Welcome to the new Cycling Embassy forum!

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Welcome to the new Cycling Embassy forum!

It’s early days yet, so here is somewhere for discussions to start. We will add additional forums for specific topics as the need arises.


Hooray! I thought a good way to get the ball rolling would be to introduce ourselves and maybe write a little bit about why we’ve joined / what we hope to see come out of the Cycling Embassy.

So…. I’m Mark, I write the i b i k e l o n d o n blog, and I don’t believe that ‘hierarchy of provision’ is a succesful campaigning stance for cycle campaigns.

Who’s next? :o)


Hi folks,

My name’s Ross, I live in Swindon, and, I confess, I’m a slight anomaly here, not because I commute 3.5 miles each way every day by bike, but because I do so on a road bike while wearing lycra! I use my commute for fitness and often take longer routes for that purpose.

I hope the embassy will admit me! :-)

But that doesn’t detract from my desire to see much greater take up of cycling and the infrastructure and cultural change that will achieve that. I’ve been trying to get involved with my local bicycle user group, but with little success so far due to team, so I’m currently a one-man campagining team who’s slightly making things up on my own. Unfortunately I can’t make the inaugural meeting as I’m away, but I’m hoping the embassy will provide support and help for someone like me who knows what I want, but isn’t sure what I need to do to get it!

I blog at http://blog.wintle.me.uk and I Tweet as magicroundabout and cycleswindon

Thanks for having me!


KarlT's picture

Hi Guys,
like the anomalous Ross, I’m do most of my cycling in unsightly bulging lycra, but I also ferry my son about in a trailer pulled by a re-purposed mountain bike- hence my desire for some decent infrastructure. I remember once stopping for some shopping with junior, and being taken to task by some woman for endangering my child. I responded diplomatically and Parent of The Year got into her Freelander. Which was parked on the pavement…
I admit to getting an almost gladiatorial buzz from road riding in traffic, which is all very well, but sometimes I just want to potter about, and trips with junior shouldn’t be adrenaline soaked Mad Max style death races. Not that they are, of course, but I shouldn’t have to tailor where I take my son on how likely we are to encounter articulated lorries driven by lunatics. Or self righteous sock monkeys in Freeelanders.

A sniper is like a genius. It's not enough to be one, you have to be one at something.

I’m Paul. I don’t write a blog although I do read a few of my favourites (Including ibikelondon). I also don’t think much of “hierarchy of provision” and am disappointed to see that the campaign groups support this – my only reason for continued membership is the third party insurance and legal cover.

I work in the City of London and have relatively recently got interested in cycling advocacy, giving my local councillors earache on the subject and collaborating with Danny at cyclelondoncity on making reps on the current Local Implementation Plan



Hi I’m David, relaxedcyclist, live and work in London, and cycle to work and locally. I want a Dutch style bike infrastructure , and hoping this is a great start. I love reading blogs, hello Mark from ibikelondon, great blog, also love the izes, Copenhagen and Amsterdam been to Amsterdam a few times and how I wish we could cycle like that in the UK.
I love freewheelers blog crap cycling in Waltham forest , so true although I like to see the positive side as well :-), also follow a few people on twitter.
Jim, I want a dutch style bike as well, but I’ve got 4 bikes already , let us know how you enjoy your new bike and I may be tempted to buy a dutch bike for my collection…

What gets me is the view of cycling as an extreme sport here in the UK, i cycled to the swimming pool in the rain, and someone commented that I was brave ! Would it have been brave to walk….,.

Anyway hi to all


My name is Jim Davis. I write the Lo Fidelity Bicycle Club blog and came up with the Cycling Embassy of Great Britain. Actually, the idea has always been there through the wonderful blogs and websites of others. I just thought it was time we started to harness it.

I have lived in Worthing for 3 years and work in Brighton. I commute 24 miles a day between the two and wouldn’t have it any other way. I’m about to ditch the lycra and helmet to go Dutch and look forward to sharing the experiences with you of being a normal person on a bicycle again just going about my day at a different pace. I met website creator Anthony Cartmell when I resurrected his Worthing Cycle Campaign and re-named it Worthing Revolutions. The original fell by the wayside a bit with Anthony wisely focusing more on raising a wonderful young family. Now I have a 7 month son, I now know how the poor sod must have felt :-)

I am dismayed at the British Cycle Campaigning ‘Establishment’ hanging on to outdated strategies and ignoring best practice overseas which has led to dreadful modal shares in this country. I’m angry at the fact that they delude themselves that this will change anytime soon. Above all I am angry that something as beautiful and simple as riding a bicycle should be made to look so dangerous and strangely irrelevant. I take great solace in the fact that I am not alone in my views. I basically think its time to Copenhagenise, Amsterdamise and basically give people real freedom in their transport choices.


Hello, I’m William. I’m a cyclist living in Plymouth, where I’ve had a few friendly disagreements with our local council over what constitutes decent cycling infrastructure. I too have a blog, willcycle.blogspot.com, where I post my ramblings and occasional rants.
As is the case with everybody else, I too wish to see Dutch-style cycling infrastructure in the UK.

I ride a hybrid with straight bars, bar-ends and a rear rack, although I have recently switched to SPD pedals.

I have a burning ambition to do a JoGLE, which I initially planned to do in June 2011, but it seems increasingly likely that I’d need to postpone that to 2012.

Hallo, I am Kim and I am an alc, oh hang on, wrong forum. Try again, Hallo, I am Kim and I write a blog with cycling bits, which some people actually like... Oh, and I am in Edinburgh, by the way.
davidcalder's picture

My name’s David, I live in Watford, and I cycle the short one and a half miles to work on my Gazelle. I also use it for going to the shops and the train station. I’m lucky in that I can reach most of these places using cycleways of varying quality.

I spent a year cycling around Europe and I would love to see the same cycling infrastructure here as they have in The Netherlands and most parts of Belgium. I know it’s not something we can implement overnight but it needs to be the common goal everyone is working towards. When I ask people if they would ever consider using a bike to get around they nearly always reply that they would – but the busy traffic on the roads puts them off. This saddens me – especially when I know that proper cycling infrastructure would help solve most of the transport issues we face today – congestion, pollution, costs, health etc.


I’m based in Cambridge.

I think there are three things we need to change:

1) education of car drivers (and predominately the car driving politicians, as well as bus companies) as to why increasing the level of cycling will help them. People are inherently are selfish, and we have to capitalize on this behavior.

2) increasing road-space for cycling will require a reduction in road-space for cars, either by reducing parking spaces or by reducing the number of size of the car lanes. Out in the countryside its even worse, as it will probably require the purchasing of land. We have to explain why this will both improve the quality of life in cities but also why money spent this way will be useful.

3) create an alternative view of road safety where safety means that people feel safe to move around, and not just are not killed or seriously injured. This probably implies that surveys need to be performed that ask simple questions like “If it was safe to cycle to school, would you like the freedom to cycle to school?”.


– Robin
mark barker

Hi folks! I’m Mark (hence the creative user name!) from Swindon, Wilts. I’m a bikeability instructor and general leisure cyclist, riding a slicked MTB or recumbent trike. Loving the idea of the embassy, hopefully it’ll really catch on and get people motivated to improve the life of the average cyclist and et more people pedaling!

Living simply, not simply living

emilyobyrne's picture

I got a bike a few months ago, having not really used one since college (apart from a failed attempt to take up mountain biking so that I wasn’t a mountain bike widow – I gave up this plan some years ago, because the speed going down the hills was too scary). My other half cycles everywhere, on his vast wardrobe of bikes, and it was getting so hot on the Tube that I thought, why not? I’ll giving it a go.

Several terrified trips to Islington later, I am still using my bike, sometimes, despite the challenge of sharing a busy but narrow road with vans, buses and stressed car drivers, and feeling pressured to pedal at top speed so that I don’t hold anyone up. I do my best (even though it spoils my enjoyment) but neither me or the bike were designed for speed.

So if you see a pretty green bicycle with red panniers holding up traffic in North London, that’s me. Fighting for my right to be slow, and wishing I was on a proper cycle path.




I’m Jonathan from Manchester.

I cycle gently and campaign passionately – especially for everyday people, like Emily above, who’s needs have been neglected far more than those of cyclists like myself, Jim, Ross and Emily’s other half.

I’m not a fan of lycra, but respect Ross’s right to cycle in fancy dress!
I rode a BMX as a kid, and have had a few MTBs and pub/shopping bikes since.
I haven’t run a car for nearly two years, and these days most of my cycling is in the Dutch utility style.

It’s nice to see several familiar names from the more aware and forward thinking UK cycling blogs – I hope we can work well together and make a real impact.

Cheers, Jonathan.

Karl McCracken
Karl McCracken's picture

Hello. My name’s Karl, and I ride a bike.

I’m a member of the Cycling Embassy of Great Britain, because I spent 25 years as a vee-hickular cyclist. The dedicated infrastructure that I’d tried was nothing short of a parody of what people elsewhere in Europe have, and I thought it was just the way things are here. But then two things happened:

I found some actually quite-good segregated bike routes around Newcastle and Ashington. These were smooth, direct, and as they were away from motorised traffic, a pleasure to use. If only someone had thought to sign-post them, connect their ends up, and maintain them :-(

My daughter also started to ride (she’s nearly 10 now), and was nothing short of terrified by the cars, busses, lorries, white vans, etc. Just telling her to assert herself / take the lane / stop crying wasn’t doing it for her or for me.

So I want a country where we DON’T have to assert our right not to get squashed; where riding a bike is just a sensible way to get around town; and where hi-viz is only worn as a necessity by people working in hi-risk environments.

Oh. And I also bake bagels every Sunday.

Karl McCracken Cultural Attaché at the Cycling Embassy of Great Britain’s Newcastle Consulate. Public communications via http://www.mccracken.me.uk Diplomatic ciphers via twitter: @KarlOnSea


Hi All – My name’s David Carlisle I’m from Croydon and work as town planner for my hometown. What attracted me to this group is the strong focus on infrastructure and delivery.

I own a rather battered and bruised Charge Duster but would desperately like to own an old Allin road frame having recently found out they were built a wheelie away from my family abode! I’m also a recent convert to the teachings of the prophet Jan Gehl.

Email: davidanthonycarlisle@googlemail.com
Twitter: @davetheplanner


Hi everyone, I’m Tom Carlisle from Croydon (David’s younger brother). I have been getting interested in cycling infrastructure since I decided to ditch my car and make a serious effort at switching to cycling for utility and transport.

Ultimately I would like to see high quality cycling infrastructure that means people can ride their bikes whenever and wherever they want, without fear. I think there are probably millions of people across the country that currently do not use their bikes but would if they only felt safe on the roads. I think the challenge for CEoGB is to figure out a way to engage with those people and move our campaign from a fringe/special interest group into the mainstream.

I think we are off to a great start and I look forward to the launch in April!

PaulJames's picture

Hi all, I’m Paul from Richmond, I’ve been a cycle commuter in London for 5 years and am interested in urban planning, liveable streets and the idea of building community through urban spaces (not that I know anything about these topics). It was nice to see everyone at the meeting on Saturday although I had to clear off before the bike safari.

My take on things is that national changes to transport infrastructure can only be brought about through local changes. To me it’s not about the cycle commuters or the shop goers, if adults really want to cycle they will, if they don’t, they won’t and there’s nothing you can do to change that. It’s about the children. Get a child to cycle to school and they’ll be a cyclist for life.

In my day job I’m a creative technologist (aka web developer) for a digital advertising agency, oh and I ride a fixed gear road bike (sometimes in lycra), my singlespeed mountain/hack bike, or my wife’s Dutch citybike (cos she won’t ride it on our roads and I feel sorry for it).



I’m Jon, and a bit late to the party it would seem! Found out about the CEoGB after the innaugural meeting, but really like the aims and want to get involved where I can. I don’t blog, (or not much since I rode a Brompton to Istanbul – www.smallwheelsbigworld.com – one day I’ll finish the trip…).

As a child growing up in Cumbria I would have loved to have been able to cycle to school, it was only 6 miles, but all of it on a 60mph A road. My parents said no and consequently I’m still alive to campaign for better cycling infrastructure. But I did like riding around the village and back country roads to see friends – my bike was my freedom, and every child should have the same freedom wherever they are, city or country. Teaching a 10-year-old the art of ‘vehicular cycling’ is enough to put them off cycling for the rest of their life.

I’ve been living in London for 6 years now, but initially didn’t cycle because it just looked too unpleasant being mixed in with all the cars/buses/taxis/lorries/etc. Then I discovered it was possible by ‘vehicular cycling’ and being very assertive, but thought there must be a better way. Then I rode the Rhine cycle route and passed through the Netherlands and found a model for what I wanted in the UK.

Cycling around London I see so many missed opportunities for better bike infrastructure, for example Waterloo bridge. It’s recently been completely resurfaced, but with a miserly narrow on-road painted cycle lane, which is used as a car park outside of peak times. The bridge is plenty wide enough for segregated cycle lanes, which could have been installed during the resurfacing.

Of my four bikes, my favourite is a vintage 1940’s Dutch-style city bike, it weighs a ton (not literally, although I did use some luggage scales and it’s nearly 30kg!), has a 3 speed sturmey archer hub, and will soon have a wicker basket on the front. It’s about time I got to ride it Dutch style in the UK.



I’m a 18 year old who has always been interested in roads but has quite frankly been disappointed in how they cater (or not) for cyclists. It doesn’t matter how much training you get, gyratories are going to stay and one way streets will carve up our town centres, and rural dual carriageways will never be acceptable for cycling unless they are closed to motor vehicles.

To be honest, the main reason for posting when I have already been on here and met some of you is to plug my new blog, “A Supposed Irrelevance”


It’s not really a “cycling” blog in the way the issues or campaigning lead ones are (eg Cyclists in the City) because it’s more of a personal blog that will, when it has more posts, be about other things as well, hence the attempt to link My Super Sweet 16, smoking, and cycling in the same post.

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