This article was published in 2008, in Newsletter 78.
Shortly after the last Newsletter went to press, we launched our Month of Cycling. So many events took place during May that it seemed sensible to group them together, and this resulted in some excellent publicity in the local media. Here is what took place:
National cycling conference on Saturday 10th May
‘Creating a Cycling Culture: How do we respond to the challenges of the future?’
The national conference we hosted was held on Saturday May 10th in Cambridge.
Philip Darnton, who is in charge of the government’s cycling body, Cycling England, was the keynote speaker. Other speakers included David Howarth (Cambridge’s MP), Matt Seaton (best known for his writing in the Guardian), our very own Martin Lucas-Smith (launching Cycling 2020) and Tom Bogdanowicz from London Cycling Campaign.
Additionally, a number of workshops were run, including a session on online cycle mapping, in advance of the launch of a national journey planner that a group of us are preparing independently of the Campaign. Furthermore, a number of leisurely rides took place as a lighter side to complement the presentations.
The venue was the stunning Centre for Mathematical Sciences, in West Cambridge.
Photos and presentations from the conference are available on our website at: www.camcycle.org.uk/events/conferences/cambridge2008/.
Cycling 2020: a vision for Cambridge’s cycling future: launch
The launch of our visionary document, Cycling 2020, described in an earlier article, at the CCN/CTC National Conference was the culmination of many months of hard work. We hope that decision makers will be inspired by this document and will support its proposals. Cycling 2020 can be read online at www.camcycle.org.uk/cycling2020.
Ride to Reach Fair: Bank Holiday Monday 5th May
On Bank Holiday Monday 5th May 2008, we ran big bike rides from Cambridge into the fenland countryside. Over 150 people turned up, and had a great day out.
There was a short ride to the village of Reach, stopping for the village fair, and a longer ride through Wicken Fen to Ely. Both rides started together in Cambridge. We followed the National Cycle Network Route 11.
The ride was run in association with Sustrans and Cambridge City Council. We thank them for their assistance.
More photographs from the ride are on our website at www.camcycle.org.uk/events/rides/camcycle2050/2008/.
Trip to Assen, Holland: mid-May
A delegation of local cyclists travelled in mid-May on a fact-finding tour to Assen, Holland to see how cycling and walking is catered for in that country.
Holland sees extremely high levels of cycling – 40% of journeys are by bike in some areas. (By comparison, Cambridge has 25% of commuter journeys by bike.)
With the large number of new developments being planned for Cambridge, ensuring that a high quality environment that facilitates cycling and walking is created is essential if the city is to avoid gridlock. 47,500 new dwellings – equating to 125,000 new citizens – represents an enormous challenge for transport, and Holland provides a good example of how the right mindset from Local Government and developers results in people getting on their bikes.
Led by former Cambridge resident David Hembrow, we toured around Assen, and we saw how the Dutch give real priority, rather than purely lip-service, to sustainable transport.
Photos from our trip are online at: www.camcycle.org.uk/events/visits/assen/.
Launch of Cycling in New Developments – new guidance for the new developments
May, the Month of Cycling, also saw the launch and distribution of our new guide for developers and decision-makers, entitled Cycling in New Developments.
Cycling in New Developments aims to give councillors, officials and developers the information they need to ensure that cycling will be the natural option in these new areas.
Copies have been sent to decision-makers across the City and County.
Cycling in New Developments is available on our new Planning website at www.camcycle.org.uk/planning/.
Local elections – using your vote for cycling: 1st May
Also in May, cycling went to the polls!
Local elections took place place on May 1st. The Councillors that were elected are the people that will be making the decisions on planning and transport issues.
There are now a larger number of political parties represented on the City Council – Lib Dem, Labour, Conservative, Green and an Independent. However, as a non-partisan body, we naturally do not endorse any particular candidate or party.
In 2007, we created an elections website, at www.camcycle.org.uk/elections where all the candidates were invited to tell the public what they think on a range of cycling and walking issues. We updated the website for the current year’s crop of candidates and local issues.
An interesting and varied range of responses were submitted. We hope that this initiative, culminating with the May 1st elections, helped to raise awareness and aspirations.
Our elections website is at www.camcycle.org.uk/elections and candidates’ responses will stay online.
Congestion charge consultation results: how would it improve cycling?
On 6th May, the County Council announced the results of its consultation on its congestion charge proposals. They were more favourable than expected, despite the negative spin given to them by the Cambridge Evening News, who have consistently run a negative campaign on this.
By the time you read this we should have launched a series of information leaflets to help explain many key issues that sadly have not been adequately understood during the consultation phase over the last 6 months.
Cambridge Cycling Campaign has welcomed the proposals, as they provide a real opportunity to improve cycling and walking (as well as public transport) in the area, because of the likelihood of almost half a billion pounds of free, up-front money from the government in advance of any scheme going ahead.
With over 47,500 new houses to be built by 2016 around Cambridge, the prospects for gridlock are all too real. The proposals offer both a huge carrot, and a stick, approach to solving this potential problem, one for which no other realistic solutions have come forward.
Many people remain completely unaware of the positives: an enormous package of up-front investment some ten times the level of current transport spending is proposed.
Whilst a congestion charge would certainly have some losers, we believe that in the medium term, the majority of people, and the health of Cambridge as a city would both benefit greatly.
There is more information on our website at:
Friday Rides: every Friday in May
Our regular and informal Friday Rides continued throughout May. Come and join us for a pleasant and very informal ride next time you fancy a break on Friday lunchtime.
These are lunchtime rides of varying speed and length, usually involving a stop at a pub on the way. Open to all who like to ride and talk about bicycles. Join the ride at your own risk.
The Friday Rides run each Friday lunchtime at 12:30pm, leaving from the Stourbridge Common side of Green Dragon Bridge.
There is more information on our website at: www.camcycle.org.uk/events/rides/fridayrides/.