Archive for April, 2007

TRANSform Scotland’s Video Truth

Posted by chdot on April 30, 2007

ts vid.jpg
‘Sustainable transport’ campaign TRANSform Scotland claims to have distilled the essence of the current electioneering into two and a half minutes.

As TRANSform Scotland says – “Any sustainable system of transport which reduces climate change emissions, reduces air pollution, reduces congestion whilst improving quality of life, is achievable only by changing travel behaviour and ceasing subsidies to road use and air travel.”

It puts forward a simple four point guide for politicians –

1. Stop building new motorways
2. No more subsidies to airlines – new briefing “Air travel”
3. Make transport pay its way
4. Prepare for a post-oil Scotland – new briefing “Peak Oil and transport”

More info (+ video).

Posted in Bikes on trains, City of Edinburgh Council, citycycling, commuting, critical mass, cycle parking, Cycling News, cycling world, cyclingedinburgh, Edinburgh, walking | Leave a Comment »

Help Wanted in Holyrood

Posted by chdot on April 28, 2007

You may (or not) be planning to visit Holyrood Park tomorrow (SUNDAY) for the Scottish Outdoor Access Festival, either way you might like to help Scottish Cycling marshal a Youth race. It would just involve standing on Queens Drive for the 25 minutes the race is on – stopping people from randomly walking into the road (and the path of the cycle race). It will be cordoning off with tape and barriers but people will still try to wander across!

There is an ‘officials’ meeting at 10am in the marquee next to the Gantry.

TryCycling in Edinburgh, Sustrans, and The Bike Station will also have a presence.

Posted in citycycling, cycle racing, Cycling News, cycling world, cyclingedinburgh, Edinburgh, TryCycling | Leave a Comment »

RBS Promotes Cycling to Gogarburn

Posted by chdot on April 24, 2007

The Royal Bank’s (fairly) new World HQ already has a reasonable number of people cycling to work. But the company is keen to see more and has asked TryCycling in Edinburgh to set up a “Cycling Information Stand” today (for staff only). “An opportunity to find out more about cycling in and around Edinburgh and commuting by bike to RBS.”

This is one of a number of similar events being organised in advance of Bike Week to encourage more cycling. PricewaterhouseCoopers and Queen Margaret UC are two examples. YOUR company/organisation could have one too!

Posted in Bike Week, citycycling, commuting, Cycling News, cycling world, cyclingedinburgh, Edinburgh, HEALTH, Maps, TryCycling | 2 Comments »

Election Special

Posted by chdot on April 23, 2007

spokes manifesto.gif
Once again Spokes has come up with all the information you need to know if your voting choices are going to be made or swayed by cycling issues.

The latest Spokesworker (download PDF) has a pretty comprehensive guide to the policies of various parties. Both Labour and the Lib Dems promise to “enable” or “offer” cycle training to all P6/7 children. This is important as from the 1st of August Lothian and Borders Police will be almost entirely backing away from CT leaving it in the hands of local councils.

Whichever party has the greatest number of seats on May 4th on City of Edinburgh Council, it will not have an overall majority due to the new proportional representation voting system (STV). As Spokes says –

“Continued lobbying will be vital after the elections, immediately and in the future. Keep a note of what the victorious parties and candidates promised, and use this to remind and pester them! Immediately after the elections, Holyrood and most councils are likely to fix up coalitions and devise cross-party programmes, so a short immediate email/letter to leading councillors/MSPs on your priorities could be really useful at that stage.”

Posted in City of Edinburgh Council, citycycling, commuting, critical mass, cycle parking, cycle training, Cycling News, cycling world, cyclingedinburgh, Edinburgh | Leave a Comment »

Rail Realities

Posted by chdot on April 18, 2007

Transform Scotland Rail Report
Just ahead of an election when politicians are promising the earth (or just ways of saving it…) it’s good to see people concerned with rational reality.

Although the new report (PDF) from TRANSform Scotland doesn’t mention bikes or cycling it’s an important document for anyone interested in ‘sustainable’ transport.

Once again politicians and interest groups are talking up the idea of a brand new high speed link between Edinburgh and Glasgow. Nothing will ever be as fast as broadband. Face to face meetings can (often) be just as effective by video link. Free WiFi on ScotRail (not just in First Class) would be a cheaper way to ‘increase productivity’ for those who ‘have to’ commute.

TRANSform says “The fantasy of a ‘bullet train’ taking twelve minutes should remain just that – the new infrastructure for ‘Maglev’ type hovertrains would be enormously expensive and very destructive of the urban fabric unless long sections were put in tunnel. Ultra-highspeed trains are highly energy-intensive, and need vast amounts of new traffic to justify their existence thereby creating the danger of increasing rather than reducing overall CO2 levels from transport. A multi-billion pound, entirely new route is simply not required to get substantial reductions in journey time from the current 48 minutes down towards 30 minutes.”

As well as proposing cost-effective moves such as re-opening Edinburgh’s South Suburban Line to passengers, (an ever running saga), TRANSform makes sensible suggestions about tourism.

“Scotland’s rural routes need a distinctive approach. Many of them depend on tourism and leisure travel, yet the trains provided are standard designs used for suburban services in the Central Belt. Unlike the situation in Switzerland, our scenic routes have no special panoramic railcars aimed at the tourist, and too many of the Highland lines are saddled with worka-day Class 158 units with poor window views, badly designed toilets and a cramped atmosphere.”

The potential for ‘low impact’ tourism in Scotland is MASSIVE. There are good Sustrans routes in many places. Local Authorities are developing Core Path Networks. The Forestry Commission is building mountain bike trails. Though in spite of the fact that taking bikes on trains is free (booking sometimes required) most are transported by car. Somehow the idea of “Green Tourism” hasn’t got much further than low energy light bulbs and whether people are willing to use the same hotel towel two days running….

Posted in Airdrie to Bathgate, Bikes on trains, BikeStation, City of Edinburgh Council, citycycling, commuting, cycle parking, Cycling News, cycling world, cyclingedinburgh, Edinburgh, Glasgow, holidays, paths, ride, Shawfair, sswc07, Sustrans, walking | 2 Comments »

Monster Bikes Hit The Streets

Posted by chdot on April 17, 2007

monster bikes
After four days of frenzied creative activity there are another eight ‘monster bikes’ on the streets. Artist Tim Davies (centre of photo) inspired people to cut, weld and create something approximating to their cycling visions.

The most impressive was probably the one based on an old tandem which was produced by a children’s entertainer. Unfortunately this one is unlikely to be seen on the streets of Edinburgh as it has already headed south to start a new life.

YouTube video of building process

The others may make an appearance at Critical Masses and the Evening News Cavalcade.

The monster workshop was held in a great upstairs space at The Forest Cafe in Bristo Place. The raw materials were supplied by The Bike Station from their collection of bikes that are not worth fixing for re-use. (Most bikes are sold or distributed to community projects.)

YouTube video of building the bikes

Posted in Bicycle Film Festival, BikeStation, bikeweek, citycycling, critical mass, Cycling News, cyclingedinburgh, Edinburgh, recycling, Tall Bike | Leave a Comment »

CTC Aims For More Women Cyclists

Posted by chdot on April 17, 2007

ctc web site
The world’s oldest organisation for cyclists the CTC (formerly the Cyclists Touring Club) is working hard to encourage more women to cycle. Five miles to Fabulous is the (slightly curious) name for a web site and a series of rides in June. (None in Scotland so far, perhaps you could organise one.)

The significant idea behind this initiative is the fact that the rides are FIVE miles long. This parallels the work of TryCycling in Edinburgh which organises monthly rides (open to all) mostly between 5 and 10 miles long. Organiser Maggie Wynn says “short rides with other people is a fabulous way to give people the confidence to ride on their own. Some people come regularly because the rides are very social and great fun. Others come a few times. I’ve lost count of the number of people who’ve told me that they now cycle to work because of TCIE rides.”

The CTC has also produced a great eight page guide Women on Wheels which has the strapline – “Note: The information in this guide shows what you can do, not what you must do. All you really need is a bike”.

Posted in citycycling, commuting, cycle training, Cycling News, cycling world, cyclingedinburgh, Edinburgh, HEALTH, ride, TryCycling | Leave a Comment »

Cycling, Edinburgh, 2007

Posted by chdot on April 7, 2007

Cycling in Edinburgh 2007 flyer
Design: Vantage / Laid Back Ligfiets. Photo: Mike Lewis,

On a day like today (warm and sunny if you’re not actually here) it’s not surprising that people are out cycling.

But Edinburgh isn’t just about fair weather cyclists. It’s possible to see people on bikes EVERY day of the year, even the middle of the night.

Why? OK it’s a reasonably affluent city (though in poorer parts, children still have bikes), with lots of students. The Council isn’t bad – though could/should be better. The weather’s OK (honest) – dryer than the west coast, doesn’t get too hot/cold (too often), and it’s fairly flat. There ARE hills, but there are quite large parts where the local area is pretty flat – especially if you can travel east/west rather than north/south. The canal is flat.

Might have a lot to do with the fact that Edinburgh (and the Lothians) has had Spokes for 30 years, and more recently the spin-off TryCycling in Edinburgh – organising rides for the “nervous and novice” and a wide range of promotional activities.

The latest is a flyer (PDF + mini-web site) highlighting a few of the cycling events this year and some year round info. It will be handed out at TCIE events over the summer.

Posted in Bicycle Film Festival, Bike Week, BikeStation, City of Edinburgh Council, Craigmillar Cycles, critical mass, Cycling News, cycling world, cyclingedinburgh, Edinburgh, HEALTH, Maps, paths, ride, TryCycling, What the papers say | Leave a Comment »

Cycling is Xtreme Fun

Posted by chdot on April 7, 2007

If you’re down in Leith over the next few days you might want to take a trip to Ocean Terminal. There will be BMX demos (with tricks) – Sat + Sun, 11.00 + 14.40, Mon 12.00 + 14.00 + 16.00. Also Xtreme Unicycling – Sat + Sun, 11.40 + 15.20, Mon 12.40 + 14.40 + 16.40.

In addition there’s the chance to mountain bike on the “Timber Trail” on Sunday and Monday between 10.00 and 17.00. The event is organised by EHX.

Ocean Terminal is well supplied with cycle parking and is just off the North Edinburgh Path Network.

Posted in cycle parking, cycling world, cyclingedinburgh, Edinburgh, ride | Leave a Comment »

Sustrans Promotion Has No Wheels!

Posted by chdot on April 6, 2007

Sustrans Narrow Boat
Cyclepath charity Sustrans is 30. Official birthday 7.07.07 – having started life as Cyclebag on 7.7.77.

One unexpected ‘birthday card’ is a specially painted 55 foot narrowboat, part owned by George Platts – one of the first Bristol based cycle campaigners (George thought up the name Cyclebag). He calls the boat a “moving sculpture” which is highly appropriate as noted as Sustrans is a promoter of public sculpture – including those on the Airdrie to Bathgate route.

The latest artwork will have a press launch in Oxford tomorrow and will be in Bristol Docks from June 23rd to July 14th.

Posted in Airdrie to Bathgate, critical mass, Cycling News, cycling world, cyclingedinburgh, Sustrans | 2 Comments »