Archive for March, 2008

More Cycling on TV

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 »

Active Travel Photo Competition

Posted by chdot on March 27, 2008

There’s a great chance to win a Dahon folding bike for your organisation – just by taking a photo.

ACT TravelWise is running a competition with two ‘pool bikes’, and a year’s free membership of ACT TravelWise as prizes. All you have to do to enter is email a photo and caption of “someone where you work commuting without a car, or car sharing” to Full details at competition. (Closing date April 4th)

If your photo was taken in Edinburgh you might like to add it to the “Edinburgh cycles to work” Flickr group. If the image is from elsewhere (or doesn’t involve a bike) you could go to the “Commuting WITHOUT a car” group.

ACT TRAVELWISE is a new organisation combining the Association for Commuter Transport (ACT) and the National TravelWise Association. Its ‘mission’ is “to have a serious impact on the harmful effects of transport. The association members seek in particular to reduce the economic costs of congestion, the environmental damage of traffic pollution and the personal health consequences of car dependency. Our members do this through the promotion of all sustainable alternatives to travel . The association’s approach is to reduce unnecessary car trips through supporting our members in their business of encouraging behavioural change through travel planning and mobility management.”

Membership is for “any organisation or person that is either developing or delivering a Travel Plan, a marketing campaign for changing travel behaviour, advising on sustainable travel initiatives or providing sustainable transport services to others.”

Posted in Active Travel, bike shops, ChangingPace, City of Edinburgh Council, citycycling, Climate Change, commuting, cycle parking, cycle training, Cycling News, cycling world, cyclingedinburgh, Demonstration Towns, Edinburgh, EducatedTravel, European Moblity Week, HEALTH, Lothian Buses, Peak Oil, ride, Safe Routes to School, Sustrans, TryCycling, walking | Leave a Comment »

Historic Free Entry to Lothians

Posted by chdot on March 27, 2008

A view from Craigmillar Castle

Once again Historic Scotland is offering a weekend (12th and 13th of April) of free entry to 268 of its 345 properties which span “over 5,000 years of Scotland’s history and culture”.

There was a time when cyclists were notoriously ‘careful with their money’ – or was it that ‘only poor people cycle (or take public transport…)’. Now, cyclists are just sensible

You could just visit Edinburgh Castle, but how about Craigmillar Castle – and then travel east to Dirleton Castle and Gardens and on to Tantallon Castle.

Or cross the Forth and visit Dunfermline Palace (lunch at Abbot House) – and check out Pittencrieff Park (aka “The Glen”). (Last two not HS properties.)

Maybe try a tour of West Lothian taking in Blackness Castle (movie star), Cairnpapple Hill and Linlithgow Palace.

You could organise a ride and make it an official Bike Week ‘preliminary event’. All venue pages on the Historic Scotland site have links to the appropriate part of the Sustrans NCN map.

EDINBURGH AND LOTHIANS properties included in the Free Weekend.

Opening times over the Free Weekend are 09.30 to 17.30 (last admission 17.00) unless otherwise stated. Some of the smaller properties may close over lunchtime.

Blackness Castle
Cairnpapple Hill
Craigmillar Castle
Crichton Castle
Dirleton Castle and Gardens
Edinburgh Castle – open 09.30 to 18.00; last admission 17.15
Linlithgow Palace – last admission 16.45
On Saturday 12 April some parts of the Palace will have restricted access between 11.00 to 13.30 due to a wedding taking place. There will be no car parking at the Palace on that day. To fully enjoy exploring the Palace, visitors are advised to come on Sunday 13 April instead
Seton Collegiate Church
Tantallon Castle
Torphichen Preceptory – open 13.00 to 17.00
Trinity House, Leith – open 12.00 noon to 16.00; last admission 15.30

Posted in ChangingPace, commuting, connect2, cycle parking, cycle training, Cycling News, cycling world, Edinburgh, Forth Bridge Route Campaign, Glasgow, holidays, Lothian Buses, Peak Oil, Safety, Spokes maps, Sustrans, tandem, walking | Leave a Comment »

Cycling on Prime Time TV

Posted by chdot on March 26, 2008

Photo from

YES – that is news. It’s so rare. It’s years since the Tour de France was on Channel 4 at tea times in July. Today sees the start of the 2008 World Track Cycling Championships at the Velodrome.

No not Meadowbank, that looks set to be demolished, nor Glasgow – it’s not ready (for the 2014 Commonwealth Games). No, it’s the Manchester Velodrome – “the National Cycling Centre, Britain’s primary indoor Olympic cycle track and widely regarded as one of the World’s finest and fastest board tracks”.

Taking part will be local boy made very good, Chris Hoy. He started racing BMX bikes at a particularly young age and had a brief flirtation with Mountain Biking but (because of Meadowbank) found he had a future as a track star. He had to move to Manchester to live/train because the Edinburgh track (used in two Commonwealth Games) never got a roof.

TV times from

Wednesday 26th March
19.00-20.00 BBC 2
19.00-22.00 BBC interactive
19.15-22.00 British Eurosport
00.20-01.00 BBC 2

Hoy won silver in Men’s team sprint

Thursday 27th March
18.30-22.00 British Eurosport
19.00-20.00 BBC 2
19.00-22.00 BBC interactive
00.10-00.50 BBC 2

Hoy through to sprint semi-final

Friday 28th March
19.00-22.00 British Eurosport
19.00-20.00 BBC 2
19.00-22.00 BBC interactive
00.35-01.20 BBC 2

Hoy wins gold – BBC story 

Saturday 29th March
13.00-16.30 BBC 1
14.00-17.30 British Eurosport

Sunday 30th March
14.00-18.00 British Eurosport
15.30-18.00 BBC 2

Posted in City of Edinburgh Council, citycycling, cycle racing, cycle training, Cycling News, Cycling on TV, cycling world, cyclingedinburgh, Demonstration Towns, Edinburgh, Glasgow, TryCycling | 1 Comment »

Clyde to Forth – the Long Way

Posted by chdot on March 23, 2008

Image Sustrans

You may have tried (or just thought about) a day trip from Glasgow to Edinburgh. Some people have even been both ways in a day! There’s a choice of routes – along the Canals or by road (like the annual Pedal for Scotland ride).

This summer you could try the 5 day, 200 mile, scenic version. Sustrans in Scotland is organising the “Clyde-Tae-Forth” ride as a “pedal-powered adventure”.

Riders will set off from the banks of the River Clyde in Glasgow on 9th of June and cross the Tay and Forth – as in “Clyde-Tae-Forth”… They will arrive in Edinburgh just in time for the Bike Week Film Festival.

Participants will be able to ‘trailblaze’ proposed routes between Perth and Kinross. After each day’s ride there will be talks and presentations from leading environmental and wildlife organisations, including a guided woodland walk with the Forestry Commission Scotland.

Clyde-Tae-Forth will also pass two of the Scottish schemes included in Sustrans’ Connect2 project, which won the Big Lottery Fund’s The People’s £50 Million contest in December 2007. In Glasgow riders will see the ‘Bridge to Nowhere’, a half-finished walking and cycling bridge over the M8 motorway in the centre of the city, and in Perth the ride will stop at the site of a new walking and cycling bridge over the River Tay which will connect Perth and Scone.

John Lauder, Sustrans National Director for Scotland, is keen for people to join the ride and “see Scotland in a different light”. He said: “The Clyde-Tae-Forth ride is a fun way for people to explore the landscape, heritage and culture of this region of Scotland – with stunning views from the saddle guaranteed. It’s going to be an exciting ride, especially with the added adventure of trailblazing a possible new route and visiting the Connect2 schemes to see the real difference better facilities for cyclists and walkers will make.”

The event is expected to be extremely popular and with only 100 spaces for the full five day ride, cyclists are “urged to register early”. Each overnight stop is £30, which includes ride organisation, maps, camping accommodation, a light breakfast, luggage transfer and a special edition ride t-shirt. Those not wanting to take part in the full ride are welcome to join in for day rides – the cost is £10 for a guided ride, map and special edition ride t-shirt.

Booking for Sustrans’ Clyde-Tae-Forth ride closes on 28th May 2008. Anyone interested in booking a place on the full ride, or joining in for a day section, contact Sustrans’ Events Team on 0117 915 0125 or

Posted in Bicycle Film Festival, Bike Week, bikeweek, Climate Change, commuting, connect2, Core Path Network, Cycling News, cycling world, cyclingedinburgh, Edinburgh, Forth Bridge Route Campaign, Glasgow, HEALTH, holidays, paths, Peak Oil, Queensferry, ride, Safe Routes to School, Sustrans | 1 Comment »

Sustrans Scotland Goes Google

Posted by chdot on March 22, 2008

Pioneering path charity Sustrans has always been big on maps. No point in having delightful routes if people don’t know where they are/go. It went onto the internet quite early too, with maps to show the National Cycle Network. The web has moved on and the Sustrans’ main mapping now looks a bit primitive.

As in several other areas, Google has revolutionised the ‘on-line mapping experience‘. People now expect to be able to drag and zoom with ease. The addition of high resolution aerial views has made things even better – would help if the resolution around Edinburgh was as good as that of the city…

Now Sustrans in Scotland has launched a new site (Routes2Ride) which uses Google maps to show some selected routes. There are currently 26 – four in, or from, Edinburgh: Balerno-Bathgate, Edinburgh-Musselburgh, Union Canal-Water of Leith, Edinburgh-Cramond Brig. (Though the ‘search’ only finds those with Edinburgh in the title – a bug needing to be fixed, especially if more routes get added.)

Making use of “web 2.0” the site is similar to a blog and allows/encourages comments. John Lauder, Sustrans’ National Director for Scotland says: “Routes2Ride is a really user-friendly website which has been developed specifically for people to share their experiences of cycling in Scotland and find new rides to try out.”

Posted in Bikes on trains, citycycling, Climate Change, commuting, Core Path Network, Cycling News, cycling world, cyclingedinburgh, Demonstration Towns, Edinburgh, EducatedTravel, Maps, paths, Queensferry, ride, Safe Routes to School, Safety, Sustrans, technology | 3 Comments »

City Promotes “Bike Boxes”

Posted by chdot on March 20, 2008


Sadly it’s not Edinburgh.

It’s a new idea in bike-friendly Portland (Oregon) so it’s understandable that the City wants to make motorists aware of the change to the streets.

In Edinburgh Advance Stop Lines, as they are usual known, have been around for many years. So long in fact that the red paint has mostly rubbed off some (e.g. Buccleuch Street/Melvile Drive crossroads). Of course this mustn’t be confused with ones that never had a coloured surface – due to a city centre Streetscape policy that put a strange notion of visual amenity over cycle safety.

Portland residents are also lucky to have long lead-in lanes something mostly missing in Edinburgh. There is increasing evidence in Edinburgh that motorists no longer realise that they are not supposed to stop in ASLs – or perhaps they no longer care, as there are no sanctions.

There has been talk for a while about an ‘awareness campaign’ (CofP OofT’s version). Clearly a good idea – as long as it happens in conjunction with repainting of the junctions.

Perhaps this is a measure that could be proposed if City of Edinburgh Council puts in a bid to be a Travel Demonstration Community.

Posted in City of Edinburgh Council, citycycling, Climate Change, commuting, Cycling News, cycling world, cyclingedinburgh, Demonstration Towns, Edinburgh, Lothian Buses, ride, Safety | Leave a Comment »

Spokes Spring Public Meeting Tonight

Posted by chdot on March 18, 2008

Note: Meeting for anyone – not just Spokes members

Date: Wednesday March 19th

Subject: Climate Change, Oil Supply & Cycle Policy

Place: Augustine United Church, Geo. IV bridge (map)

Time: 7.30, (open 6.45 for coffee, stall, chat)

Speakers (one for each segment):

  • David Somervell, University of Edinburgh Energy Manager
  • Dr Mandy Meikle, Depletion Scotland
  • Kirsty Lewin, Scottish Government Sustainable Transport Team head

Spokes says: “The climate change and peak oil challenges will be outlined; we will be told how government cycling policy intends to respond; then time for questions and debate.

“Background – The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change has published the final report of its current series. It reviews climate change data, the causes, the projected impacts, and how to adapt and to mitigate. For peak oil and the future of oil supply see”

Posted in citycycling, Climate Change, commuting, cycle training, Cycling News, cycling world, cyclingedinburgh, Demonstration Towns, Edinburgh, Peak Oil, Spokes, walking | Leave a Comment »

(Part of) Edinburgh to be Travel Demonstration Community?

Posted by chdot on March 17, 2008

Members of Bingham Bicycle Club about to enter East Lothian

Today the Scottish Government announced some details for “Scotland’s local authorities to help create a series of ‘sustainable travel demonstration communities’ across the country”. (In part a response to England’s Cycling Demonstration Towns.)

The topic was the subject of a seminar in Edinburgh in December. City of Edinburgh Council was represented – as were various Edinburgh based organisations with an interest in ‘sustainable transport’. The ‘Scottish Demo Town’ idea was announced a year before – in the National Transport Strategy.

There have been rumours that cities wouldn’t be eligible because they are too big. But all (32) Scottish local authorities have been sent details and asked to consider areas/communities with populations up to 100,000. One place that might be chosen is Inverness (a city since 2001) with about half that number of people – and already involved in various cycle/sustainable transport initiatives.

For Edinburgh it would mean finding an area containing less than a fifth of its population. It could be the city centre which already has the highest concentration of cycling. However the aim of this initiative is that “communities would be a role model for others to follow, showcasing the very best methods available to encourage residents to use more environmentally-friendly forms of transport.”

It might be better to look to the east of the city where there is already a reasonable network of walk/cycle paths – particularly the Innocent Path – and other paths gradually being improved. A suitable TDC could include some (or all of) Leith, Portobello, Craigmillar, Duddingston, Bingham.

The whole area is relatively flat (east of Arthur’s Seat!) and includes parts that are being rebuilt or about to get significant new development – Brunstane/Newcraighall, Craigmillar/Greendykes, Lochend, Leith Docks.

The Scottish Government press release talks as though all the work will be done by local councils, but for this to really work in a place like Edinburgh (small towns will have a more established sense of community and travel to work areas) it’s probably necessary to involve existing local groups. These could be ‘interest’ groups such as Greener Leith, PEDAL (Portobello) and Craigmillar Cycles as well as neighbourhood groups and Community Councils.

The Scottish Government is looking for “innovative ideas” (these are just a few of those suggested in the press release).

  • Organised cycling and walking trips
  • More pedestrian/cycle/walking only areas
  • Improved conditions for walking, footpaths cleared of obstacles; better managed and maintained streets
  • Improvement of green space
  • Better use of public spaces to increase opportunities for recreational physical activity
  • Free bus and train tickets encouraging residents to give it a try
  • Maps explaining how to walk or cycle to a local shop, or even something as simple as a timetable for their nearest bus stop
  • School and work place travel plans

Quite a lot of possibilities – but there’s only £15m available over 3 years and only half a dozen places likely to be chosen. Edinburgh will need (and want) to make a good case.

This part of Edinburgh also joins both East Lothian and Midlothian. The new Queen Margaret University is just yards away from the border. Shawfair (the new community due to built with the involvement of Edinburgh and Midlothian Councils) is close by. Perhaps SEStran will take an interest in, and help with, the idea of Travel Demonstration Communities too.

Colin Howden, Director of TRANSform Scotland is supportive of this new initiative:

“This will provide an excellent opportunity to showcase how small-scale local transport projects can get people to switch to sustainable transport. The English scheme has proved very successful. Given the additional funding available in the Scottish scheme, there is no reason why this shouldn’t deliver even better results.

“If Scotland is to achieve its ambitious climate change emission targets then the transport sector is going to have to play a large part. The sustainable travel towns will provide examples of how to bring about reductions in carbon emissions.

“We hope that many local authorities around Scotland will bring forward bids. It’s important that we see a range of towns in both urban and rural areas take forward sustainable travel towns.”

Posted in bike security theft, bike shops, Bike Week, Bikes on trains, ChangingPace, City of Edinburgh Council, citycycling, Climate Change, commuting, Core Path Network, Craigmillar Cycles, cycle parking, cycle training, Cycling News, cycling world, cyclingedinburgh, Demonstration Towns, Edinburgh, EducatedTravel, Lothian Buses, Midlothian, paths, Safe Routes to School, Safety, Shawfair, Spokes, Spokes maps, Sustrans, technology, walking | 3 Comments »

New Easter Holiday Cycle Club

Posted by chdot on March 14, 2008

A brand new Cycle Club is being run in the Easter holiday. It’s for Primary 6 and 7 pupils with the aim of encouraging young people to cycle more and to think about how they will travel to secondary school.

The venue is the Royal High School and priority is being given to pupils from its feeder primaries (Blackhall, Cramond, Clermiston and Davidsons Mains).

The four day event will run from Monday 31 March to Thursday 3 April, from 9.30am to 3pm each day.

The sessions have been organised by Maggie Wynn of ChangingPace, an Edinburgh organisation which specialises in promoting cycling, and will be delivered by qualified cycle trainers.

The course will develop cycling and bike maintenance skills at the school and also on rides each day along Edinburgh’s cycle path network and quiet roads. Education and fun – as would be expected from people who recently developed and delivered Bicycle Fun Days at the same primaries.

The cost for the 4 days is £50, and the children will receive a goody bag worth £10 that includes a Spokes cycle map, puncture repair kit and water bottle.

Places limited – to reserve a place call Maggie Wynn now on 0131 332 3442 or 07914 727018 or email

Posted in ChangingPace, citycycling, Core Path Network, cycle training, Cycling News, cycling world, cyclingedinburgh, Edinburgh, EducatedTravel, European Moblity Week, HEALTH, holidays, paths, ride, Safe Routes to School, Safety, Spokes maps, Sustrans, TryCycling | Leave a Comment »