“Beat the Tube strike, get a bike!” During the 48-hour shutdown of London Underground in February 2014, thousands did just that and took to two wheels. During the General Strike of 1926, the middle-class volunteers who drove trains were strike breakers. Similarly, these two-wheeled commuters were trying to beat the Tube strike.
With every turn of a bicycle wheel, human freedom is advanced. Cyclists do not have to face timetables; through their own sweat, they make their way in the world, free from following rigid lines of steel and electricity. The bike is individualism in action.
The bicycle is a reminder of the freedoms people enjoyed in the lost Victorian days. You pay no taxes or duties; you need no licence, permit or certificate of proficiency - you just get on your bike. And any cyclist with road sense will have a relaxed attitude towards highways regulations. It is absurd to give dog-like obedience to a red light when your eyes and ears tell you it is safe to go.
The bike has always pedalled individual freedom forward. The Lady Cyclists’ Association, founded in 1892, knew that it not only gave women an escape from home and husband, but also a reason to throw off constricting dresses. Many lady cyclists, for practical reasons, made cause with the Rational Dress Society who opposed “the introduction of any fashion in dress that either deforms the figure or impedes the movement of the body”.
The car is no longer a symbol of freedom, so if you want to feel free, go on two wheels.
I. READING COMPREHENSION
1.- Are the following statements TRUE or FALSE? Copy the evidence from the text. No marks are given for only TRUE or FALSE. (Puntuación máxima: 2 puntos)
a) According to the text, traffic lights are essential for the safety of cyclists.
b) Nowadays, driving gives you more liberty than cycling.
2.- In your own words and based on the ideas in the text, answer the following questions. Do not copy from the text. (Puntuación máxima: 2 puntos)
- a) Explain how Londoners reacted to the transport strike in 1926 and in 2014. PAR.1
- b) How did cycling affect women in the past? PAR.4
II. USE OF ENGLISH3.- Find the words in the text that mean: (Puntuación máxima: 1 punto)
- a) exactly (paragraph 1): just
- b) schedules (paragraph 2): timetables
- c) created (paragraph 4): founded
- d) get rid of (paragraph 4): throw off
4.- Complete the following sentences. Use the appropriate form of the word in brackets when given. (Puntuación máxima: 2 puntos)
- a) I remember biking (bike) with my friends when I was a teenager in the village where I was born.
- b) The Lady's Association to protect women’s health was founded (found) by Victorian women, who were much more advanced than you can imagine.
- c) “Cyclists must wear a helmet”. This statement appears in UK parks where it is compulsory to do (do) so.
- d) Complete the following sentence to report what was said.
- “Why don’t we go for a walk tomorrow if the weather is fine?”
- John suggested going for a walk the following day if the weather was fine.
III. WRITING5.- Write about 100 to 150 words on the following topic. (Puntuación máxima: 3 puntos)
- What are the advantages and disadvantages of cycling in big cities?