Skip to main content

Bespoken Word – happy 70 Mrs Queen

A comedic photo of a mountain biker with the Queen's face superimposed
(Image credit: Future)

Here in the UK it’s 70 years since we last put a fancy hat on someone to continue a medieval system of rule so we’re all having a big party with a couple of extra days off work. But even if we never subjugated your people, crushed your native culture and gave you cricket as compensation, why not celebrate with us anyway? 

Guy Kesteven has ten royal-themed ideas to fill your spare time in a mountain biking manner.

Go forth and conquer

Go for a bloody big ride. Like a proper big one. Not a sensible one. A proper one that’s three times what I normally do and will turn you as pink as a 19th-century world map. Don’t waste time loitering over breakfast and coffee, just grab whatever food there is in the cupboard, take a coat for when the weather turns grim and you’re already on the point of crying, and get going. Just like Queen Liz you’ll be amazed how long you can keep going if you put your mind to it. Just pace yourself Prince Andrew style and don’t get sweaty on the climbs or you could end up in a tight spot later.

Colonize your landscape

When you’re on that big ride why not take on all those bridleway or singletrack turns that you’ve often wondered where they lead. Even if you end up back where you started at least you’ll have ticked off a dead end that’s been niggling your navigation mind for ages. And if you find a sweet new section you can add that to your biking buffet for years to come. Obviously don’t forget to celebrate your fresh conquest in proper royal style, by sticking a flag in it and forcing the locals to abandon millennia of culturally appropriate beliefs in favor of a story about a Palestinian carpenter. Obviously don't fully acknowledge Palestine as an actual country though, just chop it up into a post-colonial mess and guarantee decades of bitter conflict and resentment. After all, that's what having an empire is all about. 

No bikes sign

You can expect a right royal welcome from some of Liz's chums. (Image credit: GuyKesTV)

Lord over it all

Seeing as the queen and her aristocratic chums get huge amounts of government handouts for keeping large swathes of countryside to themselves, why not go and visit their estates on a bike to explore what you’ve been paying your taxes for? Cycling UK has even published a fantasy mountain bike route around the Bolton Abbey Estate to show what could be available for riders with a revolutionary streak.

Dig for Lizzie

Warmer weather and regular rain mean the foliage will be growing almost as fast as drunken nationalism this weekend, so embrace your inner Dr. Livingstone and start hacking through the jungle to keep the trails running well. Why not grab your trail tool like a scepter and go forth and make some Jubilee jumps or a Prince Charles gap to commemorate his likely place in the Royal lineage.

Trailbuild gun show

All the best Kweeens love trail building (Image credit: GuyKesTV)

Learn to do a new Jubilee skill

Been promising yourself to learn to wheelie, bunny hop, manual or backflip? We’re almost certain that Liz would be beyond stoked to find out that you’ve celebrated the most concocted public holiday in living memory by adding a new string to your biking bow. And if you’re looking for inspiration Danny MacAskill’s latest video has more horsing around than Princess Anne. 

Get a new crown

Celebrate that hilarious, heartwarming moment of casual racism when Prince Phillip (RIP) almost called Japanese people “MIPS” by buying a helmet with increased Swedish safety. In fact, why not go for protective pun gold by getting the impressively lightweight new full-face helmet from Specialized, sticking some jewels on, and creating your own Queen’s Gambit?

Steve Peat as the Queen

Lots of UK companies are doing deals this Bank Holiday (Image credit: Peaty's Products)

Sparkle like Meghan Markle

As it’s a national holiday in the UK the chances are that the weather will be wretched so why not spend some quality wrenching time with the one you really care about: Your bike. We know some UK bike care companies are even doing special Jubilee offers on lube and cleaning products to make sure your own coronation carriage is more squeaky clean than Prince Edward.

Relive past glories

Make the most of the brilliant proposed idea of turning the UK back to imperial measurements to commemorate the jubilee by building up a retro bike from old parts. We can’t think of a better parallel for the misery of trying to mesh incredibly confusing and outdated concepts together to try and create something to remind you of the ‘glory days’. It’s almost guaranteed to make you realize that those days were actually a very long way from glorious too.

untidy garage

Just a couple of hours away from being the Buckingham Palace of bike caves. Honest..... (Image credit: GuyKesTV)

Clean your workshop or garage up

I admit there’s less relation between this suggestion than Prince Charles and Prince Harry, but it’s not a bad way to spend your day off. So just grab a handful of patriotic cupcakes from your nearest street party and scuttle back into the workshop or fling open the garage door and get busy creating the ultimate bike cave. 

Have a royally good holiday

Sack off the rest of Wednesday and just go and enjoy one’s self. It’s clearly what I’m doing with the column this week and frankly, no one will remember much of what happened from now on by Monday anyway. Plus it’s about time we caught up with the government when it comes to having parties as we fell a long way behind them during lockdown. So whether you’re a Royalist, a Republican or just have a thing for corgis, make the most of the next few days and I’ll hopefully see you on the trails.

Guy Kesteven is Bike Perfect and Cyclingnews’ contributing tech editor. Hatched in Yorkshire he's been hardened by riding round it in all weathers since he was a kid. He spent a few years working in bike shops and warehouses before starting writing and testing for bike mags in 1996. Since then he’s written several million words about several thousand test bikes and a ridiculous amount of riding gear. To make sure he rarely sleeps and to fund his custom tandem habit, he’s also penned a handful of bike-related books and talks to a GoPro for YouTube, too.


Rides: Pace RC295, Cotic FlareMax, Specialized Chisel, Vielo V+1 gravel bike, Nicolai FS Enduro, Landescape custom gravel tandem

Height: 180cm

Weight: 69kg