All hands on deck

tumblr_m9mql3RnhZ1qar3svo1_1280Our merry band of volunteers are starting to put this year’s festival together, but we need some help. If you can assist with any of the following, get in touch, and we will welcome you with open arms.

Vintage Velo

The festival’s very own fundraising ride needs a few people to make it happen. More than a few, in fact. We’re looking for confident riders to marshal the route, and crafty creative types to help deck out the end venue. It’ll require a few hours of your time, but in exchange you’ll get to enjoy the event scot free, be fed and watered, and earn our undying gratitude.

If this sounds up your street, there’s a meeting at Roll for the Soul on Wednesday 24 April. Come at 6.15 pm if you’re interested in helping with the ride, 7pm if you want to help out at the end venue.

If you don’t want to get involved with this volunteering malarkey and want to support us the more traditional way, you can buy a ticket here.

Back in the saddle

Big Bike Spectacular 2013 2

We’re pleased to announce that the fifth edition of Bristol Cycle Festival will be happening from 5-13 July 2014.

While the world’s top bike racers are battling for victory in the Tour de France, down in Bristol we’ll be enjoying a laid back summery week of rides, talks, games, art performances, and film screenings.

Please come to our launch event at 7.00pm on 3 April, at Roll for the Soul. The Festival happens thanks to people like you and me from Bristol’s cycling community, and we really want you to chip in with your suggestions, event ideas, and ways you can help.

You can pre-register for the launch event here.

Our 2014 programme is still taking shape, but it’ll include a mix of the best-loved events from previous years, and some exciting new ones that are still under wraps.

We’re dreaming of a bike Christmas


We’re very much on hiatus at the moment, but it’s good to keep things ticking over, so we’re trying to have a Cycle Festival related event once a month.

Next weekend, on Saturday 21 December, join us at Roll for the Soul because, well, because it’s Christmas. And Boneshaker Magazine have a new issue out. And the Bristol Bike Project is 5 years old! If those things aren’t an excuse for a party then nothing is.

There will be music, some silly party games, and the usual excellent food and drink, kicking off around 7.00 pm. The Bike Project are also planning a birthday ride during the day. Get yourself along and take refuge from the crap weather and worse telly, you won’t regret it.

The Festival on film

2013 was our fourth year, and we were lucky to have ace film company Stick In Mind on hand to document the good times. Here are a few of us speaking about the festival, what it’s about, and how people can get involved, all mixed up with some highlights from the sunniest cycle festival yet!

Bristol Cycle Festival 2013 – some people behind the scene from Stick in Mind on Vimeo.

We also had short films made of some of our events, including Carnivelo, the Dundry Drubber, the Vintage Velo and the Two Worlds, Two Wheels talk. Go watch!

Rideable Bristol film released

For one day of the festival this year, we asked people to record their commutes on a GPS unit or smartphone, and upload the tracks to the Rideable website.

Around 60 cyclists of all types responded, from hardened mile-munchers to novice wobblers, and Rideable then used this data to create a unique visualisation of how Bristol’s cyclists get to work, together with some hints as to why so many choose bikes over buses and cars.

Hit play, and enjoy!

Rideable Bristol short visualisation from Rideable Bike on Vimeo.

Missing Us Already?

If you want to be reminded of how excellent 2013′s festival was, meet all the people who helped to make it happen, and enjoy a bit of a knees-up, we’re having a post festival party on Saturday 14 September at Roll for the Soul. There will be food, drink, sounds from the TriFi, and the first screening of the 2013 festival film. See above for the teaser, and see you there!

Done and Dusted

A fourth year of the Festival is done! It’s hard to write objectively about something that takes over our lives for a few months every summer, but I’m going to have a go…

So, the most noticeable difference this year was, believe it or not, nothing to do with us – the weather! Last year we had wash-outs galore, forcing everyone indoors. This year the heat made everyone head outside. Never mind that it was a bit too warm at times, it was great to finally have a proper summer after years of drear.

Roll for the Soul provided the perfect venue for Blankety Quiz

Roll for the Soul provided the perfect venue for Blankety Quiz

Following a few years of tramping it up in borrowed properties, we also settled into a permanent home, thanks to the opening of Roll for the Soul. It seems like a minor detail, but having a start and end point for rides, a venue for the smaller events, and a place to hang out and socialise made a big difference to this year’s festival.

We welcomed back regular collaborators the Bristol Cycling Campaign, who took riders on tours of the city’s best-kept secrets, including the tower at Blaise and the lesser-known works of Banksy.

They also managed to corral the movers and shakers from Bristol Council, Sustrans, Green Capital and the cycling community into one room, for an inspiring Cycling Summit. Big plans are afoot for cycling in Bristol, so contact the campaign and sign up to their manifesto if you haven’t already.

Lifecycle UK were also on board again, running more of their excellent second-hand bike sales, and accessible rides for under-represented folks like older cyclists. Both of these organisations are extremely active year round, and you should definitely click on their names and check them out.

Mike Hall said afterwards that he sweated more giving this talk than doing his round-the-world ride.

Mike Hall said afterwards that he sweated more giving this talk than cycling round the world.

We ran another programme of talks, featuring everyone from a round-the-world record breaker to a chap who cycles slowly round the UK taking photos of craftsmen and artisans. We were lucky to have the support of excellent local firm Lyons Davidson for this, which made finding venues a cinch compared to previous years. They also sent their managing partner along to introduce Max Glaskin’s talk in 30-degree heat, and he stayed until the end. Chapeau.

It was great to welcome back APE Project, who are currently running weekly family playdays at Horfield Common. We also saw the launch of the Bike Lane Gang family days at Bristol Bike Project. We’re well pleased to be involved with bringing on the next generation of cyclists, but we’re sure that there are lots more family cycling initiatives out there which we could be linking up with, so if you run or know of one then get in touch.

We had some new events this year, including the slightly random Knights Templar ride, at which we learned that a spot of bicycle-mounted pinata-bashing makes up for a lack of any historical content. And it seemed like you couldn’t throw a dart at our programme without hitting some sort of workshop or maintenance course. Events like this are arguably the best thing about the festival, as the knowledge and self-sufficiency they pass on lasts far longer than 9 days

The Festival finished in fine style with a fancy dress parade round traffic free streets, mugging it up for photos with the Mayor, tunes from the Tri-Fi, and a reunion with the Brontosaurus.

Then Castle Park played host to games, a hotly-fought long jump contest, the mighty Bomberdrome, and a massive water-balloon fight. There was a chilled night of films at the Cube cinema, or you could head to the café and watch Chris Froome do some triumphant laps round the Champs Elysée.

We’re extremely lucky to have the support of some great people, both official types (Bike Week, Lyons Davidson, the Council, the Parks and Events Team and Make Sundays Special) and members of the community who just want to be involved. After four years it really feels like we’re an established festival. We’re 5 years old next year, so we must get planning something special!

Tally Ho! Vintage Velo tickets can now be purchased

Well, I'm not sure we'll be riding with such vigour!

Don’t panic, our ride won’t be quite so vigorous!

Greetings fellow velocipede bicyclists! You’re tickets to the most splendid of events are now free to be purchased.

The Vintage Velo bicycle ride will be taking in the wonderful city of Bristol in all our finest vintage outfits on Sunday the 14th July – point your internet browser at the Vintage Velo page to find out more.

Programme corrections

Our print programme has landed! And as is often the way with these things, a couple of boo-boos have made their way into it.

First off, the Sustrans Tour of CUBA ride is £14 to enter, not £1. It’s 96 miles long, and your entry fee includes a barbecue half way round, so hopefully you’ll agree that it’s still good value for money.

Secondly, the Rideable Bristol website shown in the programme isn’t live yet, but to find out more about the event, you can head here to its Facebook page.