This article was published in 2012, in Newsletter 100.
I used to climb mountains (because they were there), but when I moved to Cambridge in 1985 there were no mountains and not even a cycling campaign. I’d long been interested in sustainable transport, but active campaigning in Cambridge was handicapped by a boss who seemed uncertain of staff who involved themselves in ‘environmental’ issues. I’d made sure I could easily cycle from my new house to my new job, and that my children would soon be able to walk or cycle to school. So Jane and I managed a happy lifestyle bringing up young children in a ‘necklace’ village, our transport being an old camper van and several bikes. A change of job within Cambridge came at about the same time as the Campaign’s inaugural meeting. I remember a friendly meeting with lots of passionate, like-minded people. It was there, just the sort of sustainable transport campaignI’d been looking for, so I joined.
Initially I wasn’t particularly active, and had never done cycle touring, so in some ways not a proper cyclist. I was just a beard and sandals utility cyclist. My previous work in transport had given me a slightly different view of the world and it was I who originally proposed a ‘No Cycling’ day. Now, perhaps I’m too evangelical with my views, but all can play their part, even passively by adding to our numbers.
Fortunately in Cambridge there are many councillors and officers in the various local authorities who recognise the value of cycling to the environment, the economy, and to Cambridge in particular. We don’t have to ‘reclaim the streets’, just show that we represent a large, sensible and forward-thinking section of our community. If you’re reading this as a Cambridge cyclist who is not a member, we are here for you. Please join and be counted.
The Campaign needs you.
My beloved bike had been getting increasingly creaky and finally broke down in September 2005. Straight away I went to Townsends, Chesterton Road, to purchase a new bike with two or three accessories, including the essential basket. When I collected it, I found lurking in the basket information about the Campaign including the application form. For several years I had been seeing references to the Campaign in the local newspaper and thought ‘it would be a good thing to join sometime’. Now, with a new bike and an application form, there was no longer any excuse for ‘not getting around to it’, so I submitted the form and cheque.
The membership card came quickly plus an invitation to the monthly meetings. These meetings introduced me to a group of enthusiastic people, diligently working for better cycling facilities. They were also a friendly sociable group, whether chatting over the pre-meeting coffee or having drinks at the pub at the end of the evening. I am glad I joined.
I think I joined about seven or eight years ago now but can’t quite remember. It was when there was a Cycle to Work Week and Tesco had somehow been persuaded to give out free breakfasts. A bit of a cheek for me really, as Tesco was only just over the road from my house at the time, but was a reasonable distance from work. The people I met at the breakfast seemed really sensible and I agreed with their views.
When I received my first newsletter, it was such a relief to know that there were other people sharing my views and interests on many topics and that I no longer needed to be a lone voice in the wilderness getting frustrated at the idiocy I could see all around me.
JOIN TODAY and add your voice to ours for better, safer and more cycling in and around Cambridge.
Benefits include: a say on cycling issues, bike-shop discounts, bi-monthly newsletters, email discussions, monthly meetings, advice and support from other members, social rides and events.
Join online now at www.camcycle.org.uk/membership or call 01223 690718