Here was a weird day. Standing in an underground lockup in the middle of London looking over a fleet of the Porterlight Deliveroo cargo bikes, I get a phone call from a stranger, with a very strange offer to make. Explaining they were calling from the Work and Pensions office, the caller described how they’d enjoyed having employment minister Damien Hinds come and open our new North London bicycle workshop last month, and wondered if I’d like to take part in another bit of PR.
‘Of course!’ I replied enthusiastically, never one to shy away from a bit of free publicity. OK great, they replied, well we’re looking to have a young entrepreneur take part in an event we’re holding where they could talk about the journey of setting up a new company in the UK, and their journey to get there.
All sounding good so far, I verbally nodded-along down the phone. Thinking about telling my usual story of cycling my prototype cargo bike to Kazakhstan back in 2014.
‘The only difficult bit might just be that the event is our Conservative National Party Conference..’
‘Oh!’ I replied
But placing my love of free publicity above any party-political concerns, and keen to spread the knowledge of how cargo bikes and cycle logistics can change our urban delivery markets, I said I would, and found myself on a train to Birmingham a couple of weeks later.
Taking to the stage later in the day for my allotted 5 minutes of Porterlight promotional story, I explained how I’d built Porterlight from the corner of my living room in 2014 into London’s leading cargo bike builder, employing staff, and exporting globally.
Broadcast live on BBC Politics, I got to wield dramatic arm gestures, and make serious faces to (not really) the whole country.