/Roger Christiansen

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So far Roger Christiansen has created 24 blog entries.

August 2017

Why the Great British Bike Off ?

Some time in 2014, in the wake of the Bullfinch case and a dark chapter in Oxford’s history, I was speaking with a senior Police Officer about community cohesion in our city (Oxford). I was imagining ways in which different communities could come together in a fun, cross cultural, intergenerational way, and it came to me – bikes!

Inspiration from the Art Car Parade in USA

Around this time I was introduced to an event that takes place every April in Houston, Texas called the Houston Art Car Weekend. The Art Car Parade was born in April, 1988 with a 40 car parade seen by an estimated 2,000. It began very modestly, with a donated 1967 Ford station wagon, some paint and plastic fruit. Today, 26 years later, the event attracts 250+ vehicles (and other entries) from all over the world and grosses the city of Houston in excess of $8 Million. I thought, ‘why can’t we do the same with bikes – and what better venue than Oxford?’

The Houston Art Car Parade now attracts 250+ vehicles

I thought, ‘why can’t we do the same with bikes – and what better venue than Oxford?’


Now, I’m not a cycling enthusiast, nor – prior to the Great British Bike Off – do I have direct experience in organising bike festivals. But I do love bikes – and furthermore I believe in creativity and community. What I do have is a fantastic, dedicated team around me. We are motivated by doing and making cool stuff and moreover, I like inspiring others – especially young people to do the same.

In 2015, The Great British Bike Off was born. We had help in the early days from the Fundraising Committee at Oxfordshire Youth – who due to unforeseen circumstances had to withdraw their support. In January this year we moved our base of operations to the Ark-T Centre in Cowley. We are now launched and the event is scheduled to descend on Oxford’s iconic Broad Street at midday on the 21st October 2017.

Oxford’s new cycling festival – celebrating recycling, creativity and community

We’ve designed the Bike Off to be unlike any other cycling festival before it. We want to create fun, engaging event for families and people from all backgrounds – and to be a real spectacle of the weird and wonderful! We hope that, with this festival, we can establish a new event to help promote Oxford as a leader in cycling, recycling and creativity. The Bike Off will culminate in a City Centre Show with music and a carnival atmosphere, it’s completely free to enter a bike and you don’t even need a bike to attend.

The team behind the Bike Off

The Bike Off is being supported by Oxford City Council – specifically Alison Drummond and Euton Daley, without whom we couldn’t have got this far. We have a core of 4-5 volunteers and a team of artists and young people at the Ark-T Centre, under the leadership of Emmy O’Shaughnessy. Ark-T’s Creativity Camps summer project has already created around 8 customised bikes. We have some incredible supporters and sponsors that although I won’t mention here, deserve a massive thank you.

Ryan Howe
Chair of the Great British Bike Off

Get involved

Help us make this event such a success that it becomes an annual fixture for Oxford..  We’d love you to enter your own bike, or just turn up on the day to cheer us on.

We’re looking for volunteers to help with the organisation and also to help out on the day.  And we can never have enough Sponsors !

Get ready for something really different! We hope to see you there.


PS To stay in touch with the latest developments around the Bike Off, please connect with us on social media and don’t forget to mention #BikeOff …

Ark-T Centre and the Bike Off

We are really excited to be part of The Great British Bike Off. This will be a new exceptional public art festival which we hope will engage people from all over Oxfordshire through their love of cycling and bicycles.

The Ark-T Centre in Cowley is a small but vital force in Cowley. We’re a charity that passionately supports those who face discrimination, who feel unheard and invisible.   We’re all about using creativity as a vehicle for personal development and social change; creating exceptional public art and festivals which call out privilege, celebrate difference and increase community power.

At the Centre we run a wide range of workshops and projects including Creativity camps, and special festivals celebrating Disability and Diversity, and we are supported by some fantastic resident local artists.


Combining physical activity such as cycling with creativity is a wonderful example for how creativity can be used to promote positive life choices.


For us the Bike Off is a new and exciting opportunity to reach a wider audience and also – in the true spirit of Ark-T –  create an innovative, imaginative, positive memory-making, fun family event which champions creativity for everybody and every age.  Creativity can improve Health and well-being. Combining physical activity such as cycling with creativity is a wonderful example for how creativity can be used to promote positive life choices.

Emmy O’Shaughnessy, Director Ark-T Centre

We do hope you take part in the Bike Off or just come along to enjoy the spectacle –   hope to see you on the 21st October !

More about Ark-T Centre

First bike customisation workshops underway

The first bikes for the Great British Bike Off are being customised right now by local children as part of Ark-T’s Creativity Workshops.

What, where, when – see our new FAQ section

Our new Frequently Asked Questions section provides the latest information on what, where and when.


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