Speaker Biographies

The 2017 Conference will once again be hosted by BBC Sports presenter Rhona McLeod.

Rhona was bought up in a super-sporty house, by her PE teacher mother and footballer / racing cyclist father. Early holidays involved being thrown on the back of a tandem and cycling through the Scottish highlands and islands, usually in the rain!

There was always badminton, tennis or a football kick-about on the go, but after numerous sessions of ‘time me around the garden’, Rhona began training as a hurdler and long-jumper. She represented Scotland for ten years as a junior and then senior athlete.

Rhona enjoyed a wealth of travel experiences around the world competing for her country. It was always her aim to combine her interest in sport with a future career in journalism.

After a freshman year on a sports scholarship studying Broadcasting at the University of Wyoming, she completed a BA degree in Media Studies at the University of Stirling.

As a sports journalist, Rhona has contributed to the specialist sports magazines Scotland’s Runner, Scottish, The Punter football magazine and Today’s Runner. She has also freelanced in sport and general features for the Daily Record, Sunday Mail and Scotland on Sunday.

In 1995, she joined BBC Scotland. Since then she has worked on a variety of programmes, mostly in sport. She is best known as a regular presenter of sport on Reporting Scotland, but has also presented on Sport Nation, BBC Sport Great Scottish Run and The Adventure Show. Away from sport Rhona has made reporting, singing and dancing appearances on Children In Need.

Humza Yousaf MSP, Member of the Scottish Parliament for Glasgow Pollok and Minister for Transport and Islands in the Scottish Government.

Born in Glasgow on 7th April, 1985. He graduated from the University of Glasgow with a degree in Politics. He is also an alumnus of the US State Department’s prestigious International Visitor Learning Programme. He went on to work in the Scottish Parliament as an aide to the late Bashir Ahmad MSP before he was elected as an MSP for the Glasgow Region in May 2011. He was a Parliamentary Liaison Officer to the former First Minister Alex Salmond and was appointed Minister for External Affairs and International Development in September 2012, before taking up his current ministerial role in May 2016.

Humza has been involved in community work, from youth organisations to charity fundraising, for most of his life, including being media spokesperson for the international non-governmental organisation Islamic Relief. He also volunteered for community radio for 12 years and on a project providing food packages to homeless people in Glasgow.

Kären Haley, Executive Director Indianapolis Cultural Trail, Inc.

Kären Haley is the founding Executive Director of Indianapolis Cultural Trail, Inc., the non-profit responsible for managing the Indianapolis Cultural Trail: A Legacy of Gene and Marilyn Glick, a world renowned 8-mile bike and pedestrian path and linear park in downtown Indianapolis. Under her leadership, Indianapolis Cultural Trail launched the Pacers Bikeshare program in April 2014 with 25 stations and 250 bikes which has grown to now 29 stations and counting. Indianapolis Cultural Trail is the world class leader in urban trails and linear parks and is committed to a sustainable funding model that ensures accessible connections for future generations.

Ms. Haley has spoken around the country about the success of both the Cultural Trail and the Pacers Bikeshare program, including the strong relationship between protected bike infrastructure and bike share use and the value of public private partnerships. She is on the board of directors of the North American Bikes Share Association (NABSA). Kären has helped other communities study and evaluate the potential of bike share programs and assisted with the feasibility and launch of the Columbus, Indiana bike share program.

She was named by the Indianapolis Business Journal to the 2015 ’40 Under 40’ list and is member of the Stanley K. Lacy Leadership Series class XV. Prior to leading ICT, Inc. Ms. Haley worked for the City of Indianapolis as the City’s first Director of the Office of Sustainability. She began her career working for URS Corporation in the transportation demand management group, focusing her efforts on the State of Georgia’s Clean Air Campaign.

Originally from Atlanta, Kären has lived in Indianapolis since 2008. She holds degrees from the Georgia Institute of Technology and Indiana University and enjoys spending time outdoors and riding bikes with her husband, Tim and their three young children.

Cllr Anna Richardson, City Convenor for Sustainability and Carbon Reduction

Anna Richardson graduated with an MA (hons) in Geography in 2001, and an MSc in Human Resources in 2005, as well as spending several years working in the public sector, in administrative roles. She has since gained an HND in Antenatal Education, and works part time for the national parenting charity, NCT.

She was elected as a councillor in Langside, Glasgow in 2015, and re-elected in 2017. She currently holds the position of City Convener for Sustainability and Carbon Reduction, and has a particular interest in active travel for all. Her vision is for a city that everyone, regardless of age or ability, is able to move around easily and safely.

Anna also has three school aged children.

Maureen Kidd, Chair, Cycling Scotland

Maureen has a professional and personal interest in cycling. As former strategic lead for physical activity in NHS Health Scotland, she was a member of the World Health Organisation expert group on promoting physical activity in disadvantaged groups. She recently completed a PhD in Urban Studies at the University of Glasgow, investigating the impact of the 2014 Commonwealth Games on young people living in the East End of Glasgow. She now works as an academic researcher. Running, cycle touring, hillwalking and allotment gardening are her favourite active pursuits. She is married to a MAMIL, who should be commended for his attempts to explain ‘cadence’ to her. Her three children are now adults, but she still fears for their safety when they cycle to work and university.

Michele Bryans, Acting Manager, Connswater Community Greenway

Michele Bryans joined EastSide Partnership in June 2015 in the role of Community Engagement and Volunteer Manager for the Connswater Community Greenway. Since August 2017 Michele is now the Acting Manager for the project. Connswater Community Greenway is a £40 million investment which has developed a 9km linear park through east Belfast bringing positive change to the physical environment.  Prior to this role, Michele was employed in a variety of youth and community roles with a focus on youth and community development, training and facilitation, volunteer management and restoratives practices.

Michele is also an independent member of the East Belfast District Policing and Community Safety Partnership and sits on the management committees for several community projects.

Michele has a BA Honours Degree from Queens University Belfast in European Studies, a Foundation Degree in Counselling Studies from Ulster University and an ILM Level 5 Diploma in Leadership and Management.

Michele is passionate about regeneration as well as supporting and developing local people and projects to sustain healthier and active communities.

Breakout Session 1: Speakers

Keith Irving, Chief Executive, Cycling Scotland

Keith Irving became Cycling Scotland Chief Executive in 2014. He is responsible for leading Cycling Scotland and delivering the charity’s mission to ensure anyone anywhere in Scotland can cycle easily and safely. He chairs the Cycling Action Plan Delivery Forum & National Cycling Interests Group and serves on the Road Safety Framework Operational Partnership Group and National Road Maintenance Stakeholder Group.


Drew Hill, Senior Environmental Engineer, Transport Scotland

Drew Hill is responsible for supporting Transport Scotland’s approach to strategic environmental issues, including Air, Noise, and flooding.

He is currently involved in negotiation and discussion with various stakeholders across the Scottish public and private sector on the National Low Emission Framework (NLEF). This links directly to the Scottish Government commitment to, with the help of local authorities, identify and put in place the first low emission zone by 2018, creating a legacy on which other areas can build.


Suzanne Forup, Head of Development Scotland Cycling UK 

Suzanne oversees Cycling UK’s portfolio of cycling development across Scotland. She co-ordinates the We Walk, We Cycle, We Vote campaign on behalf of the 50 strong partnership with Pedal on Parliament’s Sally Hinchcliffe. Outside of work Suzanne is a keen touring cyclist, local cycle campaigner and family biking enthusiast; she founded Women’s Cycle Forum Scotland with Sally Hinchcliffe in 2014 and writes a cycling blog


Miesbeth Knottenbelt, Spokes

Mies Knottenbelt has volunteered for Spokes on and off for over 20 years (and feels there is LOTS still to be done!). She is a social anthropologist/educationalist and now works for Nourish Scotland on a part-time basis. She can be seen cycling around town on a daily basis, often with large panniers of shopping.


Vicky Strange, Head of Development, Scottish Cycling

Vicky is responsible for leading and managing the Development team at Scottish Cycling including Regional Development, Events, Coaching and Education and Participation Programmes. Her job is to provide the strategic direction to the team and oversee the implementation of the Scottish Cycling Development Plan; focusing on partnership working, strong and sustainable clubs, quality education for coaches, leaders and volunteers, quality events and better quality facilities. She has had several different roles within sport over the years with a range of experience in local authority sport development, regional coaching and talent programmes, performance programmes and major games.

She’s passionate about all forms of sport and encouraging and supporting others to take part at any level. She’s a very keen cyclist, runner and all activities that involve being outside!


Breakout Session 2: Speakers

Chris Slade, Project Manager, Bikeplus

Chris played a key role in the launch of Bikeplus and the delivery of the Shared Electric Bike Programme, funded by the Department for Transport, bringing skills in research and analysis to the team. He is currently researching how shared mobility (bike-sharing, lift-sharing and car clubs) contributes to strategic policy objectives; encouraging healthy low carbon lifestyles and improved air quality.

Chris is a graduate of the Institute for Transport Studies in Leeds and the Institute de Géographie Alpine in Grenoble. He enjoys the possibilities shared mobility has opened up – from discovering quiet corners of the Alps by 2+ car sharing to riding a Santander Cycles along  the recently opened Cycle Superhighway on London’s Victoria Embankment.


Lee Muir,  PhD researcher School of Engineering and Built Environment at Glasgow Caledonian University, and a Senior Project Officer with Sustrans Scotland.

Lee’s research on cycling development focuses on communicative planning as a lever for modal shift, investigating the complex landscape of stakeholder influence on infrastructural outcomes. Additional research interests include cycling and gender within the context of behaviour change, themes which Lee has presented in “Cycle Stories” – a 15-part behaviour change micro-video series. Lee is the founder and convenor of GCU Belles on Bikes and GCU All Access Active Travel, a committee member of Women’s Cycle Forum Scotland and an active member of several bicycle campaign organisations. She still rides a single speed bike.


Jill Muirie, Public Health Programme Manager at the Glasgow Centre for Population Health (GCPH)

Jill co-leads the ‘Sustainable, inclusive places’ programme of work.  This comprises a range of projects which explore the relationship between health, health inequalities and place, and how to support and develop neighbourhoods and communities in ways that improve health and wellbeing. One important aspect of this is the influence of transport, both in terms of infrastructure and travel behaviours, on health.

Prior to taking up this post in 2015, Jill worked at NHS Health Scotland as a public health specialist in the Evaluation Team.

Sally Hinchcliffe

Sally Hinchcliffe is a serial cycle campaigner having helped to found the Cycling Embassy of Great Britain and her local cycle campaign, Cycling Dumfres. She is one of the co-organisers of Pedal on Parliament, the grass roots cycle campaign for better cycling in Scotland, and alongside Suzanne Forup of Cycling UK has co-ordinated the We Walk, We Cycle, We Vote umbrella election campaign for the Holyrood and Scottish local authority elections. She and Suzanne also founded the Women’s Cycle Forum Scotland after sitting through one all-male panel too many. In her spare time, she works as a writer and editor and tries to ride her bike.​​

Chris Oliver, Professor of Physical Activity for Health at the University of Edinburgh

He has advised the WHO and Scottish Government on ways to reduce sedentary behaviour. He is senior consultant orthopaedic trauma surgeon at the Royal Infirmary of Edinburgh where he has treated many cyclists after accidents. He was recently awarded a FRSA for his international contributions to active living and public health. He Tweets as @CyclingSurgeon and website is CyclingSurgeon.Bike

Matt MacDonald, Community Links PLUS Manager, Sustrans Scotland

Matt MacDonald leads Sustrans Scotland’s prestigious design competition, Community Links PLUS. As the competition manager he works closely with a wide range of stakeholders including, politicians, local authority partners, influencers, planners and communities to deliver exemplar infrastructure on a par with European best practice. Matt has worked in active travel for almost a decade. After starting his career in travel planning, he has since held roles at the Bike Station and Cycling Scotland before joining Sustrans four years ago. In that time he has been charged with business development in Scotland and overseen the growth of Community Links PLUS since its inception.

Matt is also a dad of one little active traveller, a former road race cyclist and was once a mountain bike guide in Bolivia.

Toni Andrews, Co-Design Officer, Young Scot

Toni Andrews has been a Co-design Officer at Young Scot since 2014 and is responsible for the successful delivery of the co-design function within Young Scot and supporting the Co-design team. Before joining Young Scot, Toni was based in the Children and Families directorate at the Scottish Government, worked in a youth centre in East Ayrshire, and attained a degree in service and product design at the Glasgow School of Art.

Breakout Session 3: Speakers

Richard Gerring, Transport Planning Manager, The Highland Council.


Andy Waddell, Head of Infrastructure and Environment, Glasgow City Council

In his current role in the largest local authority in Scotland, Andy is responsible for Roads and Transport services, Environmental Health, Trading Standards and Scientific Services, with a combined expenditure budget in excess of £79 million.

Andy is now enjoying his second spell in local government, having previously worked throughout the UK in civil engineering contracting.  Since returning to Glasgow in 2008, he has played an instrumental role in the delivery of some of the Council’s major service reform and improvement programme.

Andy is also a Vice Chair of the Society of Chief Officers of Transportation in Scotland.

Andy is a sports enthusiast, still playing football, cycling, climbing and following his beloved Kilmarnock Football Club.  Amongst his recent achievements are a 10 day Lands End to John O’Groats charity cycle and a King of the Mountains effort in the Andorran Pyrenees.

Serge Merone, Investment Manager, Perth and Kinross Council

Serge leads on inward investment and funding, estates and commercial properties and Perth Harbour. He is an experienced manager with in-depth knowledge of local government and economic development with a particular focus on rural development, community-led projects, smart cities and investment in key sectors such as low carbon and renewable energies, digital connectivity, smart mobility. He has extensive working experience on EU programmes and policies, investment and funding and is part of the team which developed the Tay Cities Deal. He is also a cyclist.


David Hopper, Sustainable Development Manager, Stirling Council

David’s management responsibilities involve:  Circular Economy, Strategic Energy, Sustainable Transport, Smart Cities and Natural Capital.

David is significantly involved in Stirling’s city region deal, influencing best practice towards investing in a low carbon future and developing Stirling towards becoming a leading city demonstrating best practice in sustainability.

This includes looking at innovative and advanced models of Transport and Energy infrastructure, learning from best practice across Europe.

He is passionate about the natural environment and is a sports enthusiast, particularly rugby, cycling and walking.