I’m all for the regeneration of my home town. Let’s not kid ourselves, Prestwich isn’t a village, no matter how many signs they put up to say it is. Villages don’t have M&S, a big TESCO, a carpet warehouse, a second hand car lot and quite so many bookies, take aways and charity shops. It is brilliant that independent shops, restaurants and cafes seem to be making a go of it but the whole culture of using words such as Artisan, Community, Cooperative etc really puts me off. One man’s Artisan (unless they are restoring 18 century French furniture) is another man’s Wanker. If you are good at making and selling chocolates, buns, soup, light fittings, umbrellas, or whatever, then you don’t need to dress it up and appear quite so ghastly and pretentious.
If the market outside the Longfield advertised itself as Prestwich Produce Market I would go and probably spend a few quid. As soon as it gets labelled Artisan, Community or Farmer’s I mutter the W word under my breath as I drive past.
What has this got to do with push bikes then? Well, a couple of months ago a friend and fellow Prestwich cyclist, similarly irked by the on-going “urban poncification”, sent me a link about an event being held at the pub. “Green Drinks” – an opportunity for people with environmental leanings to get together and have a chat about it over a beer. No bad thing. However, there was a long list of how to go about organising it and guidelines for how to host the evening including what should and shouldn’t be on the agenda. Really. For generations people have been going to the pub and talking and drinking without the need for a website telling you how to do it. A good idea ponced to death.
As a knee jerk reaction (and to see how many Green Drinkers had actually turned up*) we decided to host the antithesis. The Monday night pub ride. A meeting point and a time were posted on the STW forum and that was it. We didn’t even mention that you needed to bring a bike, but people managed to work that bit out for themselves. Thinking back we should have called it “Brown Drinks”, but the deliberate lack of detail may have attracted someone with unusual… err… tastes.
Since then we’ve met every week and the numbers are growing as word is spreading. The usual routine is to spend 90 minutes messing about on the trails in and around Philips then spend an hour in the pub talking rubbish. When you consider that there can sometimes be 10 or more people out including a cycling journalist, a bike designer and a prominent endurance racer the conversation strangely doesn’t dwell on two wheeled subjects. In fact, I feel a bit left out because I’ve never been in a band, owned a sheep or made an energy drink from liquidised apple pies. We’ve done away fixtures in Todmorden and Ramsbottom and have got Darwen and Rivington lined up for the near future too.
So, if you fancy an organic community bike ride with the North West artisan dandy horse cooperative keep an eye out for details on the Singletrack forum and Twitter.
8:15, at the pub.
Bring a bike, but you don’t need to be told that.
*There were 5 or 6 Green Drinkers. They appeared to be having a nice enough time without the need for copious on-line instructions, but the topic of conversation did seem to be computers by the time we all got there, and I’m not sure if that was allowed.