The government has turned down Sir Chris Hoy’s offer to work as the UK’s chief cycling officer, attracting criticism from cycling campaigners for its lack of commitment to cycling and ongoing failure to back the recommendations of the Get Britain Cycling report.
According to The Times, a Downing Street spokesman said yesterday that they “warmly welcome” Sir Chris’s desire to get “more people cycling more safely and more often”, but added that they “don’t have any current plans to appoint a national cycling champion”.
Martin Gibbs, policy director at British Cycling, said: “Be it Sir Chris Hoy, Chris Boardman, or someone else who really understands what has to happen to transform our roads, the Government needs someone with the power to champion cycling and ensure an integrated approach across departments.
“We need to see a proportionate amount of the transport budget allocated to cycling and for all roads to be cycling-proofed at design stage. These are the measures that will really take cycling in this country to the level it needs to be and we must not miss this opportunity.”
Julian Huppert, MP for Cambridge and chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Cycling Group, said: “I think it would be excellent for the Government to have a national cyclng champion. Norman Baker, the minister for cycling, does an excellent job, but having that public voice would help.”
Our official grumpy Northerner, John has been riding bikes for over 30 years since discovering as an uncoordinated teen that a sport could be fun if it didn't require you to catch a ball or get in the way of a hulking prop forward.
Road touring was followed by mountain biking and a career racing in the mud that was as brief as it was unsuccessful.
Somewhere along the line came the discovery that he could string a few words together, followed by the even more remarkable discovery that people were mug enough to pay for this rather than expecting him to do an honest day's work. He's pretty certain he's worked for even more bike publications than Mat Brett.
The inevitable 30-something MAMIL transition saw him shift to skinny tyres and these days he lives in Cambridge where the lack of hills is more than made up for by the headwinds.