Britain: Where Politicians Love to Pedal
The Times’ Lede blog reported yesterday that Tory chief David Cameron had his bike nicked while he ducked in to a store to buy some groceries:
Someone swiped the bike of the British opposition leader, David Cameron, who happens to be a national advocate for parking that gas-guzzling automobile and pedaling instead. Mr. Cameron, the Conservative party chief, regularly commutes to work at the House of Commons by bicycle.
As the story filled with humble details goes, he stopped at a supermarket on his way home, to pick up some items for dinner, and left his mountain bike locked to a bollard, a short and stout barrier whose main purpose is to block vehicle traffic while letting pedestrians pass. Mr. Cameron would regret the decision minutes later.
Sloppy locking technique aside, what’s news to me is that the leader of the UK’s right-wing party is a bike commuter and advocate for switching modes. This is the first I’d heard that Cameron is cut from the same cloth as London Mayor Boris Johnson, another Tory and avid city cyclist. Turns out several Tory MPs like to ride to work too. In America, this would be like Bloomberg biking to work every day, Republican congressmen joining Earl Blumenauer on his commute to the Capitol, and John McCain championing cycling as transportation.
Of course, associating bikes with one side of the political spectrum or the other may be missing the point, as one MP told the BBC:
"I have to say it is not an ideological crusade as far as I’m concerned. It is just a convenient way of getting about."
Photo of David Cameron pre-bike theft: Daily Mirror