Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Our Olympic legacy

I can't add very much to the wall of plaudits for the London 2012 Olympics. We all really enjoyed the spectacle, the only regret being that our application to buy tickets yielded only football at Old Trafford - like we can never do that. How brilliant must it have been to have seen the athletics on either Super Saturday, but even just to have soaked up the atmosphere at the Handball or the Badminton.

There has been a lot of talk about inspiring a generation - I so hope that happens, even if all the evidence is that it makes no difference. In JJB the other day the sales assistant confirmed that people are buying more sports equipment, there is definite interest in running, tennis and cycling.

I worry that the education agenda is being kicked around by politicians eager to meddle and jump on a passing bandwagon - the aim shouldn't just be to produce 80 odd Olympians from the millions of children who take part in school sports, rather to make every kid feel that exercise and ambition are for them. That's inspiring a generation.

So in our house we've all got bikes. Partly it was the inspiration of Bradley Wiggins and co, but also that we are blessed to live in such a great place for cycling - the former rail line, the Middlewood Way, and all the canal tow paths are perfect.

My bike is a folding Dahon (right), single speed, pedal brakes and not much else. I bought it from Will's Wheels, which has a bike shop in Marple. I mention the local angle because it makes me feel slightly better about the fact the bike was made in Taiwan. I was tempted to get a British made Brompton after meeting Will Butler Adams last month, the MD of the iconic British bike company, but £800 is a stretch. Maybe next time.

The Dahon is excellent for taking on public transport and whizzing around Manchester. I was able to take it on the train to cycle friendly Milton Keynes recently, and it was ideal - but everywhere I go I'm stopped to talk about the bike, it's a real show stopper.

So there we are, a bit more opportunity for exercise and a quicker way to get around. However good the kids are at any of this only time will tell, but it's so important to hold those great feelings of exhilaration and embrace this sporting life in all its forms.

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