Spokes rides and events
Spokes AGM and monthly rides
We had booked a room and speaker for our AGM in April. However, in view of the current government health advice regarding the spread of the COVID-19 virus and public meetings, we have decided to postpone the AGM until further notice.
We expect that most public events will be cancelled for the near future, so we will cancel rides following the advice regarding group activities. Currently, there is nothing to prevent individuals going on rides with others, provided that they keep the recommended distance from other persons.
I will shortly circulate a chairman’s annual statement summarising our activity in the past year. The current committee will continue in a caretaking role in these exceptional circumstances.
Paul Rees, Chair, Spokes
Urgent: help needed
We have been asked to remove the Spokes event stands and other items from the garage where it has been stored for some time, as the owner now needs the space. If anyone knows of somewhere, preferably in or near Canterbury, where we can store our items either free or for a low charge, please let the committee know as soon as possible. If we cannot find any where we will have to pay commercial rates for storage, possibly £750 or more per annum.
We will also need voluntary help from members for a few hours to remove our equipment from the current garage in Bridge and transport it to the new venue. Unfortunately, some of the other committee members are at high virus risk from COVID-19, both for age and ailments, so their help is limited. If you can assist at some time in future, please contact the committee at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Richborough Connection project
The Richborough Connection project is a new overhead electricity connection between Richborough and Canterbury. It will connect the Nemo Link - an electricity link between Herdersbrug in Bruges and Richborough - to the UK's high voltage electricity network. Spokes received an email from the project's Senior Stakeholder Advisor alerting us to the next phase of the construction work between Canterbury and Richborough. This work will involve large plant using and crossing roads in the area which may present dangers to cyclists and other road users. The busiest areas will be Gore Street, Nethergong Hill, Hoath Road, Shalloak Road and Herne Bay Road. The construction sites are well signed and maintained but, sadly, some road users have failed to observe the signage and instructions putting themselves and the workforce at risk. The routes and areas affected by the Connection project are shown on these maps. Take care.
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Sandwich toll bridge closure
The former Sandwich toll bridge is likely to be closed for some weeks, probably from 31 March, for final refurbishment works. There is no easy and safe diversion for cyclists on Regional Route 15 for those trying to reach Thanet from Sandwich or vice versa, though pedestrians will be able to catch a shuttle bus. Vehicles will be diverted via the A256, which has some below standard marked cycle lanes, but this is a busy A road, so cyclists may be happier to avoid the route during the weeks of work, or catch the train.
Government fails to fund cycling and walking
Boris Johnson has pledged to make the country “the cleanest, greenest on earth”. Fantastic, but how? Reducing car dependency, particularly for short journeys, is one of the obvious answers, but that requires investment to enable more people to ditch the car and walk or cycle instead.
When published, the Transport for Quality of Life report commissioned by the Department for Transport is expected confirm that, there needs to be an immediate doubling of investment in active travel, and then another doubling, for the Government to have any chance of achieving its cycling and walking targets.
Incredibly, the Conservative manifesto didn’t promise an increase, or to maintain current investment. Instead, it set out plans which would slash the money spent. Their manifesto promises a new £350 million Cycling Infrastructure Fund spread over 5 years - £70 million per annum. If there’s nothing else, that would be mean reducing spending to a quarter of the current level. This isn’t just a long term crisis either, because currently there is absolutely zero money earmarked for local authorities for cycling and walking infrastructure for the year from April 2020 onwards.
Cycling Tory voters - this is your fault. We hope you will try to remedy this by personally pressuring your MPs and councillors to reverse the policy. If not, please write an article for Update justifying your lack of action.
More details from Cycling UK's website.