The current Private Eye says the appointment of Steven Norris as Chair of the National Cycling Strategy Board was "bizarre" and "slipped out by the transport department in the fog of war."
Ha! As though the news would ever have interested the mainstream media.
Anyway, Private Eye claims the only "riding" Steve Norris has been associated with "was of the horizontal variety - when he was known affectionately as 'Shagger' Norris, the minister with five mistresses."
The DETR told Private Eye that Norris "cycles on those occasions when it is the most suitable means of transport." The Eye concluded, unfairly, that this "could mean never."
Bikebiz.co.uk therefore set out to re-dress the balance a wee bit:
Dear Private Eye
Re HP Sauce Eye1042.
Strange as it may seem, Steven 'Shagger' Norris is actually a little bit of a hero to many cyclists. To outsiders it may seem as though he was parachuted into the post of Chair of the National Cycling Strategy Board - a voluntary position - but despite his other jobs since he and the electorate parted ways, Norris has cycling credentials. Not of the Lycra variety, but supportive all the same. When he was a Tory transport minister he was instrumental in steering through the National Cycling Strategy.
This 'mission statement' on how cycling should come in from the cold was picked up and amplified by New Labour when they swept into office. Of course, it's since proven to be a lot of hot air, as the UK still lags a long way behind countries such as the Netherlands or Germany, where pro-cycling initiatives have played their part in the multi-faceted solution to slowing congestion. In Germany, for instance, there's greater per capita car ownership, yet also a lot more people cycling on a daily basis. Dutch and German bank managers cycle to work in their suits and nobody bats an eyelid; here a cycling bank manager would be regarded as an eccentric.
This is how Steven Norris can help. He's hardly your everyday image of a thigh-bulging cyclist. But if he ditched his car for a souped-up bicycle, he'd be able to whizz around London and get stick-thin fit into the bargain.
And, ahem, his prowess in other departments would also increase: an Italian study has just shown that blokes who ride bikes perform better in bed [Source: Dr. Romualdo Belardinelli, director of the Lancisi Heart Institute, Ancona, Italy, reported his findings on Nov. 12 2001 at an American Heart Association conference in Anaheim, California].