In the wake of the expenses scandal, there are likely to be a few million voters out there who would rather send their MP into outer space than vote for them in the forthcoming general election. But it seems that some of our elected representatives are using pedal power to try to get there of their own free will.
New £5,500 bicycle machines have been installed in the House of Commons gym which include TV screens to enable elected members to pretend they are somewhere else – pretty useful when the standards committee comes knocking, we’d have thought.
One programme on the machine allows exercisers to head towards the moon as they turn the pedals. Another presents the scenario of fighting a dragon – we’re picturing Bolsover MP Dennis Skinner pedalling furiously away, fondly reminiscing crossing swords with Margaret Thatcher at Prime Minister’s question time.
According to The Sun, a House of Commons source said: "They are very well used."
Duncan Lawson, who runs Instyle Fitness, supplier of the two machines, added: "The feedback we've had from Westminster Gym shows that it's very popular."
One MP who should exercise – sorry – a bit of caution when it comes to the machine is David Curry. Last year, the Tory politician caused a furore after comparing cyclists to Star Wars villain Darth Vader, so he may want to give the bikes a miss in case he involuntarily heads towards his nemesis, this time equipped with light sabre rather than Lightspeed - as Obi-Wan Kenobi said when first seeing the Death Star, “That’s no moon.”
Born in Scotland, Simon moved to London aged seven and now lives in the Oxfordshire Cotswolds with his miniature schnauzer, Elodie. He fell in love with cycling one Saturday morning in 1994 while living in Italy when Milan-San Remo went past his front door. A daily cycle commuter in London back before riding to work started to boom, he's been news editor at road.cc since 2009. Handily for work, he speaks French and Italian. He doesn't get to ride his Colnago as often as he'd like, and freely admits he's much more adept at cooking than fettling with bikes.