Beyond the Bicycle Conference

Here's the second of our two posts about Wheels for Wellbeing, a locally based nationally recognised cycling group.

Beyond the Bicycle Conference
Brixton-based Wheels for Wellbeing held their first Beyond the Bicycle Conference in November. This brought together campaigners, local authorities, disabled people’s organisations, journalists and transport and health professionals to discuss the future of inclusive cycling. Speakers included representatives from the Department of Transport, Transport for London, Disability Rights UK, Public Health England, Transport for All and disabled cyclists from around the UK.

Kamran Mallick, Chief Executive of Disability Rights UK, opened the event by sharing his memories of discovering the joy of cycling as a teenager thanks to an NHS handcycle - and the freedom, speed and independence that went with it. Sadly the NHS no longer provides hand cycles for wheelchairs users, although there is a new recognition from health organisations of the importance of helping everybody become more active and independent.

Arguments referring to 'the needs of disabled people' are sometimes used to oppose good cycling infrastructure, so it was very useful for representatives from Transport for London and Department for Transport to hear direct from disabled people highlighting the rights of everyone to be active, promoting the importance of cycles as mobility aids, and underlining that cycling infrastructure needs to be inclusive and suitable for all.
Picture from Wheels for Wellbeing.

In its 10 years of operating Wheels for Wellbeing has helped more than 6000 disabled people learn to or practice cycling, some of whom never believed that could be for them. With sessions five times a week at safe off-road venues such as parks, community centres and the Herne Hill velodrome, disabled staff, trustees, volunteers and participants are proving that everybody can cycle given the right equipment and environment. However, it's a different story on the roads where the infrastructure is simply not accessible for many, because of fears of traffic or barriers, unfriendly kerbs, steps or sections which are impassable if you can't carry your bike or get off and walk.

The role of Wheels for Wellbeing has grown beyond grassroots direct support. To effect change on a larger scale, and to enable people to cycle wherever they want or need to, the organisation is becoming a respected national voice of disabled people calling for excellent cycling infrastructure. The charity has joined with other groups who face similar challenges for example cargo cycles, families and other non-standard cycles to form the 'Beyond the Bicycle Coalition'.

At the conference Wheels for Wellbeing launched its new Guide to Inclusive Cycling as an summary of essential aspects to be considered when designing for cycling: building inclusive infrastructure, designing inclusive facilities and recognising disabled people as cyclists - to help planners and decision-makers understand the issues from the point of view of disabled people. This is a working document so all feedback is welcome.


If you'd like to find out more, or can help with campaigning or fundraising to help more disabled people of all ages discover the love of cycling, visit WfW's website or find them on Twitter @wfwnews.
>

First campaign meeting of 2018 - 16 January

Lambeth Cyclists' first meeting of the year takes place at 7.30pm on Tuesday 16 January.

Our meetings are always friendly, informal and open to all.

Various cycling issues are discussed at our regular meetings, typically:

  • Cycle projects
  • Specific routes in Lambeth that need to be improved
  • Other issues to be raised with either Lambeth Council or the GLA
  • News and updates from various cycling projects we may be involved with
  • Organising rides and social events.
We meet at the Stockwell Centre, 1 Studley Road, Stockwell, SW4 6RA. This is just behind Stockwell tube station and there is plenty of secure cycle parking in the Centre's forecourt.
>

Happy 10th Birthday to Wheels for Wellbeing


You may have read about Wheels for Wellbeing in today's feature on The Guardian website about why some disabled people cycle. Here's the first of two posts about this locally based nationally recognised cycling group.

Happy 10th Birthday to Wheels for Wellbeing

Brixton-based Wheels for Wellbeing has been celebrating 10 years of helping disabled people to stay active.

The charity runs inclusive cycling sessions five days a week at venues in South London with its unique fleet of trikes, wheelchair attachments, tandems, handcycles, and specially adapted cycles. Participants and supporters enjoyed a week of parties.

This was followed by Wheels for Wellbeing's first 'Beyond the Bicycle' conference exploring how cycling can continue to transform the lives of disabled participants, and how disabled cyclists can now help transform cycling for all.
Picture from Wheels for Wellbeing.

The driving force for the creation of Wheels for Wellbeing was the frustrations of the everyday experience of disabled people in Lambeth, together with a pioneering team who wanted to spread the benefits of cycling for all.

“We have built an amazing community and we decided to stop and celebrate,” said Isabelle Clement, Wheels for Wellbeing’s Director. “We are so proud of what we have achieved over the last 10 years – not only working directly with 6,000 disabled people to help them access all the benefits of cycling in South London, but also becoming the recognised voice of disabled cyclists nationally. The celebrations were also a way to thank our many volunteers.”

If you'd like to find out more, or can help with campaigning or fundraising to help more disabled people of all ages discover the love of cycling, visit WfW's website or find them on Twitter @wfwnews.
>

Waterloo roundabout - frustrating and occasionally entertaining reading

Lambeth Cyclists' Clare Neely comments on this week's Waterloo Roundabout consultation response report. She says the report makes frustrating and occasionally entertaining reading.

TfL proposed a "peninsularisation" scheme where a some of a roundabout is closed to traffic so the roundabout is converted from being like an island to a peninsula. However, similar "penisularisation" schemes south of Westminster Bridge and at Elephant & Castle are difficult to follow. Those schemes feel slightly safer for someone like me, who has cycled in London for nearly 60 years. I cannot imagine anyone who is new to cycling will find the Waterloo proposals the reason to get on a bike.

As our Lambeth Cyclists response points out, getting onto the junction involves cycling across a busy bus lane and if you are heading over the river you still have to cycle with buses.

The view from Waterloo Bridge, now and as in TFL's proposals.

Why is the banned turn still in the scheme, despite widespread objection?
According to the report "This is due to the prohibitive cost associated with further carriageway widening". Or put another way, the amount of reduction in current motor vehicle traffic road capacity, is too scary for us at TfL to contemplate, even though most of those motor vehicle journeys could be walked or cycled. We, the report writers, know that in another part of TfL there is research that concludes that good cycle facilities reduce congestion, but we don't really believe them.

In the report there is the requirement, in all seriousness, "to keep traffic moving through the area to reduce pollution". Cycling is "traffic" and the way you reduce pollution is to reduce the amount of "motor vehicle" traffic using London's roads. There are two ways of doing this, reallocating space to cycling, for instance by installing with flow cycle tracks, and removing rat runs, or charging people to drive and park. Hysterical responses from people who drive, suggests the scheme is a move in the right direction on reallocation of road space to people cycling.

Other good news from the report is that local people are very concerned about an increase in rat running, so may support filtering out through motor vehicle traffic with a knock on effect of more pleasant walking and cycling away from the junction.

Cycle campaigners were right all those years ago, I would put money on us being right again, that is the scheme is a step in the right direction for encouraging cycling, but seriously flawed. That report would have taken a lot less time to read.


Read more on TfL's Waterloo consultation.
>

Join the discussion and share your views


Plans included in some consultations are better than others.
Help us make them better.
Join our online discussion on the Lambeth Cyclists email group.

Let others know what's going on in your part of the borough and help inform Lambeth Cyclists' response to consultations.

Recent discussions include:

  • Potential for a route on Tulse Hill
  • Lambeth Healthy Routes consultation
  • Support for two-way cycling on one-way roads.
Visit and sign up to the Lambeth Cyclists email group
>

Dr Bike this winter

Lambeth Council’s free Dr Bike events run every other Wednesday evening through the winter.

Dr Bike will look at your brakes, tyres, gears and the general road-worthiness of your bike. The Dr Bike mechanics will fix any problems if it's possible to do it there and then. Otherwise they will tell you what is wrong so you can take your bike to a bike shop and explain the problem.
The next few sessions, all 5-7.30pm:
  • 13 December – Brixton, Windrush Square
  • 27 December – opposite Metropolis Motorcycles, 60-62 Albert Embankment, SE1 7TP
  • 10 January – Kennington Triangle, opposite Oval tube.
>