Love is something that shapes character and evolves over time into a broad, all-encompassing connection. And what do I love? My bicycle.
I love my bicycle because it represents freedom and independence to go wherever, whenever. And why my bicycle in particular? It’s a Claud Butler Summer Bay – an 18 tooth, single speed, free-wheel, steel quill of a bike – in other words, it’s beautiful. It has little tan leather handle bars, a rather comfy spring loaded seat and a ‘lady’ frame, complete with a basket and a dinger. I’m never happier than when I’m riding my bicycle.
Since autumn has overrun, my housemate, Hannah, and I decided to explore a little bit of south Manchester. Cycle we did – all the way along the old shipping canals around east Didsbury, up onto the rocky levees and alongside the glistening River Irwell.
Although it may have glistening in the sunlight, it was sadly strewn with trees ripped from their banks laying in the middle of channel, shrouded in litter. No fish swam, no otters meowed; the ducks however quacked to their hearts content, happy at not having to share this part of the river with anything else. It smelt like the River Thames, a comforting smell for me, but the Thames is supposed to be one of the cleanest rivers around, unlike Irwell. Eight hundred years ago, when the hamlet of Kersal in the township of Broughton, which now forms part of the City of Salford, was handed over as a gift to the Cluniac monastary of Lenton, near Nottingham – the most important part of the gift was the fishing rights in the River Irwell. Again in the 19th century, Irwell was vital in facilitating Manchester’s industrial revolution, but at what cost to its inhabitants? Although the council boasts the River Irwell being its ‘cleanest’ in decades with roach and perch being caught, I’m a little sceptical, especially with the hard management defences used – how does this support migration of fish stocks or any wildlife for that matter?
Nevertheless, Hannah and I sat down with a mini-picnic of bakewell tarts and enjoyed the sound of gushing water. It was a beautiful day, and we couldn’t help but show our affections for our beloved bicycles and here are the photos to prove our undying ‘commitment’ to them!