9th June 2016: Riding Through History by Ursula Harries

Come along to The Castle Hotel at 7pm to listen to Ursula’s talk. Share a crust of bread, and learn what she has to share…

Bicycling Through History

Name of speaker:

Ursula Harries

Title of talk:

Riding Through History

Bullet points of what you would like to cover:

  • Inspiration for riding through history
  • Where we’ve ridden and some of our riding companions 🙂
  • Where we’ll ride next? – would welcome sharing Manchester bike stories


A (few) paragraph(s) on the subject you you’ve chosen to talk about and written through a personal narrative:

Since 2013, Riding Through History has been exploring history and sharing their knowledge of Manchester history in a series of heritage cycle tours. The tours have linked the National Cycling Centre in East Manchester, the People’s History Museum on the Left Bank in the city centre, the Working Class History Library in Salford, the home of Esther Roper and Eva Gore-Booth in Heald Place, Rusholme, the Pankhurst Centre, the Town Hall and Free Trade Hall, Alexandra Park in Moss Side to name a few places and people. Come along to find out more and discover how you can take part.
I’ve chosen a poem by Mary Oliver for a personal narrative.

The Journey

One day you finally knew
what you had to do, and began,
though the voices around you
kept shouting
their bad advice –
though the whole house
began to tremble
and you felt the old tug
at your ankles.
‘Mend my life!’
each voice cried.
But you didn’t stop.
You knew what you had to do,
though the wind pried

The Open Road

with its stiff fingers
at the very foundations,
though their melancholy
was terrible.
It was already late
enough, and a wild night,
and the road full of fallen
branches and stones.
But little by little,
as you left their voices behind,
the stars began to burn
through the sheets of clouds,
and there was a new voice
which you slowly
recognised as your own,
that kept you company
as you strode deeper and deeper
into the world,
determined to do
the only thing you could do –
determined to save
the only life you could save.


Any suggested you-tube links, websites and / or texts where further information may be found on your chosen topic :

(Sheila Hanlon’s work was key in inspiring and informing riding through history)
(particularly images – go to ‘About’ then ‘The chains that set women free’ and ‘Lowry by Bike’
(I particularly recommend the video which is on the home page – scroll down)

YouTube player

(some of the Pinkerton collection now housed and available for view at the National Cycling Centre in Manchester)
(this is a new one for me – looks fun?!)