Friday, 24 August 2012

Let's Dance

Many years ago we used to have dances whereby with the first dance one couple would start the dance off.  The music would stop and that couple would separate and then go and claim a new partner up onto the floor to continue dancing.  From then on each time the music stopped couples would continue separating and claiming new partners from those sitting down.  This went on until the dance floor was full of couples.

This was a great way to get even the shyest and timid of people, young and old, dancing, and from then on the spirit of the dance/party was set, and one would end up dancing nearly every dance for the rest of the evening.  Sometimes it would take a bit of persuasion to draw a shy one out onto the floor, but eventually they would be up, out of their seat, and thoroughly enjoying themselves.

Getting people to get out and about on bikes could be just like that.  If once per month we all made it an ambition to get just one person out for a bike ride, and then once that person discovered the "joy of the dance", if they too encouraged another out onto the floor, it wouldn't take long to fill the roads, parks and byways with people up and out of their cars and thoroughly enjoying themselves.

This month I am going to try to persuade my Niece (55) out on a bike ride with me.  Who would you like to try to get to ride with you?


  1. I've only tried this once. A lady friend (57 yrs old) who works for Homerton Hospital Health Trust in Hackneyexpressed an interest in cycling from Waterloo station because she was finding the tube or bus too slow. We went up one Sunday, when things are fairly quiet, to scout out a route. I had already tested a route on a weekday morning just to make sure that at least one of us would know where we were going that Sunday, so I had seen what it would be like in real conditions. I had timed it at about 20-25 minutes for a 3.5 mile ride – about half what it takes on public transport.

    So we set off on a bright sunny March day, stopping several times so Susie could absorb her surroundings and orient herself properly for the real thing – not that she managed it straight off, I might add. Our route took us up through the side streets of the City, along some segregated paths around Hoxton, over the Regents’ Canal near Broadway Market – where we stopped for coffee and organic walnut cake – through London Fields and eventually to Hackney Town Hall. I remember thinking that if I ever had to live in a city again, this would be the place to live – lively, colourful and friendly.

    18 months later, Susie is a seasoned Boris-Biker and I occasionally catch sight of her ducking and weaving through the traffic over Blackfriars Bridge (which I had studiously ignored on our guided tour as too harzardous for a beginner) and evidently unfazed by the London traffic. I don’t want to imply that everyone can “man up” and overcome their fear of cars and HGVs whizzing past their ears – it still requires nerves of steel and that isn’t right – but it’s amazing what a bike-buddy can do. I only hope I can do the same for someone else some time.

  2. Oh wow! What a success story. She could quite easily have chickened out after the first run. It takes a lot of guts I think to start cycling in London. I'm not sure I could.

    I know country cycling has it's hazards but cycling through a big city must be really scary for the novice.

    I do think that along with being nervous of starting to ride on today's roads stops a lot of people taking it up, I also think a lot of it has to do with not having a cycling buddy to start one off with.

    Baring in mind I didn't start cycling until I was 60, I did rather feel a fool at first poodling along on my own. Finding the easiest routes to go on, along with barely being able to go faster than walking speed to start with because my leg muscles were so weak then. It would have been so much easier to have had someone to share the experience with me.

  3. What a great idea.if I had another bike then I have a friend I would love to tempt out. I've been looking at folding bikes today but wasn't too keen on what I saw . The smaller wheels are more wobbly to ride on so well done you for getting on your bike.

    1. What about if she/you could hire a bike for her for a day? Most small cycle shops hire out the bikes they have taken in part exchange at some point. Well, they do here in the UK. I don't know about where you are.

  4. There's no where local here in the NE.

  5. I like your thinking regarding this. It's about getting people DOing rather than reading or learning. Make their body know it's achievable rather than just their mind and they are more likely to repeat it.

    I wonder if we could set up a campaign like the "Each one Teach One"?


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