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Jeremy Corbyn reveals his dream bike – but is it too expensive for a socialist?

Leader of the opposition covets a red Raleigh Criterium

Leader of the Opposition Jeremy Corbyn says his dream bike is a red Raleigh Criterium – and has found himself the subject of a sly dig in the right wing press over its £475 price tag.

The Labour leader and Islington North MP told Stylist magazine that the bike was his ultimate object of desire, prompting a rather snarky piece on Telegraph.co.uk by Helen Horton published under the headline “Socialist Jeremy Corbyn reveals he covets a £475 bicycle.”

A sub-heading beneath added: “This revelation comes after fellow left-winger Nicola Sturgeon was spotted in expensive outerwear” – we’ll come back to that.

- Read our Raleigh Criterium review

Horton wrote: “What does everyone's favourite bearded MP travel on to pick up his croissants in the morning? Apparently, it's a Raleigh bicycle, retailing at £475.”

In his piece for Stylist, Corbyn wrote: “I use my bike less frequently now that I’m leader of the Labour Party, but I still prefer to cycle whenever I can.

"Not only is it free, environmentally friendly and often the fastest way to travel, but it also gives the snappers outside my house a bit of variety.

"This aluminium-framed Raleigh Criterium, like my own trusty red Raleigh, is light and therefore fast, but comfortable for longer rides too – I recently rode mine with Olympic gold medallist Sir Bradley Wiggins (shameless namedrop) and it ensured I kept up with him.

"This unisex model is a great all-rounder whether you’re a beginner or looking for a new ride, although as I’m a big believer in repairing rather than replacing, I suspect I will have my own long after my leadership.”

The Telegraph journalist was quick to spot that both the bike Corbyn wants and the one he has are made by Raleigh, and both are red.

She said: “It's unclear whether his own bicycle cost £475 - but the socialist MP did reveal that his bike is 'like' the one he recommended, and is also a red Raleigh, so it is likely it cost a similar amount.”

Well, not quite. Of the 26 road bikes listed on the Raleigh website, the Criterium sits at the very bottom of the price scale. As we reported on Monday the Raleigh range now tops out with the £6,000 limited edition Militis Team SRAM Red eTap model, and guess what? It’s red.

The politician’s choice of a bicycle as his favoured means of transport has attracted reactions ranging from bemusement to outright hostility from some elements of the press – remember the furore over his Christmas card last year?

> Corbyn’s bicycle Christmas card – too cool for Yule?

As for Scotland’s First Minister Sturgeon, Horton notes that she “was spotted in £130 Hunter Wellington boots which cost rather more than David Cameron's carefully selected £12.99 pair.”

Those boots were indeed “carefully selected” for the Prime Minister by an aide as revealed in Sir Anthony Seldon’s book, Cameron at 10: The Inside Story 2010-2015.

He told of how Cameron, who has a home in the Cotswolds, was prevented from sporting his own Hunter wellies when he visited flood victims in Somerset in 2014, because it was felt they would make him look too much of a toff.

Instead, an aide popped down to Asda and picked up a budget pair costing £12.99, though the ruse backfired due to their very obvious shiny newness.

Whether it’s the Labour Party leader desiring a bike that costs a little over a third of  the price of an annual zone 1 and 2 Travelcard, or the Prime Minister’s staff splashing out on a pair of bargain basement Wellington boots when he already owns a perfectly serviceable pair, image in politics, it seems, is everything.

Simon joined road.cc as news editor in 2009 and is now the site’s community editor, acting as a link between the team producing the content and our readers. A law and languages graduate, published translator and former retail analyst, he has reported on issues as diverse as cycling-related court cases, anti-doping investigations, the latest developments in the bike industry and the sport’s biggest races. Now back in London full-time after 15 years living in Oxford and Cambridge, he loves cycling along the Thames but misses having his former riding buddy, Elodie the miniature schnauzer, in the basket in front of him.

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30 comments

Avatar
sox | 8 years ago
0 likes

If Jeremy Corbyn cancelled his Telegraph subscription (!)  (£468 per year) he could easily afford the bike.

I'm no Corbyn-ite, but I also don't buy the Telegraph.

I'm using the money I save on not buying the Telegraph, to put towards a Channel Island and maybe a place in Monaco, if the rich Twins (who own the Telegraph) want to sell them.  (www.bbc.co.uk/news/magazine-31517392).

I think I'll be saving for a long while.....

 

Avatar
The_Vermonter | 8 years ago
2 likes

I'm a Socialist and own a Venge S-Works and Roubaix. Good thing I barely have any say over what I have for tea much less national policy or I'd be drawn and quartered by Conservatives.

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Beatnik69 | 8 years ago
2 likes

I noticed on Twitter this morning tha someone had started a crowdfunding campaign to buy him his ideal bike and annoy the right-wing media. They have raised over £2200 as it stands!

http://www.crowdfunder.co.uk/lets-get-jez-his-dream-bike/

Avatar
birzzles | 8 years ago
0 likes

As a socialist i imagine he expects someone else to pay for it.

Avatar
Chris James replied to birzzles | 8 years ago
3 likes
birzzles wrote:

As a socialist i imagine he expects someone else to pay for it.

You have a vivid imagination

Avatar
arfa | 8 years ago
2 likes

Pathetic. £475 is roughly what it would cost per month to lease a top end "executive" car.
What a dismal piece of smearing (and I am no defender of Corbyn). It would be better if our politicians spoke out in favour of the last British built and designed bicycle, the Brompton.

Avatar
samuri | 8 years ago
3 likes

They're taking the mickey not because he covets an expensive bike but because he covets a cheap one. To tories, covetting something cheap will be an appalling lack of class and ambition. They're using this to undermine him to the public who (they believe) will all desire Ferrari's, gold watches and mansions. 'How can you support this man when all he wants in life is a £500 bike?'.

Obviously they're right about a large portion of the British public who will have at least one telly in their house that costs more than that.

Can you imagine the bankers trying to buy him off like they do with the Tories? They'd be sticking gold bars in their eyes in frustration.

 

 

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Stumps | 8 years ago
0 likes

Perhaps, at his age, if he can keep up with Mr Wiggins on an old Raleigh, perhaps he is in the wrong job, fingers crossed.

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Veloism | 8 years ago
1 like

Is this news?

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juniper bushes | 8 years ago
1 like

Just as well he didn't have press snappers interested in him a few years ago, when on longer rides he was sometimes seen sporting a rather fetching red rapha jersey

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pakennedy | 8 years ago
0 likes

A friend recently commented on the amount you can spend on bikes these days when a couple of us were looking at expensive kit. He pointed out that were be lucky to get change out of £5k for a set of wheels and a pump.

It took some googling to find a £1000 pump...

Avatar
Batchy | 8 years ago
3 likes

Well I am a socialist and it doesn't seem to stop me lusting after a Pinnarello Dogma F8 !

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ianrobo replied to Batchy | 8 years ago
1 like
Batchy wrote:

Well I am a socialist and it doesn't seem to stop me lusting after a Pinnarello Dogma F8 !

and I brought my Izalco Max.

The followes of Dear Leader thinks socialism means you work hard and give all your money to 'deserving causes' . These causes tend to be their favourite hobby horses which they use for their own corrupt means.

My socialism is that I dont mind paying taxes so that the money is used for the greater good, be it education, NHS, welfare etc. The more money I earn then the more I will spend and the more I will pay in taxes to afford these things.

My socialism is not reading Mao's red book or thinking Communist East Germany was a ideal.

 

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SteppenHerring | 8 years ago
0 likes

Given the setup of the oganisation that makes them, the ultimate socialist bike would have to be an Orbea.

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mike the bike | 8 years ago
5 likes

Raleigh Criterium?  I tried it when I was a student but the bloody thing kept veering left or, more annoyingly, doing unexpected U-turns.  However, as a bonus, I found I could ride away from my friends and take up a completely isolated position at the front.

Avatar
Batchy | 8 years ago
1 like

Did I just see Jeremy Hunt riding a bike across a footway/pavement ? ? On a bike that probably cost a lot more than £475 ?  ( BBC News )

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FluffyKittenofT... replied to Batchy | 8 years ago
3 likes
Batchy wrote:

Did I just see Jeremy Hunt riding a bike across a footway/pavement ? ? On a bike that probably cost a lot more than £475 ?  ( BBC News )

Giving the rest of us a bad name!

Only the other day an angry white van man shouted at me "bloody cyclists, when are you going to stop using distorted statistics and grossly misrepresented studies about hospital admissions at weekends in order to speed the dismantling of the NHS?!!"...before trying to run me off the road.

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Reedo | 8 years ago
1 like

Glaring omission: est. market value of his current bike?

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Mungecrundle | 8 years ago
5 likes

Whilst material possessions are but mere baubles, I have to say that I find his lack of ambition even in a daydream somewhat uninspiring.

 

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FluffyKittenofT... | 8 years ago
4 likes

At first I couldn't work out if the sneer was supposed to be that the bike was too expensive or that it was too cheap. I mean, I seriously doubt any Telegraph journo spent less than that on their own primary form of transport (even rail season tickets cost more than that and I can't see them driving an old jalopy).

But I guess the comparison with the £130 wellington boots means they really do think that counts as 'expensive'. They really do live on another planet at the Telegraph (I guess that's why they don't much care what happens to this one).

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cdamian | 8 years ago
6 likes

I wonder how much the cars of the people costs who are complaining about this "expensive"

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Batchy | 8 years ago
4 likes

I wonder if Jez's £475 Raleigh is made in China ? If it is, then the Tory establishment twats will be well suited because that's where all our nuclear power stations and railways are going to come from ! 

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CumbrianDynamo | 8 years ago
8 likes

It probably costs less than the amount Sajid Javid tried to claim on expenses for heating his fucking stables.

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NeilG83 | 8 years ago
10 likes

A £475 Raleigh! It's not exactly extravagant. It's like saying your dream car is a Ford Fiesta. 

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nortonpdj | 8 years ago
7 likes

Respect to Mr. Corbyn for prefering to cycle whenever he can, but I feel sorry for the bloke if he covets this bike.

Surely coveting should be reserved for something decent. My coveting is more in the direction of a C60.

And as for Helen Horton of the Telegraph, she merely makes a fool of herself by suggesting that this is an expensive (read "elitist") bike.

 

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darrylxxx | 8 years ago
12 likes

"too expensive for a socialist?"

Oh, FFS. Being a socialist is nothing to do with how much you have, how much you earn, or how much you spend.

Avatar
Carton replied to darrylxxx | 8 years ago
3 likes
darrylxxx wrote:

"too expensive for a socialist?"

Oh, FFS. Being a socialist is nothing to do with how much you have, how much you earn, or how much you spend.

There are several definitions to the world socialist. If you affiliate with the World Socialist Movement, or with the Socialist party of Great Britain from which it sprung, you adhere to the "in socialism, everybody would have free access to the goods and services designed to directly meet their needs and there need be no system of payment for the work that each individual contributes to producing them" definition most widely used. The other usual use-case for the word is as shorthand for democratic socialist, as in Jeremy Corbyn is a socialist. And while democratic socialism is at times muddled with social democracy, true democratic socialist ideology remains antithetical to any sort of capitalism or currency in the long term.

In any case, it's not really that difficult to find displays of ostentatious wealth somewhat incompatible with socialist pretensions.

Finding someone labelling a basic commuter, which can be bought for slightly more than what an average UK family's spends on petrol every month, as a "dream bike" to be a sign of out-of-touch ostentation is however somewhere far past ludicrous and well into the realm of the cartoonishly stupid or unabashedly disingenuous.

 

Avatar
Chris | 8 years ago
12 likes

I like how the Telegraph think £475 is a lot of money for someone's dream bike. That's funny.

I don't undestand why they think being a socialist means having no money or not spending the money you earn from your well paid job. That's bonkers.

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Danger Dicko | 8 years ago
11 likes

Snarky comments from the Tory, I mean Telegraph?!

Well fuck me!!!

Avatar
jackhannaford | 8 years ago
3 likes

If only they knew how much a decent set of wheels can set you back..

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