike to a place of total peace. And when you arrive at the loftiest spot, there’s a high chair that lifts you just that bit further, and the horizon spreads many more kilometres. Follow my dream, and sit in that chair.

(And for those who really are interested in the bike, it’s a 1983 Raleigh Metro, 3-speed hub-gear ladies’ bike, with original steel mudguards, chainguard, cranks, rims and bars, updated only by Schwalbe Marathon Plus puncture-proof tyres. An unglamorous machine, but low maintenance and reliable.)

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