Learning to ride a bicycle is one of my enduring memories of childhood and I rode thousands of miles as a kid. Eventually I got out of the habit of cycling, partly because I learned to drive and ride a motorbike but also because I started running a lot, and even briefly ran cross country races for the St. Albans Striders in 1998. So what brought me back to the bicycle as a form of transport? Strangely enough I can trace it to a specific date, Mayday 2002. This is when I borrowed an old mountain bike and went down to London with a friend to take part in Mayday Critical Mass. The enthusiasm was infectious, no one actually said this but it was like "Hey man, the bicycle is going to save the world!" I also realised that mountain bikes are fun and shortly afterwards I was given the bike that I had borrowed.
Some of my walking and climbing friends had been trying to persuade me to take to the hills on two wheels but I had not been convinced. Now with my new found enthusiasm and my own bike I was up for it and in August 2002 when I drove up to stay at a cottage in the Kielder Forest for a few days the bike came with me. Kielder is excellent for mountain biking and I was out every day, eating up the forest tracks and loving it. One day while descending slowly through steep pine forest my front wheel dropped into a slight dip and I was catapulted dramatically over the handlebars. Due entirely to luck rather than judgement I landed on my back on a soft bed of pine needles, giving myself nothing more than a fright.
With regular maintenance I managed to keep that first mountain bike running until November 2003 when it disappeared one day while my back was turned. I think the police took it, but then it was chained to a railing outside Buckingham Palace during the Bush Visit! Apparently they had removed a load of bikes that day but mine never turned up. After that I became a regular on the last Friday of the month Critical Mass rides in London and as a result, in October 2004, I became aware of an idea to cycle to Scotland for the 2005 G8 Summit. I thought the idea had great potential so I registered a domain and set up a website for the G8 Bike Ride. In February 2005 I left my job and eventually found myself working almost full time preparing for the ride. The final month of preparations was ridiculously hectic but I somehow avoided having a nervous breakdown and the ride was a great success with over 70 cyclists taking part. I rode much of the way on Pedals.
Inspired by the G8 Bike Ride, some of us decided to form a group to carry on in the same spirit and thus was born Bicycology.
www.zenatode.org.uk Ian Gregory 2010