Who are we?

Portsmouth Cycle Forum is an independent cycle campaign group in Portsmouth. We work hard to make cycling in the city safe, simple and fun.

Like any campaign group we depend on our members to be heard. Join us today!

The future of Southsea’s coast – consultation

Storm tide in SouthseaA CITY FIT FOR CYCLING includes accessibility for all to our coast and heritage. The proposed new flood defences for Southsea seafront present a once-in-a-lifetime  opportunity to complete a missing section of the seafront cycle.

Do you want a cycle route along the seafront between the two piers so that you and your family can cycle without fear of being squeezed or reversed into? The consultation has a question on cycling so it’s important to respond.

See the link for details of the consultation roadshows or study the plans online. Don’t forget to fill in the feedback form to answer that knotty question!

The consultation closes on 29 December 2014.


Reflections on Rule 5 and Real Cyclists

Tom Simpson

Tom Simpson

Recently the topic of The Rules has popped it’s head up in a couple of discussions over on the book of faces. I should say up front, for people who worry about these things, that The Rules aren’t real rules. They are meant to be a tongue in cheek guide to how one should present oneself and one’s bicycle if one wishes to be seen as a ‘real’ cyclist (what is a real cyclist? Good question, and I’ll come back to that).

The rules are much beloved amongst our lycra clad brethren, both as a source of fun and spiritual guidance. I say this fondly for I am not unfamiliar with the stretchy wonder-material myself. However, these days I am an audax rider rather than a racer and we’re a non-conformist bunch who don’t worry about rules too much.

It is Rule 5 which has been causing controversy on our facebook group. Rule 5 simply says ‘harden the heck up’. Except it doesn’t say heck, but this is a family forum. It is illustrated with a humorous video of cuddly ex-Australian serial murderer Mark ‘Chopper’ Read swearing at a series of hipsters (hurrah) and children (boo).

If one does the sort of cycling that involves ‘challenges’ – going very fast or very far then Rule 5 will inevitably come into play sooner or later. There will be times when legs are jellied and flesh is weak and one has to ‘harden the heck up’ to get home. But cycling doesn’t have to be like that. Some of us like challenges and choose to cycle like that, but it doesn’t have to be so. Cycling can just be a simple and gentle way to get around or have a day out in the country if that’s how you prefer it.

Perhaps the most famous adherent of Rule 5 is the much-lamented Tom Simpson. Simpson was the first british professional cyclist to wear the yellow jersey in the Tour de France and to win the World Road Race Championship. However, Simpson’s willpower exceeded his stamina and he rode himself to death on the baking slopes of Mont Ventoux in July 1967. So, Rule 5 perhaps needs to be treated with a little caution.

This brings us, in a roundabout way, back to the question of which is the real cyclist? Is the one who dons lycra and cycles 200km or more any more of a cyclist than the person who just uses their bike to get around? I think the key word in that question is actually ‘person’. In the end we’re just people on bikes and it doesn’t matter who is a ‘real cyclist’. We’re all frail human beings, however tough we like to think we are we.

The context in which Rule 5 has raised it’s head in discussion on our Facebook group is urban cycling. Specifically that cyclists should stop complaining about being forced into conflict with traffic, ‘harden the heck up’ and get on with it. It’s fair to say that a number of people were uncomfortable with this concept.

The reality is we live in a city which desperately needs more people to ride bikes. Ordinary people to ride ordinary bikes in ordinary clothes to do ordinary things. That’s what a bike is in the end. A brilliant tool for getting around and doing other things. In Portsmouth we desperately need more people to make more ordinary journeys by bike  to make themselves and the city a healthier, wealthier place to live.

Cycling in a city is a fabulous way of getting around and needs to be accessible to everyone. As soon as you say ‘rule 5′ in that context you’re effectively saying that cycling is only for the strong, those who laugh in the face of danger. I don’t think that’s helpful.

Rule 5 is not helpful in weaving the fabric of society. If we applied Rule 5 to all social problems there would certainly be no NHS. People would just ‘harden the heck up’ instead of flopping around in hospitals all day. Take it to its logical conclusion and we’d all just be cavemen.

Rule 5 is useful if you’re halfway up an alpine pass with the Tour De France about to slip through your fingers. Rule 5 is not useful if you want your children to be able to cycle to school. If you’ve had a conversation in which an apparently redoubtable adult tells you that they’re too frightened to cycle then it’s obvious that Rule 5 is not the answer. We need the design of our roads, the way we use our roads and the way we enforce the law on our roads to change.

So, by all means, read ‘the rules’ if you like that sort of thing. If you go out for long rides have a giggle about them with your chums. I certainly have. But please don’t mistake them for real life.

A City to Share – UPDATE


A City to Share

Read the full document at acitytoshare.org – join the debate on twitter using the hashtag #acitytoshare

On Monday 3rd November Portsmouth Cycle Forum will launch “A City to Share”, its strategy to put safe cycling at the heart of

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Cycle Forum Open Meeting 13 November

Open meeting 13Nov14 poster cropped


Our next public meeting will take place on Thursday 13th November at 7pm. The venue will be room 0.08 in Park Building, part of the University just behind the Guildhall.

We are pleased to welcome Phil Marshall, Principal Transport Planner for Solent Transport (the

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BBC One Inside Out

Cycling in Portsmouth

Cycling in Portsmouth was the subject of a 10 minute film shown in BBC One’s regional ‘Inside Out’ show last Monday. The piece focussed on cycle safety following the recently published DfT accident statistics for Portsmouth which show us as being one of

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Portsmouth’s Cyclist Accident Rate Increases by 9%

The number of cyclists injured on Portsmouth’s roads has worsened.  Last year Portsmouth had England’s worst rate of cycle accidents outside of London. The number of accidents in which a cyclist is injured has now increased to 906 casualties per million of population from 832 per million in 2012.  This is an increase of 9%.

By comparison,

Continue reading Portsmouth’s Cyclist Accident Rate Increases by 9%

Open Meeting Report


St Mary’s Rd / Milton Rd Junction

Portsmouth Cycle Forum held another well attended open meeting on Thursday 11th September. The meeting was very kindly hosted by the Southsea Coffee Co and we’d like to thank them very warmly for their generosity. We were delighted to welcome Claire French of Portsmouth

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Biking is better for you and better for us

Cycle Commuting in Copenhagen

Cycle Commuting in Copenhagen

It’s often said that Portsmouth is the ideal cycling city being flat, compact and temperate. We spend a lot of time tackling the issues that may stop people from getting their bikes out – mainly the fear of traffic and the fear of bicycle theft. It’s worth remembering that despite all this

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Cycle Access to Milton Rd and Velder Avenue Junction Restored

Cycle Activated Signal at Milton & Velder

Cycle Activated Signal at Milton & Velder

A cycle activated traffic light has been installed at the junction of Milton Rd / Velder Avenue.  Located on the corner of Milton Rd and Alverstone Rd it automatically detects waiting cyclists and will stop all traffic in the junction to allow cyclists to safely navigate the junction to

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Bicycle – The Film – FREE screening

BICYCLE is a great new film about the history, culture and future of the bicycle.

You can see it on the big screen in Guildhall Square on Tuesday 16 September at 6pm.

BICYCLE is a humorous, lyrical and warm reflection on the bicycle, cycling, and its place in the British national psyche.

If the weather is bad the

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