On the eerily quiet, sunny streets of Planet Lockdown, a beautiful thing distracted me from the merry-go-round of grim milestones. People of all ages and body shapes took to the road on bikes. Families with small children cycled down previously clogged roads. Our town looked a bit Stepford.
I mostly get around by bike so am in on the secret that there’s no such thing as a typical cyclist. As lockdown eased, I began to ask people on all kinds of cycles if I could take their photo for Bricycles’ new Instagram page. I heard some amazing stories and learnt a lot. Many people with arthritis find it easier to cycle than walk. You can get a trolley-load of shopping on a cargo bike. Kids love bikes. Dogs love bikes. Cycling make people feel free.
When we came to relaunch our website, we wanted photos that were a step up from phone portraits. Highly-acclaimed commercial photographer Adam Bronkhorst responded to our call. Adam is an ex-Brighton resident who campaigns for Shoreham-By-Cycle. He’s also an all-round great bloke, who offered his time and expertise for free.
On a white-hot August day, we went round town, accosting strangers on bikes. A handful ignored us or were too busy, but most were happy to be photographed and enjoyed telling us about themselves.
On Madeira Drive, we met Bradley in his motorised wheelchair, with Lena, who had hired a BTN Bike. They were down from Leicester and were loving their hotel at the Marina. We met Finn Lambert, in a child seat on the back of his dad Olly’s bike. Finn got off and proudly showed us his own mini-bike.
Amber started cycling during lockdown and uses her bike to get from Shoreham to her job at Brighton Pavilion. She comes along the seafront, and likes the way her commute keeps her fit.
In Queen’s Park, we met Edi, who I’d previously snapped on his bike, in a black kilt in Hove. Edi is a bus driver who has driven or ridden every vehicle going, and is writing an anti-racist, anti-sexist graphic novel, The UnBIGOTten. Adam took Edi’s photo in front of the stunning mosaic that he’s created outside his house. You can see Edi’s wife, Sheila, at the top of this post. She’s a therapist who loves the calm of riding a bike.
As Adam worked, I spotted Paul, the cycling window cleaner of Hanover, who carries his gear on the trailer of Livvy the bike.
We met lots of other people, whose pictures we’ll share on the Bricycles website and on Instagram over the coming months.
We hope you enjoy Adam’s photos.
There is no such thing as a typical cyclist.