A crowdfunding campaign to buy Jeremy Corbyn his £475 dream bike has raised more than two thousand pounds in less than 24 hours.
Impish Corbyn supporters launched the project in response to a snarky piece on Telegraph.co.uk published yesterday under the headline “Socialist Jeremy Corbyn reveals he covets a £475 bicycle” after the Labour leader revealed to Stylist magazine a red Raleigh Criterium was his ultimate object of desire.
The crowdfunder, titled Let’s get Jez his dream bike! was set up, founders say, “to annoy the right wing press”. At the time of writing the campaign had achieved around £2,300; the extra money raised will go to charity.
The person behind the campaign, calling themselves J-Dawg, says: “On the 13th of January Helena Horton of the Telegraph attempted the rags most pathetic smear of Jeremy Corbyn to date, suggesting the Labour leader was being frivolous in his desire to one day own a Raleigh Criterium bicycle, valued at £475.”
It goes on to say that compared with the £500,000 former Communities and Local Government secretary, Eric Pickles, spent on limos over three years, “Jezza's desire for eco-friendly transport at 1000th of that cost is not unreasonable.
It says: “I propose we make his dreams come true, by crowd funding his bicycle in time for his birthday in May. I will stick a quid in and all we need is 474 other people to do the same, in order to put a smile on Jez's face, but primarily it will really annoy the Telegraph, the Mail, the Sun, the Tories, UKIP ect. It will definitely be funny!”
In Horton’s article for the Telegraph, she 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.”
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.”
As we at road.cc pointed out, however, all red Raleighs are not created equal. Of the 26 road bikes listed on the Raleigh website the Criterium sits at the very bottom of the price scale, and as we reported on Monday the Raleigh range now tops out with the £6,000 limited edition Militis Team SRAM Red eTap model, which is also red.
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.”