We were absolutely delighted to welcome more than 70 people to DoES Liverpool for the first MCC AGM since the COVID-19 pandemic brought in-person meetings to a halt. And we were even more delighted to hear how local community and infrastructure campaigners alike have been working away during this time to get Merseyside moving.
Our first keynote was Chris Malburn, who shared details of a trip, part-funded by MCC, that he took to Copenhagen to learn more about ‘safe cycling cities’ – and the answer was just that – we may not see more ‘bakfietsmoeders’, or ‘cargo-bike mothers’, unless Merseyside is safe to ride. This video that Chris recommended explains more about how to make a car-free family life possible.
Helen Holcroft, from Aigurth, L8 and Croxteth Community Cycle Groups explained how she’s managed to attract nearly 500 people across three clubs in little over a year. She puts some of the success down to the app Spond – and you can join the Aigburth or L8 groups by following the links – and also shared some feedback from members, who say it’s improved their health, helped with loneliness and more.
She’s a force to be reckoned with – and that’s why she was named one of Cycling UK’s 100 Women in Cycling 2022. “Being part of this group has really changed my life,” one rider said.
Asylum Link Merseyside shared a video of some of their riders, who arrive in the UK with very little, and have very little to live on when they get here. This means a donated bike and getting confidence on the roads by riding with a group can be a real lifeline. They always need bikes, volunteers and more – email Rory for more information.
Danny Robinson from Peloton talked us through a number of big plans he’s got coming up this year – the biggest being a Mini-Roads development in Everton Park that will help build cycling culture into the lives of local children. You can find out more about the scheme here and get in touch with Danny if you’d like to help support the build – he needs local organisations to sponsor the site, starting from around £1,500 per year.
He’s also got more joyous Friday-night Joyrides in the diary – plus a couple of Overjoyed holidays planned – you can join Peloton on Spond for more details.
We also heard from Eamon Preston, speaking on behalf of the Bradbury Fields and SAVI tandem club for blind and visually impaired people. They’re always looking for front riders on the second Sunday of the month and even did the Liverpool-Chester last year, raising over £4,000 for the group. Eamon said that donated tandems are a “lifeline”.
Snoof Kattekop, a volunteer with Wheels for All, gave us an insight into her adventures as a wheelchair user – but said “everything is possible – it might just look different for different people”. Wheels for All have sites in Croxteth, Litherland and Springfield Park – it’s open to all – and your first session is free!
The formal part of the AGM began with the awarding of the Gary Clarke Cup – given to someone who’s making a difference in local cycling – in memory of police officer Gary, who was killed while off-duty riding his bike.
This year it went to Shazia Chaudary from Women on Bikes Liverpool who’s focused on empowering more women, particularly those from ethnic minority backgrounds, to get on their bikes. Sessions include riding with beginners and learners on Saturdays, and intermmediate rides on Friday. Join here.
The Cup was presented by cycling commissioner Simon O’Brien – who told us more about a ‘Mini Holland’ video he’s working on – to help us secure a multi-multi-million funding bid to make south Liverpool a safe space for walking and wheeling.
We also had updates from:
• Jim Yeoman who’s leading the City of Liverpool FC Cycling Club – join here
• Obi from Cycle of Life in L8, who told us more about the success he had during the pandemic delivering ice creams by bike. Cycle of Life also offer cycle training, including for kids, rides and more – join here
• Cycling UK has supported nine clubs in Merseyside and typically reaches as many women as men – including lots of non-regular cyclists – and can help new clubs, new leaders, on maintenance workshops and more – email Magdalena to find out more
• You can get in touch with Ed Gommon if you’d like to get involved with the Active Travel Stakeholder Engagement Forum – working with local decision makers to improve our infrastructure
• Sustrans North share useful things about consultations and infrastructure issues here and you can find our Wirral-based speaker Lou Henderson tweeting here
• Email MCC for questions for Roland Graham about cycle audits
• If you know people who work in the Royal or Women’s – let them know about the work Stewart Walsh is doing to make cycling a priority for the NHS
• And do get involved with upcoming consultations from your local council
• Our final keynote was David Bisset, from the Bolton Clarion, whose cycling club was celebrating a massive 127 years the very same week – he invited us to the annual Easter Meet, happening in Lytham – where you can find out more about how to build a bike club that lasts 100-plus years
We’ll be looking through the asks, offers, ideas and obstacles people shared and working out what we can do to build them into our plans.
In the meantime – do join the Merseyside Cycle Campaign for free to stay in touch with us: https://www.merseycycle.org.uk/membership/s