Tag Archives: bicycology

“Parking the Car… For Good!”

Bicycology is back and we’re going on a mini-tour!

Next Thursday 10th May 2012 we’ll be getting going (starting with a film night in Birmingham), then we’re riding to Coventry on Friday 11th, ready for a spot of creative direct action on Saturday 12th. Then we’ll be riding through Rugby on Sunday 13th, retracing the route featured in this CTC film from the 1950s (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kP1KxPjh4RM) to see how half a century of Car Culture has changed things. We’ll be riding on to Leicester later that day, where we’ll again be running a film and discussion event the following evening – on Monday 14th. It’d be great to see you there, and if you can’t make it, why not tell your friends and help us publicise the event. Mention the link to this page in emails or on social media sites. Thanks!

For more information please see the Press Release, and links to posters for the events, below:


Contact: Patrick Nicholson on 07538 308103 / patrick_nicholson@hotmail.com            or Peter Pannier on 07583 497887

Photo opportunity: colourful activities featuring a dozen people promoting alternatives to cars. Photographs are also available on request from the organisers.


Climate Change and rising petrol prices on agenda as activists raise questions about ‘car-culture’ on cycle tour of Midlands

Summary: As Petrol prices hit record highs [1], and the UK experiences the hottest March day and the wettest April on record [2], bicycle activist collective Bicycology [3] are coming to Birmingham, Coventry and Leicester as part of a cycle tour of the Midlands from 10th -14th May to raise questions about whether cars are the best way to organise transport in the 21st century. As part of their tour, Bicycology have organised a film and discussion evening, where they will show three short films and discuss the question ‘Can we park the car for good?’

Members of Bicycology, a cycling collective formed in 2005 that regularly appears at events and organises tours promoting cycling and environmental activism, are riding from Birmingham to Leicester, via Coventry and Rugby, under the slogan “Parking the Car… For Good!” [4]

Cyclist and cycle-activist Peter Pannier said the tour was all about “raising questions about the dominance of the car in UK transport, society and culture, and exploring alternatives.”

Transporting their bodies and their equipment entirely by bicycle, with no motorised support, the dozen members of Bicycology are hoping to bring their message to both cyclists and drivers, as well as to transport activists and community leaders. They are organising pedal-powered film nights, and reclaiming space from cars with what they describe as a “unique brand of creative and educational direct action”, and travelling between events in a riot of colour and music, thanks to a sound-system they pull with one of their bikes.

In Birmingham, the group have organised a film and discussion evening titled “Can We Park The Car For Good?” which will take place on Thursday 10th May, 2012, from 8.30pm Ort Cafe, 500-506 Moseley Road, Balsall Heath, Birmingham, B12 9AH. The event is free and all are welcome.

In Coventry, on Saturday 12th May 2012, the activists are set to take “direct action” to “reclaim car parking space as a public space”. The location is to be announced on the day.

In Leicester, on Monday 14 May 2012, the group have organised a further film and discussion evening, from 7.30pm, this time at The Western Pub, Western Road, Leicester. LE3 0GA (between Bede Park and Narborough Rd).

Patrick Nicholson argued that “the dominance of the car is neither inevitable nor desirable. The dark side of car culture is huge. From obesity to lung disease, climate change to strip mining, and a million lives tragically cut short globally every year, largely the young and the poor, cars are incredibly damaging [5]. But for some reason we put this out of mind”.

As more and more people struggle with rising petrol prices, Mr Pannier said, “It doesn’t have to be this way. When you think about how reliant on cars we’ve become, it can feel really daunting to even consider alternatives. But if we designed our world a little differently, we could free ourselves from the feeling that we need cars. Creating a world no longer dominated by cars won’t be easy, but the first step to making it happen is to understand the necessity of change, and to see that change is possible” [6]

Mr Nicholson added: “How has our society become so entwined and dependent on car culture? If you are wondering about the steps we could take to begin real changes and to free ourselves from this deadly embrace, please join Bicycology at one of our events [7] and help us map out a safer, cleaner, healthier future. Everyone is welcome!”

Notes for Editors:

[1] The average price of a litre of unleaded petrol in the UK reached a record high of £1.40/litre in March, followed by a new record high of 142.48p/litre in April. A survey at the University of Southampton has found that high petrol prices are partly responsible for an increase in people using their bicycles, with a third of 1,300 respondents getting on their bikes because of the record high cost at the pumps (see: http://www.google.com/hostednews/ukpress/article/ALeqM5i0aS8dQ4-bsJxPh_AZ-PC6AvzvUg?docId=N0000731335793414226A). In an article by the BBC, RAC technical director David Bizley was quoted as saying that “there is no end in sight to rising prices” http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-17490088.

[2] On March 25th, The Daily Record reported that “The Met Office said it had recorded a temperature of 22.8C (73F) at Fyvie Castle near Aberdeen, which is a new record maximum temperature for March in Scotland” (see: http://www.dailyrecord.co.uk/news/scottish-news/2012/03/25/hottest-march-day-on-record-in-scotland-as-fyvie-castle-hits-22-8c-86908-23801474/). More recently, Murray Wrdrop wrote in The Telegraph that “Provisional figures from the Met Office suggest Britain has endured its wettest April since records began more than a century ago in 1910” (see: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/topics/weather/9237788/Britain-on-renewed-flood-alert-after-wettest-April-on-record.html).

[3] Bicycology is radical cycling collective founded in 2005. The group aims to make the links between cycling and wider environmental and political issues, and to use bicycles as tools for direct action and positive social change. For more information see: www.bicycology.org.uk/ and https://bicycology.wordpress.com

[4] Tour itinerary: Birmingham 9-10th May / Coventry 11-12th May / Leicester 13-14th May

[5] Awareness of the wide ranging harmful effects of the dominance of cars is growing. See, for example:

a) Ian Roberts “The Energy Glut”, Zed Books, 2010 http://zedbooks.co.uk/paperback/the-energy-glut

b) http://www.roadpeace.org/

c) http://www.bettertransport.org.uk/

[6] The World Car Free Network promotes alternatives and highlights examples of places around the world that are moving away from reliance on cars: http://www.worldcarfree.net/

[7] Scheduled events:

a) 10/5/12. Film and discussion evening 8.30pm Ort Cafe, 500-506 Moseley Road, Balsall Heath, Birmingham, B12 9AH

b) 12/5/12. Parking Day. Direct action reclaiming car parking space as a public space. Coventry. Location to be announced: contact us for details.

c) 14/5/12. Film and discussion evening, 7.30pm at The Western Pub, Western Road, Leicester. LE3 0GA (Between Bede Park and Narborough Rd).


Bristol Triple Event

The recent Bristol Cycle Festival was billed as Bristol’s first community organised bike festival. Bicycology were there and Liz wrote the following report:

In the Park

For the classic bicycology event we had a nice mix of people who’d come along because they’d seen it in the program/on our posters, and those who were just passing. Unknown to us there were at least two other community fair type events happening in the immediate vicinity at the same time, so we had a steady trickle of interest rather than an overwhelming crowd. Patrick’s bubble machine and Si’s smoothie maker drew in the punters particularly nicely. The kid transporting section innovation went pretty well too, with several parents coming specifically to try before buying and chat to others to hear the benifits/drawbacks of different systems. Im, Ms Miles, the OJ and even my sister, were rocking the craft section. Plus we had a Tabs.

Carnival Day

Then it came to the carnival day and it all got a bit random… We were up making crazy dino tails the night before, and arrived late to the muster point still trying to safteypin bones to jumpers. When I asked the steward if he’d seen another dinosaur he kind of giggled a bit and said- ‘not the huge, unmissable, life sized stegosauras skeleton?’. Sometimes, when you enter a carnival for the craic and to try and reclaim a bit of a political angle from what was effectively a council created critical mass, it’s worth having a professional puppeteer and her mate on hand. Emma, our flatmate, had left the chaos of our terrace some 4 days earlier for Trevor’s, with a large pile of scrap store kit and some of our bio regional yard bamboo. They emerged bleary eyed but triumphant on Trevor’s tandem under the most amazing creation- whose head could be made to move in time with the pedals beat.

There was only one other very dinky sound system so Kt and chris’s mix was basically the soundtrack to the whole thing, (which was huge, at least 250 costumed riders at my guess) and Oj and Im where throwing far finer shapes in the dense crowd than the mini bike dancers managed in the splendid dance off later.

And then we discovered that they were awarding prizes, and we’d won! Patrick was sporting ‘Carboniferous Carnivores against Capitalism and Car Culture’ and Mole had ‘Burn cars not Fossil Fuels’ all over his tricertopsy skull as the mayor (or similar besuited dignatry) dangled a ‘made in china’ plastic medal from it. All most surreal. Then there was top performace stuff and loads of schemeing about properly forming our own syncronised tricks troupe.

Food is our Fuel

We started off with amplified speeches outside Tesco, and 16 riders gathered. From brief chats en route it seemed alot of people who came were new to the area, and it was a great opportunity to introduce them to sections of the cycle path they might not have used before, and the amazing allotment projects they could get involved in. We covered a huge amount of ground in 3 hours- both in terms of sites, tastes and topics. The atmosphere was really conversational, with some of the student types getting to ask about kale, to everyone blagging foraging tips off the gloriously excentric Mike, who did the most condensed but useful intro to permaculture I’ve ever heard. OJ head-cheffed the dinner and apple and hazelnut cake, so it was allll good. Catching one of the last fine evenings of summer and being surrounded by masses of fruiting abundance felt pretty lush.

Huge big ups to all the crew who came and long distance love to those who couldn’t. The festie organisers are talking about doing another one next year you know..

More photos here on Flickr.