Meet the current Chair of BicesterBUG, George Bennett
Planes, trains and automobiles were my thing as a child, an obsession that shaped my life all the way through to choosing to study Mechanical engineering and work in aerospace. Being mobile was a passion of mine from getting my driving license and my first car (an old Mini) through numerous other cars and onto a motorbike. It was not until I moved to the Netherlands for work over 10 years ago that I had my first car free lifestyle experience since passing my test. All life was possible on two wheels in the small town of Deventer (similar size to Bicester) and I quickly grew to love the fresh air active travel lifestyle, and not having an expensive car to run. I still had a motorbike and loved my first tour around Europe on two motorised wheels, little did I know then that the Dutch biking lifestyle and those tours would shape the next 10 years of my life.
Living in Germany later cemented my love of all things cycling, not just as a way to get around (saving alot of money in the process) but staying fit and exploring under my own steam. As my fitness grew so did my horizons and the distance I was travelling, until I eventually set my sights on a race called The Transcontinental. A leap well beyond my comfort zone into an unsupported (you take everything you need with you on the bike or buy it on the way) bike race across Europe from Belgium to Greece via 4 checkpoints bringing the distance up to 4,000km and 40,000m of climbing. It was a seriously challenging experience, which I will never forget, and despite the toughness of it and the sheer physical exhaustion I felt, it opened up a world of ultra endurance cycling that I continue to enjoy.
The hobby of riding punishingly long distances on a bike is far away from the life I lead at day to day. Having worked many years in Industry as a mechanical Engineer I now conduct research into energy use in buildings. A desire to practise what I preach was one of the reasons for moving to the sustainable housing development in Elmsbrook NW Bicester over 2 years ago. Although the Elmsbrook is great for sustainable living, the cycling connections into Bicester left a little to be desired, and my wife, Safak does not drive, so the challenge of getting around without a car was immediate. Knowing that similar sized flat towns just a few hundred miles away over the north sea could thrive with cycle lanes and less polluting car traffic I set about collecting like minded people to help increase cycling in Bicester. Enter Rick and Paul and Bicester Bike Users’ Group was formed in 2019, time to write the next chapter of Bicester’s cycling history with one eye on the past…….