Mind is the Ride – Nearly at seventy percent funded!

This autumn I have been to the “Rapha cc” cycling cafe in Manchester, “Pedalling Ideas,” a hive of cycling conversation in Leeds and “Magazine Brighton,” an ace indie magazine shop in, you guessed it, Brighton.

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Magazine Brighton – photo by Stuart Langridge

As a result of all this touring, and with your support, “Mind is the Ride” is nearly seventy per cent funded. The blog below is a journal of these Autumn talks and a call to get your loudhailers out and roll the project past the seventy per cent mark. Here is a link where people can pledge https://unbound.com/books/mind-is-the-ride

Rock n Roll Tour (Part 3)

When I was shown into the high windowed room on the third floor of the Manchester Rapha cycling club I hadn’t expected to find an original Eddie Merckx bicycle propped up behind me, an original Tour de France winner, complete with parts hand drilled out by Eddie Merckx to make it that bit faster..

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My beast, “Bertle,” looked like a tank floating above it. A clear case of tortoise and hare. Eddie’s bike would definitely get past the finish line first but I like to think the tortoise tank would have pondered its own slowness with philosophical clarity and set up a crowdfunding campaign…

Thanks to everyone at Rapha for the opportunity to talk in such a noble setting and the staff who lugged the bike and gear up three floors into the Manchester sunshine. Thanks also to my friend Graham, who I met in the Peak District, at one of the very first events, went on to pledge for one of the “Mind is the Ride” bike rides and who put me up that night in Manchester. We both have a similar number of bikes and no space to keep them.

Graham and I went on to meet at…

“Pedalling Ideas,” which is, essentially, a brilliant Idea. Set up by all round “ideas man,” Ian Street, it’s a place to ferment discussions about bikes and bike culture. The sheer variety of speakers was particularly refreshing; from Mini Pips, an eleven year old cyclist who has probably pedalled more miles than I’ve nudged in my entire adult life, and Peter Yates, a rider in his eighties, who is still cycling two hundred km audax rides.

You only realise the deficit of women speakers at cycling events when someone, like Ian, takes the initiative to put an equal number of men and women speakers on the roster. Then it feels like there’s LOTS of women speakers, when in fact it’s just the balance being redressed. I particularly enjoyed seeing Joolze Dymond’s talk on cycling photography, Laura Moss on the alliance of status-quo-challenging women that is “The Adventure Syndicate” and Caren Hartley on bike framebuilding. Caren was talking just after Brant Richards…;

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Designer Brandt Richards creating a bike, online, from audience “instructions.”

My most recent talk was at Magazine Brighton, a superb indie magazine shop in Brighton’s lanes. Set up by entrepreneur, thinker and “yes” man (in a world of “maybes”) Martin Skelton, Magazine Brighton is a homage to the written word, paper and fresh ink. Boneshaker magazine sits on its shelves like a pal amongst good friends.  Thanks to Martin for inviting me. And to Roxy Rock, Martin’s accomplice at Magazine Brighton, for helping to make it a memorable night and for undeniably having the coolest name in the South East.

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Now a clarion call…

Friends, cyclists, people with an interest in philosophy, random strangers I have bullied on off-peak train journeys, your time has come. Wrest your bike bells from your cupboards and ring them from the windows, the web and whatever porch or stoop or bike path you’re sitting on. We’re very nearly at seventy per cent funded. We can get this book rolling onto the presses and across the hemisphere.  Please recommend “Mind is the Ride” to all your friends and colleagues and get them to pledge at

https://unbound.com/books/mind-is-the-ride

The finish line is in sight.

The tortoise nibbles the hare’s tail.

Jet

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Greek Stoicism and the Self Sufficiency of Puncture Repair

Here’s my article on Greek Stoicism and the Self Sufficiency of Puncture Repair for Boneshaker Magazine.

BS4-Punctures

You can pledge for the crowdfunding Boneshaker book project “Mind is the Ride” about my 4000 mile bicycle journey from Western to Eastern Philosophy here:

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Mind is the Ride Crowdfunding Now!

My book “Mind is the Ride” in association with Boneshaker Magazine is crowdfunding now!

PLEDGE HERE AT UNBOUND

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Crowdfunding Video with Overhead Drone Shots!

The Video for the crowdfunding pitch is being made by my friend Ben. We’ve got roll along shots with his camera attached to the chainstay of his bike while I rumble down the hills. We’ve got overhead drone shots in the mist and fog. We’ve got shots of me doing my best, talking-to-camera look, in a bike workshop. All we need now is Ben’s video editing skills and a bit of techno chicanery and the video should soon be up on Unbound     

Keep you posted. In the meantime check out the details on the project below and do fill in the contact form if you’d like to be updated.

Camera on bike frame

Instagram

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New book on Cycling and Philosophy with “Unbound”

I’m excited to be writing a new book called “Mind is the Ride.”

It’s an adventure through Philosophy and Cycling based around my year long bike ride from Bristol to India. The book will be published by a bold new publisher called “Unbound” who raise part of the costs through crowdfunding. Unbound have already published some remarkable titles including the Booker nominated “The Wake” by Paul Kingsnorth and are currently funding a title by Bella Bathurst who wrote the excellent “Bicycle Book.”

There’s more information on how it all works at Unbound

The project is a joint venture with Boneshaker magazine who I’ve been writing with for sixteen issues.

We’re hoping to start the crowdfunding process sometime in November and I’ll be keeping everyone up to date on progress with blog posts etc.

Please get in touch if you want to know more about the project or get involved.

Bring. Bring. (Copyright Bike Bell Sound). Let’s pedal.

Jet Bridge Estuary

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Naked bodies on Bikes. Chorlton and the Wheelies.

Some thoughts on watching hundreds of naked cyclists go by on a “World Naked Bike Ride” ;

I love bikes. I love people, mostly. I love bodies, mostly. Naked bodies on bikes. Tops. Mostly.

I’ve always thought of bikes being an extension of bodies. Those posters of apes evolving into humanoids and then humanoids evolving into bicycle riders aren’t just funny, they’re true. Those two wheels are the fifth and sixth limbs of man and woman and seeing hundreds of naked people cycle round a city centre on a hot saturday afternoon was fruity social biology. I love the way that the flab and cellulite flaps and bops and wobbles with an endless variety that is mimicked by the endless spectrum of fancy dress bicycles.

Humans used to be hairy apes, then they became less hairy cyclists, and soon all the hair and skin will go and we’ll just be skeletons riding around on bikes. And everyone will see that the bike frame is just the bones of the body elaborated. And soon enough the bike bones and body bones will mingle and we’ll all be wheeling along like Chorlton and the Wheelies (1970s “kids” programme about the surreal unicyclist creatures fight against a kettle witch.)

What I don’t like about naked bike rides are some of the fully clothed responses. The bald guy with a pint outside the roadside pub laughing and pointing at the genitalia rolling by.

Your bald head looks like genitalia. But I don’t point.

I’m stripping off my lycra.

I’m riding to the beach.

I’m cycling off the pier edge.

I’m cycling the sea bed.

To meet my starfish friends.

The bald headed guy can sit on his deck chair sinking cans of Tenants.

I know where the fun is.

With the seaweed and the bike bells and the bums.

Cycling back to the reptiles.

Revolving back through evolution.

To meet my naked friends.

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Magnetic Bike Stands and Magnetic Bikes

Everytime I lean my heavy touring bicycle against the inverted “U” of a municipal bike stand it invariably topples over. The toppled bike then topples the bike on the other side of the bike stand. There then follows a very British internal monologue that runs along the lines of:

“OK Lets pick their bike up.”

“I hope they’re not watching. They’ll think I’ve deliberately knocked it over.”

“They’ll probably think I’m trying to nick it. To replace my ridiculously heavy touring bike.”

“They’ll probably come out now and hit me with a saucepan cos I’ve made a microscratch on their classy Italian spray job while I’m trying to nick it.”

The solution to all this neuroticism and to bicycles, toppled like drunks, is magnetic bike stands and magnetic bikes.

If we can magnetise fridge magnets and the bodies in MRI scanners why can’t we magnetise bikes; the bike stand one polarity, the bike frame the opposite flavour? That way we get a bit of tactile adhesion before the lock is applied. That way my ridiculously heavy tourer won’t slide over when bumped by a shopper with a weeks load of groceries or a bad boy doing a pimp roll too near to the urban cycleways.

But no. No one wants to magnetise bikes. No one wants to put them in an electromagnetic tunnel and connect it to the mains. No one wants to make bicycles stick to the railings and the lamposts like hungry clinging flies. Fools.

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