I am to become the face of mixed mode transport for Salford and yesterday I had a photo-shoot to supply pictures to support the article to go on the front page of Exchange Quay News – the big time eh?
A journalist had interviewed me a few evenings ago to give the facts of the process that lead our landlord, Exchange Quay Management, to buy 6 folding bikes and also to enthuse about cycling. I wittered on for a good half hour, albeit prompted by this journalist, so I was a little underwhelmed by the copy that came through. It was almost factually correct although the initial idea of the folding bike was generously attributed to me when I thought my role was just to source them. Paula from EQM thinks that it was my idea though I’m pretty sure it was hers. Maybe she wants to distance herself from that decision.
Anyway I had a rendezvous with a photographer and Jill who does the periodical magazine and other media for EQ. They were keen to have me photographed near a tram whereas I wanted to promote bus and bike. Yes you can take the bikes on the tram whilst they are folded and covered by a bag, but at 5pm on the Eccles line you are likely to get lynched as you try to squeeze this extra bulk onto an already overflowing tram.
Within 2 minutes about 4 new trams passed (why does that happen?) and we caught the last one in the background as I stood as casually as possible with the weight of the encased bike drawing upon my shoulder. They were a bit disappointed by the size of it: “It’s a bit big” the ladies moaned and I explained that a compact Brompton would be 3 times the price. I don’t find it heavy to carry but the shape does make it awkward. It is more suited to putting in the back of a car but the idea is people can test mix mode commuting and another benefit is the ability to go out and about at lunchtime.
We moved to the bus stop on Trafford road and I adopted a ‘getting it out’ pose although in hindsight why would I be doing that as I could walk from bus stop to office? Anyway, this is where it got a bit funny. The photographer was making the usual encouraging noises you would expect from her; turn this way, look at the camera, bend a bit further and I was already trying not to laugh as I was feeling a bit awkward especially as there was a bona fide bus user waiting at the stop. Then she started encouraging me to lower the zip to the bag to expose more of the folding bike, “come on pretend you’re getting it out”, “ooh that’s better”, “look at me, look at me”, “push the zip lower”, “a little lower”, “come on, show me a bit more wheel”.
I felt cheap and dirty.