Sunday, 27 July 2008


The government is investing around £140m of our money in promoting cycling over the next few years, and quite right too. In the long-run more cycling will help to save the planet, reduce healthcare costs, and save money on transport infrastructure. In the short-term more cyclists mean better facilities and greater safety for all cyclists.

The money is going on promoting cycling, improving the infrastructure, developing cycling skills, and helping people to buy a cycle through company tax breaks. So the government is making it easier, cheaper, and safer to ride a bike. My only complaint about any of this is that they are not going far enough. Specifically, they are failing to address the most important reason why people don't ride bikes - the hills.

It is clear that a lot more people cycle in Cambridge, Lincolnshire, York, Norfolk, etc. What all these places obviously have in common is that they are flat. Internationally, the leading European countries for cycling are places like the Netherlands and Denmark. Flat places.

So it seems to me that there are two things that need to be done.

In the short-term we all need to move to the flat parts of the country. Not only will that encourage a lot more people to ride their bikes, it will also help with the housing shortage in the rest of the UK.

However, with sea levels and population numbers rising, that might present some long-term problems. So in parallel we need to start flattening the landscape in the higher parts of the country. As well as creating more space, that will provide a valuable stimulus to the construction industry, and hence more jobs.

Clearly, these are fairly radical proposals, and small minded people who lack vision are going to find all sorts of niggles to object to. But I am confident that readers of Tlatet have their priorities sorted, and will recognise that this is just the kind of bold initiative that is needed to ensure that Britain takes it's rightful place among the world's great cycling nations, like Denmark and Holland.

Please support this call to make Britain flat.


Anonymous said...

No, it will take too long. Can't we all get terribly fit and then PRETEND Britain is flat?

town mouse said...

sign me up! Can we start by making the South West of Scotland flat? Far too many hills round us!

gom1 said...

Two down, 60,586,998 to go.