Bicycle City Light Blues… a song for Cambridge by Hobson’s Voice

This article was published in 2013, in Newsletter 110.

HOBSON’S VOICE is a Cambridgeshire folk group. They describe their genre as ‘modern concert-party folk’. They perform occasionally to such groups as Heritage Groups, WIs and village organisations and also sing from time to time in the odd folk club or pub. HOBSON’S VOICE supports the Cambridge charity for young carers (Centre 33) and St. Mary’s Church, Over… ALL money received for any sales of their CD FEN FOLK, which includes the track ‘Bicycle City Light Blues’, goes to those two charities. They shall be singing ‘Bicycle City Light Blues’ in The Guildhall on 11 October as one of their first ‘WELCOME TO CAMBRIDGE’ items to the Centenary Conference Dinner of the Workers’ Education Association, at which the Mayor and many other important figures of Cambridge and elsewhere will be present.

They say, ‘Our city is a place where people come with dreams and hope, where they want to share in the life, whether town, gown or over and above these’. We bring this all together in our song, ‘Bicycle City Light Blues’.

‘Bicycle City Light Blues’ is a gentle anthem, with an ear-catching tune and refrain :’Bicycle City, Can I call you my home….?’ They suggested it would be good for cycling and the image of Cambridge as The Cycling City if as many people as possible in and beyond Cambridge knew this song and had the phrase as a little ‘ear-worm’ which came out automatically when the name ‘Cambridge’ was sounded.

Listen at

Former county councillor Shona Johnstone has reviewed the song for the Newsletter.

When I retired as a councillor last May, the last thing I expected to be doing was writing for the Cambridge Cycling Campaign. However listening to ‘Bicycle City Light Blues’ brought back so many memories of my life on the council, particularly my time responsible for transport and cycling in the city. Its opening lines – standing on Castle Hill – reminded me of the time when I cycled around the city with members of the Cycling Campaign and someone kindly let me try out a recumbent bike. And standing on Castle Hill brings back memories of watching cyclists either sail or struggle up Castle Hill – there never seem to be any half measures, it’s either one or the other! When you think of Cambridge, inevitably bikes (and the University) are one of the first things that come to mind. When I first came to Cambridge over thirty years ago bringing a bike was not optional; I knew it was the only way to get around the city. So the line about calling the city ‘my home’ is one that resonates with me. I know of so many people who came here as students and have never left, but it is a welcoming city, full of rich traditions and culture. ‘Bicycle City Light Blues’ reminds us of that culture, but there are other similarities – singing and cycling (so long as the hills aren’t too steep!) both have a ‘feel-good’ factor to them, or at least, I have always found it to be the case. So if you believe in cycling and if you love Cambridge, then this song is for you – enjoy!