Push Bikes, Birmingham
by Sally Watson-Jones, posted 26 September 2017
Push Bikes is a cycling campaign group that tries to make cycling nicer, easier and safer for everyone in Birmingham.
Contact JRtB on twitter @justridethebike
We believe that everyone should be able to cycle and be safe. It shouldn't be a sport that requires specialist clothing or a rush of adrenaline. It should be exactly what it can be; enjoyable, convenient, cheap and easy. At Push Bikes, we campaign to try and improve conditions across the city so it can be those things.
The cycle community is growing as more and more people realise the benefits it brings. Better fitness, an easy and generally less stressful way to get around, it's better for the environment and means less air pollution – and in Birmingham the latter is fast becoming a problem that needs to be addressed pretty quickly.
The city has made a start on a cycle revolution starting in 2013 with significant grants and funding as part of the Department of Transport’s Cycle City Ambition Grant scheme. So far the biggest difference has been made to the canal network – all of the tow paths within Birmingham’s borders have been been resurfaced, although some stretches have only had one side resurfaced. In addition there are extensive green routes cris-crossing the city, and some 'quiet' routes. Plus plans to create significant new cycle lanes that will connect up the city and make it easier for people to use their bicycles to get around are taking shape.
Credit: Naresh Sandhu, 2017
Credit: Lisa Jones, 2017
Our campaigning and engagement with the council has raised their ambitions for the quality of infrastructure, and a re-think on the quality of main road routes came about after robust responses from us and the wider cycle community, so we know that making a nuisance of ourselves is most definitely having an impact.
As well as our campaigning work, we have a social arm that organises regular rides across the city, going as far afield as Sutton Coldfield, Shirley, Hockley and Northfield. The rides are led by experienced cyclists who have excellent cycling knowledge and know all the best off road routes, cycle paths and short cuts to demonstrate that it can be a fantastic and fun way to travel around. They also know a good pub when they find one.
While historically Birmingham has dragged their heels when it comes to make significant improvements to cycling infrastructure, we think there are reasons to optimistic. The West Midlands Combined Authority has just elected its first metro mayor, Andy Street, and during the campaign he made it clear that cycling was on his agenda. We're going to keep campaigning to make sure he remembers that cycling is vital to the success of the city for the future; for all of our futures.
Ultimately, the best way for cycle infrastructure to improve is for more people to cycle. At Push Bikes, our aim is to encourage people to cycle by making it easier, more accessible and safer and also literally demonstrating what a great time you can have on a bike. If you cycle, it's obvious to you that bikes are great because they not only make everything less hassle but they're also a good laugh.
What better demand to make from your city, your leaders, than that – less hassle, more laughter, thanks. Find out more via The website is www.pushbikes.org.uk or follow us via our twitter feed @pushbikesbcc.