Thursday, 3 February 2011

Uncle Eric and his rubber knickers

A massive thanks to BrownhillsBob ( who pointed me to this fascinating Uncle Eric Pickles interview ( This is the inspiration for the latest bike related freedom of information request to DCLG. I must state categorically that I am not interested in Uncle Eric in rubber knickers at all. No. Never. No.

[  I was going to include an image of rubber knickers but after searching through 15 pages of google images I could not find anything suitable  ]

Dear Chums

Please please help me.

I am in real trouble with Mrs Tickles. Whilst she was upstairs last night bathing the twins I decided to do a bit of surfing on her iPhone. Sadly I did not hear her come back downstairs and she looked over my shoulder to see a rather unpleasant sight (or actually site). I tried to explain what I was doing and she was having none of it. So after a rather uncomfortable night on the sofa I thought I should try to resolve this marital impasse and contact you.

I guess you want to know what I was looking at? Well I will tell you but please dear reader do not enter this into google and make the mistake I made.  I had entered into google the words “rubber knickers”.

Yes there you go. Think what you like but I can assure you that I have not developed a kinky fetish. I was simply trying to understand what Uncle Eric was blabbering on about the other day.

Recently on a wonderful podcast ( ) Uncle Eric was interviewed about cycling. He said:

Well I mean, I’m a fat guy and me on a bicycle is not a pretty sight….Well, not everybody can pedal in rubber knickers up and down the place to go to work.”

I possibly agree with the first statement even without the reference to being on a bike but I am baffled why he wanted to mention rubber knickers. I am sorry but I am scared…

My request relates to cycling. As the coalition is keen to promote a healthy, green image I am hoping that DCLG are encouraging staff to make more use of bikes and this is being ridden from the top. It is wonderful way to keep healthy, reduce carbon emission and keep alert. It may even help poor Grant Shapps keep awake during the day.

1)      Can you provide details of any DCLG bikes that are available for staff to use for journeys between Departments?

2)      Number of ‘Boris bike’ account keys that have been bought to allow staff to make the short journeys between departments?

3)      Details of secure bicycle parking so that staff can lock up bikes and the young SpAds can lock up their BMXs?

4)      Is DCLG a member of the cycle to work scheme? If so how many staff took advantage of this offer for the latest year?

And finally can we please have no more mention of rubber knickers.

On your bike …


1 comment:

  1. Derek,

    I must congratulate you. Until now, I had been content to watch and nod approvingly at 'Uncle Eric' when he came on the telly and put the world to rights. But I see now, the error of my ways, I shall join you and become an armchair auditor in my own right. I'm not nearly as bouncy and full of fun as Uncle Eric and you, but I'm just itching to do my bit.

    Are you as shocked as I am, at the apparent failure of Uncle Eric to get his message across? DCLG staff seem to disagree that "my department as a whole is managed well"
    I hope that we can rectify this, surely 'Grizzly Bob' Kerslake would welcome a helpful suggestion or two.

    I salute you sir!

    Meg Sparks