The first in a regular series of profiles of riders of Pashley and Moulton bicycles.
I’m a lecturer at Coventry University in Academic Writing, which means I teach people how to write better academic prose, whether they’re undergraduates, postgraduates or staff members writing for professional purposes. I used to be a freelance still photographer, and I’m still interested in photography, though now I mostly take pictures to record the life around me. I’ve become increasingly passionate about cycling — not only riding myself, but also trying to create conditions under which all of us can ride safely.
My parents gave me and my younger sister bikes together one Christmas after we moved into the countryside in Maryland. Mine was a full-sized balloon tyred bike, one speed and you stopped by back peddling. I envied my sister’s bike though: a mixte frame bike with narrow tyres, a derailleur, five speeds, hand brakes and lots of wires. Very fancy! I’d ride my bike on the dirt and gravel roads of a quite rural community; I suspect the wide tyres were a good choice for the terrain I was riding.
Like a lot of people my age, there was a long hiatus between riding as a kid and riding as an adult. Although I rode occasionally before recently, mostly I was in cars. I use to travel regularly between Middlebury, Vermont where I lived and Burlington, the nearest big city, about 40 miles away. Although I drove through beautiful scenery, I did it so often, I came to ask whatever God might govern travel to give me back the hours spent on that drive. I was lucky, and my prayers were answered when, after a life change and moving to Coventry, I began to cycle from home to work. Now, I cycle every day, commuting, shopping, training, riding sportives and just for the joy of it.
My Moulton TRS 22 is my third English bicycle, after a Rourke that I stripped and rebuilt for Eroica in Gaiole and a Brompton folding bike. I also have a titanium van Nicholas bike that I ride in sportives and a utility Specialized that is my commuting bike. I love the history of bikes and cycling, and I’m proud of the fact that our modern diamond frame bicycles were developed and manufactured first here in Coventry by James and John Kemp Starley. My Moulton was built nearby at the Pashley factory in Stratford-upon-Avon.
Almost every day, I ride 10 kilometres or more. I rode 346 days last year; I’m hoping to do as well this year. Commuting to work is my most constant cycling, especially since I combine that with shopping and other errands. I try to ride fast a few days a week, and at least once a month I ride in a sportive for 100 km. My wife has joined me in cycling, and regularly on weekends we’ll cycle together. There isn’t much I don’t like about cycling.