Archive for July, 2007

TryCycling on Princes Street

Posted by chdot on July 29, 2007

Fancy a Sunday saunter along Princes Street? It’s that time of year again for the Festivals’ Cavalcade. Until recently it was named after the Evening News, but now it’s taking the name of a national daily!

The content of the entertainment will remain much the same, with massed bands, Fringe acts and (for the third year) a mass of exuberant cyclists on interesting bikes, customised and costumised.

Once again Maggie Wynn is organising the cyclists for TryCycling in Edinburgh. “It’s a great chance to cycle along Princes Street with 185,000 people watching, and show what fun bikes and cycling can be.”

One regular participants, Andy Brown, is coming with a group from Dumfries. He is also bringing Ross Berry the resident blacksmith at Drumlanrig Castle, Thornhill. A previous blacksmith there was Kirkpatrick Macmillan, generally regarded as the inventor of the first bicycle. (The Castle has a small bicycle museum, hire shop and trails). Ross has created some interesting bikes which will be ridden in the cavalcade.

Maggie hopes there will be 100 riders this year. “If you have a bike that’s a bit different or know of some children keen to ride their bikes or sit in a tag-a-long, please let me know. We want to show that cycling is fun and suits all ages and abilities. If you are prepared to dress your bike up a little – or yourself- all the better- but that’s not essential. We don’t want to give the impression you have to be daft to cycle!”

Riders will assemble outside the City Art Centre at about 12.30pm and set off at 2pm. If you want to take part CONTACT MAGGIE so that she knows numbers and can brief you fully.

Photos and video from last year.

Posted in Bicycle Film Festival, citycycling, commuting, critical mass, CTC, cycle racing, Cycling News, cycling world, cyclingedinburgh, Edinburgh, ride, Spokes, Tall Bike, TryCycling, What the papers say | Leave a Comment »

Shop Shut

Posted by chdot on July 29, 2007

But only for one day.

Edinburgh Bike Co-op is shut on Monday for stocktaking.

Posted in Bicycle Film Festival, citycycling, commuting, cycle racing, Cycling News, cycling world, cyclingedinburgh, Edinburgh | Leave a Comment »

Cycling Officer Job Advertised AGAIN

Posted by chdot on July 27, 2007

Third time lucky? It’s almost a year since City of Edinburgh Council‘s Cycling Officer, Matthew Simpson, moved to a different job within the City Development Department. Since then the crucial post has been advertised twice, shortlists drawn up, people interviewed and even offered the job. The successful candidates decided not to work in Edinburgh.

Unfortunately it’s probably been the worst time for Edinburgh to be without someone “responsible for developing and implementing cycling and walking policies and projects”. In May there was a change of political control in Edinburgh (and at Holyrood).

As Ian Maxwell of Spokes says “The attitude of the newly elected Liberal/SNP coalition running the council is yet to be clarified – positive but needs pushed into taking proactive steps to favour cycling.”

The final go ahead for the trams and news of the imminent disruption that construction will cause means that not only are more people likely to consider cycling but also that the Council should be facilitating and encouraging this.

The job description says applicants “must be educated to HND level in Civil Engineering, Planning or Transportation related fields”, though it’s believed that the Council may be prepared to be flexible about paper qualifications if an applicant has other strong qualities.

Posted in City of Edinburgh Council, citycycling, commuting, critical mass, cycle parking, cycle training, Cycling News, cycling world, cyclingedinburgh, Edinburgh, HEALTH, paths, Spokes, Sustrans, walking, What the papers say | 1 Comment »

New Book from Cycling Guru

Posted by chdot on July 25, 2007

The world changed in 1972. Richard Ballantine’s first bike book was published. To call a book “Richard’s Bicycle Book“, might seem like the ultimate act of a supreme egotist. However Richard is far from that. The title is simply a simple descriptive truth.

Cycling wasn’t particularly popular then. It was possible to cycle around Edinburgh on a January day and be surprised to see another cyclist. Cycling was, more or less, what (a few) people did if they couldn’t afford a car – or liked road racing. R’sBB wasn’t really for either group. It was more for people who cycled by positive choice and even more (though perhaps neither he nor they knew it) for people who would become the ‘new cyclists’.

It was really a manual for how and why people should cycle – for their own health and economic well-being and also as a sane transport ‘solution’ to urban problems. BUT it didn’t preach, it wasn’t ecologically earnest. It was written with experienced knowledge, unique insights and understated humour. It pretty much pioneered the idea, to a wide audience, that cyclists had a right to be on the road, but sometimes needed to assert that – positively rather than aggressively.

In the past thirty five years there have been updates and variations, including the Piccolo Bicycle Book (aimed at children) and Richard’s Ultimate Bicycle Book (aimed at the coffee table). Now there is a new variant. City Cycling is as simply honest as the first book’s title. The city is undoubtedly London (it’s Richard’s adopted home), but most of the truths in the book are universal.

If you’ve read any of his previous books about cycling you’ll know (roughly) what to expect – eclectic, far from eccentric, though, as ever, he is interested in interesting bicycles. The longstanding friendship with designer/engineer Mike Burrows is mentioned and illustrated with his evolutionary bikes. The book makes good use of good photos.

City Cycling is a ‘good read’ though not really a book for one session. There is enough bike fixing advice (even for the bike owning technophobe) to be worth the £9.99 cover price. There’s also lots of seriously good advice for city cycling – suitable for the nervous novice and accomplished urban mover. Entertaining, informing, inspiring. Due in book shops on the first of August.

Posted in bike security theft, citycycling, commuting, critical mass, cycle parking, cycle training, Cycling News, cycling world, cyclingedinburgh, Edinburgh, HEALTH, recycling, ride, Safe Routes to School, Safety, technology | 1 Comment »

What Will the Planners Say?

Posted by chdot on July 19, 2007

Shackup shed
There are many reasons given for not cycling – traffic, safety, weather, hills. Two others that affect many people are theft and storage.

Sadly bikes get stolen, even ones locked securely to city centre railings. Thieves also target ‘student areas’. Some people who have bikes stolen, give up cycling.

Safe, secure storage is especially a problem in tenement areas. Ten years ago the Council won £15,000 in the Scottish Office Cycle Challenge to investigate the “design and installation of cycle storage systems for flatted developments”. This particular project didn’t actually happen.

Since then various possibilities have been looked at in tenement stairwells and back greens. Getting owners’ agreement is one stumbling block. Proposals for lockers in the street aren’t looked on favourably. Obviously streets are for parking cars and wheelie bins

Even plans for garden sheds in front gardens owned by ground floor flats have fallen foul of the City’s planners. Will the Shackup (pictured) fare any better? The key difference is that it is about half the height of a ‘proper’ shed. The main compartment is designed to hold four bikes and an end compartment has room for cycling or gardening items. A prototype was shown last year at the Reinventing the Bike Shed exhibition last year.

The idea comes from designer Wayne Hemingway’s company. Hemingway cycles and has also been involved in Urban Design in recent years, taking an interest in Home Zones. One current project is working with major house builder Wimpey on the Staiths South Bank development in Gateshead. Shackups will appear en masse in the back gardens there. Expect to see them flatpacked in B&Q later in the year – and then perhaps in Edinburgh’s front and back greens and gardens.

Posted in bike security theft, City of Edinburgh Council, citycycling, commuting, critical mass, cycle parking, Cycling News, cycling world, cyclingedinburgh, Edinburgh, Exhibition, Safe Routes to School, Safety, What the papers say | 2 Comments »

Conference Outline Announced

Posted by chdot on July 18, 2007

CS conference
Provisional details of the Cycling Scotland Annual Conference have been released.

“CYCLING A simple solution to complex problems” is the straightforward tag. Familiar topics of integrated transport, climate change and health will be covered. In addition two sessions relating to tourism are planned. Both ‘traditional’ cycle touring and Scotland’s new place as a World class MTB trails ‘destination’ will be covered.

The only confirmed speakers are Scotland’s Transport Minister (Stewart Stevenson) and Cycling Scotland’s Chief Executive (Erl Wilkie).

The event is on Tuesday the 13th of November in Glasgow’s Royal Concert Hall. Full fee is £140 with 50 places at £80 for “cycle campaign groups, voluntary organisations and academics”.

(More info – PDF)

Posted in Bikes on trains, citycycling, commuting, cycle parking, cycle training, Cycling News, cycling world, cyclingedinburgh, Exhibition, Glasgow, HEALTH, holidays, ride, Safe Routes to School, Sustrans, TryCycling, walking | 1 Comment »

Cycling on the Radio

Posted by chdot on July 17, 2007

“Is cycling a practical solution to Britain’s congested roads? And what stops you from taking to your bike?” Radio 4’s You and Yours wants to know.

Ubiquitous BikeBiz editor Carlton Reid will be one voice saying yes to the first question and can be heard after the noon news – or listen again (for one week) after 3.00.

Posted in citycycling, commuting, critical mass, cycle parking, cycle training, Cycling News, Cycling on the Radio, cycling world, cyclingedinburgh, Safe Routes to School, Sustrans, TryCycling | Leave a Comment »

Flying to Fife

Posted by chdot on July 16, 2007

Not a great start to the two week trial of the Porty to Kirkcaldy Hovercraft route. Too misty to see Fife from Edinburgh. At least it’s not windy.

WARNING – Might be busy.

Some years ago there was a Burntisland to Granton ferry. Great on a summer Sunday, but didn’t attract enough commuters to be viable. The Hovercraft will have “capacity for around a dozen bikes” (FREE), but won’t be running (in the trial at least) on Sundays.

Fife has a fine selection of Cycle Routes and quiet roads, so a regular crossing should be popular for day trippers and tourists, and there ought to be enough commuters to sustain the route.

Napier University’s Transport Research Institute (TRi) is doing work to evaluate the trial and is looking for comments.

Posted in Bikes on trains, City of Edinburgh Council, citycycling, commuting, Cycling News, cycling world, cyclingedinburgh, Edinburgh, holidays, Maps, paths, Sustrans, TryCycling | 1 Comment »

Light at the End of the Tunnel?

Posted by chdot on July 10, 2007

Work to reinforce ‘Rodney Street Tunnel’ (known as Heriothill Tunnel when originally built for trains) is finished. Unfortunately in spite of assurances from the Council last year that money would be found to create a path and light the tunnel in time for a summer 2007 opening, nothing seems to be happening. (View from the other end.)

Money available for cycle facilities in Edinburgh is not enough to match the Council’s aspirations for encouraging cycling. (The cash to repair the tunnel came from the Scottish Executive and the work was carried out by Sustrans.) The continuing lack of a dedicated Cycling Officer (the job has been advertised twice) doesn’t help in planning more provision for cyclists.

Another factor is local ‘concern’ about the consequences of reopening the tunnel. Some people seem to think it will attract more ‘undesirables’ than New Town residents wanting a safe walking/cycling to the North Edinburgh Path Network (and the Broughton Road Tesco).

There is also a desire for a new directly linking ramp from Summerbank to the tunnel mouth. This would be a useful addition as it would be a slightly more direct route than the existing ramp into King George V Park. Some people regard this as unsuitable for shared (cyclist/pedestrian) use – even though it was built for this more than twenty years ago. The new ramp has yet to be costed – it won’t be cheap. It is more important to sort the join between the existing ramp and Royal Crescent! (Photo right) This would benefit walkers, buggy pushers as well as cyclists.

Since last year, political control of City of Edinburgh Council has moved from Labour to LibDem/SNP. The person responsible for Transport is now Cllr. Phil Wheeler. If the opening of the tunnel to walkers and cyclists is important to you, (or resources to encourage more cycling generally), e-mail Cllr. Wheeler.



Posted in City of Edinburgh Council, citycycling, commuting, Cycling News, cycling world, cyclingedinburgh, Edinburgh, HEALTH, paths, ride, Safe Routes to School, Safety, Spokes, Sustrans, TryCycling, walking, What the papers say | 1 Comment »

Party On Sustrans

Posted by chdot on July 6, 2007

7.7.77 – tomorrow, 30 years on, it’s 7.7.07.

Sustainable transport charity Sustrans started life as Cyclebag in the back of a Bristol pub, and has had thirty years of serious progress towards a nationwide network of cyclepaths.

Tomorrow Sustrans in Scotland hosts a free party – OPEN TO ALL – at the Falkirk Wheel between 11am to 4.30 pm. A huge cake will be cut around 3.30. Officially it’s “a chance for everyone to loosen their cycle clips and let their hair down while the music and fun goes up a gear!”

50 Sustrans Rangers and their friends are setting off (by bike) along the two canals which meet in Falkirk. The Edinburgh ride starts from Fountainbridge and the Glasgow one starts from Kelvingrove Park, both at 9:30am. The Union Canal meanders along, to avoid the need for locks and manages to take 32 miles, around 5 miles more than a road route, (but it’s flat!).

As long as you set off before noon you should be able to arrive in time for the cake. Or you could cheat and get the train part way – why not get off at Polmont and experience the tunnel

Posted in Airdrie to Bathgate, Bikes on trains, Cycling News, cycling world, cyclingedinburgh, Edinburgh, Glasgow, paths, ride, Sustrans | 1 Comment »