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Cycling nostalgia
(clockwise from above) cyclists from the Sevenoaks
cycle run of 1910. This was a popular pastime
during the Edwardian period; H.G Wells standing
outside his premises by Otford pond in 1924. His
brother owned another shop at the foot of St Johns
hill; Sevenoaks High Street in the late 1950s
Only Wildernesse (boys only) is making active efforts
central government for the lack of local initiatives,
to encourage cycling, with a new bike shed and other
and points out that highways and transport are the
Cycle links
responsibility of Kent County Council, not of the
So why is it so difficult to change things? It wasn’t so
long ago, as local cyclists recall,
But a look around other
that sevenoaks Conservatives,
areas in Kent and the southeast
Cycling Club
then in opposition, campaigned
suggests that none of these
vigorously against Liberal
excuses stands up to close – Leisure cycling
Democrat plans to spend money
examination. Other district
club for all ages in
on signs and routes for cyclists.
councils with exactly the
Kent and Surrey
Now the Conservatives have a
same powers as sevenoaks are
West kent
cycle-friendly leader in David
tapping into a generous stream
Cameron, but the shift towards
of lottery and government
Cycling Branch
‘two wheels good, four wheels
funding to promote cycling.
bad’ hasn’t percolated down to
Aylesbury in Buckinghamshire,
West Kent branch of
also a district council, is in its
the national cyclists
Gary Williamson, the
third year as a designated UK
organisation CTC
Conservative district council’s
cycling demonstration town.
Go Cycle kent
cabinet member responsible
Local employers are using
for transport and lots of other
government funds to help their
Official guide to
things, is a bike owner and says
workforce travel by bike, the
cycling in Kent
he’s personally sympathetic,
town now has 200 designated
but admits that neither he nor
bike parking spaces, 60% of
Cycling england
the district council have yet got
schools have a cycle route within
to grips with the problem. The
200 metres, and the town has Government-funded
owner of the town’s popular
quadrupled the number of body to promote
butcher’s shop says: “I used to
Incongruous: the lycra-clad mayor of our twin
children cycling to school within cycling
cycle as a boy from Knockholt
town Rheninbach arriving in Sevenoaks earlier this
a year with the help of the
to Otford to fish in the river. year, having pedalled all the way from Germany.
cycling charity sustrans, which
I wouldn’t let my children do
Are our representatives planning to return the has millions of pounds of lottery cycling to work
the same thing nowadays.” he
compliment? It seems unlikely
money to spend nationwide.
says he hasn’t got a closed mind
Simon Glover, cycling officer
about cycling and acknowledges the dangers posed by
for Buckinghamshire County Council, told me that
Bike for all
routes such as polhill. But he says the district council
Aylesbury, a district with a population of 70,000, had
has other priorities, and for the past few months it has
received £1.8 million spread over several years to spend
General information
been preoccupied with reforming on-street parking in
on cycling. “The fact that you are a district council
site on cycling
sevenoaks. he adds: “I haven’t heard from any cyclists
doesn’t stop you doing things for cycling. There are
in sevenoaks.” he also blames a lack of funding from
plenty of funding streams out there, not all of it from
 vine October 2008
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