Manchester Cycle Forum – what is the most compelling argument for….
The latest Manchester Cycle Forum (Tuesday 19th September) saw an interesting departure from the usual Cycle Forum format.
Cycle forum participants were treated to a series of 3 minute presentations (no Powerpoint allowed) that set out to make the “most compelling case for cycling….”
The 9 presentations covered the following topics: Space for Growth, Improved Air Quality, Safer Roads, Convenient Transport, Enhanced Public Realm, The Right Thing to do, The Manchester Brand, Carbon Reduction, Improved Health.
After the all the cases had been made all participants were given 3 marbles and could vote (in any combination allowed by 3 votes!) for the most compelling cases.
The winning argument was Convenient Transport” with “How does cycling benefit the Manchester Brand?” in second place and “Space for Growth” coming in third.
Angeliki Stogia the new Executive Member for Environment spoke about the Council’s plans to make cycling easier and safer across Manchester and extended an invitation to the cycling community to work with her.
The Cycle Forum also had updates on the Chorlton to City centre cycle route (consultation coming soon), the Northern Quarter (Victoria to Piccadilly station) cycle route, cycle parking across the city and the (paused) 20mph residential speed programme. Please let your councillors know that you want 20mph default speed limits where people live.
Below is the full text of the Manchester Brand case – from the presenter who doesn’t want to be credited!
How does cycling benefit the Manchester Brand?
People like to live in, work in and visit a city with character. I want to talk about four Mancunian characteristics we are rightly proud of, qualities that I think cycling would only make more of.
1) FUN LOVING. Mancunians know that life is for living and having a good time. Think back to your earliest memories of riding a bike. You worked out how to make it go and off you went, whizzing around the garden, or the street, or the park. No purpose, it was just fun!! Moving at speed under our own power is exhilarating. Manchester, we could enjoy life so much more, let’s get on our bikes and ride.
2) FREEDOM. Politics and Manchester go hand in hand. Our freedom is hard won.
When I came to Manchester as a student in the 1980s I had little money, bought a bike for £20 and had free transport around the city for years. I could visit friends, returning home late at night down dark streets without a worry. For £20 I had the freedom of the city. Such freedom liberates your mind.
Every time I get on my bike and pull off down the road from work I feel incredibly free. Free from the tyranny of the one track thinking, that I can only get home in a car. It is a freedom in my soul to choose a different way. Manchester, champion of emancipation, let’s make our city more FREEING FOR ALL.
3) THE FRIENDLY CITY
As I cycle down my street, to work, to the allotment, to the shops, I see friends, neighbours. If I haven’t seen them in a while, I stop and have a chat. People see me too. “I saw you on your bike”. I am sure there are plenty of people around who have a name for me – “blue bike lady”. Cycling is a levelling kind of transport, against the wind, enjoying the sun, sharing the rain, whoever you are!! What we have in common is much more than anything that separates us. You feel that on a bike. Manchester, the FRIENDLY city, let’s make more of this sociable and equalising transport and be an even more friendly city.
4) And what about proper Manchester ATTITUDE? Rebellion even?
I love the challenging care free attitude that is reinforced and underpinned by cycling. ‘You think like that but I think like this!’
Last year, just before I had 2 weeks annual leave, a colleague asked me what I was going to do. “Cycling to Brighton and back to visit my sister”;. “Really? Are you fit enough?”; “Well, I will be by the time I get back!”. Manchester, let’s get even more ATTITUDE on a bike!
FUN, FREEDOM, FRIENDLY and … ATTITUDE
I propose “Cycling; makes Manchester even more Manchester.”
What are your best reasons for cycling and for encouraging the 10 GM councils to make cycling easier, safer and more convenient across Greater Manchester ?
Please send your thoughts to firstname.lastname@example.org