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SPOKES an active campaign group set up to encourage cycling and publicise its benefits. We are based in the East Kent area of the UK but have an interest in better conditions for cyclists everywhere.

We publish a free quarterly newsletter in which we air our views and the views of others on cycling issues and ensure its widest possible distribution. You can read the latest edition here as well as recent back issues.

We also organise a full programme of rides and cycling events in and around Kent to be enjoyed by ordinary people.

Next Spokes-led ride: Thursday 1 January 1970. .

Help out on the cycle network

If you've ever wanted to help out with maintaining the cycle network, please take a look at our Sustrans Volunteer Rangers page for details of how to get started.

Spokes blog

We've recently launched the Spokes blog. We'll post the very latest cycling news and commentary there and we welcome your comments on our posts.

Here's our most recent blog postings:

Viking Coastal Trail Ride This Saturday

May 13th, 2014

Viking Coastal Trail Guided bike ride this Saturday, 31 May, at 10.30am from Reculver Visitor Centre.
The ride will be about 10 miles and will include the new link between Reculver and St Nicholas at Wade.

Adults are asked for a donation of £2 which will go to the Canterbury Oast Trust.

Riders will also be able to pick up copies of the new Viking Coastal Trail map.


The Mudguard Issue 73

April 30th, 2014

Mudguard 73 coverThe latest edition of our quarterly newsletter is dropping onto members’ doormats this week. You can read it online by clicking here: The Mudguard 73

In this edition you’ll find news from the heart of government and local activities; an assessment of how we welcome cyclists to Britain; we launch our Connecting Kent Campaign; chat to Cycle Recycle Kent in Herne Bay and to Mark Bickerton, President of the Bicycle Association of Great Britain; there’s pictures of Bike Polo in Canterbury; question whether a volcano triggered the birth of the bicycle; and take a trip to the two tunnels.

Happy Reading!

Spokes day trip to Ardres

April 29th, 2014
Waiting to disembark in Calais

Waiting to disembark in Calais

Click Here for more photos of our day trip to Ardres last Saturday

European Cycle Logistics Federation Conference 2014 at Nijmegen

April 13th, 2014

This weekend Andrew Fenyo, Isabelle Cornet and I attended the ECLF  Conference in Nijmegen, a 2,000 year old City of 160,000 in the South East of the Netherlands. 250 people from 25 different countries attended the Conference . The key note speaker was (an amusingly hungover) Mikael Colville-Andersen.

The conference took place at Cultuurspinnerij de Vasim

The conference took place at Cultuurspinnerij de Vasim

Here is key note speaker Mikael Coalville Andersen in full flow talking about Bicycle Urbanism

Here is key note speaker Mikael Colville Andersen in full flow talking about Bicycle Urbanism


Dr Steven Fleming from the University of Tasmania flew in to show how if we idolise bicycles in the same way we have previously done with cars we can bring the bike inside and how we can imagine new bicycling cities.

Dr Steven Fleming from the University of Tasmania flew in to show how if we idolise bicycles in the same way we have previously done with cars we can bring the bike inside and how we can imagine new bicycling cities.

There were presentations throughout the day by cycle logistic companies from the enormous DHL to new businesses from Sweden down to San Sebastian and numerous places in-between. All talking about the transformation their bike businesses are having on their cities. Inspiring stuff!

It was a full day of brilliant stories. Over the next few weeks I’ll try and add more from the conference.

In the meantime, big thank you must go to Gary Armstrong of Outspoken Delivery in Cambridge for organising the Conference.



Chief Medical Officer’s Annual Report

April 2nd, 2014

Our very own Dr Gill has reviewed the Chief Medical Officer’s Annual Report. Well the bit that’s relevant to Spokes, that’s the section on diet, obesity and physical activity.
Here’s her comment:
“It’s all very obvious stuff, nothing new – although I hadn’t realised that the proportion of the population that is now overweight or obese has risen to 62%! Horrifying.”
Here’s the full thing if you’d like to read it yourself:


May we politely suggest that cycling could help here?

Perhaps if “Health” and “Transport” departments were not quite so silo based, cocooned in their own narrow worlds, they might make better decisions?

After all, if  more people cycled there would be:

  • LESS traffic
  • LESS air pollution
  • LESS stress
  • LESS noise
  • LESS injuries
  • LESS obesity
  • LESS diabetes
  • LESS asthma
  • MORE economic prosperity

So cycling is the panacea we need!

Spokes April News Update

April 1st, 2014

Here’s a link to the latest email Update from Spokes: April Update 

Health effects of the London bicycle sharing scheme.

February 28th, 2014

The British Medical Journal has published a study of the health impact of the bike hire scheme in London. (BMJ 2014;348:g425 Woodcock et al.)

Our very own Doctor in the House, Dr Gill Corble, has written this Precis.

Introduction.  Physical inactivity is a major cause of morbidity and mortality and the creation of opportunities for safe, active mobility has been identified as one central feature of a “healthy city.”  Promoting a shift away from motorised vehicle travel towards walking and cycling would also be expected to yield additional health, economic, and environmental benefits, including reducing traffic congestion, noise, and the emission of greenhouse gases. One way in which cities can seek to realise these benefits is by implementing bicycle sharing systems to facilitate short term bicycle rental in urban areas. London is just one of those cities, with the so-called “Boris” Bike Scheme.

Study and Results.  In this study in London, over the year examined, users made 7.4 million cycle hire trips (estimated 71% of cycling time by men). These trips would mostly otherwise have been made on foot (31%) or by public transport. Using observed injury rates and a computer-modelling system for health benefits, it was found that the population benefits from the cycle hire scheme substantially outweighed harms among men using cycle hire. There was no evidence of a benefit among women, this sex difference largely reflecting higher road collision fatality rates for female cyclists. At older ages the modelled benefits of cycling were much larger than the harms.

Conclusion.  London’s bicycle sharing system has positive health impacts overall, but these benefits are clearer for men than for women and for older users than for younger users.

See the original article for all details and references.

Great Stour Waves

February 11th, 2014



The two sets of hoop-shaped inhibitors have finally been removed on the Great Stour Way. However, if there is any resulting problem with unwanted motorbikes on the path, replacement inhibitors will be installed.

Wave 1: We’ve finally waved bye bye to the two sets of hoop-shaped inhibitors have finally been removed on the Great Stour Way. However, if there is any resulting problem with unwanted motorbikes on the path, replacement inhibitors will be installed.


Wave 2: The flooding is very bad on the Great Stour Way. Mother Nature has reclaimed the Hambrook Marshes.

Wave 2: The flooding is very bad on the Great Stour Way.
Mother Nature has reclaimed the Hambrook Marshes.

And finally, Wave 3: Farewell to two further surplus cattle grids that have been ‘re-moo-ved’ between Tonford and Chartham.

Happy pedalling and paddling!

Sheila Webb

Researchers show clear link between Air Pollution & Coronary Events

February 4th, 2014
There is a near-universal acceptance that air pollution, particularly that caused by vehicle emissions, causes lung damage and respiratory disease including lung cancer.
It is however, less well-known that such pollution also damages coronary arteries and the heart. Until now, this association has been somewhat controversial.
Much less controversial, though, after the publication of a paper in this week’s British Medical Journal (BMJ 2014;348:f7412 for the summary version).
Researchers followed up a very large number (>100,000) of healthy citizens from 11 European countries of differing latitudes, for >11years.  All confounding factors such as age, smoking, sociodemographic factors, BMI, alcohol consumption, noise exposure and cholesterol were eliminated statistically.
The results very clearly show an association between long-term exposure to particulate air pollution and incidence of coronary events, even for exposure concentrations below the current European air quality limits.
Analysis of the results indicate that, if anything, there is an underestimation bias; in other words, the association is even stronger than the results indicate.

Road Safety In Kent – We Need A New Approach

January 31st, 2014
The KCC draft Road Casualty Reduction Strategy 2014-2020 was published for consultation on Christmas Eve. It is a baffling document. It is so out of step with modern transportation thinking. 
There are three key strands for a Road Casualty Reduction Strategy that we cannot find in this document:
1. Reduce the amount of motorised traffic
2. Restrict the movement of the largest vehicles
3. Promote the walking & cycling infrastructure
In this document too much weight is given to analysing accidents, trying to find patterns and clusters when the datasets are too small and the variables too many to be significantly robust. We need a Road Danger Reduction Strategy. We need wide area reduced speed limits – especially 20mph in urban areas and 40mph on country lanes, out-of-hours deliveries, high quality strategic walking and cycling routes. We do need ETP initiatives to create a positive shift in road user’s behaviour making our roads a more civilised and tolerant place for everyone.
Kent is a sewer moving the effluent of trade between the UK and the continent. Essential. That doesn’t mean that beyond these strategic routes we should not try to create liveable streets that are free of danger. What people living in Kent say is that the streets are a danger for anyone not in a motorised vehicle. That is not civilised. That is not sustainable. It does not create a nice place to live. It does not create a place that people want to visit or invest.
Below are links to two documents from John Morrison of the Sevenoaks Cycle Forum. The first is a useful background document and the second is his own response to the Strategy.
We would encourage everyone to respond to this strategy. The deadline is 17 February 2014.