Twenty minutes ago, the Rt Hon Tony Blair PM, opened a cycle bridge in his constituency of Sedgefield. That's thanks to Sustrans.
And, to prime the media about the forthcoming Velo-City 2001 conference in Edinburgh and Glasgow towards the end of the month, the organisers have sent out a packed press release, bursting with good story ideas. Clearly, the organisers are looking to generate lots of positive stories about cycling in the local and national media.
In my opinion, as editor of this site and BicycleBusiness, cycle advocates have done an enormous amount to benefit the British bicycle trade. SpokesMan is a guest columnist and whilst his views often don't tally with my own, I believe his columns often reflect widely held opinions in the trade. His September column, with its attacks on cycle advocates, may bring other cycle advocate cynics out of the woodwork.
And then we can all have a healthy debate about how we as a trade should be supporting - or not supporting - cycle campaigners.
Anyway, here's the Velo-City press release...
Velo-city 2001 Countdown
What? Velo-city is the biggest cycle planning conference in the world. This
year’s conference, Velo-city 2001, is taking place in Edinburgh and Glasgow.
It will be the first time Scotland has hosted the Velo-city conference. Over
500 delegates from 40 countries are expected to attend, including national
and local politicians, transport experts, town planners, civil engineers,
tourism chiefs and cycle campaigners.
Where? Edinburgh and Glasgow; Edinburgh - Edinburgh International Conference
Centre, Glasgow - Scottish Exhibition and Conference Centre. Dedicated press
offices will be in operation at each venue.
When? Edinburgh - September 17 and 18; Glasgow - September 20 and 21. Middle
day - September 19 - delegates cycle from Edinburgh to Glasgow.
Website? www.velo-city2001.org Includes details of the full conference
Media releases? All media releases issued in the lead up and during the
conference will be posted on the website, www. velo-city2001.org
Media accreditation? e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org or telephone Mike Wilson +44
(0)131 446 9265
Conference themes: Sustainable transport and planning; Children and mobility;
Environment and land use; Tourism and economy; and, finally, Health and
BELOW: (1) Timetable, including details of key speakers, (2) Selection of
story ideas for possible advance coverage (including tourism, health,
education, women, etc, etc as well as transport).
TIMETABLE (Last updated Thursday September 6, 1200hours)
Friday September 7 - Sarah Boyack MSP, Minister of Transport, Scottish
Executive, attending cycle promotion project at Royal High School, Davidsons
Mains, Edinburgh. She will be using the occasion to announce the results of a
survey into cycle training among children. Media release being issued by the
Scottish Executive on the day, preceded by a call notice the day before. Ms.
Boyack will be at the school from 1000hours. For more details, telephone
Marion Mackay at the Scottish Executive press office on +44 (0)131 244 2175.
Tuesday September 11 - Sculptor, George Wyllie, hands over the latest
addition to the cycle collection at the Museum of Transport, Glasgow. His
‘Tweed Bike’ is the mascot for Velo-city 2001. It will be received by
members of the Velo-city 2001 organising committee plus councillors from, and
representatives of, both the City of Edinburgh Council and Glasgow City
Council, two of the Velo-city 2001 partners. The hand-over is taking place at
the Museum of Transport, Glasgow, at 1100hours. Exact location: mezzanine
floor, where another of Wyllie’s sculptures, the Great European Velocipede,
is located. Please note: Indoors. Media release being issued by Paul Kane,
Public relations, Glasgow City Council. For more details, telephone +44
(0)141 287 5387.
Thursday September 13 - Sarah Boyack MSP, Minister of Transport, Scottish
Executive, launches new cycle map published by SPOKES, Edinburgh and Lothian
cycle campaign, celebrating its 25th birthday. When? 1300hours. Where? By a
canal towpath atWester Hailes, Edinburgh (exact location still to be
announced). Media release being issued by the Scottish Executive on the day,
preceded by a call notice the day before. For more details, telephone Marion
Mackay at the Scottish Executive press office on +44 (0)131 244 2175.
Sunday September 16 - Mass ride of 1,000-plus people from Glasgow to
Edinburgh. Pedal for Scotland’s third, annual, charity cycle ride for the
general public is this year a curtain raiser for Velo-city 2001. Over 1,000
people expected to take part. Departing George Square, Glasgow, from
0900hours. Media release already issued for photocall was organised by Pedal
for Scotland on September 4. Pics available by e-mail. For more details,
contact Brian Curtis on +44 (0)131 669 5918.
Sunday September 16 Birthday party for SPOKES, the Edinburgh and Lothians
cycle campaign group, one of the biggest, longest-established and most
influential in the UK. Celebrating 25 years. Interview available with Sandy
Scotland on +44 (0)131 551 2663 or 0774 0438 677.
Monday September 17 Conference main speakers: Sarah Boyack MSP, Minister of
Transport, Scottish Executive, and (by audio link) Ms Isabelle Durant,
President of the EU Council of Transport Ministers (she is the Belgian
Minister of Mobility and Transport). Speeches taking place between
0930-1030hours. Re: Sarah Boyack, media release being issued by the Scottish
Executive on the day, preceded by a call notice the day before. For more
details, telephone Marion Mackay at the Scottish Executive press office on
+44 (0)131 244 2175.
Monday September 17 Main themes of the day: What’s happening cycling-wise in
Edinburgh and Glasgow, Attitudes towards cycling, Social inclusion, Town
planning, Tourism, Cycle training, Women and cycling (for more details, see
Conference Programme on www.velo-city2001.org)
Monday September 17 So many older women don’t cycle. Why Not? Media release
on cycle training for women aged 50+. Media release being issued by Cathy
Scott on +44 (0)131 662 4461, e-mail address: email@example.com
Tuesday September 18 Conference main speakers: Sally Keeble MP, Minister for
Local Transport, Department of Transport, Local Government and the Regions.
Also, Bristow Muldoon MSP; Gene Conti, President Velo-Mondial; Keith Rimmer,
Head of Transport, Edinburgh City Council; and Alan Malcolm, Senior Depute
Director, Glasgow City Council.
Tuesday September 18 Main themes of the day: Cycling as part of transport
strategy, Cycle routes, Promoting cycling, Car-free town planning,
Cycle-friendly employers, Cycle helmets and safety (for more details, see
Conference Programme on www.velo-city2001.org)
Wednesday September 19 Mass cycle ride of conference delegates between
Edinburgh and Glasgow. Delegates pass the Millennium Wheel, at the canal
junction at Falkirk. Other points on the route include Linlithgow and
Airdrie. Departing Edinburgh International Conference Centre, from 0900hours.
Media release being issued by Mike Wilson, +44 (0)131 446 9265 or 0705 016
Wednesday September 19 The weird and wonderful of bike design is on show at
Edinburgh’s Conference Square between 0900-1200hours and Glasgow’s George
Square between 1500-1800hours. Members of the general public are invited to
try out up to 40 different types of bikes, including recumbents, load-carrying
and city bikes in a carnival atmosphere. Preview copyright-free photographs
at www.companyofcyclists.com/roadshow For a high-resolution copy of a
photograph, contact Mike Wilson on 0705 016 9016. For more information on the
organisers of the event, Company of Cyclists, telephone Jim McGurn on +44
(0)1904 778080 or 0772 084 6611.
Thursday September 20 Conference main speakers: Dr Richard Killingsworth,
health adviser to US governments; Dr Harry Burns, director, Greater Glasgow
Health Board; Francesca Racioppi, World Health Organisation.
Thursday September 20 Kids are the Key. Children from seven Scottish schools
present the results of their cycle promotion projects. Ideas range from Mars
Bar ‘bribes’ to e-marketing campaigns. Presentation 0900-1000hours. Pupils
available for interview from 1000hours.
Thursday September 20 Main themes of the day: Safe Routes to School and kids
and cycling, Safety, How cities compare with each other, Cycling as health
promotion, Bikes and public transport, Bikes as part of a sustainable
transport strategy (for more details, see Conference Programme on
Thursday September 20 Birthday party for GoBike!, the Strathclyde cycle
campaign group, one of the most active and determined cycle campaign groups.
Celebrating 10 years. Interview available with Peter Hayman phone +44 (0)141 6
49 2213 or 07720 844 222.
Thursday September 20 Prize lecture winner announced. Falco Prize for essay
on promoting cycle use among children. Media release being issued at
1000hours by Mike Wilson, +44 (0)131 446 9265 or 0705 016 9016.
Friday September 21 Conference main speakers: Margot Wallstrom, EU
Environment Commissioner; T. Tibaijuka, United Nations Centre of Human
Settlement; Abdulah Omar, minister of transport, Republic of South Africa;
Prof David Begg, chair, Commission for Integrated Transport.
Friday September 21 Main themes of the day: Bikes and railways, Bike design,
Changing face of cities, Bike parking (for more details, see Conference
Programme on www.velo-city2001.org)
STORY IDEAS (by category, in alphabetical order)
1. Driving people out of their cars in Nottingham. (UK speaker)
2. Green travel schemes. (UK speaker)
EDUCATION, SCHOOL KIDS
1. Safe cycle routes to school. (Various speakers, including from Denmark and
2. Getting kids interested in cycling at an early age (Various speakers,
including from Italy)
3. Keeping kids interested in cycling. (Various speakers, including from
4. Giving kids a say when formulating transport policies. (UK speaker)
1. Bike-based mental health recovery project in Glasgow. (UK speaker)
2. Cycle maps in GP waiting rooms. (Swiss speaker)
3. The impact of cycling on physical and mental health. (Nigerian speaker)
4. Kids who cycle are healthier kids. (Various speakers)
IMAGE OF CYCLING
1. Reversing decline in cycling in Western Australia. (Australian speaker)
2. De-bunking myth that cycling is only for poorer people. (Brazilian speaker)
3. What photography contest can do for promoting the bike in Barcelona.
5. We hate cyclists - Car driver attitudes. Psychopaths on cycle paths.
(Various speakers, including from UK and Austria)
1. Cycle training. (Various speakers)
2. Cycle helmet performance. (UK speaker)
3. Sneaking safety message into others. (US speaker)
1. Paper from Centre for Analysis of Social Exclusion. (UK speaker)
2. Giving kids a say when formulating transport policies. (UK speaker)
1. Car manufacturers Ford and Jaguar are working to minimise cycle casualties
involved in road traffic accidents. (UK speakers)
2. Cycle helmet performance (UK speaker)
3. The rise of the rickshaw. (Indian speaker)
4. Carrying the shopping home on a bike. (UK speaker)
1. The mad scramble for cycling dollars. Cycle tourists are often middle
aged, middle class couples who don’t want to rough it. In other words, they
pay handsomely for hotel accommodation and restaurant meals. And they
obviously are unable to bring much from home, including a supermarket shop.
In other words, they are big spenders. The salvation of rural communities?
2. The impact of new cycle routes: in Scotland, the North Sea Cycle Route,
the UK National Cycle Network. (various speakers)
3. Hordes of hurtling cyclists - the experiences from cycle trails in Wye
Valley, East Kent and South Wales. (various speakers)
1. The bike as saviour of world’s most crowded city. (Bangladesh speaker)
2. Bike planning for cities in Colombia, the Philippines and South Africa.
3. Catering for the bike in Brazil’s large cities (Brazil speaker)
4. Liberating thousands of people with second-hand bikes. (South Africa
5. Implementing cycle policies in UK towns and cities. (UK speaker)
6. Bikes in bus lanes and buses with bike provision. (Various speakers)
7. Combating bike theft in Cambridge. (UK speaker)
8. Low-energy designing of a new housing estate. (Netherlands speaker)
9. Munich - Bicycle-friendly city. (German speaker)
10. The rocky road to car-free housing. (Australian speaker)
WOMEN AND CYCLING
1. Women’s transport needs are different to men’s and, in the UK, less women
cycle than men. Why, and what can be done to address the imbalance? (UK
2. What puts women off cycling? (Australian speaker)
3. How can women be attracted to cycling? (Denmark speaker)
4. Cycling as a means of giving women immigrants the confidence to leave
their home (Netherlands speaker).
5. Cycle training for women aged 50+. (UK speaker)