Wednesday 23 February 2011

Gloucestershire campaign groups in conflict

Two new blogs have recently come online from Gloucestershire, England.

In the red corner, the well established and traditional Popular Cycling Front of Gloucestershire who are working towards "minimising the continued decline of cycling by tinkering around the edges of the road network". Excellent, rousing stuff which will no doubt result in a huge rise in cycling numbers any time around now.

In the blue corner: The Peoples Cycling Front of South Gloucestershire, with a dream of "Cycle-paths the Dutch won't laugh at". What a dangerous bunch of radicals...


Paul Martin said...


Their names are like something from Monty Python's 'Life of Brian' - Classic :)

Paul Martin said...

Whoops! I think it may have been 'The Holy Grail'

People's Cycling Front of South Gloucestershire said...

It was The Life of Brian

Loretta: The Peoples front of Judea. Splitters.
Reg: We're the Peoples front of Judea.
Loretta: Oh. I thought we were the Popular Front.
Reg: Peoples Front.
Francis: Whatever happened to the Popular Front, Reg?
Reg: He's over there.

Before people think the People's Cycling Front of S gloucs is a spoof, note
- our liberation of bollards, or at least making them visible at night.
- more coverage

Jim Moore said...

Paul, let me attempt to be the first Python fan to say that you were right the first time. This scene is from the Life of Brian.

freewheeler said...

It is quite obvious that the Popular Cycling Front of Gloucestershire are engaged in a vicious personal attack on people like me. I have spent the past ten years campaigning for the Right to Ride on the M11 motorway, providing cyclists with a safe direct route from Waltham Forest to Cambridge, Britain’s number one cycling Shangri-La.

It is perfectly safe to cycle on the M11 motorway and this can be proven statistically by looking at the official government figures. Over the past decade the number of cyclists killed or seriously injured on the M11 is nil, despite a 117% rise in cycling in London.

If we can persuade the government to pass new legislation forcing drivers to leave three feet between themselves and cyclists, there is no reason why all motorways in Britain cannot be opened up to cycling. With the right kind of poster campaign many parents could undoubtedly be persuaded to let their children cycle on motorways. It makes my blood boil when bloggers come along and threaten to destroy all the good work.

Infrastructure wasn’t the answer back in 1878 when cycle campaigning first began in Britain and it isn’t the answer today. Behaviour change is what we need. People must get rid of their silly ideas that cycling in traffic is dangerous or unpleasant. With the right kind of cycle training and medication anyone can learn to enjoy our cities gyratory systems. And drivers must be made to be nicer to cyclists, which can be achieved through new laws. The law against driving while using a mobile phone is a very good example of how effective legislation can be in changing driver behaviour.

Cycling in Britain today is under attack as never before. A deeply damaging new organisation threatens to snatch the cycle helmets from our heads and prevent us all from cycling at more than 15 mph. Please do your bit to fight the splitters and haters by cycling faster. Don’t let them make us be like the Dutch, where cowed masses of cyclists with drugged smiles on their faces move with painful slowness around towns and cities, all looking exactly the same, with not a helmet in sight.

Anonymous said...

Ho ho, freewheeler! Beautiful use of irony!

P.S. Love your blog!


ibikelondon said...

That Freewheeler! He's not the Messiah, he's a very naughty boy!

People's Cycling Front of South Gloucestershire said...

@Ibikelondon. Exactly. Which is why the People's Cycling Front is pleased to bring Monty Python quotes into the mainstream of cycling activism. Then we can move onto Blackadder.

@Freewheeler. You have mixed us up. We, the people's cycling front are the ones opposing your campaign to open the motorways to cycling -despite their excellent bicycle safety record compared to segregated paths. The Popular Cycling Front is likely to welcome your vision. .

Tom B said...

Freewheeler, as you embark on your cycle ride up the M11, we the Cycling Front of Newcastle, brackets, officials, end brackets, do hereby convey our sincere fraternal and sisterly greetings to you, Freewheeler, on this, the occasion of your martyrdom. Your death will stand as a landmark in the continuing struggle to liberate the parent land from the hands of the Motorist imperialist aggressors. And I'd just like to add, on a personal note, my own admiration, for what you're doing for us, Freewheeler, on what must be, after all, for you a very difficult time.

Mr Catheter said...


You are exactly right. All we need is to make motorists a bit nicer with poster campaigns and to cure people of their irrational fear of cycling in traffic through cycle training and promotional material showing cyclists looking nice and safe in a helmet, full high-vis outfit, knee pads and flashing lights clipped to every available area of their bodies.

Then they'll see its safe, even on the M11

christhebull said...

@Freewheeler - I believe the Australians have taken the lead in actually removing the pre-existing restrictions on motorway access therefore affording the use of certain motorways to cyclists, as well as pedestrians and low power motorcycles in case ramblers and pizza delivery boys feel they're being left out.

freewheeler said...

@ ChrisTheBull. This is excellent news. Also Australia is flat, like British motorways. I have never understood why cycling is banned on the A1(M), where sightlines are good, but allowed on the A1, which is full of bends. You could argue that the A1 has a 50 mph speed limit, but luckily most of the speed cameras have been hooded, apart from the occasional one painted bright yellow, about which the trusty SatNav always gives ample warning. In other words conditions are identical on both the A1 and the A1(M) – drivers zipping along at 80 mph. There is no danger at all for cyclists provided that you come no closer to them than three inches, and the statistics prove it. Also drivers regularly come very close to me but I have never been knocked off my bike and apart from the bill for my regular prescriptions for sedatives and anti-depressants I am doing fine.

Of course occasionally people do drive at speed into cyclists but frankly there are so few of them around that it is easy to forget they exist. Also many of them make very little attempt to be visible, even on the sunniest of days. The reason why you see so few cyclists on Britain’s ‘A’ roads is perfectly simple – bloggers. These hate-mongers have destroyed all the successes of almost a century and a half of successful British cycle campaigning. If we can only fight for the right to cycle on motorways then victory for the ‘right to ride’ is in our grasp. It would be tragic is this historic opportunity was lost by people expressing their opinions on the internet.

@Mr Catheter. The best way of proving that cycling is safe is through photographs of long-haired attractive women in their twenties smiling rapturously as they cycle in Hyde Park on a sunny day in July. This is by far the best way to get more people cycling next to left-turning heavy goods vehicles and speeding BMW drivers.

@Tom B. We have long cherished a dream of cycling to Newcastle, on as many motorways as possible. With the right quantities of medication stockpiled and a new cycle helmet, the dream moves ever closer.

My apologies to the Popular Cycling Front. There are so many splitters and haters that my head is swimming with confusion. When the North By Northwest Cycling Front and Hate on the Motorist criticise bad driving all is well with the world, but when they launch personal attacks on prominent campaigners and try and force us all to ride slow bicycles with baskets then something is very, very wrong. Stick to the traditional campaigning methods and you mark my words we will have the same modal share as Assen in less than 623 years, as the statistics totally prove. Also please bear in mind that my laptop screen regularly mists up because of the steam coming out of my nostrils and ears.