Cambridge celebrates pedal power at charity’s cycling carnival

 

Nearly one hundred people joined the cycle parade around Cambridge for Camcycle’s Cargo Carnival on Saturday 21 September and hundreds more enjoyed the festival atmosphere on Lammas Land during the afternoon. The sun was shining with lots of cargo bikes to test out and stalls to explore as part of the month-long Cambridge Festival of Cycling. 

Camcycle’s Executive Director, Roxanne De Beaux, said the charity was delighted to see so many people coming together to celebrate cycling. She said, “On the weekend of World Car-Free Day, it’s been great to show Cambridge just how versatile cycling can be as a replacement for many car journeys. There have been so many different types of cargo bike here, as well as tandems, trailers, child seats, baskets and panniers. We hope it has inspired more businesses and families to choose cycling as an efficient and cost-effective way to get around town.”

Standing outside the pedal-powered smoothie stall hosted by local law firm Tees, sponsors of the CamcycleQuest, Rasmus Christensen said that he and his family had enjoyed the atmosphere of the Cargo Carnival; it had a welcoming feel and everyone involved was smiling and friendly. He’d owned a cargo bike since 2018 as it was the perfect way to get around Cambridge. However, having had experience of cycling in Denmark, he felt there was a lot of room for improvement from local authorities. “It’s a pity they don’t fund and refurbish the whole infrastructure for cycling,” he said. “A lot of times you feel as if you’re squeezed between cars and pedestrians and many cycle lanes are full of holes. We know from Denmark that cycling is beneficial for so many things: it’s a win-win investment.”

One organisation that is investing in the area’s cycle network is the Greater Cambridge Partnership, who were at the event to talk about some of the local projects they are currently funding. Volunteers from Camcycle and national charity Sustrans were also on hand to give cycling advice. Most popular though was the cycle tryout area, where visitors took turns on a variety of cycles from The School Run Centre, Electric Bike Sales and Outspoken Cycles. 

Calverley’s Brewery was one of the pedal-powered traders at the event. Co-founder Sam Calverley believes using cargo bikes for delivery is an important part of their business, which is dedicated to providing a sustainable and flexible service to customers local to the Cambridge area. He said, “In a city like Cambridge, I think it’s the only practical way to cost-effectively distribute our beer. Cycling means we’re not stuck in traffic, our costs are kept low and our employees are kept fit. It’s also a fun part of us: we turn up with a huge amount of beer on a bike and it cheers people up!”

Fellow stallholder Marie Blenman of The Little Cambridge Bookshop agreed that cycling was the only way to beat the congestion in Cambridge. As a local distributor of Usborne Books she can carry over 150 books on her bike using a trailer, basket and panniers. She uses her cycle to do deliveries and attend events and said, “I can get from A to B a lot more quickly on my bike using cycle routes, bridges and back roads than I can in a car. There’s always a short cut on a bike.”

The Cargo Carnival is one of the most popular events of the Cambridge Festival of Cycling and Camcycle says plans are already in place to bring it back next year. For those who can’t wait that long, there is more cargo bike inspiration next weekend at the festival’s screening of MOTHERLOAD, an inspiring crowdsourced documentary about cycling families from around the world. It will be shown at 3pm at the Clay Farm Centre in Trumpington with refreshments from Mac Daddy and Beanissimo. More information and details on ticket booking can be found at www.cambridgefestivalofcycling.org.