1977 Was a Good Year for Cycling

Posted by chdot on January 16, 2007

pilton path photo
As well as the being the year that Recycles was born (see story below), it’s also when two of the UK’s most significant campaign groups began.

In Bristol there was Cyclebag (officially started July 7th). As well as local campaigning and a few good parties, members also organised some innovative practical action that spawned a revolution. This was the Bitton to Bath Railway Path (since extended to Bristol). Cyclebag developed into National Cycle Network building charity Sustrans.

Edinburgh (and the Lothians) has had SPOKES since 1977 – and it’s kept the same name throughout. It’s progressed, quietly but steadily. An Edinburgh Corporation Councillor once said that cycling would be allowed through The Meadows “over my dead body”. (He later apologised). Now the Council consults SPOKES. (It doesn’t always act on the advice though!)

SPOKES produces a Bulletin roughly 3 times a year (latest issue 95). In addition to these and other visible activities there’s a lot of behind the scenes action. Scrutiny of all significant Planning Applications and sometimes straightforward objections – on the grounds that they contravene policies on making walking and cycling easier – or positive suggestions for planners and developers to consider before Permission is granted.

The photo shows a site meeting in 1986 when Sustrans came to Edinburgh to help SPOKES volunteers create the Pilton Path (since replaced by the approach road to the Waterfront – SPOKES made sure that the Red Bridge over Ferry Road was constructed). On the right is Sustrans ‘boss’ John Grimshaw on the left is Dave du Feu, founder member of SPOKES, in the middle is an MEP and a future Leader of City of Edinburgh Council.

All three organisations are due to mark their first 30 years.

In addition there will be many other cycle related events in 2007 in Edinburgh – TWO Bicycle Film Festivals, plenty of TryCycling rides, a bonanza of Bike Week events, developments with Craigmillar Cycles and much more.

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