The launch of the Cycling Embassy of Great Britain

They say the sun shines on the righteous, and boy did the sun shine today!  A diverse group of supporters of the Cycling Embassy of Great Britain gathered in Lambeth this morning in view of the Houses of Parliament to mark the official launch of the Embassy and to make their message clear; Britain must build Dutch-style cycling infrastructure if it ever wants to achieve mass cycling rates.

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Pic via thirtyfivenotfive on Flickr

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From the very young to the young at heart; women, families and children gathered on bikes of all shapes and sizes (including a cargo bike or two!) for an official welcome to the representative of the Dutch Embassy in London who graced us with his presence, a speech by CEoGB Chair Jim Davis, and a short ride across Lambeth Bridge (where, guess what, the brand spanking new cycle lane they've just painted in is still utter utter crap)

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Cycling Embassy of Great Britain founder and Chair, Jim Davis, said:

“We’ve all seen some of the terrible cycle lanes around the UK; they cost us all money but few people are prepared to use them because they’re often dangerous and poorly conceived. No one in their right mind would let their children cycle to school on the worse of them! The Cycling Embassy of Great Britain looks to countries that are successfully building a cycling culture, and wants to use their knowledge here in the UK to ensure only high quality and safe spaces for people on bicycles are built from now on. British people are sick of paying through the nose for public transport, or fuming in traffic congestion. They’d love an alternative means of transport but aren’t prepared to consider riding a bike because they are afraid; not of the act of actually riding but of riding on the conditions the UK’s roads currently present. We need only look across the North Sea for great examples of how to design streets for people with safe – and if necessary separate – cycling infrastructure which will lead to a much higher cycling rate than we currently have.”  (See here for the full press release)

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I'll let the pictures do the talking but thank you all for turning out and sharing such a marvellous day.

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The Cycling Embassy of Great Britain; officially launched.  Now, on with the hard work....

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16 comments:

Sam said...

Oh wow, that's fantastic. Glad so many people turned out, and only slightly upset that I was asleep for the whole thing (I'm not as hardcore as I used to be, I'd have had 2.5hrs sleep max had I been there).
As my favourite fictitious US president would say, what's next?

ndru said...

Sadly I couldn't make it although have been planning for it for ages. However I am glad you all had fun and hope the CEoGB will have a bright future. You have my families full support!

Jemma said...

I've been following the updates about the cycling embassy and I'm excited to see that it has launched. I'm looking forward to all that it does for helping people cycle around the country. Looks like it was a great day yesterday!

Kim said...

Sadly I couldn't be there, good to see the sun shone for it. We have to get the message across that poor infrastructure is just a waste of money and that good infrastructure pays high dividends.

Paul Martin said...

So inspiring! Well done!

I'll be watching keenly from the Antipodes.

Cheers!

Paul Martin
@nitramluap

jamesup said...

Congrats on the Launch, sorry I couldn't be there!

Jamesup

Nick Salt said...

Congratulations on the launch! I hope this is the start of some real progress on sensible cycle provision in the UK. How exciting!

Rona said...

Glad this went well - I only heard about it after the event, unfortunately.

Best of luck for a brighter future for cycling in Britain!

Cyclenation said...

I think the measure of success of the Embassy will be the actual number of miles of dutch-style infrastructure created and measurement of the increase in cycling that this engenders. 20s plenty for us can point at the number of people benefiting from lower speed limits: CTC & cyclenation can point at increases in modal shift (2 million cycle cycle regularly in the UK at the moment if the DfT figures are to be believed). Sustrans has 13,000 miles of National Cycle Network (this figure is actually declining as Connect2 schemes take out some of the Long Ways Round)as well as figures for BikIt, Fresh Air Miles etc. The Embassy needs to do some baselining now if it is to demonstrate that is is succeeding in the future.

Ben said...

A Cycling Embassy....quite inventive and unique! I wish you a commensurate increase in gas/petrol taxes to aid your cause and lessen reliance on cars.

ibike said...

The embassy will succeed or fail by the extent to which it changes the way people view cycling in this country, not by the number of miles of Dutch-style infrastructure built (although that is obviously the eventual aim).

This target-driven approach is part of the reason we’re in the mess we’re in.

Bloc hornet said...

looks like a really great day for all involved, nice to see people getting on their bike!

ndru said...

Cyclenation - I personally think that a measure of your failure is the number of lycra clad road warriors that you have managed to convince to ride :) Every camera on a helmet of a cyclist is a great example of how succesful you have been. And don't throw Sustrans in the mix - at least they are doing something useful.
A

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Custom Facebook Design said...

So many bikes!
Looks like fun, and the hard work should be worth it, keep it up!

Dutch said...

Great pictures !!! I left my birthplace Amsterdam 20 years ago and traveled all over the world but nowhere I got the same feeling as cycling in Amsterdam. It is a wonderful initiative to promote cycling in other countries by the embassy.