Tag Archives: birmingham

Bicycology mini-Tour 2012 Day 2: ride from Birmingham to Coventry

So, Day 1 was a film and discussion event in the evening in Birmingham. Maybe we’ll post some photos and a longer report about that sometime – but briefly, it went really well, with about 40 people turning up.

Day 2, Friday May 11th. We set off on a sunny but surprisingly chilly morning to cycle from Gung-Ho Housing Co-op to Coventry Peace House. Our convoy consisted of eight people with eight bikes, two trailers and about twenty panniers. The first part of our route was along a planned route through mostly back streets. We navigated by voice guidance on a GPS-enabled phone, which worked quite well. Discussion of how to get onto the Grand Union Canal stopped when we realised we were standing a few meters away from a canal bridge. We had lunch and very relaxed ride along the canal shared with ducks and a canal boat. Picturesque constructions allowed canal-side dwellers to picnic by the water at the bottom of the garden. A few showers of rain and a muddy surface made one bicycologist’s beautiful new metal mudguards clog considerably – creating resistance to wheel-rotation and much frustration. Soon after we left the canal the GPS navigation system broke down, but by then we were able to navigate into Coventry by local knowledge and a wide cyclepath. We magically bumped into the most local bicycologist in town, just in time for them to lead us to the Peace House. See some photo highlights below – more photos to be added soon!



“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).