Posts Tagged ‘Bicycle’

Last Sunday saw yet another Taunton Tweed Cycle Chic ride.  This time we ventured from Vivary Park to North Curry, and numbered 19 riders.  The weather was positively continental and a marvellous time was had by all.  After meeting up we made our way through town, with Neil causing quite a stir on his 1882 Ordinary Bicycle (Penny Farthing).  The route took us along the canal and then down the beautiful back roads to North Curry.  We had a fine lunch and a few pints at The Bird In Hand and entertained ourselves with a selection of songs from the Saddlebag Songbook.  Thanks to all who came and made it such a great day.

I made a little film of the ride…

The soundtrack is ‘The Continental’ performed by the Lew Stone Band featuring Nat Gonella on vocals.  It was transferred from 78rpm record via my HMV163 Gramophone and a studio condenser mic.

Here are a few more photos of the day…


Thanks to Tom for some of the photos




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I love to throw a ukulele in my saddlebag and head off for a days ride. I felt I needed a compact songbook  to take along, so began compiling a collection of ukulele arrangements. I choose the songs of the jazz era , a heyday for both song writing and bicycling. The songs chosen are perfectly suited for the vintage chic cyclist.

The songbook is intended for the use of cycling ukulele players and/or singers.  It should be printed in A5 size and spiral bound to make it the perfect saddlebag songbook.  If you are not familiar with the songs contained in the book try searching titles on ‘You Tube’.

The Songs

Accentuate The Positive

After You’ve Gone

Ain’t Misbehaving

Ain’t She Sweet

All I Do is Dream Of You

All Of Me

Anything Goes

Bei Mir Bist Du Schön

Besame Mucho

Blue Skies

Choo Choo Ch’boogie

Daisy Bell

Dance Me To The End Of Love

Don’t Fence Me In

Five Foot Two

Hilo Hattie

Houdini Never Hung Around In Bars

I Can’t Give You Anything But Love

I Don’t Want To Set The World On Fire

I Love A Ukulele

I Wan’na Be Like You

I Wish I Could Shimmy Like My Sister Kate

I’ll See You In My Dreams

I’m Pau

If I Had You

In The Mood

It don’t mean a thing (if it ain’t got that swing)

It Had To Be You

It’s Only A Paper Moon


Leaning On A Lamp Post

Love Is The Sweetest Thing

Mack The Knife

Minnie The Moocher


My Blue Heaven

My Melancholy Baby

Night And Day

Nobody knows You When You’re Down And Out

Noughts and Crosses

Pennies From Heaven

Roll Along Prairie Moon

She Tunes Her Ukulele GCEA

Shine On Harvest Moon

Singin’ In The Rain


Sweet Georgia Brown

The Devil And The Deep Blue Sea

The Girl From Ipanema

The Glory of Love

The Hypnotist

The Sheik Of Araby

The Trail Of  The Lonesome Pine

Till There Was You

Tiptoe Through the Tulips

Tonight You Belong To Me

Ukulele Lady

When I’m Cleaning Windows

Without My Walking Stick

Zing Went The Strings Of My Heart

NB: You may notice a couple of modern songs in the list, I included them because they are in the style and just great songs.

If you are a cyclist and would like a free copy of the “Saddlebag Songbook” then just leave a comment and I will email a link and password for the download page.



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I haven’t blogged for some time but it’s time to get things moving again.  So before I launch into rants about crap cycling in Taunton… a little fun. Last week the members of Taunton Tweed Cycle Chic took to the cycle paths and rode from Vivary Park to Maunsell Lock.  The weather was hot, hot, hot so we only managed Tweed through town, but with bells ringing and loud ‘Good Mornings’ we certainly got noticed. Thanks go to Brian from Bicycle Chain for leading us off. We stopped for lunch at the canal side cafe and strummed ukuleles using the new ‘Bicycle and Ukulele Saddlebag Song Book’ (Post a comment for a free copy!).  So here for you delectation are a few photographs of the day set to a toe tapping soundtrack from Django Reinhardt.

The ride was great fun, because of the superb weather and the great company but also because the majority of the ride was car free and on separate infrastucture.



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I have always been car free, never even driven one, I don’t actually know what the pedals do.  It was never a really big lifestyle choice, I cycled to school and to friends houses and just never felt the need to travel any other way.  When I was 17 I began touring and 100 miles a day was a breeze, I could go anywhere by bike.

My first cycle rides were on the narrow lanes around the village where I grew up.  I remember many wonderful family rides, zooming around the Somerset levels and stopping for picnic lunches.  We almost never saw a car and the sun always shone…happy days.

In 1990 a  most significant cycling moment came with my first ‘Young Bell Ringers Cycling Tour‘, a week long adventure ringing in churches around Oxfordshire.  We stayed in youth hostels and cycled to around six towers a day.  The 30 strong group of cyclists made quite an impression on me and I knew then that I would always want to make the bicycle my primary mode of transport.  I went on two further tours and remember them with great affection.  Geoff the organiser has continued to run the tours and I am sure has inspired many more young people to become serious cyclists.

Fast forward 20 years…I am married with two young children and a demanding full time job.  I no longer have time for endless days of touring but I still ride my bike every day.  I have a trailer for shopping and to take the children around and ride to work every day. I  love the feeling of whizzing along and day dreaming about the long summer days of my youth.

OK, so I know I have rather rose tinted spectacles on when it comes to my memories of childhood cycling, but the point is I have positive memories of cycling from a very early age.  In my teenage years I flew around everywhere by bicycle and just remember the pure freedom it gave me. Are today’s children having the same positive experiences? Some maybe, but with the roads increasingly clogged by maniacal car, van and lorry drivers the experience of those lucky enough to be allowed out on a bike is likely to be much less satisfying.  The 21st century teenager is probably far more likely to be a car driver or passenger than to be using a bicycle for daily transport.

If we are to see more young people cycling we have to make it feel safe and fast.  The only way I can see this being achieved is if we adopt the Dutch model of segregated infrastructure.  When parents feel cycling is safe they will begin to use the bicycle for everyday transport and children will be able to cycle to safely school.  Cycling children will become cycling adults.



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Top Ten Ukuleles and Pashley Roadster.

Ukuleles are;
On saddle – Crossett Hollywood Concert
L to R – Mele Koa Concert, John Grey Banjo ukulele, Nipper Soprano made by John Colter, Favilla Baritone, Jetel Soprano, Martin Style 0 soprano, Regal Baritone, Joel Eckhaus 1K soprano, National Soprano.
The ukuleles range in age from the 1930’s to present day.

Over the new year I decided to start a Flickr for Bicycle and Ukulele.  I have uploaded all my photos from the last year and some new ones of my favourite ukuleles and bicycles. You can view my sets HERE.

I would like to feature readers photos of bicycles and ukuleles on this blog, so if you are a ukulele player and a cyclist please send me a photo of your bicycle and ukulele.



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A couple of weeks ago friends Steve and Alison invited Jim and I for a little tweed run down at Vivary Park.  They have recently acquired vintage bikes and have began developing a website for Taunton Tweed Cycle Chic.  Here are a few quick snaps of a lovely afternoon.

The Bikes


The Bicycles in the bandstand  Raleigh, Triumph and Pashley.


Steve taking photos


Alison with cup of Tea



Nipper and Jim playing some ukuleles!

More about TTCC to follow…



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IMG_1168Most of  ‘The Night Owls’ gigs are too far from home to cycle to and/or require the carrying of large amounts of kit.  So it is a rare occasion when I am able to cycle to a gig.  A few weeks back we played the Wilton House Summer Garden party.  The gig was within easy cycling distance so after packing the double bass, PA and several ukuleles into Pat’s car, I bid him farewell and rode my Pashley to Wilton house.  We played this event last year and were glad to be asked back.  The audience appreciate our music and the Pimms flows like water!

Pashley Roadster

Pashley Roadster and Ukuleles

The Pashley Roadster perfectly suited the venue and the style of The Night Owls. I simply parked it behind the band.

The Night Owls

Here is a little film of ‘The Night Owls’ live at Wilton House, you may even spot the Pashley.



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