“Cyclenation” conference in Bristol

So why did I enjoy it? Well, roomfuls of cyclists tend to have nice energy about them. I used to do a martial art and it feels like that – it is I suppose just being surrounded by people who are unpretentiously fit. And it’s nice being surrounded by people who you knowaren’t going to plunge into Tedious Car Conversations at the drop of a hat. (On the downside, I suppose it was rather undiverse – though it was somewhat less middle-aged and mono-male than I was expecting).

A bonus was that the structure of the day catered to my natural fidgetiness. It started at 9:30 with a set of mini-field trips to look at the local roads with specific reference to cycling infrastructure. That is to say, half of the morning was spent walking or cycling. Then when the indoor talking started, it commenced with a discussion format which involved attendees talking to each other, then getting up every so often and talking to a new bunch of people. In other words the morning was partly spent in outdoor physical exercise, followed by an indoor activity at which it was almost completely impossible to fall asleep.

The afternoon was, of course, speakers, but I was still surprisingly perky. There was the launch of the cyclescape website, some quite technical political stuff which I didn’t entirely follow and there was also … well no fights broke out, but I gather there had been a few skirmishes in the morning session.

Ok. This blog is shy and retiring. If it was a bird, it would be a small brown thing that goes “pheep” occasionally. Nevertheless, part of my purpose (inter alia*) is to address an imaginary reader who is innocent of the culture of cycling activists, and so I need to outline the debate about cycling infrastructure. This is usually called “integration versus segregation” but this is a misleading phrase and one of the annoying things about this particular Heated Debate is that both sides have consistently misrepresented each others stance. In fact, this issue is slowly coming to a semi-consensus, but it gave a thorough airing to lots of important points along the way, so is worth a few words in the next post.



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