Cycling's time has come, conference will promote

An exploration and celebration of British cycling comes to Leicester this June.
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Building Cycling Cultures is to be an "exploration and celebration of cycling" and takes over Phoenix Square Film and Digital Media Centre in Leicester’s city centre on Saturday 4th and Sunday 5th June. 

The event will investigate how Britain can build a big and inclusive cycling culture. Via workshops, films, stalls and more, it also aims to demonstrate the vitality of existing cycling cultures. 

Sunday 5th June is the main day for talks, workshops and discussion. Jon Orcutt of New York City’s Department of Transportation will explain the massive recent boost in cycling in NYC, and Dr Rachel Aldred and Dr Dave Horton will announce findings from two major UK research projects, Cycling Cultures and Understanding Walking and Cycling. 

Sociologist of cycling at Lancaster University, and co-organiser of the event, Dr Dave Horton said: “Cycling’s time has come."

Dr Horton believes we could be about to witness a full-scale renaissance of cycling in the UK.

"We have built our cities around the car, so it is to be expected that most people find life without their car impossible to imagine. Meanwhile, the lives of those people who for whatever reason do manage without a car are seriously compromised by the car culture which we have created. What our research makes clear is that, whether or not they own a car, many people like the idea of cycling, just not under the conditions which dominate on today’s roads.

"People enthuse about cycling away from the roads, with friends or family, through the countryside on a warm and sunny day.

"If leisure cycling is being embraced, then utility cycling, which would re-make our cities, is rejected; conditions are simply too hostile. This can change, has to change, and will change. Other countries have built cycling cultures, and we can too. Nothing stays the same forever – we have built a car culture, and we can build a cycling one to take its place."

Dr Horton wrote a long and detailed article in the CTC magazine about why many people in the UK don't cycle and how they will persuaded to get on their bikes.

Andy Salkeld of Leicester City Council said: “There will be something for everyone - talk, debate, film, artwork, bike rides, kids’ activities, music, networking and loads of ideas for change. The people behind this event are a mixed bunch – academics, enthusiasts, activists, local government workers and policy-makers – which reflects our belief that the business of building cycling cultures involves us all.” 

John Coster, editor of local community news agency Citizens’ Eye, will have a team of young reporters contributing to and covering the event. He said: “Young people are the future of our cities and the future of cycling. Their voices are a really important part of Building Cycling Cultures.” 

Dr Rachel Aldred of the University of East London said: “Cycling has huge potential. It could and should easily be the most important means of urban transport in Britain. It needs to be given a very big push. This event is part of that push.” 

Building Cycling Cultures costs £10 including breakfast, lunch and refreshments during Sunday.

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