Jon was born in Epsom, Surrey and has lived in Birmingham, Sheffield, Somerset, Wiltshire, and finally landed in Southampton in 2009. He moved to his current home in Bitterne Park in 2012. He lives with his partner, her daughter, two dogs and four cats, and he has two children of his own, who are both at university. He runs a part-time bicycle repair business, JB Cycles, and repairs bicycles for free as part of the Bike2basics team at the Transition Repair Cafe.
The Qs & the As
What's your link with Bitterne Park?
I’ve lived here since 2012, and my partner’s dad lived in Manor Farm Road in the 50s.
What’s your earliest memory of the area?
Walking through Riverside Park, all the way past Mansbridge as far as Itchen Valley Country Park.
How could the area be better?
Less cars and more space for people, including pedestrians, cyclists, and kids playing in the streets. This could be as simple as having one car-free day a month to something revolutionary like blocking up the Triangle to turn it into a pedestrian area.
Tell us something we probably didn’t know already about Bitterne Park
I’m not sure I can answer that so I’ll tell you something about Southampton instead.
Southampton is a compact city almost exactly the same size as Groningen in the Netherlands, which is one of the best cycling cities in the world. It would be easy to transform Southampton in the same way.
What’s good – or not so good – about the wider city?
The Good – it has to be the people. I have met some amazing people in the last few years involved in all kinds of community projects and groups, who care deeply about the city.
The Bad – too many cars and traffic lights.
What’s your passion in life?
Getting people to see how amazing bicycles can be even for hauling goods around.
How do you put bread on your table?
I have a daytime job selling cameras for microscopes. If I make money repairing bicycles this is my beer money.
What has your career taught you?
Don’t worry too much about things out of your control, enjoy the experiences that you have – good or bad, and try to do something you like: the money will sort itself out somehow.
What really gets your goat?
Idiots on the road - this could be cars drivers, lorry drivers or other cyclists; just people who are inconsiderate.
How do you relax?
Building bicycle wheels is very relaxing.
Which is your favourite pub?
The Frog and Frigate, in Canute Road. This is where my partner and I met. She is the reason I now live in Southampton.
What are you drinking?
Marston’s Pedigree or Gin & Tonic.
What do you listen to?
My one of my favourite bands growing up was ELO, so I was very excited to see Jeff Lynne’s ELO play at Glastonbury this year. Bowie’s last album Blackstar was astounding: he will be missed. 1 Hyde Park by the Dowling Poole is also worth a listen.
Can you recommend a really good read?
Anything by Terry Pratchett.
What’s a great day out?
Going for a really long walk with my dogs.
What scares you?
Being ill – I hate even having a cold.
What would you most like to change - in the world and in yourself?
I wish that we didn’t live in a world where having more stuff is more important than being happy. I would like to be braver and take more risks.
What’s on your ‘bucket list’?
I don’t really covet stuff too much and I want to live a life that I don’t have to have a holiday from. One thing I’d really like to do would be to create a community cycling hub in Southampton.
Tell us a joke
I used to live in Wiltshire so I hope people get it!
Q - Why don’t people in Wiltshire eat chips?
A – Because they have no Devizes for Chippenham
Finally, what would be another great question for other Bitterne Parkers?
How many fingers am I holding up?
Thanks so much for taking part.
Tune in next time when another Bitterne Parker answers our searching questions.