Dr Alison Hill currently holds two voluntary positions: as chair of The Bikeability Trust, and chair of Cyclox. But previously, it was her role as a public health doctor and cycling advocate that had an impact well beyond just the cycling community.
Alison qualified in medicine from Bristol University and was director of public health in Buckinghamshire and Milton Keynes in the 1990s.
Between 2000 and 2012, she was managing director of Solutions for Public Health, an NHS unit that provided highly specialised public health evidence and intelligence services. Then, from 2012 to 2015, she was Public Health England’s Deputy Chief Knowledge Officer.
Having been an everyday cyclist all her life, Alison was able to weave her interest in cycling into her professional life by working on a range of products such as local authority health profiles and the National Obesity Observatory, which brought together research and data about the benefits of active travel to health and wellbeing, and what works to get people walking and cycling.
This long-standing interest in the role that cycling can play in improving health across populations - and the contribution that public health professionals and the NHS can make to increasing the number of people cycling - led to her being invited onto the board of Cycling England for its duration.
I love cycling because it is the most liberating, uplifting and exhilarating form of transport.
Alison said: “Now I have left full-time paid employment I have two voluntary roles in the world of cycling. I am chair of The Bikeability Trust, which is a charity that aims to get every child in England access to Bikeability training. And I am chair of Oxford’s cycling campaign group, Cyclox.
“I am a regular cyclist. I do all my journeys by bike with or without public transport, and I go on cycle touring holidays as often as possible.
“I love cycling because it is the most liberating, uplifting and exhilarating form of transport. And as if that wasn’t enough, cycling addresses many of the most complex issues of our time: it doesn't add to air pollution; it helps reduce traffic congestion; it is low carbon; it keeps people fit and well; and it is reliable, getting me to my destinations predictably.
“More than that, it is a thoroughly social activity. Not being inside a metal box, I can see and greet friends, and can stop whenever and wherever to chat.
“Best of all, it is knowing that bikes come in so many wonderful shapes and sizes that they are available to everyone of any ability, from the youngest to the oldest, and can be used to carry an extraordinary variety of stuff (including our daughter’s dog!).”
Best of all, bikes come in so many wonderful shapes and sizes and are available to everyone of any ability.
Alison was nominated for 100 Women in Cycling by Cycling UK’s Matt Mallinder, who said: “Alison has had a long-standing interest in the role that cycling can play in improving health across populations, and the contribution that public health professionals and the NHS can make to increasing the number of people cycling. Her involvement in cycling spans decades from 2005 when she was a board member of Cycling England and which notably persuaded government to invest over £140m in Cycling demonstration towns."
What is 100 Women in Cycling?
Cycling UK’s 100 Women in Cycling is an annual list celebrating inspirational women who are encouraging others to cycle.