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According to politicos, it’s both. Labour MPs claim cycling is “egalitarian” so must be Left leaning. Tory MPs believe “old maids cycling to church” is the archetypal English pastoral scene, and so cycling must be right wing.
The interesting thing is that there’s a custody battle in the first place, and it was even on the high-brow Today programme on Radio 4 this morning.
“Travelling by bike has never been a more popular method of transport for UK politicians,” argued BBC reporter Norman Smith. Tory toffs Boris Johnson - seen above - and David Cameron are the highest profile cyclists in the land. But does that make cycling a Conservative issue?
“What is causing this shift away from the chauffeur-driven car and on to the old fashioned bike - once considered by some to be the mode of transport of the left?
Wantage MP Ed Vaizey rejects any suggestion of a political shift. “Some people like to pretend its a left-wing pastime because they conjure up these images of miners cycling to work.
“But actually it’s both a Conservative and a right-wing pastime, if I can draw that distinction.
“Remember John Major’s famous speech about ‘old maids cycling to church’? And I think that brings up the point about the heritage of cycling - it’s very much woven into the British character.
“It’s a Conservative issue in terms of nostalgia, but it’s also a right-wing issue because its about the freedom of the individual. It’s about taking ones own action against an over-bearing stage.”
However, Labour MP Gwyn Prosser, chairman of the Commons all-party cycling group, is dismissive of the idea that cycling has become right-wing.
“I think it is more of a left-wing tradition - it’s more egalitarian. A bike is a bike,” he said.
“Bikes have two wheels and they spell out equality and inclusiveness and egalitarianism.”
So are the Tory MPs who have taken up the sport, just trying to get into their leader’s good books?
Mr Letwin rejects this assertion. “I have been cycling for 10, 15 years and I use one of those sort of wonderful Brompton bikes - a splendid British invention.
“But I have to say it is not an ideological crusade as far as I’m concerned. It is just a convenient way of getting about.”