Riding my bike recently, I was thinking how much healthier, happier and safer cycling would be without any cars.

Montgomery Road is a delight. It’s quite long, with that gentle rollercoaster feel, so you can build up speed downhill, ready for the next uphill bit. Passing the junction with Kenbourne Road, I could see a chance for a good workout, a slope up to the roundabout, where I could glide down Moncrieffe Road into deepest Tolkienesque Nether Edge.

In other words, I was ready to pull out from between the many parked cars and give it some welly to climb the hill. It would warm me up in the early evening chill. But sure enough, another car appeared. I had to pull in, reduce my speed like a responsible road user, lose the momentum and basically not enjoy cycling as I would have in a car-free area. They’re all over every single road, like ants swarming over an accident in a fruit market. There are too many cars.

Ofo bikes are now littered over pavements like big yellow banana skins. They’re popular and they’ve clearly brought the delights of cycling to a whole new section of Sheffield’s population. I’m sure that car drivers are moaning about dangerous Ofo riding. I’ve seen some dashcam-fodder stunt riding myself, but people on bikes take the risk on themselves. People driving cars need to remember that cars don’t kill people – drivers do.

I wonder if a thousand app-connected yellow perils supplied to Sheffield’s streets by a Chinese corporation will put the skids under Sheffield’s transport plans. Let’s face it, there’s some room for criticism – of cycle lanes, if nothing else. Oh yes, and there are automated cycle crossings which don’t detect the arrival of cyclists. Perhaps the Council will detect the arrival of these Ofo bikes. If you’ve got an opinion, you should email transport@sheffield.gov.uk. I’m sure they’d be glad to hear.

For a less troubling chance to marvel at some clever cycling this month, come along to the Howard Street Dual on Saturday 10 March, 4-7pm. This is a mountain bike dual slalom race over a specially-built course from Sheffield Hallam University entrance and ending behind the Howard Hotel. In total, 64 riders will skillfully career downhill, head-to-head over the course of the evening, as knock-out rounds lead up to an exciting finale. It’s free to watch and the second time the event has been staged, part of the Outdoor City Weekender.

If that’s too strenuous, at least get on yer bike for this year’s Big Ride for Space for Cycling on Saturday 28 April. Assemble at 10:30am at Devonshire Green for a pedal around the city with CycleSheffield and a massive battalion of bikes. It’s a smiley treat of a ride, full of friends and families, and definitely safe for kids. Wear something bright red if you can to make the point – we need space for cycling.

Hosted by Alt Sheff


Thu 22 Mar | 6:30pm | Regather Work |  £8/£10
This evening will leave you fired up, angry and knowing far more about British history than you learned in school. If you’re already mad about fracking, you’ll soon have words to say about everything from the Norman Conquest to enclosures. A radical people’s history in words and music.

Sat 9 Jun | 12-8pm | Ponderosa Park | Please give generously
It’s only three months until Sheffield’s free community festival, celebrating the power of peace and diversity, so now’s the time to help make it happen. PITP is run entirely by Sheffield people who volunteer time, goods and services. To make a donation, organise a fundraising event or to help out on the day, check out their website now.