Chris Coyle was introduced to cycling through a Coventry council initiative at the local cycling track. A local cycling club spotted Chris racing and formally introduced him to world of cycling, from that day on cycling has never stopped being a positive influence for Chris, from maintaining good health and wellbeing, to racing and riding some of the best roads around the world.
I have always maintained that cycling provides, freedom, good health and happiness, it can create great social networks, promote greener travel and the ability to explore far and wide. Cycling really can deliver much needed positive change in so many areas of our lives.
I am passionate about delivering this message to local communities and beyond and I am aligned with the philosophy of BYCS that cycling is much more than transport, it is transformation.
How would you describe your mission?
Chris Coyle has an aim to introduce cycling to as many people in the community as possible, so they too can benefit and feel all the rewards this brings, from youth diversion programmes, improved health and wellbeing, greener active travel and active ageing. The promise is to provide this opportunity to all, including those most in need in our communities.
What are the obstacles and challenges you are facing in your city?
Birmingham has so much to offer from one of the largest urban parks in Europe to the miles and miles of lovely canal towpaths that run from the suburbs directly to the City Centre. Development of cycle infrastructure has fallen behind many other major UK cities and it is now time to refresh and invigorate future plans that put cycling at the
centre of future decisions so this inspires more of the population to cycle.
Cycling should be promoted as one of the healthiest pastimes for families to enjoy, more education is required to outline the direct health benefits that can be achieved from regular cycling. This promotion can only fully succeed when people feel that cycling is the safe and obvious choice for travel and leisure activities in their city.
What are the next steps now that you are the Bicycle Mayor?
I will be organising meetings with Birmingham City Council and The West Midlands Combined Authority for discussion on how the Bicycle Mayor of Birmingham can help and assist with driving awareness and improvements for cycling in the City. I will also be linking with organisations such as the Greater Birmingham Chamber of Commerce to connect with local businesses to provide education and tools for the adoption of cycling as the primary travel mode for commuting in the city.
I will partner with the NHS in Birmingham to promote awareness about the health benefits of cycling and help to develop a framework that can deliver cycling for health-related activities such as social prescribing and other good health management activities.
What lesson can your city teach others?
Birmingham has more recently renewed a focus on delivering good cycling infrastructure, it has worked hard to develop cycle paths on the many miles of canals in the city, other cities could explore what opportunities there may be to provide more cycling infrastructure alongside existing networks such as canals or disused railway lines.