Archive for September, 2006

Small but Perfectly Formed Mass

Posted by chdot on September 29, 2006

Almost a hundred cyclists assembled at the foot of The Mound to take part in a world- wide, last Friday of the month, celebration of cycling.

The participants were harangued before the off by a militant pedestrian proclaiming that he was one of the true ‘critical mass’ and complaining about cyclists who cycled on pavements.

The collection of bikes and riders set off and avoided bus infested Princes Street and processed via Hanover Street, George Street, a tour of Charlotte Square and joined the traffic jam that is South Charlotte Street.

A group of happy, good natured, people taking up about as much road space as a couple of buses and still a few motorists somehow felt that their right to inch forward was being infringed!

Unlike some previous Edinburgh Critical Masses, today’s event kept together – increasing its visibility and safety. Extra security was provided by professional cyclists (some of the city’s band of cycle couriers) who covered junctions making sure that impatient drivers didn’t push into the group – as has happened in the past.

This time, unfortunately, a motorcyclist decided that he wasn’t prepared to put up with a short delay caused by fellow two-wheelers proclaiming the right to ride the road safely. He forced his way through and damaged one of the bikes ‘in his way’.

Chants of “we are the traffic’ were met by heavy showers! But a good enough time was had to make sure that this will now become a regular monthly event. Put it in your diary.

Posted in citycycling, commuting, critical mass, Cycling News, cycling world, cyclingedinburgh, Edinburgh, ride | 1 Comment »

Critical Mass Returns to Edinburgh

Posted by chdot on September 28, 2006

“CM is an idea and an event, not an organization.” So says

It’s an event, a political act, fun, a celebration of cycling, something to do on a Friday Evening – and probably as many other ideas as there are participants. ‘Officially’ it started in San Francisco in 1992 “and quickly spread to cities all over the world”.

However Spokes organised similar events nearly 30 years ago. Rides along Princes Street, usually on a summer Sunday with hundreds of cyclists ringing their bells (if they had them).

Since then there have been several sets of Critical Masses, meeting monthly on a Friday evening and petering out when the clocks go back.

As no-one ever organises them, of course, there is no certainty that there will be anyone starting from the foot of The Mound on Friday (29th) at 5.30! However if you go along you’ll be sure to find a colourful array of Edinburgh University students and others. Join in and you might find you like the idea of being surrounded by cyclists not cars!

There are unlikely to be as many riders as Mass in New York. Two years ago just before the Republican National Convention, police arrested 264 people for allegedly “parading without a permit”. This was declared unconstitutional earlier this year. (A great movie of the events, Still We Ride, was shown at the Bicycle Film Festival in Edinburgh this year). No such trouble will occur in Edinburgh!

Posted in Bicycle Film Festival, citycycling, commuting, critical mass, Cycling News, cyclingedinburgh, Edinburgh | 1 Comment »

Holy Rood Wants to Increase Cycling to School

Posted by chdot on September 25, 2006

That’s Holy Rood High School at Duddingston. No doubt the Scottish Parliament at Holyrood would like to see more children cycling to school for health and environmental reasons. Perhaps the school will be able to show them how.

Last week it attracted Cardinal Keith Patrick and the Lord Provost Lesley Hinds to celebrate their Feast Day and see the work pupils had produced for the school’s Africa Week reflecting on their links with Tanzania. Perhaps it could have a Cycling Week in future!

Visitors to the school might imagine that no-one cycled as there is nowhere to park (bikes). There used to be a bike shed but it was removed a few years ago following alterations to the accommodation and car park! Business Manager, Derek Ferguson, says that when he arrived at the school five years ago only a handful of pupils and staff cycled to school now it’s around forty pupils and a handful of staff.

The school hasn’t actively encouraged this. HOWEVER it has done more than many schools by maximising use of storage cupboards thus allowing bikes to be stored securely during the day. This only works because of the active support of the staff at the school.

Holy Rood now wants to improve the situation by providing a proper bike cage and has called in TryCycling in Edinburgh for help and advice. It is encouraging a variety of cycle projects in the Craigmillar area, some of which can be found on the Craigmillar Cycles web site.

A few years ago pupils at nearby Portobello High School ran an award winning campaign to get their open bike shed converted into a cage. A group at The Royal High School had their own scheme for encouraging cycling. They produced a report documenting what they had done and hoped to do.

Posted in bike security theft, City of Edinburgh Council, citycycling, commuting, Craigmillar Cycles, cycle parking, Cycling News, cyclingedinburgh, Edinburgh, TryCycling | Leave a Comment »

Jon Snow New CTC President

Posted by chdot on September 25, 2006 Photo from Jon Snow Cycles Italy (2003) – Channel 4 directed by Judith Burrows of flarefilms. Copyright Judith Burrows.

Channel 4 News presenter Jon Snow takes over from sports journalist and commentator (best known for Tour de France TV coverage) Phil Liggett as President of the CTC in January 2007.

The CTC, self-styled as “the UK’s national cyclists’ organisation”, used to be known as The Cyclists’ Touring Club. It has been “protecting and promoting the rights of cyclists since 1878”.

Jon Snow said “I am hugely enthusiastic about cycling, there is hardly a day when I don’t ride. In particular I want to play a part in making cycling safer, more accessible and getting more young people riding so I am honoured to accept the position of President of CTC where I can help make that a reality.”

Jon Snow has been a Patron of Sustrans and also a judge of Transport for London’s Cyclesafer Challenge for the past three years.

The Sustrans connection is particularly interesting as the CTC and Sustrans have had ‘differences of opinion’ on occasions. Disagreements have been about things such as whether promoting ‘cycle paths’ encourages cycling or takes away from the need to make cycling on the road safer.

Jon Snow is well known for cycling around London during his working day. He is clearly a good communicator and will make sure that more is done to make things better for cyclists – whether they choose to join the CTC or not.

Posted in citycycling, commuting, Cycling News, cycling world, TryCycling | Leave a Comment »

Bikes Win Commuter Challenge

Posted by chdot on September 22, 2006

For the second year, bikes came first from all starting points. The only motorbike in the Challenge beat the bicycle from Ocean Terminal.

The train passenger from Newcraighall should have come first on that journey – but the train didn’t turn up and he had to wait half an hour for the next one!

The event was covered on Radio Scotland (listen again) and Talk 107. It was on BBC1 Scotland at lunchtime. Scotsman story.

Posted in City of Edinburgh Council, citycycling, commuting, Cycling News, Cycling on the Radio, cycling world, cyclingedinburgh, Edinburgh, TryCycling | Leave a Comment »

Publicity Stunt or Significant Development?

Posted by chdot on September 22, 2006

Last night famous/notorious businessman/self publicist announced that profits from his transport businesses (air and rail) will be used to research alternatives to oil.

This is a recognition that unlimited supply of fossil fuel for unlimited air travel is likely to come to an end some time in the not too distant future. Whether enough land can be planted for bio-fuel crops remains to be seen. Whether this land would be better to remain uncultivated or be used for food crops will be another issue. BBC story.

However the fact that someone who has spent years cultivating a cuddly imagine and has fronted a variety of successful ‘brand’ businesses (and some failures) is prepared to go on high-profile record warning about Global Warming should be a step forward.

Today is In Town Without My Car Day – where individuals are asked to consider their travel choices. A world with less air travel (or travel with less fossil fuel) would be good. One where more people cycle more (as is happening in Edinburgh) is also to be welcomed.

Posted in City of Edinburgh Council, citycycling, commuting, Cycling News, cycling world, cyclingedinburgh, Edinburgh, TryCycling | Leave a Comment »

Skatepark Opens on Sunday

Posted by chdot on September 21, 2006

The new facility in The Burdiehouse Burn Valley Park will be officially opened at 1.00 by local Councillor Donald Anderson. There will be a BMX and trials bike demo by Chas Nairn and friends.

In the morning The Bike Station will provide a ‘Dr. Bike’ service and also have children’s bikes for sale. It will also run a “a cycle obstacle course”. Anyone wanting to help the Bike Station with this should contact Ruairidh McGlone (email) or by telephone on 0131 668 1996.

More info

Posted in BikeStation, City of Edinburgh Council, citycycling, Cycling News, cyclingedinburgh | Leave a Comment »

California sues car makers over global warming!

Posted by chdot on September 20, 2006

“Vehicle emissions are the single most rapidly growing source of the carbon emissions contributing to global warming, yet the federal government and automakers have refused to act. It is time to hold these companies responsible for their contribution to this crisis,” California Attorney General Bill Lockyer

The complaint, filed in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California, alleges automakers have created a public nuisance by turning out “millions of vehicles that collectively emit massive quantities of carbon dioxide.” story

Posted in commuting, Cycling News, cycling world | Leave a Comment »

Flying Scotsman Returns ( Exclusive!)

Posted by chdot on September 19, 2006

If you missed The Graeme Obree biopic at the recent Edinburgh International Film Festival you can see it November.

The film is coming to the FilmHouse as part of REEL 2006, the newly devised Festival of Scottish and Irish Films. This has been put together by James Mackenzie, who helped TryCycling in Edinburgh with the first Bicycle Film Festival in Edinburgh in June.

James says “The Irish films were selected in collaboration with REEL Ireland and represent the best of recent Irish productions (and co-productions), alongwith an in-depth look at Scottish cinema, from teenage filmmakers to student productions, independently produced short films, low budget features and high profile feel-good movies.”

As a film festival bonus, director Douglas MacKinnon will be available for a question and answer session after the screening .

The FilmHouse is doing its usual deal of “see any three films in the REEL 2006 season (including Flying Scotsman) for £12/£7.50 concessions, or any six for £18/£12 concessions.

Flying Scotsman will be shown on the 9th of November at 8.30. Tickets (one film only) £5.90/£4.30.

TICKETS ARE ON SALE NOW at FilmHouse, in person or by ‘phone (0131 228 2688) – Box Office open 12 noon to 9.00pm daily.

Posted in Bicycle Film Festival, citycycling, Cycling News, cyclingedinburgh, Edinburgh, TryCycling | 1 Comment »

Tall Bikes on Blue Peter Tomorrow

Posted by chdot on September 18, 2006

Tall Bike Riders (brothers Ed and Will Stevens) can be seen on Blue Peter this Tuesday (19th Sept) – BBC1 5pm. They will be talking about their “Tall Bike Tour Britain” which followed the coast (as closely as possible) earlier this year.

The pair had an eventful time – not least in Edinburgh where there bikes were run into by a stolen car! Evening News story

A film crew documented key parts of the trip (seen here at Fringe Sunday in the Meadows) and the final edit is expected to be shown at next year’s Bicycle Film Festival in Edinburgh.

Posted in Bicycle Film Festival, BikeStation, citycycling, Cycling News, cycling world, cyclingedinburgh, Edinburgh, ride, Tall Bike | Leave a Comment »