The best way to learn to Bike is to have a good strong strap around your waist
& let your coacher grab that: that’s how I learnt

Letter to August Jaeger, 22 March 1903

Edward Elgar even went as far as moving house using his bicycle, in 1904, when he and Alice made their way to Hereford. This gives the appearance of cycling not just being an escape for him, but he genuinely was a 'utility' cyclist of sorts.

The man who composed what could possibly be seen as the 'second' national anthem, with his Pomp and Circumstance (rendered as Land of Hope and Glory) vying with Jerusalem for the title, is perhaps one of the most famous cyclists the country has produced, without many of us even knowing it.


I have been photographed in your cap! There’s a conversion for you, if all goes well you will see ‘it’ in Sketch some day
Letter to Frank Schuster
16 September 1903

And yet Elgar's cycling career was short. A mere 8 years after taking up the activity a friend was visiting and suggesting taking his bicycle. Elgar, however, turned down the offer, stating that it was not worthwhile. What had happened to so change an ardent cyclist's desire for two-wheeled escape? Well, it may have only been 1908, but Wulstan Atkins reports that Elgar had decided that cycling was, "no longer much fun these days owing to the motor cars which had increased greatly".

So the next time you're cycling along, and in need of a tune to hum as you make your way through the traffic, settle on a piece of Elgar, and as you pass that queue of cars you can be happy in the knowledge that you are letting the old man get his own back on the conveyance that took the cycling enjoyment from his life.

.the end

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