Riding on bicycles is better than shopping

A glorious blue skied day, bicycles, weird music, a Saturday and um, The Arndale Centre?

We’d only ever been in there to wee before… the horrendous enclosure of main stream shops, security guards and fluorescent lights that monopolises central Manchester, replacing where sunny streets existed and independent shops once traded.  The prospect of spending a day inside this fearsome place sent shivers down our wheels but after closer consideration, the idea behind Friends of the Earth’s intriguing + inspired well-thought-out ploy to target unsuspecting shoppers + promote cycling totally convinced us to enter this place + attempt to get as many of them riding as possible..

Organisers of the event Bike Fabulous, the Love Your Bike campaign is based in Manchester. They aim to promote cycling and to help make it an attractive, accessible and fun way to get around as well as working closely with other like-minded organisations to promote their activities. This particular event was based around a series of fashion shows with every-day people modelling every-day cycle wear; Lycra? Nowhere to be seen! Also set up to lure in the public were smoothies; “Free! But you have to pedal for it!”, Pimp your cycle wear creative workshops alongside regular cycle maintenance workshops getting progressively more advanced throughout the day (run by Bikeright), treasure hunts, bicycle competitions offered by The Edinburgh Bike Co-op and bellowing out some sounds; PoWWow Pedal Power (who took great satisfaction in playing several times Supermarket Sweep by The Autonomads- those who know this song will get the joke..!)

An hour into the event, the initial fears of being in The Arndale seemed to disappear as we got totally consumed into luring people onto bicycles- as usual, embarrassingly unsuccessful to start with; “What? Why would I wanna get on a b***ding bike when I’m gettin me gear in?” but soon enough, good biking vibes and stubborn perseverance managed to convince self-conscious groups of  teenagers to do something out of the ordinary-along with bunches of other unlikely targets were responsible for powering the PA for the day- hoorah!

All credit to the organisers Pete + co- this really was an amazingly well thought out event, created with very little cash and I’m sure has had a really big impact of lots of people that would ordinarily have had absolutely nothing to do with cycling..

+ the sun was still shining when we left the Arndale!

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