Saturday, 15 October 2011

Helen Pidd's 'smug feeling of self-sufficiency'

My pal Alan refers to my Kona as a 'butcher's bike'. I know what he means: it's a little cumbersome. For a start, there are huge tyres, then there's the hefty, box-like frame and, as Alan would say, all I need is the name of 'Dewhurst' on the side, instead of Kona, and I've got a butcher's bike. Although, butchers' bikes, as I recall, are basically normal bikes with a kind of heavy, integral rack on the front, designed to carry a huge basket full of raw meat. My bike doesn't even have mudguards (something I tend to pay for dearly as the winter months draw nearer).

Anyway, butchers' bikes aside, Helen Pidd was in last Saturday's Guardian Weekend magazine - which I read in a café in Penge - writing about a bike called a Bullitt. The thing is, it doesn't really live up to the image conveyed in the name. The Bullitt is what Pidd calls a 'freight bike' and, it seems, Pidd has realised that her cycling obsession has gone too far. Whether Pidd sleeps with her bike, I don't know, but it's clear that she is obsessed and this is evidenced by her insistence on using a frieght bike - the Bullitt - as a means of moving house.
The Bullitt - I wouldn't fancy racing with it.
The bike was supplied to Pidd by a chap called Gizmo, who, like Pidd, lives in Berlin. Pidd found it great fun to ride and claims she'd seriously think about it for trips to the supermarket (if she was richer and had somewhere to store it).

Mind you, it costs £2,170 and you could buy a half-decent van for that, so Pidd, it has to be said, is definitely obsessed with pedal power and should, perhaps, lie down in a darkened room for an hour or so and then go hire a van, rather than mess around on a cumbersome freight bike, even if it is easier to ride than many of its rivals. Rivals? What's this? She's ridden other freight bikes? What's wrong with the woman?

Still, if you are obsessed with cycling - to the extent that you'd hire a bike instead of a van to move house - then you might like to take a look at the Bullitt. It can't be all bad if it gives Helen Pidd 'a smug feeling of self-sufficiency'.

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