Posted by chdot on August 5, 2009
UPDATE: A civil servant has suggested that the headline should say “Holyrood Relies on Spokes Statistics”. “Cycling in Scotland” is produced by the Scottish Parliament not the Scottish Government. It’s assumed that the report’s author looked for statistics from the SG first. It’s also assumed that the SG relies on the best available statistics. If there are better statistics than those compiled by Spokes, Spokes would be keen to have them.
SPICe, the Scottish Parliament Information Centre, has published a concise briefing document titled “Cycling in Scotland”. Many of the statistics quoted have come from Spokes (The Lothian Cycle Campaign).
Not only does it indicate that Spokes’ surveys of spending on cycling in Scotland are regarded as comprehensive/accurate, it also suggests that no-one in Government is keeping their own tally!
The figures have been compiled for many years by Dave du Feu who has doggedly dealt with Local Authorities – collecting survey answers and compiling the results (and interpreting where necessary). Most Scottish LAs supply information. Getting details from the Government is more difficult.
As “Cycling in Scotland” indicates
“Transport Scotland told SPOKES that it was impossible to disentangle the cycle element of trunk road expenditure, but later told Mike Pringle MSP that it amounted to £2m for financial year 2007-2008, so it is assumed that this amount is spent each year on cycle related projects”
This is a footnote from the detailed table produced by Spokes, but its inclusion in this briefing document is significant. As Spokes reports on its own web site “The Spice Research Briefings are intended as impartial documents to inform MSPs and others involved in the work of the Scottish Parliament. They are independent research publications for the entire Parliament, not decided by or controlled by the party which is in government.”
Overall “Cycling in Scotland” is useful background information for MSPs, campaigners and anyone interested in encouraging more people to cycle. Usefully it distinguishes between the two key areas of cycling as they relate to Government policies -
Cycling takes two main forms:
• a form of transport
• a sport, including track and road cycling, mountain biking, BMX, cycle speedway and cyclo-cross
“This short briefing focuses on cycling as a form of transport. It outlines the legislative and policy framework governing cycling, identifies key organisations and provides cycling related statistics. It goes on to look at sources of funding for cycling projects and the national cycle network.”
This is a useful division and highlights the convention that cycling is either ‘transport’ or ‘sport’. However it is likely that in future a third division will be necessary/desirable.
It is increasingly being recognised that exercise is necessary for good health – physical and mental. There’s a lot of discussion about diet and obesity. Chris Hoy is “Scotland’s first ambassador for mental health“. But money for ‘cycling’ largely comes from ‘transport’ or ‘sport’.
It is quite reasonable to encourage people to cycle to school, shops, work etc. and (as much as possible) record statistics for this, but it probably largely misses the people who cycle for a bit of exercise or to take their kids along a cycle path to the swing park – or just for the fun of cycling!
More importantly the emphasis on ‘transport’ and ‘sport’ perhaps makes it harder to get to people (statistically the majority) who hardly ever cycle – and get the funding to try to encourage them to cycle.
“Cycling in Scotland“ highlights the CAPS (Cycle Action Plan Scotland) process. This is a comprehensive look at ways to increase cycling in Scotland. (YOU can contribute until the 20th of August.) This paragraph outlines some of the intentions
3. For people to have the confidence and the right information to make cycling a realistic choice for some journeys: Provide access to adult and child cycle training and cycle maintenance courses with well trained instructors. Promote the bike-to-work scheme and encourage employers and education providers to become cycle friendly. Produce cycle network maps and an online cycle journey planner.
“Cycling in Scotland” also manages to highlight Spokes’ concerns about funding and future commitment to funding.
Unusually, the CAPS consultation draft was launched without a Scottish Government press release or ministerial statement. Perhaps as a consequence of this, there has been almost no media interest or public comment by stakeholders. However, from what comment there has been it seems that the policy intentions of the consultation draft of CAPS have been welcomed, although concerns have been raised about whether they are backed by sufficient funding. For example Dave du Feu, lead organiser for SPOKES, has stated that “There’s good stuff in the action plan but if they’re not going to spend anything until 2011 – and even then there’s no guarantee that they will – I can’t see it making any difference” (The Herald 2009)
Perhaps the time has come to look beyond ‘transport’ or ‘sport’ for funding. Aren’t ‘health’ and ‘wellbeing’ the main responsibilities of the NHS?
Posted in Active Travel, Airdrie to Bathgate, Art, Bicycle Film Festival, bike security theft, bike shops, Bike Week, Bikes on trains, BikeStation, bikeweek, ChangingPace, Chris Hoy, City of Edinburgh Council, citycycling, Climate Change, commuting, Core Path Network, Craigmillar Cycles, critical mass, CTC, cycle parking, cycle racing, cycle training, Cycling News, Cycling on the Radio, Cycling on TV, Cycling Scotland, cycling world, cyclingedinburgh, Demonstration Towns, Edinburgh, EducatedTravel, ERC, European Moblity Week, Food, Forth Bridge Route Campaign, Glasgow, HEALTH, holidays, Maps, Meadowbank Velodrome, paths, Peak Oil, Physical Activity and Health, ride, Safe Routes to School, Safety, Spokes, Sustrans, technology, TryCycling, walking, What the papers say | Leave a Comment »
Posted by chdot on July 28, 2009
UPDATE: Euan’s back. BBC story
Two Edinburgh cyclists are currently crossing Canada on solo adventures.
One, Mark Beaumont, is already well known for his 18,000 miles circumnavigation of the globe which ended in February last year. He is currently “Cycling the Americas” from Alaska to Ushuaia in Southern Argentina – which will take him until next February.
By contrast a five week trip from Vancouver to Halifax (due to end this week) may seem simple. However the rider, former Currie High pupil Euan Hunter, has only been 18 for a few days! Cycle Canada 2009 is certainly adventurous and has been eventful.
His mother Cathleen reports: “He’s got sore knees, an ulnar nerve palsy (temporary paralysis of the muscles of his left hand due to prolonged cycling), a few bumps and bruises, bashes on his bike and a dent in his helmet, but he’s still in one piece so far with only a few hundred miles to go.
“He has carried all his own gear and camping most nights. So far he has had a few adventures, including encounters with mosquitoes, a reindeer and a baby bear!”
Both riders are blogging and twittering. Mark is ahead in the technology stakes with solar panels and a satellite dish + video equipment good enough for making a BBC1 series!
Mark has even taken time to add a comment to Euan’s blog.
Congratulations on a great ride so far. Well done also on running such an up to date blog – I know how challenging this can be as well as riding the miles each day. I am sure you have met some great people along the way – Canada is such a welcoming country. I am currently in BC, a week from the US border and it is seriously hot in the west! Only 13,000 miles to go! Keep taking on your dreams.
All the best,
Euan has published a list of “My 50 things to do in my lifetime“. He includes the Canadian trip plus “Cycle a leg of the Tour de France”. In addition his ambitions include “Become independant of technology for at least a year” – that might be more of a challenge!
Posted in Active Travel, Cycling News, Cycling on the Radio, Cycling on TV, Cycling Scotland, cycling world, cyclingedinburgh, Edinburgh, holidays, ride | Leave a Comment »
Posted by chdot on July 9, 2009
UPDATE – TEXT OF SPEECH NOW ONLINE
The sight of a well heeled, white, Western, very conservatively dressed man hardly conveys the impression of eco/class warrior or radical anti-capitalist.
Prince Charles’ appearance on last night’s Dimbleby Lecture will have reassured some and turned off others.
But it’s the words that count. They were delivered with the assurance of a well practiced public speaker who actually knows his script and believes what he is saying.
He has advisers (including Jonathon Porritt) and no doubt the 50 minute lecture was not written solely by Charles. However many hands were involved behind the scenes the result was a well crafted, and wide ranging summary of the issues facing the natural world and the role of the human population involved in it.
The delivery was confident, the passion mostly hidden, though he clearly cares about the loss of the rain forests – pointing out that the Greenhouse Gas consequences are greater than those caused by all the world’s transport.
There were wry references to a genetic interest in architecture (and the trouble it has caused him). The tone and content was about questioning the apparent assumption of “business as usual”. He pointed out that “there can’t be capitalism without capital” and added that ultimately all capital comes from the earth whether as raw materials or food (etc.) derived from sunlight/plants.
He reminded his audience (mostly white, well dressed and not particularly young) that he had previously warned that ‘we’ had 100 months to make changes or there was a serious chance of irreversible (and undesirable) Climate Change. He told the audience that it was now 96 months.
But it wasn’t just a call for a return to a simpler life where pubs and post offices were still open. He talked about how such “community capital”items and the value of people interacting was not just difficult to measure, but also largely unmeasured, in a world primarily concerned with GDP. He called for ‘balance’ and argued for a marriage of older ‘values’ and new technologies which he sees as the best way forward.
Prince Charles has been seen on a bike in the past, but the photographic evidence has previously been used to mock his ‘greeny’ interests.
Catch the lecture for 7 days on iPlayer
Posted in Active Travel, ChangingPace, Climate Change, Cycling News, Cycling on TV, cyclingedinburgh, Demonstration Towns, EducatedTravel, Peak Oil, technology, walking, What the papers say | Leave a Comment »
Posted by chdot on April 23, 2009
Edinburgh’s star street rider Danny MacAskill is not only highly skilled he is now ‘world famous’.
Overnight the great video shot by Dave Sowerby received its millionth hit (9 a.m. tally - 1,138,271 views).
That other Scottish sensation Susan Boyle is getting more viewers – but she has had the benefit of appearing on a mainstream UK tv show and the front pages of the tabloids for the past week!
Has Max Clifford signed up Danny and Dave yet?
Will cycling skills become part of the anti-obesity/fitness ‘agenda’?
Posted in Art, Bicycle Film Festival, citycycling, cycle training, Cycling News, Cycling on TV, cycling world, cyclingedinburgh, Edinburgh, Physical Activity and Health, Safety, TryCycling | Leave a Comment »
Posted by chdot on December 14, 2008
Another prize for the rider who started track racing in Edinburgh.
Will it persuade those responsible for the Meadowbank Velodrome that a replacement should be a priority?
There will now be even more Edinburgh youngsters who want to have a go and maybe join Edinburgh Racers – but they’ll have to wait ’til April as the club doesn’t operate over the winter because the Velodrome has no lights or roof.
Unlike the Manchester one where Chris Hoy is now based.
Anyone who thinks that Meadowbank is just about producing ‘elite’ athletes should watch the video produced earlier this year.
Posted in Active Travel, Chris Hoy, City of Edinburgh Council, citycycling, Climate Change, cycle racing, cycle training, Cycling News, Cycling on TV, Cycling Scotland, cycling world, cyclingedinburgh, Edinburgh, HEALTH, Meadowbank Velodrome, Peak Oil, Physical Activity and Health, ride, Safe Routes to School | Leave a Comment »
Posted by chdot on September 10, 2008
Once again Edinburgh is to have a Commuter Challenge as part of European Mobility Week. For the past few years the destination has been Princes Street.
For 2008 (Friday 19th September) it will be the newly opened, almost tranquil, St. Andrew Square gardens – complete with cafe.
Participants will set off from each of four departure points around Edinburgh (the Park and Ride site at Ingliston, Newcraighall Station, Ocean Terminal and Edinburgh Royal Infirmary) and travel by car, bus, train, motorcycle or bicycle.
Organiser Maggie Wynn of ChangingPace is looking for volunteers travelling either by their normal means of transport, or trying a different one for the day. “The challenge compares some typical commuter journeys into the centre of Edinburgh for speed, cost and impact on climate change. We hope that the results will help people make their own minds up about how they want to travel to work.”
Departures will be timed so that the participants from each starting point will arrive at St Andrew’s Square around 8.15am.
It’s not a race - all participants will have to follow the highway code and other regulations, so car drivers will have to observe the speed limit and park legally, public transport users will have to buy a ticket, and cyclists will only be allowed to use roads and recognised cycle routes). Awards will be given for the earliest arrivals from each of the four departure points. Coffee and buns for registered participants!
If you want to join in the fun, e-mail Maggie Wynn (or ‘phone 07914 727 018)
Posted in Active Travel, Bikes on trains, ChangingPace, City of Edinburgh Council, citycycling, Climate Change, commuting, Core Path Network, cycle parking, Cycling News, Cycling on the Radio, Cycling on TV, cycling world, cyclingedinburgh, Edinburgh, EducatedTravel, European Moblity Week, Lothian Buses, paths, Peak Oil, ride, Spokes, Spokes maps, Sustrans, walking, What the papers say | 2 Comments »
Posted by chdot on August 19, 2008
After Chris Hoy’s third Olympic gold medal today, Glasgow City Council has announced that it intends to name its new velodrome after him.
Chris Hoy is an Edinburgh native who learnt his initial track riding skills on the Meadowbank Velodrome. This was built for the 1970 Commonwealth Games and used again in the 1986 Commonwealth Games.
The magnificent Glasgow facility (complete with roof) is being built for use in the 2014 Games. By then it seems certain that Edinburgh’s (roofless) velodrome will have been demolished. It is less certain what ‘cycling facilities’ will replace it.
In spite of his many successes Chris is a fairly modest person and may well be embarrassed at Glasgow’s proposed honour – and too polite to turn it down.
His father, David, will probably mention this latest development next time he meets City of Edinburgh Council officials as part of his long running campaign for a replacement for Meadowbank!
Chris said on Radio Scotland that Scotland needed more velodromes as they are good for kids – fun and safe.
Whether Chris relocates from Manchester (where he lives so that he can use the velodrome there – which isn’t just for elite athletes – “we provide 1 hour track sessions for beginners with all equipment included at reduced rates for School, college and university student groups”) to Glasgow remains to be seen…
8 minute video about Meadowbank velodrome including appeal from Chris Hoy.
UPDATE: Chris due to speak on Radio Scotland Newsdrive at 5.30 (or listen again) calling for MORE cycle sport facilities in Scotland.
Posted in cycle training, Cycling on TV, cycling world, cyclingedinburgh, Edinburgh, technology | 4 Comments »
Posted by chdot on August 18, 2008
In the week when Britain’s cyclists (including Edinburgh’s Chris Hoy) are doing rather well at the Olympics, there’s a completely different type of cycling on BBC1.
First shown in Scotland several months ago, the story of Mark Beaumont’s amazing record breaking round the world trip is on four nights this week throughout the UK.
Today 11.15, Tuesday 10.35, Wednesday 10.45, Thursday 10.35
Posted in Active Travel, Bicycle Film Festival, Climate Change, Cycling News, Cycling on TV, cycling world, cyclingedinburgh, Edinburgh, ride | 1 Comment »
Posted by chdot on May 27, 2008
Today and tomorrow, newspapers, radio and TV will be full of headlines and stories about ‘hardships’ caused by the cost of fuel, the effect on ‘poor’ people of the proposed Vehicle Excise Duty increase, etc.
It seems likely that Labour politicians worried about losing their seats and Conservative politicians keen to achieve power will all be maneuvering to propose ‘popular’ ‘solutions’.
The simple fact is that fuel prices are likely to rise significantly in the coming years, due to increasing world demand. Also, whether or not ‘Peak oil’ has been reached, it will become more difficult (and therefore more expensive) to find and extract future oil – especially the grades that produce transport fuels.
A 1998 Government report Car Dependence in Rural Scotland, (published on Christmas Eve – so perhaps hardly noticed), contained the heading Transport policy : reactions and evaluations. It noted: “Given the central place which cars occupy in the collective consciousness, any policy designed to make driving less convenient or more expensive will be strongly resisted, regardless of whether households would be significantly affected or not.”
Not much has changed in ten years. It’s not clear whether politicians are reluctant to ‘offend’ floating voters or just have equal desires to own and use cars without sufficient thought for the implications or consequences.
In spite of the notion that ‘everyone’ is a ‘motorist’, a significant proportion of Scottish households don’t have ‘access to a car’ – over 30% (report based on 2001 census) – and much higher in some parts of urban areas. Under 17s aren’t allowed to drive and many elderly or infirm people don’t, so car ownership and use is far from universal. There is also a noticeable gender gap. Just look at the people waiting for buses. As well as young and old, there are generally far more women than men. Anyone who advocates a ‘fairer society’ – all political parties these days – should perhaps wonder whether it’s fair to listen to the travellers who make the most noise, or the ones with fewer (or different) choices.
The photos at the top were taken in Muenster (there are similar images from elsewhere). They clearly show the benefits for cyclists and pedestrians of the ‘modal shift’ that governments claim to want. More space to move, cleaner air to breathe, quicker, more reliable, bus services etc.
Report by Professor Gilbert N. Hanson states -
* Bicycle: 72 people are transported on 72 bikes, which requires 90 square meters.
* Car: Based on an average occupancy of 1.2 people per car, 60 cars are needed to transport 72 people, which takes 1,000 square meters.
* Bus: 72 people can be transported on 1 bus, which only requires 30 square meters of space and no permanent parking space, since it can be parked elsewhere.
Posted in Active Travel, City of Edinburgh Council, citycycling, Climate Change, commuting, CTC, cycle parking, Cycling News, Cycling on the Radio, Cycling on TV, cycling world, cyclingedinburgh, Demonstration Towns, Edinburgh, EducatedTravel, European Moblity Week, HEALTH, Lothian Buses, Peak Oil, Safe Routes to School, Safety, TryCycling, walking, What the papers say | 1 Comment »
Posted by chdot on March 27, 2008
This week it’s racing from Manchester. In a couple of weeks there’s an unprecedented(?) four part documentary on the outstanding/record breaking (194 days 17 hours) “World Cycle Challenge” recently completed by Mark Beaumont.
It’s made by BBC Scotland so may only be shown (initially?) in Scotland – and then presumably on BBC iPlayer.
Its called ‘THE MAN WHO CYCLED THE WORLD’ and is on BBC2 on Mondays and Tuesdays – 7th/8th and 14th/15th of April at 7pm.
It promises to be more impressive/interesting than the programmes about another Scot who jumped on his bike (motor) with a mate and film/support crew and travelled through Africa – and then came back to advertise aftershave!
Watch the shows and see Mark’s beard grow….
The programme could also have been called ’round the world on 14 gears’. His bike was fitted with the superbly engineered Rohloff hub. It’s reckoned that after the 18,000 trip it will now be ‘run-in’ and ready for use….
Mark is now ‘somewhere in Edinburgh’ writing a book of the trip. He says that later this year he will be “planning the next major expedition”!
Posted in Active Travel, Bicycle Film Festival, Climate Change, commuting, Cycling News, Cycling on TV, cycling world, cyclingedinburgh, HEALTH, Maps, Peak Oil, technology | Leave a Comment »