I love ukuleles. playing them, writing about them and teaching people how to play them.
I travel everywhere by bicycle.
In the last few months I have began reading several cycling blogs and thinking more about bicycle advocacy. In the early 1990’s I rode in a few Critical Mass rides and thought the time was coming for a change in attitude toward bikes. Sadly the change here in the UK has been too slow and despite the advent of cycle paths and the ‘work’ of Sustrans our roads are still dominated by cars.
A few years ago I realised that allowing my blood to boil everyday as cars took risks with my life, was counter productive and causing me a great deal of stress. I needed a change and the ukulele became my focus, I became part of the ukulele revolution, teaching ukulele, starting a uke club and writing about the benefits of the four string wonder. I stopped worrying about cars and cycling, my stress reduced I just used my bike to get around and take me too and from work.
In Copenhagen there has been a bicycle revolution, having worked out the cycling infrastructure, those stylish Danes have began to cycle in huge numbers. They don’t cycle for leisure or sport but use the bike as an everyday mode of transport. Documented by Mikael Coleville Anderson, Cycle Chic is beginning to spread throughout the world. It is the kind of cycling I want to see everywhere, an end to the tyranny of cars and a return to the days of mass utilitarian cycling.
In an article in ‘The Ride’ magazine Coleville Anderson describes how the way to inspire new cycle commuters is to show them how a real, everyday bicycle can be ridden with style by everyday folks in everyday clothes. He describes how the Joe Everyman car driver needs to “see his own reflection in these cyclists.”
I am fed up with this ridiculous and dangerous car culture, it is time for bicycle revolution, but one led by infrastructural change and cyclists in everyday clothes on everyday bikes. It is time to ‘Copenhagenise’.
So what of the ukulele? Like the the bicycle, the ukulele was once a respected mainstream instrument, but over the years it has become a comic device, a children’s toy. The ukulele revolution in uke clubs around the world has begun to change this, and like the bicycle it is time for it to once again become an everyday part of the mainstream.