Bike West Midlands Network News

Things are hotting up in the West Midlands cycling world even if winter is still hanging on with some dull blustery weather for commuting and touring. Here are a couple of actions that you might consider if you want to support cycling in the West Midlands

Mayoral Elections

These are coming up in May and candidates are now firming up their Manifestos and beginning to make commitments to active travel and cycling investment. Andy Street the Conservative Candidate has set the ball running as this welcome article makes clear.

Several of us from the BWM Network have had a good meeting with Beverley Nielsen (Lib Dems and a cyclist) and approaches have been made to the other candidates Sion Simon (Labour) James Burn (Green Party) and Peter Durnell (UKIP). Hustings and meet the candidates events are being held by various organisations which give us a chance to ask questions about their support for cycling.

We are asking candidates to commit to one simple pledge :-

“I will uphold the West Midlands Cycling Charter and will produce a costed plan to implement it, so that all authorities in the West Midlands Combined Authority can be reached safely and conveniently by cycling”.

The Charter has already been produced after extensive consultation by the West Midlands Combined Authority and what we want from a Mayor is the political will and financial commitments to implement it see the Charter here.

It would be great if BWM Network members would contact candidates, write to the press, go to the meetings, tweet etc and make the case for cycling as part of Active Travel a key theme in this election as it has been in London.

Here are details of the four candidates' campaigns:

Diary Date : Saturday April 22nd Space for Cycling Community Ride from City Centre to Cannon Hill

The Space for Cycling Campaign (a coalition of Cycling UK, Cycle Nation, Sustrans etc) is coordinating mass cycle rides in each of the Regions with Mayorial elections this May. We are planning a Community Cycling event for the West Midlands centred on Birmingham and hope to see representatives for across the Region joining with local riders.  All welcome. The route will probably be from Victoria Square to Cannon Hill for a picnic. Mayoral candidates will be invited to join in and address us about their vision for and commitment to cycling. Watch out for further announcements as plans are confirmed and please come along on the day.

An important consultation on A38 segregated Cycle Path in Birmingham

Birmingham City Council have revised their thinking about on-road cycling provision and are currently consulting on an exciting flagship scheme for a high quality segregated cycle lane on the A38 Bristol Road from the Ring Road to Selly Oak. This is important and not just for Brummies. Push Bikes are supporting this enthusiastically as this link shows.

We are making suggestions for detailed improvements to the scheme but this is a major step forward for the whole of the West Midlands setting standards for future investment in cycling infrastructure and allocation of space for cycling. A similar proposal is being worked up for the A34 corridor going north from the City Centre.

Please please have a look at the consultation here and respond positively if you agree that this should be supported.

Cycling and the Economy

Seeing cycling as part of sustainable economic growth, manufacturing, engineering design and skills development is part of the BWM Network programme. See Shivaji Shiva's post on Birmingham Cyclist about an event supporting Isla Rowntree's Imagine Project on the 11th May.

Meanwhile Trillion Cycles have announced a major investment in expanding production of their locally made range of high quality steel bicycles.

In April local designer Graham Powell is launching his Whippet Folding Bike at the Bespoke 2017 show in Bristol.

A Cool and Retro Cycling Culture?

Vintage Ride : Richard Betson has organised this fun summer event in Birmingham for some years and would like someone else to take over. About 100 riders circle the City and then go to a park for a picnic - all you need is an old looking bike, some Tweed togs or flowery dresses a real or stick-on moustache and you are away. These events are big in other cities take us back to cycling's golden age and make a change from whizzing around in Lycra, Roubaix tights or cut off jeans. If you are interested get back to me and I'll put you in touch with Richard.