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02/02/2010
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Personality of the Month - Richard Ambler, London Borough of Lambeth

Richard Ambler

What is your job or other main activity that involves cycling?
I am Cycle Programme Manager at the London Borough of Lambeth.

How long have you done that?
Seven and half years but the job has changed a lot.

Where do you live?
Hoxton in London because I find that living centrally my quality of life is improved by having everything I need accessible by bike – even the countryside via a short ride on the canal path and a hop on a train.

What most encourages you about cycling where you live?
Seeing the ever growing numbers of people riding bikes in ordinary clothes and with no special gear.

What most discourages you about cycling where you live?
The smell from cheap fried chicken takeaway outlets in south London.

How would you describe yourself as a cyclist?
Riding a bike is my default position.

What is your earliest cycling memory?
I can still visualise looking down at my little legs spinning round the first day my dad took my stabilisers off.

Where is the best place you have ever cycled?
Last June I cycled the northern tip of Scotland in superb hot sunny weather and sunsets after 10 p.m.

What is your greatest achievement, in terms of encouraging more people to cycle?
Instigating important cultural changes at Lambeth, including early adoption of National Standards Cycle Training, and recruitment of a Road Danger Reduction Manager and a Residential Cycle Parking co-ordinator.

What single thing do you think would do most to encourage more cycling in the UK?
Less lycra and fewer helmets; once that happens we’ll know we are getting there.

What has been your favourite cycling experience?
When I first moved to London I worked as a cycle courier which really opened up the city for me; in fact I’m sure I would not have stayed in London if I hadn’t started cycling.

What was your worst cycling experience?
I remember cold, chapped hands cycling home from school in the hail and snow when growing up in Yorkshire - it didn’t put me off though!

What is it about using your bike that you like the most?
Being outside and connected with the street.

The answers given are the opinion of the individual and do not necessarily reflect those of any organisation they may represent.


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