So, the last weekend in September was looking good as far as two wheeled adventures went, the Lichfield Derive on Friday night, The Cycle Show at the NEC on Saturday, the “alternative” to the Sky ride in Birmingham on Sunday and topped off on Monday with the Mass Cycle around the Conservative Party Conference. Things didn’t get away to a good start, late away from work saw me fail (again) to get to the Derive, but an early start on Saturday saw me up bright and early and soon amid the shiny bikes at the NEC. I entered the show at the children’s / electric bike end, which had tucked away some nice examples of “Hand” built frames, it seemed a strange place to put them?
There was lots to see, particularly busy were a company selling “high end” second hand bikes, but from a personal point of view, the Handmade Bike Show, back in Bristol for 2015, was a better event….. and better value for money if you had to pay the show price and then the car park fee.
So, on to Sunday and the Birmingham Bicycle Mass Ride, this was set up as the Sky ride in Birmingham was cancelled this year. Rolling down to Millennium Point a few minutes before the 2.00pm start time, I had expected to see a big group of bikes and riders ready to go….. not just the other six riders that arrived before me! We duly set off a “mass” group of seven, zig-zagging the cycle lanes in the City Centre and then taking a route to Edgbaston. It was in fairness a good route and I did feel for the organiser. So with just seven of us… you would not imagine too much could go wrong?, within the first mile we had a well and truly jammed chain, my Cycle jumble “bargain” Brooks saddle fell apart half way round and towards the end of the ride a bike had BOTH brake cables snap!!
Monday and the “mass cycle”. I didn’t know what to expect from Sundays ride in Birmingham, Push Bikes in Birmingham had been pushing the event well, but following yesterdays turn out I wondered how many would be there. In the end the turn out of, I am guessing 200+, was as good as could be expected. There was a good mix of age, gender and bike types – trikes, recumbents, dogs in trailers, I was extra happy to see TWO Mercians! The ride its self was quite short and we spent more time “waiting” (sometimes hard to see why!) than riding, but there was lots of banter and chat and all seemed to be enjoying it.
The Police “looked after” us stopping traffic and keeping us moving. The event was to highlight the CTC campaign Space for Cycling and there were several MP’s in attendance, both Transport Minister Robert Goodwill MP and Shadow Transport Minister Richard Burden MP, plus several councillors – Goodwill stated, “We spend our time trying to find things that we disagree about – and although there are a number of those, cycling isn’t one of them. We need to get the Cycle Revolution that the Prime Minister talked about last year really on the road.”
The aim of the CTC lead campaign is to increase government spending to £10.00 per head, (per annum) raising to £20.00, to bring us in line with other European Countries and the Transport Minister was keen to advise us there is an announcement due in the next few weeks that “we” would all be pleased with……. We will see!