Monday, 29 October 2012

On Revolution and Beryl in Peril

I went to the Revolution series cycle racing at the Manchester Velodrome on Saturday night, it was great. Ed Clancy was on imperious form and he looked like a different species when he was lapping the boards compared to the other riders who were all world class, It was well worth seeing. The highlight was his lone effort to chase down a breakaway in the points race. With half a lap to go he was 40 metres down and it looked impossible but he road the leader down to take the win. I would recommend you go but the series is sold out this Winter, perhaps we really are starting to warm to cycling as a nation?

As I was wandering around the edges of the track with a restless four year old, I came across a shrine to Beryl Burton. I knew of her because she has a cycleway named after her from near my house to Knaresborough. What I didn't know just how good she was she was, like a later day Victoria Pendleton but more versatile. Five times world champion and she was a mean time trialler too. all this in the days before the UK had one of the most successful sporting cycling setups the world has ever seen. She rode for Knaresborough cycle club in her later life and that why the cycleway is where it is.

Beryl's Shrine
A while back we started chasing NYCC to try and get the cycleway repaired as it in a right old mess. It is pot holed and rutted and on a road bike it not really ridable at the moment. Now Beryl never rode a mountain bike they hadn't be invented when she was in her prime, but if you want to follow her trail at the moment thats my tip. Surely the memory of one of the world's greatest cyclists with a local connection deserves better than a rutted track that looks un-loved and un-cared for?

Thats just another little reason why we need a cycle officer, we need somebody in local government who cares about these things so we can help generate the next generation of Beryl Burton's. I'm talking at a local council meeting on Thursday. I will tell them about the petition, about the support we have from local cyclists, about how they are failing to do right by sustainable transport in Harrogate at the moment and I will tell them that Beryl is in peril.


  1. Good luck on Thursday. Another dimension -
    It would be hoped that employing a cycling officer would also give the council more chance of gaining the expertise needed to ensure that cycling provision and activities also cater for disabled cyclists. Doing so would thereby contribute to promoting the health of disabled people and also help the council to meet its Equality obligations. There are cycle routes in North Yorkshire that have obstructions which prevent access to disabled cyclists (and others with non-standard cycles) and indeed I know of one which if approached from the wrong direction means the cyclist is trapped as there is only an obstruction at one end of the route. Much more information about the activities of handcylists can be found on the Handcyling UK web site.
    Andy Chamings

  2. Thanks for the comment Andy I'd never really thought about disabled access to cycle provision but good point. Are the Harrogate Cycle Group aware of your concerns if not I will pass them on?