Jeremy Corbyn often cycles up north, taking on one of Sir Bradley Wiggins’s most frequented routes.
The Labour leader told the Olympic cyclist - who was guest editor of BBC Radio 4’s Today Programme - that his favourite place to take his bike is Rivington Pike, near Chorley.
Keen to impress Sir Bradley, the Islington North MP took his aluminium-framed Raleigh bike.
When asked if his bike was the “famous Chairman Mao bicycle”, he quipped: “The Chairman Mao bicycle is, you know those pigeon bikes that are very heavy with not many gears, weigh a ton and once you get them going they’ve got their own kinetic energy, but this one is actually a very light one so I think whoever wrote it was a Chairman Mao bicycle should be sent away for re-education.”
On cycle clothing, Mr Corbyn added: “I was thinking maybe I should just cycle in one day in my Lycra, go into Parliament in the chamber with my Lycra.”
Mr Corbyn reflected on how his life has changed since becoming opposition leader, explaining: “The downside of it is very intrusive media, it is different and very full-on. You lead a very full-on life so you must have the same kind of feelings that you have to do something else with your life as well. Working 24/7 doesn’t mean you’re producing 24/7.”
I was thinking I should go into Parliament one day in LycraSir Bradley Wiggins
With Sir Bradley, whose wife hails from Shevington, being a keen sportsman, Mr Corbyn discussed the difference between the two, despite them both being very competitive.
He said: “The parallel with sport is an interesting one because it’s half a parallel because in sport yes you’re in it, in the English tradition, to take part but in reality you’re in it to win.
“Politics is slightly different in the sense that I am not that competitive a person in that sense - I am much more a community cooperative kind of person. I never really thought I’d ever be appointed to any position so my aspiration, insofar as I had a personal aspiration, was to do my best to represent people and take up causes.”
Mr Corbyn said the Labour leadership brought with it a “huge amount of work and pressure.”
He added: “But basically very enjoyable so I quite enjoy pressure, I don’t worry about things particularly I just get on with it.”
But to take his mind off politics, he revealed that he unwinds by growing vegetables on his allotment and doing woodwork. And he is a baker, as he makes jam and bread.