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News from the world of Bristol cycling. You might also want to look at the BristolCycling Reddit social news aggregation site.

Please take a look at our Blog for quick updates.


Cycle Sunday returns to the Downs in June

As announced on twitter, following the successful inaugural event on 19 April, fantastic news there is to be another event on 28 June.

As Sam Saunders writes in his blog, on that Sunday morning in April "a section of Circular Road on the Bristol Downs was opened for people and bicycles. For a few hours hundreds and hundreds of people of all ages had a whale of a time on bikes – learning, practicing, coaching, watching, being serious, having fun and having more fun. It was a very sociable and good natured event with plenty of professional support. When I asked a medic for the casualty count as I left she said, with a big smile, that it stood at none."

Unfortunately the day was spoilt for a few people passing by on Ladies Mile who were subject to an unreasonable attitude from a police officer when riding two abreast, as Sam explains further on in his blog posting.

Goodbye and good luck


At our social evening on 22nd April we formally said farewell to Martin McDonnell who is off to Edinburgh to start a new life there. Martin has been a mainstay of the Campaign since he joined in 2008.

Martin Tweddell gave a brief speech saying "Martin has taken the Cycling Campaign from the doldrums in 2008 to the vibrant and effective body it is today. Without his dedication we would never have got to the position of producing a manifesto for cycling which has subsequently been adopted as official council policy. Quite an achievement."

Martin was then presented with a small token of our appreciation making a connection between his old and new adopted cities. The whisky tumbler in Bristol blue glass will remind him of us every time he has a wee dram...

Until our AGM on 27 May, Martin continues to be our Secretary after which he will step down.

We wish Martin all the best and hope he can do as much for cycling north of the border as he has here in Bristol.  Scotland watch out!

Active Travel Hustings - are we any the wiser?

On April 21st, Life Cycle UK organised a hustings for General Election candidates to answer questions on walking and cycling from an audience of about 60 people who themselves had mainly walked or cycled to the event.  The hustings were hosted by TLT at their 12th floor offices in 1 Redcliffe St – which has great views of Bristol.


The hustings were consummately chaired by well known journalist, broadcaster, author and cyclist Rob Penn. The following candidates agreed to attend: Thangam Debbonnaire (Labour – Bristol West), Darren Hall (Green – Bristol West), Claire Hiscott (Conservative – Bristol West), Mark Wright (Lib Dem – Bristol South), Dawn Parry (Independents for Bristol – Bristol West) and Paul Turner (UKIP – Bristol West).

Unfortunately Thangam Debbonnaire and Paul Turner were unable to make it. Thangam was able to send in her place Kye Dudd (Labour candidate for Cabot in the up-coming local council elections) and Paul was absent due to a family illness. However Claire Hiscott failed to turn up with no apology and was conspicuous by her absence. Being left with a selection of candidates who broadly agreed with each other was not great for debate or democracy.

The evening was heavy on anecdote and good intentions but light on evidence and hard policy. However there were some exceptions.

- Kye Dudd (KD) was strong on tackling social inequality and knows Bristol well. He cited Trade Union support for improvements to active travel.

- As a businesswoman Dawn Parry (DP) began her political career as a Conservative, only leaving them when she realised they didn’t share her values. Transport appears not to be her strong point but she was broadly sympathetic with the other candidates and the audience, though at one point she did propose a “cycling proficiency test for all” which went unchallenged.

- Mark Wright (MW) was by far the most informed on the subject having been a councillor for the central Cabot ward for three terms, helping to introduce 20mph and the first RPZ in Kingsdown. He is now campaigning for Bristol to have a Low Emissions Zone (LEZ), but was unsuccessful in recent years to implement workplace parking charges.

- Darren Hall (DH) was especially keen to invest in walking and cycling as an effective way to tackle climate change and health inequality.


Discover Bristol Rides - 38 cake fuelled days out in 2014

Were you one of the hundreds of people who came on one our popular Discover Bristol Rides in the past year? We did a grand total of 38 rides in the last year, supported by an Active Neighbourhood Grant from Bristol Council.

Looking back the team of enthusiastic volunteer ride leaders can be justifiably proud of the range of unusual and interesting opportunities they created to get on your bike and Discover Bristol. Favourites were the Pub Pitstops, the Tea and Cakes rides, and a ‘Coffee House’ series, as well as exploring historic buildings and lovely local routes such as Coastal Clevedon, Chew Valley Lake or Strawberry Line Rides.

We've just fixed the programme for May and June so make a date in the diary to join us. Read the report of the programme here.

Third closure of Bristol Bath Railway Path

Some are calling it a conspiracy, but a third closure of a section of the massively popular Bristol Bath Cycle Path has been announced.

Unlike the first one at Staple Hill for tunnel repairs, this one will improve things for users.

Unlike the second one for resurfacing between Bitton and Saltford, there will be a signed diversion. [NEWSFLASH: "Alternative routes will be posted whilst maintenance work is carried out between Bitton & Saltford"]

This one is for an £80,000 improvement scheme to double the width of the narrowest section of the path from two metres to four metres on one of the busiest sections of the Bristol to Bath Cycle Path in Lawrence Hill. Work is due to start on Monday 20 April and is expected to be closed for about 10 weeks.

It's going to be worth it as this section has always uncomfortable for all users with pedestrians and cyclists being forced to squeeze past each other in the narrow space.

Vote Bike!

With election fever building now is the time to review what we know about each party's position on cycling. The Guardian says "With a couple of honourable exceptions, the main parties show depressingly little vision or ambition in their election programmes" which is disappointing as if you followed the Big Cycling Debate, an event in March involving transport spokespeople from the three main parties, you’d be forgiven for thinking policies on cycling would at least be relatively prominent in the election. Sustrans have set out their response to the party manifestos.

Meanwhile CTC has statements on cycling from 9 of the parties. They've also been busy pressing all candidates to respond to five questions on cycling through their interactive website VoteBike.org.uk. You can find out if candidates in your constituency have responded yet and take action to find out.

Finally, our very own Lifecycle UK has organised General Election Cycle Hustings for Bristol candidates on Tuesday 21st April. There are still places if you hurry. We'll hope to have a report.

Here are the five questions from CTC to parliamentary candidates:

1. Ambition. Will you support measures to increase levels of cycling to 10% of trips by 2025 and 25% by 2050?
Read more about ambition here

2. Funding. Will you support an average government spend of at least £10 per person per year on cycling?
Read more about funding here (PDF)

3. Design standards. Will you support action to create consistently high design standards for cycling in all highway and traffic schemes, new developments and planned road maintenance work?
Read more about design standards here

4. Safety. Will you support measures to improve cycle safety by strengthening road traffic law and its enforcement and revising the Highway Code?
Read more about safety here

5. Positive promotion.  Will you support the positive promotion of cycling, including cycle skills training, for people of all ages, backgrounds and abilities?
Read more about positive promotion


Cycling Trends in Bristol

There's been quite a bit of interest in our article about Gloucester Road cycling (here, here and here for example). Our aim was to draw attention to a new set of data from DfT, and to make the point that even on a road where nothing has been done to make it better for cycling, numbers have risen to make this one of the most heavily used routes in the city. We think this is evidence that when really good 'Triple A' (All Ages and Abilities) end-to-end provision is provided, we can confidently expect dramatic, rather than gradual, growth.

We thought it might be helpful to share further data and graphs from Bristol Council about general trends, and the A38 Gloucester/Cheltenam Rd in particular (note that an upgraded permanent cycle counter network was installed in March 2015 here that will give much better information).

There is an excellent summary paper on the census cycling data, with useful headline figures about cycling in Bristol as a whole. The census provides a very robust measure. The Quality of Life Survey of 2014 shows 9% of people cycled to work in Bristol in 2013 (transport pages attached below).

Bristol is also one of 7 cities working with Sustrans to produce Bicycle Accounts in 2015 and 2017 containing a range of statistics about cycling in the city. The first report is due to be released in October this year.

DfT and Council Counts

Let's start with the differences between the sets of data from the Dept for Transport (DfT) and those from Bristol Council (BCC). Bristol has been recording traffic annually in a series of cordons around the centre for many years. Some of these are shown in the map below. For our purposes we're looking at the BCC counts from the point on Cheltenham Rd just north of Arley Hill, while the DfT sampling point is just north of Claremont Road, about 700m apart.


Cycle Sunday - this Sunday!

Cycle Sunday road closed signOur friends at Cycle Sunday have managed to get a large section of the Downs opened for bikes and families on Sunday (we helped with their application). We really want this to be a great success so that everyone can see this is the way forward for this icon Bristol leisure destination. Do make the effort to drop by, even if only passing through on your Sunday outing.  Here's their latest update:

Dear all,

We can’t believe that Cycle Sunday is only a few days away now and wanted to send you all one last message before the big day.

There has been a brilliant response on Eventbrite with 1,300 people already signed up. Do sign up if you are planning on coming, as it’s a huge help for us and means we are able to email people with last minute info about the event: www.cyclesunday.eventbrite.com

We wanted to let you know that the two most senior members of the Downs Committee are arriving at 9.00am for a photo call and bike ride with a group of children. The fact that they want to be publically associated with the event is a real coup for us. It would be fantastic to have as many people as possible already there order to make them feel welcome.

The weather forecast is great for Sunday, so whichever cycle tribe you belong to, and whether you have little people in tow or not, do come up for a quick ride round the Downs. Come and support us in making a very positive statement about the status of cycling on the Downs and how it needs to change.

Just to let you know, there won’t be any coffee/tea for sale out by the Seawalls. So, if like us, you need caffeine to kick start your day, then pop to Café Retreat (by the water tower) en route or bring a flask!

Lastly, please do keep sharing the petition with your friends and family: 


Thanks so much and hope to see you at Cycle Sunday,

Vicki and the Cycle Sunday Team



New Bristol Pound note to feature cycling

Lovely to see cycling featuring in the new set of Bristol Pound notes, as reported in the Bristol Post.

Car free family cycling comes to the Downs

The excitement is building towards the first Cycle Sunday event on 19 April. It is hoped as many of us as possible can come and join in for a morning of car free cycling around the Downs.

None of this would have happened without the 38 Degrees petition which 4,600 signed at the end of last year. It was clearly the thing that swayed the Downs Committee as it showed them what strong support there is for the principal of safer cycling up on the Downs.

If you are coming, then please do sign up for the event (it only takes a few clicks and really helps to plan the event effectively) www.cyclesunday.eventbrite.com. Please email the link to friends, post it on your FB page or tweet it if you are into that kind of thing (short URL - ow.ly/KYp8l)

Other places you can connect:

Twitter: @cyclesunday

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/groups/1498911860389540/

Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

The event is SUPER early on a Sunday morning (8.00 - 11am). This is because this is the quietest time on the Downs and is aimed to cause the least disruption to others such that if the first event goes well, they hope to be able to finish a little later at future events.

You might consider coming to be a steward for an hour on the day. More stewards makes for a better, safer event. If interested please email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

A poster to display at work, in your window (to make a change from all the election ones) or wherever you like can be printed from the pdf link below.


Building on success - lessons from Gloucester Road

Who knew that Gloucester Road was a brilliantly successful cycle route? Numbers at peak times have doubled over the last decade while motor vehicle numbers have dropped by a fifth.

We know this because traffic flow data from an annual census published online by the Office for National Statistics allow detailed analyses and comparisons for cycling levels on major routes at a local level. About 100 census points around the city are monitored for a full day and all forms of traffic are counted.

If a road like this, with very poor provision for cycling, can show a steady increase in cycling over a sustained period we can be very confident that Bristol City Council is right in making cycling a significant part of its transport policy for the future. People are making a big effort to use bicycles, even on roads like this. This gives the Council an opportunity, and a responsibility, to respond in an even more confident terms than their new Cycle Strategy sets out.

Take a look at the table and the graph. The numbers are impressive and the graph makes it clear.

Changes in vehicle counts on Gloucester Rd 200 and 2013 Traffic count data taken from DfT

Bicycle travel has been going up steadily over ten years. It has doubled while car and taxi traffic has gone down by a fifth. Whatever the underlying causes, the message is clear: cycling can thrive in adverse conditions and if given proper space it could make a huge contribution to public health, to well being and to the economy of Bristol.

This is not just a "cycling" thing for "cyclists". The fact that so many people have been using this route while other modes of transport dwindle suggests a strong trend that wants to run. Ten years is hardly a fad. Ten years' growth is significant and we think Bristol City Council has every right to feel and act very bullish about the future of cycling as a much bigger part of a greener and healthier future for the City.

Petition to extend the Strawberry Line


Most Bristolian walkers and cyclists are aware of, and many have enjoyed, Somerset's Strawberry Line route between Yatton and Cheddar. Like the Bristol and Bath Railway Path it uses level ground once used by steam trains and provides a perfect route for people who want a stress-free day out in beautiful countryside.


Strawberry Line September 2013

There have been plans for a long time to extend the route from Cheddar to Wells and generally to "join up the dots" between Clevedon and Wells and then on to Shepton Mallet.  The Strawberry Line Society has raised a Petition calling on the relevant local authorities to get the plans out of the drawers and get the off-road path onto the ground. Their case (which includes much more than just the tourist pleasure for visitors to the region) and access to the on-line Petition are on their website at http://www.thestrawberryline.org.uk/index.php?section=campaign

Bristol Cycling Campaign is fully supportive of the efforts being made and we urge everyone to add their signatures and comments to strengthen the Society's efforts. There seems to be a surge of interest at the moment, so make yourself feel good by adding to it!

More Articles...

  1. Why are recent plans for cycling so awful?
  2. BCyC briefing for Deputy Mayor Mark Bradshaw
  3. Bristol Cycle Campaign Dutch Study Tour 2015
  4. Bristol Cycling digest 2015/03
  5. Another section of Railway Path closed
  6. General Election Cycle Hustings
  7. £19m Cycle City Ambition Grant awarded to West of England - now confirmed
  8. Portway Sunday Park dates announced
  9. New Great Western trains can carry up to 10 cycles
  10. John Grimshaw speaks at February meeting
  11. Women on Wheels film night and Bristol Cycle Festival
  12. Bristol Cycle Strategy published
  13. Bristol area bids for West of England Cycle Transformation
  14. Community Speedwatch in Bedminster
  15. What we learned on our Dutch Study Tour
  16. New Year Consultation Fever
  17. 'Perfect Storm' Opportunity to Fix Potholes
  18. Who's got Green Capital funding?
  19. Here’s how to spend cycling money wisely, we tell roads minister in joint letter
  20. Southville Bridge approved (and objections to South Glos plans)
  21. November meeting has talks on 'Roads were not built for cars' and Green Capital
  22. Annual Cyclenation-CTC conference 2014
  23. Merchant's Dock Consultation Response
  24. Full house at campaigners training day
  25. Majority of under 35s in employment in Bristol choose not to commute by car
  26. More irrelevant cycling 'infrastructure'
  27. Council calls for halt to 20mph speed limits
  28. Two dates to get you in touch with your campaigning mojo
  29. Making Bristol's Streets Special
  30. Tell the Treasury we need #funding4cycling
  31. Railway Path Closure at Teewell Hill Bridge 6th Oct for 8 weeks
  32. Clarence Road "Dutch-style" Cycleway - update
  33. Bristol Bike Forum on 18th Sept 2014
  34. New Cycling related Consultations and Planning Applications
  35. How the Draft Bristol Cycle Strategy can be better
  36. National recognition of BCyC Road Justice campaigning
  37. Bristol council debate our Cycling Manifesto
  38. How good is the Bristol Council Cycling Strategy?
  39. Penny on Discover Bristol rides during the cycle festival
  40. Neighbourhood Cycling plans
  41. Bristol Cycling Campaign Dutch study tour
  42. London Cycle Campaign interviews George Ferguson
  43. Bristol Cycling Campaign response to TRSGD consultation
  44. Our New Committee
  45. Space for Cycling - Big Ride in Bristol
  46. 2014 AGM with Roger Geffen
  47. Productive meeting with Chief Constable
  48. Adrian Hill
  49. Strange Cylindrical Objects Appearing around Bristol
  50. AA Launches "Think Bikes" Campaign
  51. "Other Things Being Equal" A Spell That Binds Us To The Past
  52. New law urged for dangerous driving
  53. Jan'14 Bristol Cycle Forum Update
  54. Decision time for Crew Hole / Beaufort Road
  55. Media Interest Escalates
  56. Manifesto Campaign Makes National News
  57. Reprieve for Colston Street
  58. Barriers Likely to be Removed
  59. Cycle Parking at Home
  60. Colston Street Bike Lane Reprieve
  61. Cycling Excluded From Local Transport Plans
  62. Neighbourhood Forums
  63. Bike Forum Update
  64. Justice for Ross and Clare Simons
  65. Baldwin Street Cycle Safety Consultation
  66. Third Round of Funding for Active Transport
  67. Bee Ride Goes Down a Swarm
  68. Freedom to Ride Leafleting
  69. 3 Important New Consultations
  70. Rideable Bristol July 2013
  71. Stop the slaughter on our streets
  72. The future of Britain’s transport? More roads
  73. Green Week Finale - A Taste of Things to Come?
  74. Sensible contraflow diversion on Nelson Street
  75. Stop Pinching Bikes - New Campaign
  76. Bristol Cycling Campaign Supports Tackling Congestion in Central Bristol
  77. Bristol Cycle Forum - Thursday 16th May
  78. Cycle City Ambition Grant
  79. The world's most bike friendly cities
  80. Probably the best day for British Cycling since the war - but still a way to go!
  81. Roll For the Soul Announce Venue
  82. Lovely Census Stats
  83. Councillor Against Air Pollution
  84. Infrastructure Ride Reveals New Link
  85. Boris Johnson's £1bn Vision for Cyclng in London
  86. Most Motorists are Not Criminals but Most Criminals are Motorists
  87. Tesco's Contractors Don't Ride Bicycles
  88. Traffic Free Bristol Comes a Step Closer
  89. Super Lorries Arrive in Bristol
  90. Poynton Regenerated
  91. Brompton Dock