As well as the usual update, Mark Leach from Bristol Green Capital Partnership tells us about ‘Cycling and the Green Capital’ and what we can expect from 2015. Our special guest speaker is Carlton Reid who is well known as creator of ipayroadtax.com, editor of BikeBiz and now author of Roads Were Not Built For Cars. Here’s the advance notice posting November meeting has talks on ‘Roads were not built for cars’ and Green Capital.

Here are some notes from Carlton’s talk:

  • Motors added to cycles first. Automobiles didn’t just appear out of thin air. Karl Benz added a motor to a tricycle at same time as safety bicycle invented and steam engine added.

  • Bicycle pioneers from 1880s and 90s went into making automobiles. For example, Henry Ford, ’nuff said (rode to work everyday his whole life).  Lionel Martin record breaking tricyclist – founded Aston Martin (died on his trike in 1940s). 

  • Automobile technology all based on bicycles, chains, wheels, gears, steering.

  • William Morris who founded Nuffield Foundation made his fortune in bicycle industry. Bill Gates of his day based on bike shops and making.

  • Charles Rolls funded his aviation experiments on profits from bikes. The Opel brothers started their bike company and then extended into cars.

  • Oh, and founder of Daily Mail was longtime cyclist.

  • Henry Sturmey was editor of ‘Autocar’ (founded when there were only 6 cars licensed on UK roads) and ‘The Cyclist’ at the same time. His name was used for Sturmey Archer gears but in fact he had nothing to do with it.

  • Summary: Cyclists created motoring.

  • Postmaster of Almondsbury knocked over by rider of an ‘ordinary’ going too far. ‘Driver’ was let off, what’s changed.

  • 15 Small Street is where John Macadam revolutionised UK transport by a long lasting surface. He did’t put tar on the roads but small graded stones. Same process as used on Bristol Bath Railway Path by John Grimshaw and Sustrans (listening attentively in photo above).

  • For 2 generations after rail roads fell into shocking state. It was cyclists who created today’s road network and the way we use them now.  For most of history roads were for feet but it was popular use of wheels that changed everything.

  • Up until 1920s all of London’s roads were made of Australian wood.

And now Mark Leach from Bristol Green Capital Partnership

  • Mark claims that he can explain the structure of Green Capital. We shall see!

  • Bristol came first or second in all 12 areas of the application process.

  • Took 10 years from starting to talk about aspiration to be a green capital to achieving the award.

  • Now 800 businesses are members of the GC Partnership

  • The 2015 company is an ‘arms length’ body just to get the sponsorship, grants and administrative aspects done with more flexibility than possible in council.

  • Didn’t win status because of what we’ve done, but on basis of what we’ve got to share. Including our ‘immense grassroots’ possibly above any other of the shortlist.

  • Grant streams were Strategic £25-50k now closed. Small grants of up to £10k for city-wide initiatives. Total pot £250k in four rounds, managed by Quartet Foundation. Then Neighbourhood Partnership funds through 14 NPs all with their own priorities and ideas.  This is where the application for the Downs closure is being requested, and BCyC is the hosting organisation for that (they’re using our bank account).

  • Grant pots oversubscribed by 7-10 times. Most who apply won’t get funding.  The selection process will be sorting the good from the great.

  • Volunteering programme, City of Service, being promoted during the year.

  • Neighbourhood arts programme is a cross-cutting theme.

  • Go Green is a business programme with gold, silver, bronze awards. Building on the West of England Carbon Challenge with 60 local businesses.

  • Question: is it just Bristol city area?  There is involvement from UWE and some others so it’s a ‘grey’ area.

  • Question: What about a proper bypass or alternative route for the BBRP while it’s closed at Staple tunnel? Infrastructure is difficult to fund on the timescales and with different partners.

  • Aardman will be doing Grommit’s (Shawn’s?) for 2015

  • Early draft of big events online here and aim is to keep it live and updated. Including a big Big Green Week.

  • Mark used this summary of events as the basis of his talk.

  • Green Capital should be seen as a catalyst for the pace of change rather than an end in itself.