We speak to Hannah Taylor, producer of the Bristol Cycle Festival
Bristol Cycle Festival is a community celebration by and for cyclists – there are so many engaged, impassioned and knowledgeable people here. For the cycling-curious, the festival is a great time to give it a try. There’ll be lots of people to cycle with and traffic-free rides where you can get used to cycling in the city and find routes you might want to take again. Cycling is the quickest way to get around Bristol, practically free once you’ve got the bike, and builds-in exercise.
Festival rides include: a volunteering adventure, cycling off to a community food-growing scheme, donating time and people power, then cycling back; a feminist tour of Bristol; riding to the sustainable energy site at Avonmouth; and every weeknight of the festival we’ve got rides after work so you can discover more about the city.
There’ll be sporty events such as a 100km bike ride and the Dundry Drubber, and fun stuff like the UK’s only bicycle carnival procession, where fancy dress riders and bikes cycle down the Portway while it’s closed. There’ll also be lots besides rides, such as cycle speed-dating, workshops, and taking action on things like air quality – people can sign up to wear air sensors as they go about the city.
It’s all about keeping fit and healthy, challenging yourself, getting kids active, choosing how you get to work or the countryside, and building connections and community – when you’re on a bike it’s so much easier to slow down and see the world you’re travelling through.
There’s also the ‘motorists vs cyclists’ issue, which is always spoken about as though one could never be the other. When people talk about ‘cyclists’ I think in their head they’re talking about fit, able-bodied men. We need to start diversifying the representation, so you’re thinking about the mum with toddler and shopping on the back, people still cycling in their 70s or 80s, or family groups out on bikes. Suddenly they’re not ‘cyclists’, they’re just people riding their bikes.
Bristol Cycle Festival runs from Sept 16–24.