A modern day London based power ranger HARVEY WITH PERMISSION FOR VARSITY

Naturally, when outside of Cambridge, your mind forgets the chaos of rush hour when a peloton of students whizz past you to Downing Site or Sidgwick. However, perhaps my Instagram algorithm sensed this when Harvey Rides Bikes popped up. I tried to suppress a chuckle to myself in Pret as I watched this anonymous biker narrate an imagined race between himself and other bikers around London. Swapping the vaguely serene Cambridge for my life in London, what could be more apt than sitting down with someone who embodies a new generation of biking culture.

“Juxtaposing the high octane nature of his 1000cc bike with love boops”

Whilst sporting a delightful Triumph Bonneville T120, rather than a second hand Raleigh from Facebook marketplace, Harvey is providing the internet with some light hearted relief. Harvey juxtaposes the high octane nature of his 1000cc bike with “love boops”, infamously dishing out either Haribo Starmix or Tangfastics into the unsuspecting hands of drivers (don’t worry the current tally at the time of writing has both Starmix and Tangfastics equal). In doing so, he quashes the traditional biker stereotype one bag of Haribo at a time.

Harvey’s wholesome nature and an inner monologue that we can all relate to has taken the internet by petrol fuelled storm. Harvey met me on a drizzly day in July appropriately with a bike helmet in hand, with a go-pro attached to the front. Whilst his work rucksack contained an assortment of Haribo, work laptop and, roguely, an oboe in need of refurbishment, we sat down to reveal how Harvey Rides Bikes came into being.

“The Stig is in fact his father”

Growing up in the bucolic countryside of the Surrey hills, it is unsurprising that Harvey prefers to take the scenic routes across and around London that being on a bike allows for. After starting out as a personal trainer, Harvey fell into working in property. Fortuitously his first role necessitated him bopping about on a motorbike whilst conducting site inspections. However, it wasn’t until eight years later when an opportunity to ride his uncle’s bike around the Cotswolds did Harvey’s penchant for bikes that had power akin to rocket ships was born.

The progression from 280 followers to 28,000 was practically an overnight transition, with Harvey’s narration of a race between himself and another biker noted to be “whizzy boi”. He now has a high follower rate that steadily increases with every slickly edited montage that is posted. The quirks of startling people with comments like “you’re not coming to my birthday party” when almost faced with an incident of road rage, make people stop in their tracks and naturally smile. Emphasising how one ever so small act can be incredibly powerful in changing someone’s day.


Mountain View

Ageing disgracefully – the life and times of a mature student

The editing of his work is helped on occasion by a videographer friend, however, heavy metal music both is interwoven and an inspiration for the content that Harvey produces. A youthful foray of being an adept gamer of RuneScape, and subsequently editing recordings of these lends itself naturally to his montages of capturing the streets of London. Whilst it probably rather helps that Harvey’s flatmate is in the band Blue Eyed Giants, I can’t help but imagine that alternative rock and gentle melodies are interspersed with a revving of an engine. Harvey humming along to heavy metal tracks from inside his helmet gives a personality to the power ranger-esque alter egos that blacked out biker helmets may sometimes allude to.

As a child of the late nineties I couldn’t help but see the parallels between Harvey’s online persona and that of the Stig. Harvey rather tongue in cheekily noted that the Stig is in fact his father, please infer the appropriate Star Wars related reference here. Naturally, I am not going to question the actual veracity of this. This mystique combined with the organic and wholesome nature of his content is quite the charming combination.

When asked about what guidance Harvey might give other bikers (and cyclists, for the Cambridge audience), aside from the classic and notably sensible “to be careful in Bus lanes”, another pearl of wisdom included “not to take it too seriously”. Naturally this may be why Harvey is planning a group cycle dressed as a banana.

So if you fancied following some wholesome content to provide you with a wry smile on occasion, Harvey Rides Bikes could be the one for you. I did try and press Harvey on what he preferred, Starmix or Tangfastics, he confirmed that until he reaches 100,000 followers, similar to his identity — that is strictly under wraps.