People who cycle in Winchester #2: Marvin

Marvin, Musician, Cycling

I’m a musician. I write music, teach the guitar and busk.

I’ve been in Winchester about 21 years, moving from London to be near my son when he was born. I use my bike almost every day, often cycling down from Greenhill Road into town where I busk in the city centre. I keep a daily record which is being released in volumes by Skylight Press as “Diary of a Busker”. I always note the weather and my takings. People can be very generous – someone once left me £100 in an envelope. I carry my guitar and amp around with me on the bike, whatever the weather.

Lockdown was a great chance to explore more places by cycling as the roads were so quiet. I’ve got out to places like Stoke Charity, Twyford and the Itchen valley. I enjoy seeking out crop circles in the middle of nowhere. There was one near Pewsey so I took the train and then cycled the last 12 miles.

I learnt to ride when I was about eight or nine and living in Canada. When I came to England I picked up my first adult bike – a Raleigh Superbe – in Brick Lane market. I’ve owned three Superbes, all of which ended up being stolen. My current bike is a Dutch Gazelle Primeur which I got for £80 on eBay. I met the seller at South Dorchester station where I had about a minute to collect the bike before jumping on my return train – so no chance of a test ride.

I love cycling around the Cathedral area, it is quiet and safe. But North Walls is a nightmare for people on bikes, especially when cars pull out of the side streets straight in front of you. And if I had my way there’d be very severe penalties for drivers who don’t use their indicators. I’ve had plenty of close shaves on my bike and was hospitalised after an accident in London.

My biggest cycling achievement was to get from Forest Hill to Brighton along the A23. I just decided to give it a go but it took 7 hours and I needed to get the train home. It was memorable but I wouldn’t say it was my most enjoyable day on a bike!

I much prefer cycling to walking. It is a perfect speed and it is good to be a bit raised up. I enjoy the feeling of travelling around on two wheels and appreciate the fact it keeps me fit.

I’ve never owned or driven a car. I’ve never really got round to it or had the money. Somehow I don’t think I’d be any good … unless the steering wheel was in the centre as on a bumper car!

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