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Will BBC create space for cycling at CarFest? (Update: Not really)

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The Top Gear lorry driver got lost on the way to CarFest in 2012; with a bit of guidance the driver managed to turn around in Whitchurch, Hampshire and find his way to Laverstoke.

The BBC “CarFest” event held in Laverstoke, promoted by Chris Evans of the Radio 2 Breakfast Show, has been very popular over the past couple years; and people I’ve talked to locally that have been to it have had many good things to say about the activities – plus it raises money for BBC Children in Need.

(Responses from the BBC are at the bottom of this article: click HERE)

For whatever reason, I didn’t go to their first ever event a couple years ago – although I did help the driver of the Top Gear lorry with directions to the venue after he arrived late one evening in Whitchurch – video of that is HERE.

This year, I had my holiday already booked for when it was on (upon our return I again I heard very good things about the event).

So that brings us to today: tickets to the 2014 edition went on sale for local residents that had pre-registered an interest. I am pleased to say that I am now the proud owner of a 3-day family ticket!!

It is less than 7 miles and 3/4 of an hour to get to Laverstoke Park Farm by bicycle when taking the off-road Harroway north of town.

It is less than 7 miles and 3/4 of an hour to get to Laverstoke Park Farm by bicycle when taking the off-road Harroway north of town.

Getting to CarFest leisurely

I figured that we’ll just cycle over to the event each day next August, about a 45 minute countryside ride along the Harroway, rather than camp on the site.

Aside: the more direct B3400 is not a pleasant road for family cycling as it is just 2 lanes with a speed limit of 40 then 50mph. People, including myself, continue to petition Hampshire County Council to install a segregated cycle path along it to encourage the many children that attend Testbourne School in Whitchurch to cycle, instead of be driven, into town from Laverstoke and Overton. A segregated path would also encourage more people to commute to work and the shops in both our towns; and to visit the new Bombay Sapphire Gin Distillery (opening 2014) and the Whitchurch Silk Mill. Alas, the request seems to have fallen on deaf ears at Hampshire County Council.

So, back to CarFest.

Parking

Screengrab of the CarFest FAQ on 18 August 2014: "There are no specific cycle-parking facilities, although there will be fencing to which you may secure your bike."

Screengrab of the CarFest FAQ on 18 August 2014: “There are no specific cycle-parking facilities, although there will be fencing to which you may secure your bike.”

I’ve bought my tickets and now am looking at the CarFest website for specific information about parking. Here’s what they say in their FAQ (my emphasis added):

The parking areas are located within the festival site and are professionally managed.

There is also 24 hour security on-site, which includes regular patrols of the parking areas.

All types of vehicles are permitted in the parking areas, including motorbikes and live-in vehicles, although it is not permitted to sleep in live-in vehicles in the parking areas.

Sounds great!

Even though they say ‘all types of vehicles’ are permitted in the parking areas, they then go on to add this, exclusive to bicycles (which is, after all, a type of vehicle albeit it without a motor):

Can I bring my bicycle to CarFest?
There are no specific cycle-parking facilities, although there will be fencing to which you may secure your bike.

We are unable to take responsibility for cycles secured in this way.

Please note, bicycles are not permitted on the festival ground.

That is disappointing, especially for the many local people who attend the event with their families. Besides, so many people that cycle also drive — upwards of 85% of people (the rest are likely children!) — and my bet is that several people who own posh cars also own some pretty posh bicycles!

I hope that the BBC can see their way to installing a few bicycle racks in that secured parking area (I figure 10+ bicycles can fit in the space where 1 car does); and to create space for cycling to get to it.

Pretty please, BBC?

There are some pretty fancy looking bicycle racks available which would fit right in with the fun-filled theme of the whole event…

Car-Bike port by CycleHoop

Car-Bike port by CycleHoop

Semi-Vertical Shelter by CycleHoop

Semi-Vertical Shelter by CycleHoop


UPDATES

Carfest Tweet #norailings for bicycleUpdate no.1, 18 August 2014 13h40: In response to a tweet by Overton Police, and contrary to their FAQ, the organisers of Carfest have just tweeted that “We don’t have any where to park your bike in the field I’m afraid #norailings”

Update no.2, 18 August 2014 14h06: Carfest have backtracked on that previous tweet and have just tweeted: “I have just spoken to our Ops team and we you [sic] CAN park bikes against our fence line.”

1 comment for “Will BBC create space for cycling at CarFest? (Update: Not really)

  1. August 18, 2014 at 14:07

    Hi There, this is the team from CarFest. I have just spoken to our Ops team and we you CAN park bikes against our fence line.

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