This article was published in 2020, in Magazine 146.
Celebrating 25 years of Camcycle and sharing a vision for the future
There was an excellent turnout for the 2020 AGM in the Clay Farm Centre. Dr Rachel Aldred, reader in transport at the University of Westminster, spoke on Cycling for All, our campaigning theme for 2020, looking at which groups in society cycle more and which are deterred from cycling.
Studying mainly census data, she showed that far more men than women cycle in the UK and cycling levels fall with age – the opposite of the Netherlands, where older women are in fact the group most likely to cycle. As for cycling by those with disabilities, levels are higher where there are higher levels of women cycling, and where conditions are better for cycling; in Cambridge 1 in 4 disabled commuters (25.9%) cycle, against 32.5% for the city’s population as a whole.
There’s a dominant ‘deficit approach’, i.e. a focus on what people cannot do rather than what they can do and, essentially, the people with the most to gain from cycling are losing out. We need to concentrate on structural barriers such as policy narratives, enforcement and, of course, infrastructure. Planning is distorted by its emphasis on the commute – a journey dominated (in all modes) by men in their twenties, while the school run is dominated by women. These trips are shorter than the average commute, and are often combined with shopping and other short journeys, making them potentially ideal for cycling, but we need to tackle obstructions, harassment, and the lack of cycle parking, in addition to the cost of cargo bikes, e-bikes and kids’ bikes (which need replacing regularly).
Participatory planning is needed, and perhaps equality auditing. Women are more in favour of segregation from traffic than men, and people (of any gender) cycling with children are unwilling to mix with traffic, even in bus lanes.
Language and image are important: often cycling, walking and car-sharing are lumped together as ‘alternative ways’ (included but marginalised), while references to travel by the disabled see them as pedestrians and public transport users, with little understanding that a cycle can actually be a crucial mobility aid.
Rachel finished with the encouraging example of Royal College Street in London, where protected cycle lanes see higher levels of cycling by women (1 in 3, as against 1 in 4 on parallel routes).
The talk was followed by questions to a panel consisting of Rachel, our trustee Matthew Danish, and Mark Philpotts, known online as the Ranty Highwayman. Asked about councillors’ obsession with barriers to stop mopeds using cycleways, it was agreed that a different approach was needed. Referring to planners’ emphasis on the commute and how to find genderdisaggregated data, Rachel said that the census only asked for information on commuting; school travel data should also be made available. She also said that more cycle counters were needed; it’s surprising how rarely before and after counts are conducted when new infrastructure is built.
Staff and trustee reports
After a tea-break, the formal AGM was held. The 2019 minutes were approved without objection. The Chair’s report from Robin highlighted another successful year for the charity, with vital new policies on financial reserves and major donors written alongside a significant amount of campaigning. The Local Plan consultation will be a key focus for the early part of 2020. Chris’s treasurer’s report noted substantial growth in income, activity and impact, alongside the need to diversify our income sources for long-term stability. The staff team shared work on Camcycle’s future; our vision is for all kinds of people to use all kinds of cycles, also benefiting those who don’t cycle themselves. After 25 years of spreading the joy of cycling, we can look forward to an anniversary celebration on 16 June.
Camcycle Awards 2020
Campaigner of the Year: Bev Nicolson
For year-round campaign work online and at local meetings.
Newcomer of the Year: Alan Ackroyd
For throwing himself into every part of our work from campaigning and article-writing to delivery and events.
Volunteer of the Year: Sue Edwards
For tireless work on membership and magazine distribution.
Lifetime Achievement Award: David Earl
For 25 years of dedication to the organisation.
Public Officer of the Year: Mike Davies
For transformative work around the city.
Campaign of the Year: Martin Lucas-Smith
For spreading an inspiring ‘Vision for Mill Road’.
Magazine article of the year: Daniel Thomas
For ‘New ideas for safer streets’
Magazine photo of the year: Lucinda Price
For the cover of the Summer 2019 issue.
Partner of the year: Tees Law
For their enthusiastic support of CamcycleQuest
Camcycle Trustees 2020
All those who stood for election in 2020 were elected. We’re pleased to welcome two new members to the Board of Trustees – Finlay Knops-Mckim (who joined Camcycle as a member at last year’s AGM) and Alec Seaman (far right), who brings a wealth of cycling experience from his professional roles. We welcome back Robin Heydon as Chair, Willa McDonald as Vice-Chair and Chris Howell as Treasurer, plus Tom McKeown, Matthew Danish, Sue Edwards and Martin Lucas-Smith.