Do you need help?
Find out local help available to get you back in the saddle, to improve your confidence or get your bike ready to ride.
Donate your unwanted bike to be shipped to Africa and buy quality refurbished bikes at modest costs.
Colchester Cycling Campaign
For advice on what bike, local bike shops, routes beyond Colchester, Bike Drinks, local campaigning and much more.
CTC Cycle Champions
Regular, gentle rides, cycle confidence sessions, bike maintenance and lots more - welcomes families.
Does your school take part in the Essex Eco Race? If not check out this free and exciting initiative to promote active travel to school.
PN: Do you remember your first bike?
VL-M: Yes, for school in the early 1970s in South Africa (where I grew up). I modified my old standard frame Raleigh into a ‘chopper’. Here it is parked up against the wall at home in South Africa (it weighed a ton and did not attract any girls).
PN: Were you a keen cyclist as a youngster, or is it something you’ve taken up later in life?
VL-M: Yes, but mostly in Africa. I’ve been primarily a commuter, using my bike to achieve multiple objectives, like eco-friendly transport to school and work, a great exercise fit for work-life balance and also just time to relax and think as I pedal along.
PN: What kind of cycling do you do – leisure, commute, sport or a combination of these?
VL-M: I’m mostly a commuter, but have done quite a few long hauls in Europe (UK, Holland, Spain) and Africa (Kenya, Tanzania, South Africa, Malawi) and finally Cambodia.
PN: Do you like cycling alone, or with family and friends?
VL-M: I would say mostly alone for getting to work and everyday life, e.g. shopping.
PN: What’s the worst thing about cycling?
VL-M: For me it’s car drivers, ‘controlling’ 1 to 2 tonnes of steel and plastic ‘missile’, coming up from behind, and wondering if they are on their phone or sending a text message? I lived for many years in Malawi in Southern Africa. On my way to work one day, I was nearly killed by a lady driving her automatic recklessly, whilst diligently communing on her mobile phone (resplendent with a boot sticker stating ‘Covered by the blood of Jesus’). Catching her at the traffic lights, she had that look of guilty surprise as I politely told her to cross out ‘Jesus’ and replace it with ‘Cyclists’!
PN: And what’s the best?
VL-M: The bike is without doubt human kind’s finest invention!! Modern bikes are a magic carpet ride, compared to the days of yore, when life was really hard. So as Norman Tebbit once said, ‘get on yer bike’.
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Hand made bikes, bike maintenance and fresh coffee
Cycle around Essex and collect stamps towards a free slice of cake!
Take the kids on a treasure trail around High Woods country park and find real treasure at the end!
Friendly community bicycle workshop offering drop in sessions twice a week
Friendly community bicycle workshop 1st and 3rd Saturday each month