The Cycling Embassy Combined Christmas News-and-begging letter

Just over a year ago, Jim Davis sat down and wrote a blog post and founded a cycling campaign A couple of months later, 40 people crammed themselves into Look Mum No Hands and turned it into a movement It’s hard to believe but the Cycling Embassy of Great Britain is a year old, and what a year it’s been. People will look back and say that 2011 was a turning point; the year the British – cyclists, non-cyclists and wannabe cyclists – stood up said ‘things don’t have to be this way’. Cyclists don’t have to be pushed to the margins on Britains roads – and they don’t have to mix with lethal lorries and traffic. We have seen what’s going on on the other side of the North Sea and we want to see it here.

It’s not just the Embassy, of course. The London Cycle Campaign has embraced ‘Go Dutch’ as its campaign for the mayoral elections. The Blackfriars Bridge and Tour du Danger rides have alerted the wider world to the price cyclists and pedestrians are paying for the cause of ‘smoothing traffic flow’. Lively local campaigns in Newcastle, Edinburgh, Bath, Manchester and across the country have been making the case for proper, dedicated cycle routes that make cycling a practical choice for all, not just the quick and the brave. There’s a real change in the air, and what the Cycling Embassy aims to do is to support that change – providing the knowledge and policies and pressure nationally to bring about a real revolution in cycling provision in this country.

But we can’t do it on our own. If you want to see this revolution, we need your help and there’s many ways to do that:

1. The simplest and easiest is to donate or visit the Cycling Embassy shop. 10% of all purchases at the Cafe Press and Zazzle sites go to the Embassy coffers so you can spread the word with our stylish logo on your t-shirt, bag or mug while supporting the cause. Or just press the paypal button on the site and donate – every penny will go on cycle campaigning expenses, guaranteed.

2. Volunteer your time and skills. For instance, we could do with at least one person who’s got the time and energy to seek out funding or sponsorship opportunities to allow us to bring in expertise and spread our campaigning wider. There’s more information about the sort of help we need here – but we’re open to other ideas and offers.

3. Help us draw up our policies. Next month we’ll be holding our first weekend policy workshop bash, where we’ll be getting down and working out in detail how the sort of things we’ve seen working in the Netherlands could work here in the UK. We need people with the knowledge and skills to draw up plans, visualise ideas, write documents, or spread the word — not just experts in street design and cycling provision, but the people who can help us turn our information into compelling articles and media, eye-catching adverts, and shiny web pages. If you can’t make it, there will be discussions online before and after – or if you’re London based but aren’t sure if you have the skills we’re looking for (and you might be surprised), you could still help out with accommodation, catering or logistics, or just pop in to find out more about what we’re doing. More information here

3. Build up our knowledge base. Our website is in the throes of being upgraded and once it is it will be much easier to edit our wiki pages We’re trying to gather a definitive guide to research on cycling policy and safety, pages refuting the common myths and canards, summarising Dutch and other infrastructure and much more. We’ve made a great start but we need your help and skills and expertise to get it finished.

5. Get involved locally. Find and join your local cycle campaign group. If you haven’t got one, found one (as at least one of us was foolish enough to do this year). Keep an eye on what’s going on in your area and where things could be better and if you find something then let us know. We’ll be setting up regional groupings soon that will allow people to find like minded campaigns and campaigners in their area and start to build coalitions dedicated to first class cycling provision. If there are protest rides, then join them. If there are letters to be written, then write them. And if you’re London based, then we probably don’t need to remind you, but please do turn out to tomorrow’s Xmas Vigil at King’s Cross

6. Spread the word. The Cycling Embassy wants to reach out beyond the committed cyclist towards those who can’t cycle, or won’t cycle – or wouldn’t even dream of cycling – because of the conditions on the road. People like this mum who would love to be cycling the school run instead of driving it. These are the people who will really effect change because they’re the huge majority – and they’re less happy stuck in their cars than we – and the politicians – might think. The more members we have, the louder our voice will be so tell your friends, your colleagues, the parents at the school gates, whoever you can think of.

7. Keep on keeping on. Above all we need you just to continue supporting us as you have done all year. Keep blogging, keep tweeting, keep emailing and don’t forget to keep riding!

We wish you all a fantastic Christmas with many bike related presents under the tree and a happy, safe and profitable New Year. Thanks to everyone who’s taken the time to get involved this year in any way, how ever small. We can’t do anything without you.

Onwards and upwards!

The Cycling Embassy of Great Britain Team.