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Thursday, 20 March 2014

Meeting Cycle Policy Makers in Westminster

BEBA (British Electric Bicycle Association) gets the opportunity to attend all sorts of events either to promote electric bikes or to meet with influencers of policy. Yesterday I put on my smart gear and hopped on the train to London as I was representing BEBA at the APPCG meeting.

The All Party Parliamentary Cycling Group (APPCG) has a cross party membership of MP’s and Peers who promote all forms of cycling both inside and outside the Houses of Parliament.

Portcullis House
The meeting was held at the aptly named Portcullis House (it really does look like a portcullis) just across the road from the Houses of Parliament. It was the second time I had been to this venue, which is truly amazing inside. The meeting rooms are on the first floor situated, around a balcony that looks out on a tree filled central indoor space.

Robert Goodwill MP (foreground) and Julian Huppert MP
Julian Huppert MP chaired the meeting and the speaker was Robert Goodwill MP, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Transport. The number of attendees from all levels of cycling that were there underlined the importance of Robert Goodwill’s position.

The Minister has openly promoted cycling saying that he wants more ‘everyday’ cyclists making shorter journeys in ordinary clothes. This is obviously important to us as electric bikes really do fit the bill for ‘everyday cyclists’.

The Minister spoke about funding and supporting infrastructure to continue the increase in numbers of cyclists. Then there was a short window of opportunity for questions. There were several about infrastructure and roads and a couple on cycle training schemes. Kevin Hickman took the Minister to task for failing to provide proper cycling facilities for people with disabilities. Robert Goodwill was interested in the question saying that it was not something he had come across before and advised that he would look into the situation.

By sheer luck I managed to get the last question slot. I stated that electric bikes are inclusive and are getting people who would not otherwise consider cycling out on bikes. I then asked the Minister about ratifying the laws surrounding electric bikes. I was delighted that he was nodding during my question, he clearly understood about electric bikes and that they were inclusive and he agreed about the need to clarify the law.

Everyone else who had a question to ask will have to email them in for consideration so I was elated to get in the last of only nine questions to be put to the minister.

What a day! After chatting to some of the other attendees it was time to hop back on the train for home.
As I came out of Portcullis House the sun was shining on the London Eye and  the former County Hall building which now houses the London Aquarium

Monday, 17 March 2014

Thames Path and NCR1

The Thames Path opened in 1996 and follows the route of the Thames for 184 miles from its source in Gloucestershire to the Barrier at Charlton in London. Some parts of it are for walkers only and other parts cater for cyclists too.

On a gloriously sunny day yesterday we started at the Thames Barrier and joined many Londoners and tourists enjoying the route along to the Emirates Airline cable car next door to the O2 at Greenwich.

The sunshine made the whole scene very photogenic and it was great to see so many people enjoying the views.