“Every time I see an adult on a bicycle, I no longer fear for the human race” – H.G. Wells
For quite some time I have thought that bicycles have semi-magical qualities. Riding one can make you happy when you are otherwise sad and they can make you believe that you are someone else – usually someone far better at riding a bike. They can make you fitter and more sociable and, as Mr H.G. Wells says in his wonderful quote above, they can change the destiny of the world. It’s a given then that they are wonderful things. But, until this weekend at the sublime L’Eroica Britannia event, I had not realised that they are also capable of enabling time travel. Perhaps that’s why old H.G. (who knew a thing or two about Time Machines) loved them so much.
The Holiday Season has not got off to a good start for American bike brand Specialized. A social media storm blew up over the weekend with such force that it threatens to engulf them throughout the ‘gifting season’ and have repercussions far beyond.
My modest twitter feed is jammed up with assertions from tweeters that they will never buy from the company again. God only knows what it’s like at their end. In fact, one is forced to assume that their entire email, telephone and internet system has buckled under the weight of disgust which has been cyber-spat in their direction. No other explanation would make sense of the total silence which has so far emanated from Specialized’s HQ.
What’s causing the collective internet ire? Specialized – known in the trade as the ‘Big S’ – have been throwing their considerable weight around ‘protecting’ certain words that they have trademarked. One of these words is ‘Roubaix‘ – the name of a higher-end bike in their vast range. They have threatened to sue a small Canadian bike shop called Cafe Roubaix unless the owner changes his business’ name. He can’t afford to fight them legally and was about to reluctantly cave in when the story, which was originally covered in the Calgary Herald, went viral.
1. Red tricycle with white wheels – Got the front wheel caught in a drainhole on our drive one summer day, flipped over the top and scraped the hell out of my 3 year old bare belly. Ouch. And, yes, that is me below…
2. Purple 2 wheeler – solid wheels. Learnt to ride on that one…
3. Raleigh Strika silver – Sadly not the back-pedal brake model.. Loved the fake plastic ‘suspension’ parts on the front forks.
4. Raleigh Viper. 5 speed. Blue. Drop Handlebars. 10th Birthday present – 1985. I thought I was the Boss on this.
(Flipped and chopped the bars and then sold when I was around 14)
5. Chrome Bomber – bought from the Classifieds in the Hull Daily Mail. First bike I paid for.
(Absolutely no idea where this one went.. Possibly into the River Hull for a dare.)