- By London Cycling Campaign on at 02:35pm 03 Mar 2014
- Posted in:
- Tagged with: ann kenrick, International Women's Day
Ann Kenrick OBE (@annkenrick) is Chair of the LCC, Founder/former Chair of the East Dulwich SRS Group and has written a book promoting cycling to school - 'Let me out! How to enjoy the school run'. She contributes to radio programmes on cycling and has chaired Government Seminars on School Travel. She is also Director of the FBC, a charity supporting understanding between Britain and France.
She has cycled in London for around 50 years, has toured France and the US, biked 6 times to Paris and survived a couple of Dunwich Dynamos. Her garage in Camberwell contained nine bikes in various states of repair at the last count!
"My bike is as much an essential tool for my life as my laptop or mobile phone …but it’s also more fun and keeps me fit and young at heart!
As someone with a multiplicity of roles - a paid job three days a week, a number of non paid jobs and a hectic family and social life - I simply could not manage without my bike. Just this week my routes have included South Kensington, Westminster, Portobello Road (through Hyde Park – fabulous) Kings Cross and back to Camberwell!
This has been even more evident to me over the last few weeks with people moaning about the impact of the weather and strikes on transport. As a cyclist I know exactly how long it will take to reach my destination, I arrive energised from my journey and the thinking time is invaluable in preparing for my next meeting.
Space for cycling has been brought to life for me by the gradual introduction of Superhighway 5 which will run from the end of my road to Victoria. True, at the moment it is still just a white line on the road, but most of the drivers do now keep away from the kerb which makes a big difference and my journey time has been halved because I can go much faster in the knowledge that it is OUR space.
But the main reason I am a massive supporter of this LCC campaign is that it is about creating an environment which is safe and inviting for everyone from young kids to people like my neighbour Nicholas (shown below) who is over 80 but still rides around Camberwell.
For me a critical element of the campaign is space for kids to feel comfortable cycling. This was brought home to me starkly last summer when my 15 yr old nephew, Guy Gibson, was overtaken on his bike by a lorry which then turned left across him crushing his bike and landing Guy in hospital with a smashed pelvis. Luckily he is fine now but many are not.
In my book, 'Let me Out – How to enjoy the school run', I argued that safe space on the roads was essential to get more kids cycling to school. This short film shows how one local girl Caitlin is forced to ride on the pavements to school – and as you can see, getting through the traffic can be a challenge! I am delighted that local South East London parents have continued the campaign and are bidding with Southwark for funding of over £2 million to encourage a local cycling culture for children at an early age which is critical for building a healthier society. Do visit the campaign website, their facebook page and follow them on Twitter for more details.
Top cycling moments include my regular Sunday morning ride along the Thames to Richmond Park and a scarily thrilling recent birthday trip to Herne Hill Velodrome... but in the end it is more about those daily glimpses of this wonderful city– the other morning I had to stop to take this photo going over Lambeth Bridge:
I used to bike around central London as a 12 yr old on my own - imagine kids being able to do that safely nowadays? And with the help of the team at LCC make this dream a reality!"