AFTER Boris Johnson’s controversial seven-mile bike ride across London, it turns out that many politicians and civil servants have been issued with pedal power to fit their particular situations.
They tried out their conveyances earlier this week in a hush-hush socially-distanced session on Horse Guards Parade in London – and I was able to watch proceedings.
First up, riding high and mighty, was Chancellor Rishi Sunak, pedalling along on a penny farthing – by coincidence, the current amount left in the Treasury coffers.
Energy minister Kwasi Kwarteng had an electric bike. But the built-in wind turbine, solar panel and ground source heat pump all conked out and a sprocket came loose on the mini nuclear reactor.
Another non-starter was Health Secretary Matt Hancock, on an exercise bike. He was doing a fair imitation of his Covid policy –trying frantically, but getting nowhere. A source said he didn’t realise the bike had no wheels.
But there was no stopping Michael Gove as he sped away, stirring up dust clouds on his stunt-riding BMX. Wow, what a U-turn that man can make!
Keir Starmer was glumly messing about with a Labour-issue folding bicycle. He was trying to get the left and right sections to join up, but having trouble with a load of nuts. Which all must have been depressingly familiar.
Meanwhile down at Westminster Pier, Home Secretary Priti Patel stepped into her plastic pedalo and headed for Dover to try to turn back migrant boats crossing the Channel.
Professors Chris Whitty and Patrick Vallance were saddled up on a tandem, determined as ever to just keep going on and on in the same direction, doing the same thing in unison.
But Jacob Rees-Mogg cast a colourful figure, resplendent in top hat and tails and sipping a Singapore Sling as he reclined in his rickshaw while his wheezing nanny pedalled furiously.
Two overseas entries were cancelled. French president Emmanuel Macron, riding a butcher’s bike laden with strings of onions, baguettes and garlic, was stopped at Dover for carrying contraband snails.
And German Chancellor Angela Merkel was disqualified for turning up in a 68-ton Leopard 2 panzerkampfwagen main battle tank instead of her promised pink shopper bike with wicker basket. A spokesman blamed an error in translation.
Finally, along came Boris Johnson. With fiancee Carrie Symonds watching, it was thought he might bring out his trusty Chopper, but instead he rode a unicycle.
The Prime Minister did a precarious balancing act, wobbling this way and that, obviously with no idea where he was going … and then came crashing to the ground.