It might have escaped your attention, but there’s about to be a general election in the UK. Hopefully you’ve already registered to vote and are planning on exercising your democratic right to do so on December 12th. If you haven’t registered, or you’re not sure if you have, get onto it pronto – you must have registered by 11:59pm on Tuesday 26th November. And have you thought about where you’ll be on 12th December, election day? Maybe you’ll be busy at a staff Christmas do? Off on a skiing holiday, or a winter sunshine MTB break? In which case, you need to submit your application for a postal vote to your local Electoral Registration Office by 5pm on Tuesday 26th November, or 21st November if you’re in Northern Ireland.
But why should you bother? You are a mountain biker, a free spirit, a shredder of gnar, and #VanLife needs no top down government. Smash the system, turn on tune in and drop out. No? Whatever your political views, voting does matter, and here are six totally contrived reasons why mountain bikers should vote in order for us to justify a listicle on a mountain bike website about how important it is for us all to vote.
1. You need healthcare.
Whether you want to pay for it, or want to get it through the NHS, you’re probably going to need some healthcare at some point. It might just be a spot of physio for a tender knee caused by too much pedalling, it might be a broken collar bone, or it could be a full on emergency airlift spinal smash horror crash. As mountain bikers we break ourselves in many different ways, and how you vote can affect the treatments that will be available to you.
2. You need to buy things
Even if you don’t have a large shed and an n+1 habit, something is going to break on your bike and need replacing. Probably a few days before an event for which you really need it. How much that new part is going to cost you will depend on all sorts of complicated factors like trade deals, currency values and inflation. The same applies to almost anything you buy, including all the boring essential things – which will influence how many pennies you have left over to spend on the fun stuff, like bikes. They are fun, really, even if they do break.
3. You need workplace rights.
Whether you’re planning days off to go bike riding, worried about enforced days off after an accident, or wondering how you’re going to get that pay rise that’s going to pay for the next n+1, your rights at work matter. How you vote could affect your entitlement to holidays, sick pay, collective bargaining, or ability to fight dismissal when you call in ‘sick’ after a big weekend of riding. It’s governments that make these rules so you should be involved in picking one.
4. We quite like to travel
The next election will determine what the arrangements are in the future for our relationship with Europe. That will include border controls. Will it still be easy to nips over to the Alps or the Pyrenees for a spot of big mountain fun? Or will there be added complications? We can’t pretend we know the answers, but the different parties have different ideas about how all this might work in the future. How do you want it to be?
5. You need transport infrastructure
We all like mountain bikes, but how good would it be if we could ride to work on cycle lanes? Or to the shops? Or with our kids to school? With all that extra pedal turning, imagine how awesome we’d be with all that extra fitness to take to the trails. Or maybe you’re more concerned with how long it takes you to drive up the motorway to the mountains. If you have a view on what our transport infrastructure should look like, you should vote.
6. You don’t want your only bike to be a fat bike
Whether you believe everything is warming up and we’re heading for a desert, or the next ice age is coming, either option is likely to have you reaching for a fat bike – sand tyres or ice spikes. With so many other tyre sizes to choose from, this would be a tragedy. Use your vote to influence environmental policy and prevent this from happening.
Well, if the sacrifice of your ancestors and these six reasons haven’t persuaded you to vote, we don’t know what will. But if you’re now all worked up in the name of democracy then make sure you’re registered to vote (and don’t forget to actually go and put your X in the box on polling day, 12th December).
Thursday 12th December 2019
Register to vote here: https://www.gov.uk/register-to-vote
-Register by 11:59pm on 26 November to vote in the General Election on 12 December.
-If you want to apply to vote by post, register before:
5pm on 26 November if you live in England, Scotland or Wales
5pm on 21 November if you live in Northern Ireland
If you’re going to be abroad on election day, you can apply to vote by proxy after you’ve registered. It takes time to vote by post from overseas.