Ed Miliband has revealed in a new book that he only mastered the art of riding a bicycle aged 50 – and was put off using an adult tricycle because he was worried about the paparazzi.
The former Labour leader, now 51, said he was always a 'very, very nervous [bicycle] rider' as a child.
However, after hiring an e-bike while on holiday in France he had 'an epiphany' and a 'eureka moment'.
In his new book, Go Big, which is being serialised by the Guardian, he said: “You know how most children learn to ride a bike around five or six?
"Well, I learned late – about 11 or 12 – and have always been a very, very nervous rider.
"What’s more, having learned, I left it more than three decades before doing anything more than a few minutes of uncomfortable wobbling.
“We went through six prime ministers, drainpipe trousers, Duran Duran, the invention of the internet, email, Twitter, Facebook, the bacon sandwich incident – and still I resisted two wheels.
"When the first lockdown began and people were discouraged from using public transport, I had to work out how I could get to work in an environmentally friendly way.
“This led to a brief flirtation with an adult tricycle – as in I test-drove one (nervously) but somehow it didn’t seem for me. I was a bit worried about the stigma (and the photos).
“Then, aged 50, and in Europe’s mountain-biking capital – the French resort of Châtel – I had an epiphany: electric bikes were fun.
"Then back in London I started venturing out on local journeys and have now even made it to work. I now have the zeal of a convert.”
Miliband, who has also called in his new book for a 'cycling revolution' as the covid pandemic brought into focus the public appetite for better, safer cycling infrastructure.
He added: “The response to the Covid crisis has reminded us that there is nothing inevitable about how we use our public space...
"More than three quarters of Brits said they supported permanent measures to encourage more walking and cycling.
"Ultimately, the big idea here isn’t actually about transport; it’s about building a better life for people: ensuring everyone can live in a clean and attractive neighbourhood and giving them more choice about how to get around."