One of last year’s new events, the Stowford Manor Farm Adventure, returns for 2013, this time as a warm-up for the main festival.
Some of the biggest names in British bike design are coming to Bristol on 15 June for a day-long event at the Arnolfini celebrating the relationship between bicycles and designers. Continue reading
We’re pleased to announce our 2013 AGM will be taking place on Thursday 4 April, 7.00 – 8.30pm at the Hen and Chicken pub on North Street. Come along and help elect a committee for 2013, as well as forming working groups for this year’s major events. The pub also does top-notch beer and pizza.
We’ve announced a date for 2013′s Festival – that’s 13-21 July 2013, in case you missed it above – and it’s time to get this show on the road.
The University of Bristol’s Pete Shadbolt (above) is a particle physicist, climber, musician and general polymath. Using a combination of hand-drawn slides, a knackered old mountain bike, and a whole lot of scientific nous, his talk at 2012′s Festival explains why bikes are so efficient, why a wobbly two-wheeled vehicle is so stable when it’s moving, and why puncture-proof tyres are a rubbish idea.
We can now confirm that the dates for this year’s Bristol Cycle Festival will be 13-21 July 2013. That’s a week and a bit of rides, talks, workshops and unclassifiable fun.
We need event organisers, helpers, marshalls, writers of publicity blurb, film-makers, photographers and generally willing types. If you’d like to be involved then get in touch!
If you’d like to suss us out before committing to anything, there’s a pre-launch meeting on Wednesday 20 February at 6.30pm. Venue to be confirmed but it’ll be somewhere in central Bristol, with a bit of socialising to follow.
We’ll be announcing the dates for 2013′s Cycle Festival very soon, but while we ponder how to squeeze it into an already-crammed summer, here’s a quick review of last year and a few things to look forward to in 2013.
If pressed to describe 2012 in one word, we’d probably say “wet”. Successive deluges lashed our fair city, with almost no event being spared. No outdoor event, that is, but luckily this year we had more of a balance.
By way of a Cycle Festival first, we held a well-attended series of talks from local cycling luminaries, including Sustrans founder John Grimshaw. And 2012 also saw the gestation of an awesome idea with year-round benefits for the cycle community, the Roll For The Soul cycle café and workshop. After trialling in the Cycle Festival Hub for a week, Dr Rob and the boys embarked on a successful fundraising campaign and should shortly be signing a lease on a permanent home, somewhere slap bang in the centre of Bristol. We feel just like proud parents.
So the weather’s still miserable, the days are short and dark, and we need something to look forward to. How about a few long but leisurely rides through beautiful scenery, stopping to consume massive helpings of cake? That’s the basic premise of an Audax, and we have several local ones coming up over the next couple of months, including the mighty LVIS Audax in late March. The longest route is a fearsome 130 miles, but don’t worry, thanks to a copious array of cake stops there’s little chance of going into calorie deficit.
For those of a more indoor persuasion, or anyone who loves a bit of craftsmanship on wheels, the third Bespoked Handmade Bike Show is being held from 12-14 April. As the UK’s only hand-crafted bicycle exhibition, it’s been going from strength to strength, and this year will have even more beautiful bikes and quirky designs to gaze at longingly.
North East of Bristol, work is resuming in February on the volunteer-built extension to the Ring Road Cycle Path between Pucklechurch and Yate. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org if you can spare a Sunday to help out.
You might be aware that in Bristol we’ve got a new Mayor, and one who’s not afraid of getting a few greasy chain marks on his trademark trousers. He’s just confirmed that car-free Sundays will be coming to the city centre, starting in Bristol Big Green Week this June. And there are also rumours that a major national cycle event will be paying us a visit this Autumn. You heard it here first!
June will also see a welcome return for Bike Bath, which features some tough but scenic cyclosportives and a supporting programme of talks and events. In fact cycle festivals seem to be popping up everywhere in 2013 – just have a look at Road.cc’s roundup of them so far. We particularly like the look of the Orbital Cycling Festival at Goodwood motor circuit, and not just because of Eliza Southwood‘s gorgeous artwork.
Bath folk are also justifiably excited about the unveiling of the Two Tunnels cycle route on 6 April. It’s not just a spectacular feat of engineering but also something that’s going to open up more beautiful countryside to novice and experienced cyclists alike. If you donate to Sustrans you can be one of the first to ride through, and support their work to open more cycle routes, like the new section of the Festival Way to Long Ashton. And Odd Down in Bath will shortly be the location of a shiny new 1.5km road racing circuit. Roll on summer evenings.
Onwards and upwards!
One of our speakers at this year’s Festival was John Grimshaw, founder of national transport charity Sustrans and now an independent transport consultant. In this excerpt, illustrated with slides from his presentation, he speaks about the early years of cycle campaigning in Bristol, its first major successes, and the knock-on effects for long-distance cycle routes in the UK and across Europe.
Photos courtesy of Sustrans Picture Library.
Calling all bike bores! Our friend Luke Keen is running 4 comedy quiz shows next week all about bikes and cycling.
Blankety Quiz has been running for 2 years now in Bristol, and, if Luke its to be believed, it’s been described by scores of people as “the best pub quiz ever!” It’s primarily about having fun, but hardcore geekery is also rewarded.
According to Luke, “It’ll contain mad anagrams, doodle rounds, a shoot-the-Clarkson contest, funny questions, video clips, free shots and as many bike jokes as I can fit into the show . For an idea of the show check the Youtube vid here and the Facebook page.
I’m doing it in conjunction with Boneshaker Magazine who have donated some prizes.
It’s all kicking off next week and is going to be at:
Rose of Denmark – Monday 1st October
No. 51 Stokes Croft – Tuesday 2nd October
The Shakespeare – Thursday 4th October
It’s £1 per person, friendly, daft, entertaining, not too taxing on the grey matter, and done totally from a place of love. I love my bike and tell everyone that bikes are the future, so it’d be lovely to have you come down to the quiz and join in the fun”
Our friends at Roll for the Soul are getting ready to put their plans for an excellent bike workshop and cafe into action… but first they need finance. They’ve come up with a detailed business plan and have just launched their new crowd-funding page, which aims to raise £12,000.00 within 45 days. Donate to them and you could get some excellent rewards in return for your moolah, from T-shirts and bespoke artwork, up to and including lifetime membership.
Here’s Dr Rob and a few other sage types explaining why it’ll be a great thing for Bristol’s already-thriving cycling scene.
Donating any amount is guaranteed to give you a warm glow, and it’s also risk-free - if they don’t hit their target, all the donations get refunded. Check it out here:
Cast your mind back a couple of months. Remember The Hub, our amazing cycle cafe and workshop on Park Street? We served up ace food and coffee, fixed a tonne of neglected bikes and it was also the venue for other fun stuff like craft workshops, art exhibitions and and a bike library. Now the people behind The Hub have some exciting plans to make it a permanent feature.
Christened “Roll For The Soul”, it’ll be a focal point for Bristol’s cycling community. In the words of mastermind Rob Wall:
“After months of planning, head scratching, coffee, and not really enough actual riding of bikes, we’re at the point where things are starting to get exciting. We’ve got a business plan that stacks up, we’ve talked to a lot of great people from great organisations who might end up being partners of one sort or another, we’ve submitted a few funding bids.
“Actually none of that sounds particularly exciting, does it? But what is exciting is getting the word out, talking to all you lovely people about it, and getting you involved so that when we open you all feel that it’s yours. That’s the point, see? For Bristol cyclists, by Bristol cyclists.”
The cafe doesn’t have a venue or an opening date yet, but trust us, it’s going to happen! You can have a read of their business plan via the links below, or just show your support.
Who’s building cycle paths in the UK right now? The answer could be “you”!
If you came to our talk by John Grimshaw last week, you’ll know work is starting on a new cycle route between Pucklechurch and Yate from Monday 23 to Sunday 29 July. Anyone who’d like to help can come along and join a work party, with a variety of tasks ranging from cooking lunch, to path building, to driving a mini digger. Training will be given where needed.
If you’d like to help build a brand new bit of cycle infrastructure, you can contact Matt Skidmore on 07553052183 or email email@example.com
This year’s Festival finished in style on Sunday with Carnivelo and the Big Bike Spectacular. Around 200 cyclists in fancy dress went on a cruise round the City Centre, then took over the Big Top @Creative Common for eating, drinking, dancing and games. And there was a film night at the Cube afterwards for everyone who was too excited to go home. We owe a huge thank you to our kind hosts, the amazing Vamos! Band, and the host of volunteers who helped to make the day happen.
So that’s it for this year… almost. There will still be some related events happening throughout 2012, such as Madame Melski’s Cycle Speed Dating (The next one’s tomorrow, in fact).
We recorded some of our brilliant talks for posterity in a mix of audio and video formats, and we’ll be sharing these with you very soon.
We’re also working on a plan to make the Festival Hub open all year round, offering a mix of great food, good atmosphere, and free bike maintenance for people on low incomes.
And at some point, when the weather’s a bit less incontinent, we’d like to rerun our Vintage Velo ride too.
For now though… time for a rest!
To celebrate the cycle festival, the lovely people from At-Bristol are running a special offer. If you ride there, they’ll let in two of you for the price of one!
You’ll need to take a photo of your bike outside the entrance, or just bring your bike helmet to the ticket desk. A brilliant offer that’ll save you money and help the environment too!
Regretfully, we’ve had to drop a couple of events from this year’s programme.
Saturday’s screening of Battle Royale at the Cycle-in Cinema has been cancelled due to poor ticket sale, perhaps because the weather forecast wasn’t filling people with enthusiasm. The good news is that an undercover (in both senses of the word) location has been found for Friday night’s Bro-down, so it will go ahead as planned.
Sunday’s talk by Olympic cyclist Tommy Godwin at Watershed has been cancelled, as Mr Godwin is currently unwell and has been advised not to travel. On behalf of everyone involved with the Cycle Festival we’d like to wish him a speedy recovery.