Sheffield FridayNightRide

we have nothing to lose but our chains

2013/02/15 SEX

SFNR SEX Fri 15 Feb
Ride report

Just under 30 riders, about 6 newbies, on a clear, bright, mild night visited the Central Clinic, pedalled out to La Chambre, cruised passed a couple of sauna/massage parlours, drifted back in across Wicker and into town, ran out of time by Brunswick St so headed straight for the Harland where other people had turned up. some riders left then so about 30 for the film (appreciated and enjoyed by all) and about 20 for the SEX pub quiz. Top score 14/20, top prize a Breaking Bad T-shirt. I think this is fun. (Read this last sentence as many times as it takes to stress each word in turn – its all in the reading see?)

Next Sheffield FridayNightRide
15 Feb 2013
Start: 6.30 pm Venue: Barkers Pool

Theme: Sex Pulp had a great song, Sheffield Sex City with Jarvis sexily intoning the names of Sheffield suburbs(!) This will be a ride on the theme of Sheffield and sex – how has sex been found, located, lost, repressed, celebrated in, and impacted upon, Sheffield through place, venue, art, memory, history, words, law, research etc.

There will be entertainment at the end so no ride stops …
….we finish at 8.00 at The Harland Cafe for refreshments and a film at 8.30 A Girl, a Boy and a Bike followed by a Sex ‘Pub’ Quiz (about 10.00).
Refreshments: Pay for your own. It would be really helpful if you would order in advance. This is the menu (the breakfast choices will NOT be available).
Send your order (so you have a copy too) to
If you order then, we have to TRUST that you will turn up; so please do.
If you turn up on the night you can stilll order but it will take longer.
Film: The film is well worth a dekko and if you’re an antiquarian cyclist right up yr street. Its being shown courtesy of the Magic Lantern Film Club or on fb
Everyone will become a MLFC member (£5 for a year – bargain really). It would be really helpful if you complete the membership details and pay on-line beforehand and pick up yr membership card and badge on the night. They’ll have forms on the night as well but again this will slow things up.

And you can just skip the ride and come along for the entertainment and invite who you like to the ride and/or post-ride social – please do!
If the weather is inclement, we’ll just do the social – film and quiz.

Heads up: all on roads should suit any bike
View Sex ( in a larger map

Badge design: Sex

Film review: The film was released in 1949 which was the year before I was born and depicts the world in which I grew up as an infant. My jottings note a world of rationing and national service with whole extended families crowded into rooms not only for ease of filming scenes and progressing the story but also as an accurate depiction of 1949 life because you could only afford to heat one room, there was no central heating and housing was in really short supply. Getting a place (and space) of one’s own is a significant strand in the story.
Bikes cost about £6 (£172 in today’s money) but average earnings were £300 pa which would be about £8300 in 2010 real money. So the bike cost you about 2% of the average (not the median) 1949 p.a. wage. A substantial repair of a bike is quoted as 15/- or 75p; a Mars Bar’s worth of today’s money, try paying with a Snickers next time you’re in the bike shop.
Men were deep and taciturn and working class women are depicted as independent, wage earning, autonomous (and skivvies?).
Love is passionately, impetuously declared and sex is something you may get if you could get onto the settee in the (chilly?) front parlour.
Attitudes to cyclists by motorists is dismissive, and cars v bikes is also a story about rich v poor and upper v working class.
Morality prevails.
It was also a time when smoking was something you did to exercise your lungs and was not even considered as or counterproductive to exercise and damaging to health.
I loved it.

The concise, witty synopsis below was written recently and is on the DVD box.
When a sports car driving toff tangles with a plucky Yorkshire cycling lass he gets more than he expected. The pair are quickly embroiled with a passionate love triangle, criminal bicycle dealers, a champion cyclist who seems reticent about his past, and a young man who has gone off the rails and turned to bike theft to pay his gambling debts.
A dramatic confrontation at the Wakeford Wheelers annual camping trip to the Yorkshire Dales leads on to a gripping finale when the police intervene just before the start of the Northern Road Race Championships so two deadly rivals in love must join forces to save the honour of the Wheelers.
Whether you are a racer or a ‘loiterer’, if you like jolly cycling japes, rugged chaps in rolled up shirtsleeves and cricket sweaters, RADA graduates wrestling with random northern accents or just the young Honor Blackman in shorts, this is for you.

Here’s my ramblings about Sheffield, sex and bicycles

The theme for this ride is Sex, when I thought of it I wanted it to be a bike ride that rode to sites associated with sex – go past all your individual dwellings? Why did I think Sex was a suitable theme? I didn’t know if it would be or not but if you don’t try you’ll never know. As a ride it may well ‘fail’, never mind.

Pulp identified and sang about Sheffield Sex City, but all cities must be sex cities in that sex takes place everywhere. Jarvis starts by breathlessly uttering names of Sheffield neighbourhoods and then there is Candida quoting from a book about the noise of sex within a block of flats and then the song proper starts which has intriguing lyrics about being in love with the city and with his woman and the two being in competition for his attention.
Anyway I wondered how Sex is manifested in physical locations in Sheffield and then I wondered should the ride be about sex (our biological make-up) and/or about gender (your psychological make-up or learned patterns of behaviour) and that distinction is open to debate as to the boundaries. Then I thought who cares? Most just want a bike ride that is enjoyable and stimulating so the ‘flow’ is below.
I did some quick research in the Local Studies Centre and looking up on the library catalogue descriptors like Sex and Sheffield, then descriptors such as: bisexual, courtship, gay, heterosexual, homosexual, lesbian, prostitution, transgender, vice … and most of the results were to do with sexual health. So places associated with sexual health will be a significant part of the ride – see the map and route.

I asked around about where one would go to get sex in Sheffield. Everyone knew of somewhere they had heard about (not that they had been themselves you understand). I trawled Sheffield Forum and Googled sex and Sheffield. If you want to have sex in or near Sheffield there is a wealth of forums and chat lines info on the internet. I Googled sauna parlours and Sheffield and most of these saunas offer sex, mostly for men who have sex with women although there is at least We will ride past a couple of these including the one where all the girls came out to find out what a SFNR was doing outside their doors – we were re-grouping. When asked by one of them in her basque and full slap who we were, I told her and she replied, “I’ll give you a FridayNightRide, love”. This ride leader made his excuses and left.
We’ll pass these places riding to and from Attercliffe, an edgeland where the sex shops seem to have herded together, to note the site of La Chambre the world famous swingers venue. If you want to check it out here is a broadsheet review. And a local newspaper once recounted the story about how he had interviewed the last guests to leave the THF Post House off Fulwood Rd. They were a grey-haired couple in their late 50s/early 60s, dressed like your nanan and grandpa, and finally he asked them why they had come to Sheffield – yep, they had availed themselves of a weekend’s swinging at La Chambre and said it was the best weekend of their lives. We’re not going in but happy to drop riders off
I didn’t think riding around districts where street prostitutes go would be appropriate and maybe seen as prurient. However we will visit Brunswick St as sex certainly made the earth move here. This small block was a site of prostitution and drug dealing in the late 70s/early 80s all aided by a street layout that made kerb crawling easy. The solution was to introduce one way systems, road narrowing, road closures and reconfigure the streets and traffic flows to stop kerb crawling. I lived there from 1988 to 2004 and it was pretty quiet then (just became more studentified).
Sheffield is also infamous as the city where the Yorkshire Ripper was arrested in 1981. He had picked up a prostitute in Broomhall on Broomhall St (down the road from Brunswick St) and taken her to a drive off Melbourne Rd, where a passing patrol car stopped and took him in, he had false plates on his car. Not knowing who he was local police interviewed him, kept him in the cells and got on to W Yorks police as he was a man with a prostitute whose story didn’t gel. They were suspicious and one of the arresting PCs took it into his head to go back to the site of the arrest and found Ripper murder weapons where the Ripper had gone for a piss. Then it all unfolded v rapidly.
Sex is also promised in Sheffield. There is the lap dancing club Spearmint Rhino on Paternoster Row. And the most famous Sheffield striptease has to be the Full Monty, soon to return to Sheffield as a stage play. So we will go past one of the external locations from that movie. Whether you see this film as depicting sex and desperation or sex and empowerment is up to you; or is it nothing more than good, simple fun? Sex was also something one went to watch on film. That is all a bit passé these days with the internet being most commonly used for watching porn, Sheffield’s ‘flea pits’ showing soft porn from the late 60s were Studios 5,6 & 7 on the Wicker, roughly where Derek Dooley Way now is.
Porn and ‘sex-aids’, dontcha just love that term, are sold in Sheffield at a variety of adult or sex shops. We’ll be going past a couple of these. But it doesn’t need to be furtive, why not pop into Anne Summers in Meadowhell which claims it is, “Sheffield’s sexiest store, specialising in beautiful lingerie and sultry treats for him and her. Come and enjoy the Full Monty of shopping experiences and treat yourself to some of our world famous lotions, potions and adult novelties.” I dare you to go and pick up a bottle of lube and ask if you can drink it.

And there is also sex as taught in biology. So every school is a hotbed of sex and the two universities put in a fair effort in terms of research into topics involving sex and/or gender. E.g: Fungal genetics; Sex and behaviour; Chlamydia; The EROS project; Centre for Gender Research; Reproduction and infertility.

Lastly I did try and check out stats for birth rates in Sheffield and I can say there may not be enough sex in Sheffield with a birth rate of 55.4/1000 women aged 15-44, whereas the national average is 63.6/1000. So get to it!

Sex and the bicycle
The bicycle was a form of liberation. It allowed fit young men and women to ride away from home on their own and out of sight of their parents – they could cycle off to have sex! And the bicycle prepared the psychological mindset for the car and the car then became the place where the young could have sex unsupervised and out of sight.

When women took to cycling then pedalling meant that more of a woman’s legs would be seen than was customary. This was deemed by many to be immodest and maybe even provocative to young men who may glimpse these unaccustomed views. Bloomers were invented to ensure that young women could preserve their modesty and cycle in comfort.

Men’s sexual health may be affected by riding a bike (Google it). Riding bikes on “razor sharp” saddles is feared by some to be a cause of infertility, erectile dysfunction and damage to the prostate, testicles and seminal vesicles. (Me? I wear padded shorts).

The bike was and is associated with sexual stimulation. Many men were concerned about the effect of the bicycle on the constitutions of young women for this reason. The rider has to sit on the saddle which presses on the genitals, the saddle vibrates and shudders as the bike travels along the road and the rhythm and the rubbing of the saddle on the genitals are increased or decreased by pedalling faster or slower. All this stimulation would be dangerous as it would lead to a weakening of morals and conduct as more pleasure was sought or attempts were made to explore further any feelings aroused.

Women find themselves in a double bind because if they do decide to explore sex then they themselves can be dubbed the ‘local bike’ – a derogatory term which suggests someone that anyone can jump on and ride at any time and enjoy the experience even if it may be a bit mechanical. There was a very good play (well, I enjoyed it) called The Village Bike at The Crucible last autumn, which was about women, desire, domesticity, relationships and a bike was an essential prop to the story as the main woman character was seduced by the man who sold her the bike and she also pleasurably used the bike to cycle to their assignations.

The bike saddle itself can be envied by men as it is pressed against the woman and there is mention of a fetish of sniffing women’s bicycle saddles (Google it). I did and found this story which made me laugh (and weep). I presume the scent is deemed arousing. (Me? I’d have my head in the saddle bag sniffing the WD40).

There is also condition called mechanophilia. The person cited in these stories from the Telegraph and the BBC may well have this condition ( – or been pissed?). What I like about the BBC story is that they have included a stock library picture of a bike – as if we don’t know what a bike looks like. However, I note in all these stories that the bike has not been described we don’t know whether it is a full bodied roadster with plump tyres and a smooth, firm but supple saddle or if it had a stripped down frame and only a single speed (if you have a partner what type of bike would s/he be?)- and the bike played dumb and didn’t give any quotes or evidence!

I’m hoping the film may calm you all down.

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