Loughborough & District
Cycle Users' Campaign

Pedal Power

Issue 56
May 2005



Your Campaign Needs you.

The only event that we are putting on during Bike Week this year is the sponsored ride across Garendon Park on 19 June. Both Holywell and Mountfields Lodge Schools are publicising the event which is aimed at raising funds to be divided between the respective PSA's and another good cause. In the case of Holywell they will be raising funds for Njabini Primary School in Kenya whilst Mountfields Lodge will be supporting NCH (the National Children's Home).

In order to successfully run the event we need at least 10 Marshalls and 3 people to deal with registration. Please get in touch with John or Ariadne if you are able to assist. We shouldn't need you for more than 3 hours between 5-pm and 8pm.

Pedalling Picnic a great success

The Pedalling Picnic on 17 April organised by the CTC in conjunction with the Great Central Railway and Charnwood Borough Council to launch their Rural Rides programme was a great success with more than 80 riders taking up most of the capacity of the train.

The weather was kind and most people had an “alfresco” lunch at Swithland Hall where the Mayor and Jeff Snodin of 3M presented the winner of the Rural Rides competition with a new Saracen bicycle. If you would like to get a brochure setting out the rides please telephone 01509 634836.

Picnic in the Park

The Campaign will again be having a stand at Picnic in the Park on Saturday 14 May. It will be located at the Library end of the Park. Please contact John or Ariadne if you can help man the stand.

In any event, please come and say hello.

What future for cycling?
(from Cycle Campaign Network News)

Just ahead of the Cycling Forum for England in March, the Government announced the setting up of Cycling England as a replacement for the National Cycling Strategy Board. However, the new body is to have a minimal budget of only £5m per year, which knocks on the head any prospect of a comprehensive programme to boost cycle use. The NCSB had asked for £70m for its successor, the amount thought necessary to begin to make progress on achieving cycling growth.

Cycling Minister Charlotte Atkins faced hostile questioning at the Cycling Forum. She said that the Government remained committed to an increase in cycling and assured her questioners that there was no hostility towards cycling among senior ministers. However, her responses satisfied few, if any, in the audience and there remains general gloom about cycling policy, indeed, transport policy in the months ahead.

The Labour Party manifesto for the General Election has added to the despair. Cycling gets just one mention. In a section on the economy, it states:

"We will continue funding local authorities and voluntary groups to make cycling and walking more attractive."

No mention of the potential importance of cycling to the health and future of Britain, or of any direct action on the part of a future Labour government to encourage cycle use. The commitment to 'continue funding' could mean as little as the money already available through Local Transport Plans for local authorities to use on cycling if they want to. By contrast, the manifesto promises that:

"Major investment is planned to expand capacity on the M1, M6 and M25."

together with other measures to keep traffic moving.

Things are no better in the Conservative Party manifesto, which makes no mention of cycling at all. Prospects therefore do not look good whatever the outcome of the General Election. Only the Lib Dems and Green Party give cycling credible coverage and some sense of commitment.

Cycling England says that it will be going back to Government in the autumn for more money. It may not get what it needs unless there is sustained pressure by cyclists on their new Members of Parliament to get back towards integrated transport policies with cycling a key element.

Members of Cycling England, with their specialisms, are:

  • Philip Darnton (chair)
  • Lynn Sloman (sustainable transport)
  • Dr Alison Hill (health)
  • Christian Wolmar (integrated transport policy)
  • John Grimshaw (engineering)
  • Peter King (sport)
  • Kevin Mayne (training)
plus two more people to be appointed to specialise in education and local transport.

Controversially, there is no representative of local government, which may make effective co-operation with local authorities difficult.

In the only other improvement in funding for cycling, the Department for Transport has released promised funding to consolidate the National Standard for Cycle Training. CTC is to provide a help desk service and database and will co-ordinate increasing the number of accredited cycle trainers throughout the UK.

100 million bicycles manufactured worldwide

Annual bicycle production has now grown to more than double automobile production. China accounted for over half of the bicycles produced, and exported nearly two thirds of its output. In major Chinese cities, however, cycling is losing ground: in Beijing, the percentage of trips made by bicycle fell from 60% in the mid 1990s to 40% in 2000, and Shanghai plans to ban bicycles altogether from the city centre by 2010.

India is the world's second largest bicycle producer, with an output of more than 11 million. Most of these are ridden domestically or shipped to Africa.

In Africa, bicycles are an affordable, low-maintenance means of individual transportation which take up very little road space, enhancing personal mobility and contributing to increases in income. For women in rural areas they increase access to education and facilitate the transport of produce to market. Thus rising bicycle sales have been correlated with higher farm output. In Ghana, bikes have helped HIV/AIDS outreach workers reach 50 percent more beneficiaries.

In many African countries bicycle sales have actually declined in recent years, despite the continued need, because the bicycles and parts on sale are too expensive and old-fashioned. For example, Senegal levies prohibitive tariffs on imported cycles to protect a small domestic manufacturer that sells only 2 000 bikes annually. Until 1989, Ghana imposed similar tariffs and taxes on imports, but after their removal, bike sales soared.

To meet Africa's high demand for modern and sturdy bicycles, Afribike, a non-profit South African company, has since 1998 provided over 10 000 South Africans with a cheap and sturdy Africa bike , specially developed for African conditions, and plans to expand its programmes to Senegal, Guinea, and Ghana. Janet Larsen, Bicycle Production Breaks 100 Million, published by Earth Policy Institute, Washington 2002, http://www.earth-policy.org/Indicators/indicator11.htm

Bicycle voted the most significant technology of the past two centuries

This year's Reith Lectures have been on “The Triumph of Technology” and linking to this, the programme “You and Yours” held an internet poll as to what is the most significant technology of the past 200 years. The bicycle picked up 59% of the 5,500 votes.

Whilst this caused consternation in the lecturer, Lord Alec Broers, who would probably regard integrated circuits as more significant, when looked at from a world perspective more people are probably benefiting from the bicycle than from computer technology.

As one listener commented on the web site :

“the bicycle is the most ecologically efficient method of transport and the first invention to really shake up the gene pool by enabling people to meet and marry outside their own villages”

and the leader in the Independent

“A vehicle for physical economy and social emancipation, highly conducive to thought. Sartre was a keen cyclist, as was De Beauvoir, though not a very good one, D. H. Lawrence was a fan; T.E. Lawrence should have stuck to his.”

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