Meet the hero: Dez O’Neill


Signing up to be a ‘Bike Hero’ involves having a brand new bicycle for two months and reporting the cycling experiences. An imaginative idea to encourage cycling from Royal Borough of Kensington & Chelsea Council.

Dez O'Neill is Councillor for Colville Ward which includes Portobello Road


I collected my ‘on loan’ bike from Council offices last week. It came complete with lock, lights, bell, bike stand and back carrier. I went for a classic style ‘lean back’ Dutch bike with extra wide handlebars, extra wide saddle and extra wide tyres. I’d never ridden one before. I’ve always had bikes of the lean forward kind. IE English drop handlebar racers. The Dutch design means you sit upright leaning backwards pulling the wide handlebars with your hands while you peddle. You gain momentum from your hands as well as your feet. It’s comfortable to cycle especially with such a wide saddle to sit on. I feel more laid back and prominent on the road compared to my drop handlebar bikes. Those seem to encourage more speed whereas the Dutch bike encourages more of a cruise.


In Colville Square


My cycling on the ‘new’ bicycle has been mostly to the BMX and skateboard park at Meanwhile Gardens with my four year old son. It’s a fantastic facility for North Kensington. I started my boy as a two year old on a kids ‘without pedals’ bicycle. He now excels up and down the ramps at the skateboard park. He looks tiny compared to the BMX teenagers. The look on in shock and awe as he drops down the ramps. They have taken him under their wing.

This bike is a bit too big for me


 I look forward to a beautiful relationship with my new on loan bike and lots of exciting cycling experiences.

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