Cambridge Cycling Campaign and me

Clare Macrae, a founder member of the Campaign.
Image as described adjacent

I moved (back) to Cambridge in October 1994: just as I was regaining my cycling confidence, I was invited to get involved with preparations for what became the launch of Cambridge Cycling Campaign on 16 June 1995. I remember my excitement at the launch evening, and collecting membership money from many new members – believing this was going to work.

Over the next 15 years I held various roles: treasurer, coordinator, liaison officer and treasurer again, until having to step down from the committee altogether in summer 2010, owing to pressures of work.

In that time, I also represented the Cycling Campaign on the steering group of ‘Cycle Friendly Employers’, which later became ‘Travel for Work’ – and I subsequently became the chair of that steering group.

One personal highlight was representing the Campaign on the judging panel for the design competition for Riverside Bridge.

Notable changes

There have been some very visible infrastructure projects over the years:

  • Jubilee Cycle Route
  • Jane Coston Bridge
  • Riverside Bridge
  • The Tins Path
  • The Genome Path
  • The Busway.

There have been some significant policy changes too, such as the reduction in speed limits in several areas of the city.

And 17 years after Jim Chisholm first wrote up his proposal for a route across the city, along the railway line, it is now accepted public policy, and even supported publicly by parliamentary candidates a few months ago – and major news seems imminent! This really shows the value of persistence.

Looking back

I sympathise deeply with the frustration expressed in David’s article [see previous article]. Little things that should have been easy always seemed so hard. I really wish there didn’t need to be so many volunteers having to put so much of their valuable time and energy into promoting something so obviously beneficial as cycling.

Consider, for example, the incredible volunteer effort required to achieve a decent surface on The Busway maintenance track, or to provide two-way access to the Grand Arcade cycle park.

I remember my excitement at the launch evening – believing this was going to work

But five years on from daily involvement with the Campaign, I feel I have the luxury of a different perspective – one of simply enjoying the pleasures of cycling as everyday transport that, for the most part, continues to get better in and around Cambridge.

On my daily 2.5 mile ride each way across the city, I now have the choice of four very pleasant independent routes, and I have just counted well over two dozen improvements to them, all made over the lifetime of the Campaign, and all thanks to the efforts of Campaign members and council officers and members.

I feel very fortunate to be able to live in a city with such a great cycling culture as Cambridge, and with ever improving cycleability!

Heartfelt thanks to all those involved in Cambridge Cycling Campaign, and long may it continue to thrive, and improve the quality of life for so many people in the Cambridge area.

Clare Macrae