A crowdfunding appeal by the owner of the Berkshire cycling café Velolife to raise funds to pay for legal fees to fight an injunction brought by the local council is halfway towards achieving its £15,000 target less than 24 hours after it was posted on Saturday afternoon, with more than 400 people having already donated around £8,000 at the time of writing.
As we reported on road.cc yesterday, while the local council, the Royal Borough of Windsor & Maidenhead, has retracted letters threatening legal action against local cycling clubs for planning ‘cyclists’ meets’ there, an injunction remains in force against the business itself.
Cycling UK, which earlier this month met the council and British Cycling to discuss the situation which seemed to have been resolved only for the local authority to say that the injunction remains in force against Velolife, described the situation as “absurd.”
The charity said: “The council have applied to enforce an order, the terms of which it doesn’t understand and can’t clarify, which it expects Mr Goodwin to comply with”
Owner Lee Goodwin, who set up Velolife three years ago in premises formerly occupied by a pub that had gone of of business, said in his appeal posted on Gofundme:
“We opened Velolife in 2016 in an old Pub that had been closed for 18 months, bringing a new lease of life to a community facility that had been lost.
“We serve great organic coffee, using milk from a local farmer, amazing homemade cakes and awesome sourdough toasties.
“Being a bicycle cafe we also serve the local and broader cycling community which has allowed us to keep this great venue open.
We find ourselves in a very difficult situation. Although we are a Bicycle Cafe the Royal Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead Council (RBWM) has started legal proceedings against us in order to stop cyclist attending the cafe in groups or gatherings.
“Unfortunately RBWM has given no clarification as to what constitutes a group or gathering. Cycling Clubs are not allowed to use the Cafe before, during or after a ride according to the Council.
“If we are not allowed to have Cycling Clubs or gatherings of cyclists or groups of cyclists (undefined) then we will not be able to continue trading!
“We were hoping to get this resolved through conversation and common sense however this has not been possible and we are now left with no other option than to fight this in Court.
“The funds we raise will be used for legal fees and costs during this process. Any and all funds left over after the legal process will be donated to charity. 50% of any leftover funds will be donated to Cycling UK and the other 50% will be donated to Qhubeka.”
He also set out the wording of the injunction that the council is seeking against the business.
1. In relation to the Land known as The Old House, AKA The Snooty Fox, currently operating as Velolife, Warren Row, Reading, RG108QS:
(i) Shall not permit, encourage, facilitate, arrange or be party to any arrangement concerning the use of the land and building as a 'cycle meets' place, which would include the gathering of cyclists prior to departing on an organised ride; during organised rides or events or upon completion of organised rides or events.
(ii) Shall not permit, encourage, facilitate, arrange or enter into any agreement to allow the land to be used by congregating cyclists, including but not limited to cycle club members , arriving by any means, including car, van or cycle at any time of day or night.
Yesterday, when Goodwin announced via Velolife’s Twitter feed that the business was looking to crowdfund legal fees, Chris Boardman retweeted that post, saying there was “no reason” the injunction couldn’t simply be withdrawn.
Shouldn’t be necessary, just needs a couple of people to say this is daft, we got it wrong. @rbwm and @MrSimonDudley
there is no reason the prejudicial application for an injunction against cyclists meeting can’t simply be withdrawn. Instead.... https://t.co/Xz8A9aXgCI
— Chris Boardman (@Chris_Boardman) August 24, 2019
Earlier on Saturday, Boardman posted his response to a tweet he had received from the leader of RBWM council, Simon Dudley.
Excellent Simon, thank you. So...
Cycling groups (like any other group) may meet at the cafe organised or otherwise and, provided they behave responsibly, neither they or the cafe will be penalised for this?
And the council is no longer seeking any kind of injunction? https://t.co/zR7bXokekC
— Chris Boardman (@Chris_Boardman) August 24, 2019
News of the café’s plight also reached the Vuelta, with Team Ineos rider Tao Geoghegan Hart this morning raising the issue on Twitter with law firm Leigh Day, whose marketing director, ex-Great Britain road and track rider David Standard, said they were “looking into it.”
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.