The Space for Cycling roadshow hits Cambridge!

From left to right, Julian Huppert, Daniel Zeichner MP and Tom Guha kick the day off
The Space for Cycling roadshow has officially started! The first stop was Cambridge, where around fifty people came to hear all about Cycling UK's plans to get councils to plan, invest in and build full networks of cycle-friendly infrastructure. Cycling UK's Space for Cycling Campaigner, Tom Guha explains.

The Space for Cycling roadshow in Cambridge was organised in partnership with Camcycle. The day kicked off with a Q&A with current Cambridge MP and Shadow Minister for Cycling, Daniel Zeichner, and former MP and former co-chair of the All Party Parliamentary Cycling Group, Julian Huppert.

There were a  wide range of questions – from how best to lobby electoral candidates to how to communicate the campaign to the wider public. 

On communication, Daniel Zeichner said it was imperative to emphasise that “cycling is a safe way to travel, and while we shouldn't dismiss personal tragedy, we need to balance our messaging”. Julian Huppert hammered home the point that we need national design standards if we are to see truly safe Space for Cycling built around the country.

The seven workshops each had a distinct focus and covered a broad range of topics, they were delivered either by Cycling UK staff or local campaigners. 

Thoroughly enjoyed the day! The workshops provided useful forums for people to share expertise and develop new skills. I met lots of other like-minded people who I hope will get stuck into some campaigning in the local area!" 

Martin Lucas Smith, Cyclescape developer and local campaigner

In the morning, Camcycle spoke about their experiences of forming and running a campaign group, answering questions on how best to recruit members, utilise people's skills and gain popularity in the wider public and political sphere. The group received high praise from Daniel Zeichner, who called them one of the most effective campaign groups he knows.

Tom Guha was helping local campaigners design a ‘tube map’ of desired infrastructure. By the end of the session a group had formed to take the design forward and already a working prototype is nearly created!

After a delicious feast for lunch, the lead developer of Cyclescape took us through how the tool can be used to highlight what areas are important to local cyclists. Meanwhile, campaigners gathered in the next room to share their experiences of lobbying local authorities. People from all around East Anglia gave an insight into what has worked for them and what has not.

Particularly valuable were the insights of Cambridgeshire County Councillor, Susan Van De Ven. As a Councillor, she was able to tell us about the importance of getting businesses on-board and forging constructive relationships with Councillors and council officers, rather than getting immediately frustrated (however tempting!).  

The final sessions of the day were very varied. Susan Van de Ven and campaigners from the A10 Corridor Campaign told us all about their successes of making the A10 cycle-friendly.  Meanwhile, Sam Jones, Cycling UK’s Communications and Campaigns Coordinator, took campaigners through various scenarios and asked delegates to develop an appropriate communcations strategy. The session provided a useful forum for campaigners to share their experiences of battling ‘bikelash’.

Robin Heydon, who created the code for the Cycle Environment Assessment Tool (CEAT) took us on a local ‘infrastructure safari’ to audit some of the existing cycling provision in Cambridge. Even in Cambridge, cycling city of the UK, we found lots of substandard infrastructure and Robin, using CEAT, was able to clearly explain why it was poor and what specifically could be done to improve it.

One down, nine to go! We hope campaigners in East Anglia feel that much closer to getting their local authorities to create safe Space for Cycling! If this event sounds interesting to you, why not come along to one in your area! We are travelling the length and breadth of Britain and would love to see you.

Please register for a Space for Cycling event, so we can keep track of numbers. If needs be, Cycling UK can also assist with travel costs.