45 years of cycle campaigning

10th anniversary

I was wondering when it might be possible to claim 50 years as a cycle campaigner. The ‘Early London cycle campaign’ page suggests some involvement since at least the spring of 1975 – participating in a national rally and creating a report on, and guide to, cycling in the borough of Greenwich. I’m fairly sure there was an attempt at a local cycle rally in 1974 too, and in September of that year I got hold of ‘All Change to Bikes’ material (from British Cycling Bureau).

Perhaps the real start to the campaigning can be gleaned from a press release about setting up a cycling group offshoot of Greenwich Friends of the Earth, with a meeting held on 15th November 1976 at Charlton House, SE7. As good a date as any to count from, giving another 5 years to go!

The birth of London Cycling Campaign

The official launch of LCC in September 1978 is generally taken as its starting point, ignoring the year or so lead up. A little background on the latter follows after some images of Daily/London Cyclist magazine birthday celebrations.

Liaison Committee of London Cycling Groups

This fairly informal body was established autumn 1976. Here’s a list of the main local groups involved in the monthly meetings, from memory (may have missed some or got names a little wrong).

  • All Change to Bikes Westminster
  • Lambeth Campaign for Cycling Safety
  • West London CTC (Cyclists’ Touring Club, now Cycling UK)
  • Kensington & Chelsea Friends of the Earth
  • Greenwich FoE/Cyclists Action Group – me
  • Islington Cyclists Action Group
  • Richmond ACB?
  • Tower Hamlets Wheelers?

After a year of productive LCLCG monthly meetings it was obvious that establishing a London-wide body made sense. I wrote a short paper on the idea, and on circulating this at a meeting discovered that others (Nick and Dick particularly, in my recollection) had thought through the issues further, including a suggested name.

The CTC rep strongly disagreed with having ‘Campaign’ in the organisation’s title and sadly took no further part, but London Cycling Campaign was duly born in a basic form in autumn 1977. It developed over the following months and started taking individual membership subs from spring 1978. Originally 50p I think, but 75p by the time of this form inserted in the first Daily Cyclist newsletter in December 1978.

An early LCC subscription form.

A total of 19 local groups were listed in the 4 page production.

The year also saw other key cycle campaign publications appearing. The Bicycle Planning Book was published in April by Friends of the Earth with Open Book, followed by FoE’s ‘Way Ahead – the bicycle warrior’s handbook‘ in June. And a third edition of ‘On Your Bike – a guide to cycling in London‘ arrived later in 1978, the first one that this blog author managed to acquire. Produced up to then by Kensington & Chelsea FoE, On Your Bike went on to become an important LCC publication.

Worth noting that the Bicycle Touring Club, later renamed Cyclists’ Touring Club, was founded in Harrogate August 1878, a neat hundred years earlier.

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