The other week I went to the Women’s Cycle Forum, part of the excellent Edinburgh Festival of Cycling (EdFoC). I really enjoyed last year’s, so I was looking forward to this one. I really liked the fact that the 2 main speakers were not actually cycle campaigners, but women from successful campaigns in other areas – “No More Page Three” and “Playing Out“. The No More Page Three woman was particularly interesting and did a good job of talking about the lessons she’d learned that could be applied to other campaigns. “Playing Out” was also interesting; it is a very different kind of thing to No More Page Three in that it is an ongoing happening rather than a single-issue campaign. I really enjoy this blog which is (partly) about a play street in London.
Once we’d heard the two main speakers we divided into groups and this is where I think I made the wrong choice. I joined the group lead by Katja Leyendecker who is the leader of the Newcastle Cycling Campaign. I grew up near Newcastle and enjoy Katja’s blog so I was interested to meet her. Unfortunately the discussion in the group all got a bit technical for me and I didn’t feel there was much I could contribute (or do with what I learned); in retrospect I think I should have gone to the group about women in cycle campaigning. Anyway at the end of all the discussion we came out with the Build A Better World Bingo card. Which is nice, and fun as well as serious, but leaves me feeling like I don’t really know where to start. I mean, I merrily take the lane on a 40mph road with pinch points, and mostly avoid routes away from roads because then I have to slow down for pedestrians and dogs so in some ways I don’t need change for me. And yet; I do use some shared paths rather than mix with traffic, and I dislike having to deal with big trucks, and I know that just because I have learned to have a brass neck for my own safety, it doesn’t mean that most people are content to be shouted at just because the learner driver took their time overtaking me; so there are things I would like to change. And of course most people don’t see cycling as a viable or sensible way of getting around at all. That doesn’t give me any good ideas about what I can do to change things. Maybe I just need to pick something small and do it.