How many Cycling Champions Officers does it take…

March 31, 2008

It’s not just me who’s recently started as a Cycling Champions Officer at CTC. In addition to our work in East Hampshire, I have eight colleagues doing similar (but different) stuff all over the country – with more coming soon.

Tamina - Swindon Cycling Champions OfficerWe’re all trying to bring cycling to folks who, for various reasons, aren’t riding much at the moment. In some cases that might mean working with particular ethnic groups, or women, or maybe youngsters who aren’t fitting into the regular school system.

Last week, we all got together in Birmingham to compare notes and see how we’re getting on. This was the first time I’d met some of my new colleagues and it was great to hear what they’re up to. Viv in Bradford and Elizabeth in Leicester are doing some great-sounding work with women from various ethnic communities. Steve in Sheffield is helping young people to recycle bikes and Juliet in the Sefton area of the north west has been doing loads of stuff with cyclists who have disabilities.

If you’ve been looking for some encoragement to get cycling, now is most definately the time. There’s lots going on all over England.


Does Ambridge need a Cycling Champions Officer?

March 30, 2008

I had a lazy Sunday morning, sitting in bed with a big mug of coffee and yesterday’s Guardian (By the way – check out the Guardian’s Two Wheels column on a Thursday – now written by CTC’s Richard George).

As I read the paper, Radio 4 was playing the Archers omnibus in the background. I’m no big Archers fan – but if it happens to be on, I’ll listen to the latest goings-on in Ambridge. I half-listened as a couple of characters were speaking about the idea of ‘Transition Towns‘ and about the possibility of getting more villagers to cycle. My ears pricked up.

The full transcript of the conversation is on the Transition Culture blog:

CATHY You can see why if you’re trying to get people out of their cars, better public transport.

PAT Yes but..

CATHY That’s the trouble though… if you give up your car, there’s no other option

PAT Well you can cycle…

CATHY Like Nigel?

PAT I think in Stroud they are setting up a shared bike scheme… bike shelters and community bikes all painted yellow or something, you just grab one to get where you’re going.

CATHY …and then if you can cadge a lift back…

PAT Definitely. You’re not committed to the bike… And they do bike maintenance classes for people who’ve got their own.

CATHY Well, it sounds amazing!

PAT Tony thinks it’s a good idea.

CATHY I think you might have a job selling it to the whole village…

PAT Well, I’m going to carry on with it anyway, see how far I can get.

I wonder how far they will get? Maybe they’ll go further if they get a Cycling Champions Development Officer. There are 13 of us dotted around the country. Some are in cities, but some, like me, and like Martin in Yorkshire, are focussed on rural areas. Countryside locations face very different issues when it comes to the challenge of encouraging cycling.

Maybe Ambridge needs the help of CTC and the Big Lottery Fund to get more of the villagers onto bikes…

Other Great Places to Ride in East Hampshire

March 18, 2008

Much as I love it here at Alice Holt, there are other great places to enjoy biking around the East Hampshire area.

Yesterday, I went to visit Queen Elizabeth Country Park, near Petersfield. I’ve ridden at Queen Elizabeth before, but generally just passing through on the long distance South Downs Way trail. If you take the time to explore the forest, there is actually some great off-road riding. Assistant Manager Rod Green was keen to tell me about the riding, and has promised to bring his mountain bike to work next time I’m in the area.

You’re welcome to turn up and ride the park’s marked trails independently, though the Velocity Rough Riders club often ride at QECP if you’d like off-road biking buddies.

The mountain biking at Queen Elizabeth is great, but can be a little challenging if you’re a beginner. So Rod advised me to go and check out Staunton Country Park, near Havant, where the new cycle trail offers a more relaxed ride in a really lovely setting.

I didn’t have time to ride Staunton when I visited – I’ll have to save that for a warm-down after Rod wears me out following my next visit to Queen Elizabeth…

Been to See Cycling for All in Croydon

March 13, 2008

Just had a really useful chat with Janet of Wheels for Wellbeing.

She runs Cycling for All in Croydon, who have been doing great things for some time to help people with disabilities to enjoy cycling.

Thanks for the help, Janet.


Cycling with the Disability Multi-Sports Club

March 7, 2008

Yesterday I met up with the team that are planning a Disability Multi-Sports Club for East Hampshire.

The club will be a great way for anyone with disabilities to try a range of sports. Each week will feature a couple of options, so there will be a chance to sample a range of activities. There are all kinds of things planned – tennis, basketball, cricket, boccia, football, new age kurling and, of course, cycling.

The club kicks off on Wednesday 23rd April 2008 at Treloar’s School, near Alton.

First up on the 23rd will be a night of cricket, combined with table cricket and target cricket.

The real date for your diaries is the 14 May, when we’ll be there to offer a taste of cycling with our range of equipment. There will also be wheelchair slalom going on, so if any wheelchair users would rather remain in their chairs, there will be action for them too.

Time and Date:
Every Wednesday during school term time, beginning on 23 April 2008.
(Cycling on 14 May 2008)
6.45pm until 8.00pm

Treloar’s School
Upper Froyle
Nr. Alton
GU34 4JX

Cost: £1 per session

If you need support or assistance, please bring someone with you.

Enquiries and further information:

Kirsty Cope – 01730 234396 –

East Hampshire Cycling for All to Launch on 5th May!

March 5, 2008

We’ve decided that we’re officially getting rolling on the 5th May 2008 – Bank Holiday Monday.

More details will follow later, but stick the date in your diary as a great opportunity to come cycling in the forest, especially if your abilities mean that a regular bike is not normally an option for you.

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