Chris Boardman believes his new role as Greater Manchester’s first cycling and walking commissioner can help benefit cyclists across Great Britain.
The former Olympic and world champion cyclist, who was appointed to the role by Mayor Andy Burnham last month, will continue to work as British Cycling policy advisor, a position in which he has become an articulate and passionate campaigner for cyclists.
“In a sense, I’ll be enhancing my qualifications and be able to advance the cause, which is just allowing more people to ride bikes and get around by bikes and walking,” he said.
“This is probably the best mechanism that we at British Cycling could ever have had given to us to get the job done.
“With all the work at British Cycling I’ve come to get an understanding of the challenges of cycling and walking, like why people don’t do it, why people don’t create the infrastructure for it and the politics that are in the way,” Boardman added.
“Now I’ve got an opportunity to be on the other side of the fence and help to clear some of those obstacles away.”
British Cycling’s CEO Julie Harrington commented: “Chris Boardman’s passion in campaigning for better places to live and work for all road users over the last five years as British Cycling’s policy adviser make him ideally placed to take on this role. He will be a fantastic asset to the mayor’s team.”
Announcing Boardman’s appointment in July, former cabinet minister Burnham said: “I am a big believer in physical activity because it has a positive impact on both physical and mental health.
“Going from inactivity to activity is often one of the easiest and most positive lifestyle changes people can make.
“Having taken that step, people are then more likely to make other changes – be that in smoking, drinking or diet.
“We need to encourage the people in our city region to move more, to cycle and walk and maximise the contribution to being a healthy society.”
He added: “I want Greater Manchester to be the sport and physical activity capital of the world.”
Boardman expands on his comments in this video released by British Cycling today.
— British Cycling (@BritishCycling) August 29, 2017
Born in Scotland, Simon moved to London aged seven and now lives in the Oxfordshire Cotswolds with his miniature schnauzer, Elodie. He fell in love with cycling one Saturday morning in 1994 while living in Italy when Milan-San Remo went past his front door. A daily cycle commuter in London back before riding to work started to boom, he's been news editor at road.cc since 2009. Handily for work, he speaks French and Italian. He doesn't get to ride his Colnago as often as he'd like, and freely admits he's much more adept at cooking than fettling with bikes.