Archive for February, 2008

Almond Walkway News

Posted by chdot on February 29, 2008

Anyone who has ever walked or cycled from Cramond Brig alongside the Almond to the Forth at Cramond will know about the steps. Unfortunately it’s not possible to do the trip at the moment due to a partial collapse. At first the Council could give no estimate about how long it would take to repair – no money had been budgeted for such a problem.

Money has now been found to fix the steps. Work is being undertaken to get the contract prepared and to tender it. There is hope that it can be fixed by this summer but that is dependent on finding a willing contractor and “other unknowns” – as Donald Rumsfeld might have said.

In the meantime the existing steps are likely to be demolished as people have been tempted to use them – despite the danger, and the signs. Shows how much this route means to people!

Posted in City of Edinburgh Council, Cycling News, cycling world, cyclingedinburgh, Edinburgh, ride, walking | 1 Comment »

Cycle Ride Offered to Council Leader

Posted by chdot on February 28, 2008

Jacquie Phelan on the beach at Portobello last year after SSWC07

Pioneering Mountain Biker Jacquie Phelan has e-mailed City of Edinburgh Council‘s Leader Jenny Dawe asking; “can we go for a ride and have tea?”

Jacquie’s offer came after reading about the Spokes comments on LibDem plans for making Edinburgh a “model cycle friendly city”.

She also wrote: “I live in a California suburb where the LAST thing anyone cares about is the cyclists. I’ve always considered Scotland to be years ahead in terms of cycling infrastructure, but am worried that spending for the essentials in cycle routes, staff, publications etc will cause you to slip back to USA standards… don’t do it. You can’t afford it. We’re all too fat, too sedentary. ”

“If you’re up for a pleasant ride along the Water of Leith with a tea stop please let me know. I’m writing about cycle policy in Scotland for a couple of magazines over here, you’d be a very valued contact.”

The mention of tea isn’t just about a sensible refreshment option. Jacquie Phelan is the founder, of the Women’s Mountain Bike & Tea Society (WOMBATS) – “A network of women of all ages and abilities who share a passion for pedaling in the dirt.”

She will be in Scotland in June for Bike Week, to introduce the film Hardihood (in which she’s seen running bike skills sessions) at the Bike Week Film Festival. Expect to see her on some rides and leading some more inspirational classes.

Posted in Bicycle Film Festival, bike shops, Bike Week, bikeweek, ChangingPace, City of Edinburgh Council, citycycling, cycle racing, cycle training, Cycling News, cycling world, cyclingedinburgh, Edinburgh, EducatedTravel, ride, Safe Routes to School, Safety, Spokes, sswc07, TryCycling | Leave a Comment »

Council Commissions “Cycle Share” Study

Posted by chdot on February 26, 2008

Photo by Hugo*

Following the great success of the Vélib scheme in Paris (Launched in July 2007 – 20,600 bikes and 1,451 ‘stations’) mass hire/share schemes are all the rage. (London is starting with 6,000 bikes.)

A year ago, local Conservative councillor Iain Whyte proposed that the Council should investigate doing something similar in Edinburgh. Now it’s happening.

Multinational consultants Halcrow (“founded in Scotland in 1868”) has been commissioned “to undertake an initial study to assess the potential feasibility of introducing a cycle share scheme in Edinburgh. Cycle share schemes provide for greater mode choice and flexibility by facilitating short term cycle hire and provide the opportunity for single trips to be made by enabling users (residents, visitors or commuters) to hire a bike from one location and leave it at another.”

“As part of the study we are interested to gather the views of stakeholders and would like to hear your views on the feasibility of introducing a cycle share scheme in Edinburgh, including:

  • Would you support the introduction of a scheme in Edinburgh?
  • Do you think there would be demand for a scheme in Edinburgh?
  • In which areas/locations do you think the stations should be located?
  • What would you see as the main benefits?
  • Do you think that there would be any problems/disadvantages?
  • Do you have any experience of using a cycle share scheme? (good or bad)
  • Do you have any other comments about such a scheme?”

Comments should be sent by 14th March 2008 to SCS AT or by post to

Pamela Gidney, Halcrow Group Limited, 16 Abercromby Place, Edinburgh EH3 6LB

Background info on other hire schemes (pdf)

Posted in bike security theft, City of Edinburgh Council, citycycling, commuting, cycle parking, Cycling News, cycling world, cyclingedinburgh, Demonstration Towns, Edinburgh, EducatedTravel, European Moblity Week, ride, Safety, technology, walking | 7 Comments »

Another Missed Opportunity

Posted by chdot on February 26, 2008

From next Monday (March 3rd) Shandwick Place is due to be shut to traffic for utilities work in connection with the tram line. Lothian Buses thinks the work starts on Saturday and will last for eight weeks – though press reports in mid January said nineteen weeks.

Alternative routes for motor vehicles were announced a month ago. Routes for cyclists seem to be subject to ‘discussion’. Merely following the diversion for motors is not an option as it includes the Western Approach Road where bikes are banned.

tie (transport initiatives edinburgh) is the Council owned company responsible for a number of transport projects – particularly the tram. Unfortunately it doesn’t seem to have much interest in cycling. It doesn’t favour the carriage of bikes on the trams and has not been overwhelmingly enthusiastic about finding ways for cyclists to travel by bike alongside the trams on Leith Walk and Princes Street.

It clearly has no great expertise in dealing with the needs of cyclists (who make up a significant proportion of the traffic during ‘rush’ hours). tie recently asked Spokes to suggest routes around the Shandwick Place stoppage. Ian Maxwell suggested, for east to west, Rutland Street – Rutland Square – Atholl Crescent – West Maitland Street – Torphichen Street and, in the other direction, West Maitland Street – Coates Crescent – Stafford Street – Alva Street. He points out that Alva Street is one-way and suggests that a “temporary contraflow” is considered.

The ideas were passed to tie’s consultants Faber Maunsell who have reported back that “there is very little option available to cyclists other than a part of what was suggested by Spokes.”

Unfortunately it turns out that both Atholl Crescent and Coates Crescent will only be available to service vehicles (and pedestrians). “For those cycling from East to West we suggest that cyclists use Atholl Crescent Lane as opposed to Atholl Crescent. The only other option is for cyclists to dismount and walk along the pedestrian access routes.”

So the Council that’s run by an administration ‘committed to making Edinburgh a model cycle friendly city‘ can’t even plan adequately for cyclists inconvenienced by the imminent road closure.

It’s ‘advertising’ the fact that city centre shops are open (see photo) but fails to take advantage of the inevitable traffic disruption caused by creating the tram line to ENCOURAGE cycling.

Posted in bike security theft, bike shops, City of Edinburgh Council, citycycling, commuting, cycle parking, Cycling News, cycling world, Edinburgh, Maps, Safety, Spokes, walking, What the papers say | 4 Comments »

Mountain Biking ‘Boosts Scottish Economy’

Posted by chdot on February 24, 2008

supplied by Forestry Commission Scotland

“The 7stanes mountain bike project has helped to boost the economy in southern Scotland by increasing the annual visitor spend to over £9m in 2007, according to an independent survey published today (Sunday 24 February).”

The report – 7stanes Phase 2 Evaluation – shows that “visitor numbers to the trail centres area have more than doubled since 2004, rising to some 400,000 per year.” One significant bonus is that the project has helped create 205 ‘full time equivalent’ jobs in southern Scotland.

The favourite destination for many Edinburgh mountain bikes is Glentress. Partly because it is relatively close but also the quality and variety of trails, the impressive bike shop ‘in the middle of nowhere’ and also (not least) The Hub Cafe.

Glentress is also an ‘aspiration destination’ for young people who might not normally get the chance to go. Recent funding from the Scottish Government and the Lottery will pay for 200 youngsters to experience the trails at the end of  Bike Building Courses run by The Bike Station.

Posted in bike shops, BikeStation, Craigmillar Cycles, cycle racing, cycle training, Cycling News, cyclingedinburgh, Edinburgh, EducatedTravel, HEALTH, ride | Leave a Comment »

Choice of Rides

Posted by chdot on February 23, 2008

Edinburgh in the 60s © All rights reserved

Tomorrow (Sunday) you can try the gently paced 10 mile TryCycling in Edinburgh ride or a bit of Cycle Speedway.

The TryCycling ride starts (10.00) and finishes (about 1.30) at Ainslie Park Leisure Centre.

The first Edinburgh Falcons Cycle Speedway Club training session of the year begins at Redbraes at 1.30pm. “Any non members interested are also welcome as bikes, track time and tuition will be available for all.”

So you could TryCycling and then travel along the North Edinburgh Path Network to Powderhall and see what Cycle Speedway is all about – and maybe think about taking part sometime…

Posted in citycycling, cycle racing, cycle training, Cycling News, cycling world, cyclingedinburgh, Edinburgh, paths, ride, Safety | Leave a Comment »

LibDems Still Committed to Making “Edinburgh a Model Cycle-Friendly City”

Posted by chdot on February 20, 2008

Cycle campaigners Spokes recently wrote to council leader Cllr Jenny Dawe about the council budget – due to be finalised tomorrow (21 Feb).

She has replied. The Spokes reaction: “It sounds very positive, though what it means in practice only time will tell!”

Cllr Dawe writes: “I was particularly struck by the detailed and informative case that you made for promoting cycling and the positive impact that this could have for Edinburgh’s economy, sustainability, health and quality of life.

As you correctly highlight, the Liberal Democrats local manifesto, ‘Winning a Bright New Future for Edinburgh‘ pledged to make Edinburgh a Model Cycle-Friendly City. It also contained a series of measures to encourage people to cycle. I would reassure that these commitments, and Spokes’ powerful arguments, will inform consideration and development of the budget.”

But it wasn’t just about money, Spokes is asking for “a completely new look at Council cycling policy in 2008 under the newly appointed Head of Transport, Marshall Poulton”.

Mr. Poulter is coming from Transport for London where, presumably, he had a hand in the significant increase in cycle spending.

“LibDem plans include having a “green champion” in every department. This might be tokenism or a serious attempt to begin to make one of the city’s largest employers take the idea of ’sustainability’ seriously.”
This site 13.5.07

Posted in bike security theft, bike shops, Bike Week, Bikes on trains, bikeweek, ChangingPace, City of Edinburgh Council, citycycling, commuting, Core Path Network, Craigmillar Cycles, cycle parking, cycle training, Cycling News, cycling world, cyclingedinburgh, Demonstration Towns, Edinburgh, EducatedTravel, European Moblity Week, paths, ride, Safe Routes to School, Safety, Shawfair, Spokes, technology, Trams, TryCycling, walking | 5 Comments »

Have You Had YOUR Bike Stolen?

Posted by chdot on February 18, 2008

If so, Napier University journalism student Charlotte Morgenthal would like to hear from you.

She’s writing a piece for Student about “bike security and theft prevention” and looking for (presumably sad) personal experiences.

If you have a story email her (CharliAbendberg At before Wednesday.

CyclingEdinburgh set up a Flickr group last year where people can put a photo of their bike and add a full description (NOT including frame number) on-line so that it’s instantly available if the bike gets stolen.

Not many people have used it. Perhaps bikes have become disposable items to many people. Certainly a lot of students seem to leave them locked in tenement stairs and around university buildings when they finish their studies!

Posted in bike security theft, bike shops, BikeStation, City of Edinburgh Council, citycycling, commuting, cycle parking, Cycling News, cycling world, cyclingedinburgh, Edinburgh, EducatedTravel, What the papers say | Leave a Comment »

‘Lock It’ – but what with?

Posted by chdot on February 16, 2008

We all ‘know’ that bikes should be locked – even when left ‘just for a minute’.

Bikes get stolen. Expensive looking bikes (especially ‘mountain bikes’) are more likely to get stolen than tatty ones.

Even a cheap lock is better than no lock – but….

The basics still apply. A cheap cable lock isn’t much use. Lock bikes to something secure – cast iron tenement banisters don’t count. (Put the lock over the wooden handrail. It usually has a metal base, and won’t shatter when kicked.)

An article in the current edition of the CTC magazine has lots of detailed advice and even more salutary tales.

It outlines most of the tricks of the bike theft trade – not so you can copy them, but to be aware of how to increase the chance that a potential thief will walk past your bike.

Even expensive D locks can be broken with the ‘right’ tools. The article (available on points out that it’s best to ‘fill the space’ with as much as possible of bike, wheel and bike parking to deter/thwart the thief. “Look for bike racks that make such locking tactics easier. The best Sheffield stands are those in an ‘M’ shape not a ‘U’. Lock at the lowest point of the ‘M’.”

Posted in bike security theft, bike shops, City of Edinburgh Council, citycycling, commuting, cycle parking, Cycling News, cycling world, cyclingedinburgh, Edinburgh, EducatedTravel, ride, Safety, technology | 3 Comments »

Scottish Cyclist “smashes world cycle record”

Posted by chdot on February 15, 2008

Fife based Mark Beaumont has made it to Paris to end his amazing round the world adventure.

BBC story | Mark’s site –

Posted in Cycling on the Radio, Cycling on TV, cycling world, cyclingedinburgh, ride | 1 Comment »