Ed Miliband: I was 50 when I finally mastered the art of riding a bike | Ed Miliband Leave a comment

Ed Miliband only mastered the art of riding a bicycle aged 50 – and was put off using an adult tricycle because he was worried about the paparazzi, he reveals in a new book serialised in the Guardian on Saturday.

Admitting he had always been a “very, very nervous [bicycle] rider” as a child, the now 51-year-old hired an electric bike while on holiday in France and “had an epiphany”. “This”, he said, “was the eureka moment”.

“You know how most children learn to ride a bike around five or six? Well, I learned late – about 11 or 12 – and have always been a very, very nervous rider. What’s more, having learned, I left it more than three decades before doing anything more than a few minutes of uncomfortable wobbling,” he writes in his new book, Go Big.

“We went through six prime ministers, drainpipe trousers, Duran Duran, the invention of the internet, email, Twitter, Facebook, the bacon sandwich incident – and still I resisted two wheels. When the first lockdown began and people were discouraged from using public transport, I had to work out how I could get to work in an environmentally friendly way.

“This led to a brief flirtation with an adult tricycle – as in I test-drove one (nervously) but somehow it didn’t seem for me. I was a bit worried about the stigma (and the photos),” he admitted.

“Then, aged 50, and in Europe’s mountain-biking capital – the French resort of Châtel – I had an epiphany: electric bikes were fun. Then back in London I started venturing out on local journeys and have now even made it to work. I now have the zeal of a convert.”

The late bloom on a bike is one of many personal vignettes related in the former Labour leader’s book about policy ideas that can change the world, and how to put them into practice.

“Policymaking is often out of step with the things we really value in our lives, and yet it shapes them so profoundly that we can lose sight of the fact that even the most apparently immutable things – the way we travel every day, the design of our cities, even my fear of cycling – all could be different,” he writes.

In an interview in the Guardian on Saturday, Miliband calls for people to “rediscover our agency”, saying: “People can often feel powerless. For totally understandable reasons, if you’re on the progressive side of politics: you see a Tory government in power; you think – I hope – I want a Labour government, but what am I going to do in the meantime? There are other points of entry to power.”

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