New Committee members

This article was published in 2011, in Newsletter 99.

New Committee members. Clockwise from top left: Michael Cahn, Shirley Fieldhouse, Lisa Dawson and Heather Coleman.
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The Co-ordinator: Michael Cahn

I was born in Germany, and have lived in Cambridge since 1990. I own Plurabelle Books, a second-hand internet bookshop located at the old Rattee & Kett site, off Purbeck Road, next to the Hills Road Sixth Form college. During the last five years I lived in Los Angeles where I was involved with a number of bicycle organisations, working with schools on bike education and encouragement programmes and bike advocacy. I am a League Cycling Instructor and have attended courses on bike planning. My aims for the next year include:

  • integrating schools and pupils into our bike advocacy work
  • improving governance structures so that the Campaign can effectively supervise an employee
  • using the Travel to Work programme to integrate bike education into employer transportation plans
  • working with both universities to offer bike education for students and employees
  • working with local academics so that bike-relevant research from Cambridge can be brought to a local audience to try to achieve a steady flow of scientific bike news
  • working with the legal profession to pressure organisations of professional drivers in Cambridge (taxi, bus, etc.) to improve the skills of their drivers to drive safely among cyclists, with the potential threat that, after a future crash involving one of their drivers, the firm itself (and not only the driver) could be held liable for failing to better educate their drivers
  • working towards a public celebration of cycling so that politicians understand better that the public are on their side when they make decisions which will affect car drivers negatively (bike fest, bike pins/lapel badges, exhibition about the history of cycling in Cambridge etc.).

I am looking forward to hearing from Campaign members about their priorities. I envision small groups of two or three members who can make a real difference and move these and similar issues forward. Please get in touch if you can help with insight, suggestions, time and expertise. The success of the Campaign depends on our members, and we encourage everyone to consider getting involved in the issues we lobby for: better and more convenient conditions for cycling, safer roads, and more people on bikes.

Our new Planning Officer: Shirley Fieldhouse

I admire the way that the Campaign works hard on so many cycling issues – large and small – and have sometimes made comments (of a non-technical kind) either on a discussion list or at the monthly meetings. When the plea went out for additional help in the form of filling a new post, I thought maybe it was time to do a bit more. My working background was as a senior secretary in a large university science department. For many years I have been active in the Cambridgeshire Branch of the Campaign to Protect Rural England, where we keep an eye on planning policy documents (national and district council level) as well as viewing large planning applications with respect to their impact on the countryside.

I have lived in Cambridge (East Chesterton) for many years and have always cycled, both for the regular trip to the office before retirement and since on frequent journeys in and around the city. I am also a car owner, so can appreciate problems from both the cyclist’s and the driver’s perspective.

It is important that we provide for all types of cyclist – those who want a fast commute, those who prefer a more leisurely ride. The large new housing developments provide the opportunity to get really good cycling facilities installed from the beginning. Elsewhere, we should aim to get lots of small improvements. I see my role as helping the committee to make the greatest impact by seizing the opportunities to comment on planning applications and consultation documents as they arise. Not least I am tasked with ensuring that the Campaign’s comments are submitted by the deadline! There are a number of sub-groups covering different parts of the city. I look forward to getting to know their members and assisting them in coming to reasoned arguments which command the support of most, if not all, group members. I am enough of a realist to accept that we are unlikely to get the City Council and other bodies to take up all our recommendations. Nevertheless, even a few accepted recommendations will make the effort worthwhile.

Recruitment Officer: Lisa Dawson

As Recruitment Officer my aim is to increase awareness of the worthwhile and excellent work done by the Campaign, all of which directly affects Cambridge’s cyclists. There is strength in numbers and the wider the membership the better when it comes to getting cycling issues heard.

I’m keen for the Campaign to celebrate all aspects of cycling. I shall be working closely with the Events Officer to increase the number of Campaign events and raise our profile amongst commuters, families, businesses, students and those who cycle for sport and leisure.

Cycling is a key part of my life: my bike is my means of transport, my favourite way of socialising, and my main form of exercise. I even make my living through cycling: along with Rob King I run Outspoken Training, providing a range of services to promote cycling education. I hope that I can bring my enthusiasm for all things two-wheeled to the committee!

Campaigner: Heather Coleman

I’ve worked at Addenbrooke’s and commuted there by bicycle for sixteen years now, firstly from Cherry Hinton and in the last six years from Milton. I’d say, generally, that certainly my commute from Milton has improved over the time I’ve been doing it, but the one from Cherry Hinton was getting gradually worse owing to weight of traffic, so I was glad to move house despite the increased distance. More disturbingly, the situation at Addenbrooke’s, despite the large increase in the number of people cycling onto the site since I started working there, seems not to have improved at all, and, in some aspects, could be described as worse.

As someone who is ‘on the ground’ at Addenbrooke’s, I hope to be able to provide a local contact for the Campaign and members, in the hope of gradually improving both permeabililty and the dire shortage of cycle parking.