I GREW up in the age of the original I-Spy books. (Yes, I am seriously chronologically challenged).

I often spent my sixpence (2.5p) pocket-money at the local newsagent on one of these pocket-sized books.

They contained about 80 black-and-white sketched illustrations of everyday sights.

When I saw something in a sketch I ticked the box and wrote down where and when.

I got points, with more points for rarer things. When I’d seen everything in the book, I sent it to Big Chief I-Spy, all ticked off.

The series included titles like ‘Horses and ponies’, ‘Aircraft’, ‘Cars’, ‘Road Transport’, “The Wheel”. But there was never one for ‘Pedal cycles’.

The road where I live in Oxford happens to be part of Sustrans National Cycle Network Route NCN51 (more later in OYB about Oxford NCN routes). Within towns and cities, NCN routes offer less hostile, more family-friendly places to cycle along, away from big vehicles and busy traffic.

The consequence for me is that all kinds of shapes and sizes of pedal-propelled vehicles go past my front window every day – an extensive range of “mutant” species and subspecies. Two wheelers are most common, but there are sometimes three-wheelers – even the occasional one-wheeler unicycle. One seaters, two seaters, three-seaters: yes. But I’ve not yet seen a 12-seater PediBus like they have in London. There are bikes with tag-alongs behind where a child has its own saddle and pedals: even a tandem with a tag-along, but that’s rare. There are bikes or trikes with child-spaces in front, or behind: with the children side by-side, or facing each other. I’ve seen one with a sidecar (that’s a pushbike sidecar, not a motorbike sidecar).

Sometimes a child-space is occupied by shopping: packs of beer, or cat litter or whatever. From time to time a plain cargo bike passes, carrying an online order for delivery to someone’s front door. Bikes adapted for the disabled intermittently go by. These varied species make a truly gladdening sight. It shows what happens when a cycle route feels safe.

To my mind it’s vital that planners wake up to this variety. They need to plan unobstructed cycleways and cycle parking, suitable for all species of bikes. For inspiration they should watch videos like the Streetfilms series, who specialise in capturing on-screen everyday cycling in international cities (www.streetfilms.org/). (There’s a Cambridge Streetfilm, but not an Oxford one: time to put that right!).

They should visit the Ferry Leisure Centre early on a Saturday morning, where brilliant examples of the varied species congregate, as the kids go in to swim. Maybe someone should now publish a modern-day I-Spy book of pedal cycles, specially designed for kids, but also for planners of cycle facilities. I shall gladly be the Big Chief I-Spy to whom they send their completed books to win a prize.