Archive for June, 2008

Weekend of Cycling Possibilities

Posted by chdot on June 26, 2008

The great thing about cycling is that (assuming you have a bike!) it can be done anytime, (almost) anywhere, on your own or with others.

This weekend there are several things to take part in or watch (this is a small selection).

On Friday evening you could go along to the foot of The Mound (by the galleries), just before 6.00 to see if anyone has turned up for Critical Mass. Edinburgh’s involvement in this monthly, International, random event has been slight in recent months. It’s a shame more people don’t feel the need to celebrate cycling once a month – but that’s Edinburgh for you!

Saturday morning -10am-12:30 – it’s the Edinburgh Racers “drop in sessions” at Meadowbank Velodrome “all welcome” (if you are under 16). “The Racers have bikes and equipment to lend out so you don’t have to worry about not having the right bike.” This happens every Saturday until September (as long as it’s not raining!)

On Sunday there are two different things on offer. There’s the monthly TryCycling ride. The destination is the delightful Spylaw Park – start at Argyle Place. This month (for the first time) there will be two rides. Regular or more experienced rides will set off at a characteristically modest TryCycling pace. Genuine ‘novice or nervous’ riders will get a special introductory talk and brief ‘skills training’ session from Darren Mirfield before the ride.

A ride around Holyrood Park may appeal instead. Anytime between 10.00 and 1.00 you can turn up for the Big Bike Ride – raising money for Childline. You might even meet Gail Porter!

Don’t forget to take some photos – they could win the Flickr competition.

Posted in Active Travel, ChangingPace, City of Edinburgh Council, citycycling, critical mass, cycle training, Cycling News, cycling world, cyclingedinburgh, Edinburgh, ride, TryCycling, What the papers say | 1 Comment »

“A Georgian Razzmatazz at Redhall Walled Garden”

Posted by chdot on June 19, 2008

If you’ve been to Redhall Walled Garden (normal opening 9am-3pm, Monday to Friday) before, you’ll know what a delightful, tranquil place it is – especially at mid summer.

When it has one of it’s Open Days there’s even more fun to be had. This year it’s billed as a “Georgian Razzmatazz“.

“There will be a variety of Georgian crafts on offer such as spinning, pottery, flower orienteering and lantern portraits. There will also be pony trap rides, face painting and an organic café, with the option to purchase plants from the garden.”

It’s fairly easy to find even though it’s hidden away in the Water of Leith valley in Craiglockhart Dell. It’s at the end of a long driveway off Lanark Road (map) – pass the delightful house created by extending the original cottage designed by Sir James Gowans.

Alternatively travel along the Union Canal and a short way up the section of the Water of Leith Walkway that used to be the railway line to Balerno.

Posted in Bike Week, citycycling, Cycling News, cycling world, cyclingedinburgh, Edinburgh | 3 Comments »

UK’s First Official Cycling City

Posted by chdot on June 19, 2008

Bristol has just been declared the “UK’s first official cycling city”. It will now receive a significant proportion of the £47m on offer from Cycling England’s Demo Town fund. Of course this particular money (from the UK Government) is only for English local authorities.

74 applied, 19 were shortlisted and now 11 ‘towns’ (as well as Bristol) have won through – Blackpool, Cambridge, Chester, Colchester, Leighton/Linslade, Shrewesbury, Southend-on-Sea, Southport with Ainsdale, Stoke, Woking and York. The inclusion of Cambridge and York will be no surprise.

It’s impossible to know whether Edinburgh would have made that list in a UK wide contest. Certainly it wouldn’t have been chosen instead of Bristol. Edinburgh is undoubtedly a ‘cycling city’ ahead of many UK towns/cities in terms of cycle use, but sadly the Council is a long way off from actively embracing, and promoting, the idea.

At least it is serious about its bid for Leith to become a ‘travel demo town’ (a similar scheme to the Cycling England one – but not just about cycling). It’s still not clear what the LibDems (senior partners in the ruling coalition) plan to do about their commitment to making “Edinburgh a Model Cycle-Friendly City”.

Bristol (no surprise that it is the home of Sustrans) “intends to double the number of people using bikes over the next three years” (BBC report). This is a highly ambitious target. London has seen a surge in cycling in recent years, helped by policy changes and significant spending (on both infrastructure and promotion), but it hasn’t quite seen a doubling since 2000.

Bristol’s expectations are partly based on implementing a cycle hire scheme similar to the Velib in Paris. London plans to have one and Edinburgh is investigating the options. Outline of Bristol’s other plans (on BikeBiz).

One thing Bristol City Council has promoted for the last 15 years is its Biggest Bike Ride. London’s Freewheel is a similar event – due for it’s second outing in September. Edinburgh allows various running events (including the recent MoonWalk) but is remarkably wary about closing streets for local events (Portobello groups keep asking) or cycling ones.

One day a UK city will copy Bogotá which closes streets every Sunday for walking, cycling, jogging, skating and aerobic classes. It could be Edinburgh. If only….

Posted in Active Travel, bikeweek, City of Edinburgh Council, citycycling, Climate Change, commuting, Core Path Network, cycle parking, cycle training, Cycling News, cycling world, cyclingedinburgh, Demonstration Towns, Edinburgh, EducatedTravel, European Moblity Week, Forth Bridge Route Campaign, Safe Routes to School, Safety, Spokes, TryCycling, walking, What the papers say | Leave a Comment »

Film Fest Final Day

Posted by chdot on June 15, 2008

BWFF organiser Maggie Wynn listens to Jacquie Phelan

Another successful Bike Week Film Festival finishes today with two showings.

At 1 o’clock there’s 24-Solo about World Champion Chris Eatough – a “rare glimpse into the personal life of the sport’s most successful 24 Hour racer is a rollercoaster of energy and emotion”.

After a break that will give you time for a ride round Edinburgh and a chance to sample the Filmhouse’s beers and natchos there’s Hardihood at 6.00.

And afterwards one of the film’s stars, Jacquie Phelan, will talk about Mountain Biking and her involvement in the pioneering racing years. If you were at Klunkerz on Friday you know it will be entertaining!

Posted in Art, Bicycle Film Festival, Bike Week, bikeweek, ChangingPace, citycycling, Cycling News, cyclingedinburgh, Edinburgh, ride | 2 Comments »

Let the Festival Begin

Posted by chdot on June 12, 2008

Pioneering Mountain Biker Jacquie Phelan waits for the first film in the Bike Week Film Festival and practices her banjo.

She appears in Klunkerz (Friday) and Hardihood (Sunday) and will be answering questions afterwards.

Posted in Bicycle Film Festival, Bike Week, bikeweek, ChangingPace, Cycling News, Edinburgh | 1 Comment »

Tag a Photo, Win a Prize

Posted by chdot on June 12, 2008

Photo taken at the Shore by blackpuddinonnabike

The internet is a dangerous, wonderful place – full of weird ideas and images. Like almost anything, it can be used in good and bad ways! This site wouldn’t exist without free (and easy) WordPress software. The ever changing strip of images on the right wouldn’t be visible without Flickr. You can now share your dodgy Mountain Bike crash video clips through You Tube (or higher quality versions with Vimeo).

It’s easy to show that cycling is ‘normal’ and ‘fun’ (usually at the same time!) or how it could be made better if facilities were improved. If you are a Flickr user you’ll already know, if not why not give it a try?

A couple of small prizes are on offer for interesting, arty, unusual or thought provoking images ‘to do with cycling’ taken and uploaded to Flickr between today (the start of Edinburgh’s Bike Week Film Festival) and the end of June.

The prizes are on offer from Edinburgh and Leith’s largest bike shops – Edinburgh Bicycle Co-op and the Leith Cycle Co. EBC has 5 branches in Scotland and England. LCC just its Leith Walk shop.

Photos need to be tagged EdinburghBicycle or LeithCycles. EdinburghBicycle tagged photos can be taken anywhere in the UK. LeithCycles ones should be taken in Leith (or close by) – or in some way related to Leith.

Why not brave the tram works on Leith Walk, count the pubs with outside seating (especially around the Shore) and sample the North Edinburgh Path Network and take some photos, upload to Flickr and tag. Even if you don’t win a prize it will have been worth it!

The Cycling in Edinburgh Flickr group has 99 members – the hundredth could be YOU.

Posted in Active Travel, Art, Bicycle Film Festival, bike shops, Bike Week, bikeweek, ChangingPace, citycycling, Core Path Network, cycle parking, cycling world, cyclingedinburgh, Demonstration Towns, Edinburgh, European Moblity Week, Exhibition, ride | 1 Comment »

It’s Bike Week

Posted by chdot on June 9, 2008

It officially starts on Saturday and gets off to a flying start in Edinburgh on Thursday with the Bike Week Film Festival.

The opening event is also a book launch for ‘Heroes,  Villains and Velodromes: Chris, Hoy and the British Cycling Revolution’ by Richard Moore, to be published by HarperCollins on 16 June. (Advance, publication copies will be available for sale at this event.)

Donald Walker,  sports editor of The Scotsman,  will chair a discussion afterwards with Richard Moore and the directors, of Standing Start,  Finlay Pretsell and Adrian McDowall.

The Friday and Sunday film shows will have pioneering Mountain Biker Jacquie Phelan answering questions! Jacquie is in Scotland for a few weeks, riding around, researching for a book and adding her inimitable style to a series of events. Seen here in Bingham with a group of people who hadn’t cycled for YEARS. Watch the video or read her own account.

Other events –

Posted in Active Travel, Bicycle Film Festival, Bike Week, Bikes on trains, bikeweek, ChangingPace, City of Edinburgh Council, citycycling, Climate Change, commuting, Craigmillar Cycles, cycle training, Cycling News, cycling world, cyclingedinburgh, Edinburgh, TryCycling | Leave a Comment »

East Lothian Art Cycle

Posted by chdot on June 5, 2008

It’s 3 Harbours Arts Festival time again. All sorts of interesting and unusual events to watch and take part in. This year for the first time there’s an organised ride along the Prestonpans Murals Trail (Google map).

This is part of “Pedal Power day” in Prestonpans on Saturday. “We will have special eco friendly transport around the Festival. So get on your bike and join in the fun. A great way to see the festival. A prize for the best dress bike.”

The famous Cosy Bike will be giving rides in the three towns on Saturday (7th June) from 1pm onwards. North Berwick trains stop at Prestonpans every hour and can usually carry 8 bikes.

Posted in Art, Bikes on trains, citycycling, Cycling News, cycling world, cyclingedinburgh, Edinburgh, Maps, ride | 2 Comments »

Spokes is 100

Posted by chdot on June 3, 2008

Or at least its Leaflet/Bulletin has just published the hundredth edition. (See all the covers on Flickr.)

As well as all the usual news of successes (often due to the letters and e-mails of Spokes members) and failures (usually Governments’ – at all levels – inability to take cycling seriously), there’s the answer to questions that have puzzled people for years!

“Why A5?? / Why the small typeface??”

“No it’s not that Spokes is bankrupt or that cyclists have bionic eyes! It’s a matter of weight and bulk, for bike delivery. Each issue has 11000-12000 copies, to the above audiences plus bike shops, libraries, and some 500 organisations. Around 2500 envelopes are delivered by bike in Edinburgh and in Lothians towns! – the rest posted.”

So now you know.

Under the heading “The philosophy of the Bulletin” the first item is “Be positive and constructive! We’ll certainly criticise strongly when it’s due but we prefer to praise and thank.”

The last three words certainly apply to Dave du Feu. He of course will ascribe the very impressive success of Spokes to its active members. But without his meticulous collection and dissemination of news and information, much less would have been achieved over the past thirty years. It’s not clear if he plans to produce another 100 issues.

If you are a Spokes member you should get your Bulletin delivered shortly. If not, pick one up at your local bike shop, library etc. – or download the PDF.

In addition, to celebrate the last thirty years of Spokes, there is an exhibition at Edinburgh’s Central Library (George IV Bridge) which will run to the end of June.

Posted in Active Travel, bike shops, citycycling, Cycling News, cycling world, cyclingedinburgh, Edinburgh, Exhibition, Spokes | 1 Comment »

It Might Be Leith

Posted by chdot on June 2, 2008

City of Edinburgh Council is through to the next round of the ‘sustainable travel community’ bid process with its proposal for the Leith Neighbourhood Partnership area.

“It is a partnership project with Local Authorities to reduce car dependence; increase physical activity; reduce emissions and congestion; and promote sustainable places. Activities might include personalised travel planning, improvement of green space, demand management measures and reallocation of road space.”

Twenty eight (out of 32) Scottish councils submitted thirty nine bids, but only thirteen are through to the next stage (full list). Collectively their proposals “significantly exceed the funds available”. So it is likely that fewer than half will get the ‘prize’ of (a share of) £15m over three years.

The shortlisted councils include ones that did well in Cycling Scotland’s recent survey and others that scored more modestly. Top of the list was Fife, famed for its Kingdom of Fife Millennium Cycle Way, and now hoping to develop a scheme in Dunfermline. Fife and Edinburgh (and countless cycle tourists and commuters) would both benefit if money was spent on the cycle route between the city and the Forth Road Bridge!

On the other side of Edinburgh is East Lothian which did badly in all of Cycling Scotland’s nine “topic” areas. East Lothian is a great place to cycle – flat coastal landscapes, Luca’s ice cream, the Pencaitland Railway Path, the train back from North Berwick (usually room for eight bikes) and also the hillier delights of the Lammermuirs. The council has chosen to develop a scheme for Dunbar which is on the East Coast Main Line and keeps trying to get a better train service into Edinburgh. It is also becoming a Transition Town, so there should be plenty of local support.

Support, political and community, is a key element in this new Scottish Government initiative. As it says in the criteria: “Written support from local/national partners: including detailed reference to in-kind and financial support and related activities. Specific references should be made where relevant to the involvement of Community Planning Partnerships, Community Health Partnerships, public transport operators and relevant businesses and environmental groups.”

It will be fairly easy to mobilise local support for plans to improve conditions for walking, cycling and Public Transport use – and upgrade local green spaces. Leith has a wide range of local groups including Greener Leith which has already offered active support. The area even has a community radio station – Leith FM to spread the news.

Councils have until July 9th to produce detailed plans. The outcome should be decided by the end of that month.

Posted in Active Travel, Art, bike security theft, bike shops, Bikes on trains, City of Edinburgh Council, citycycling, Climate Change, commuting, Core Path Network, cycle parking, cycle training, Cycling News, Cycling on the Radio, cycling world, cyclingedinburgh, Demonstration Towns, Edinburgh, EducatedTravel, Forth Bridge Route Campaign, Lothian Buses, Maps, paths, Peak Oil, ride, Safe Routes to School, Safety, Spokes, Sustrans, technology, Trams, TryCycling, walking | Leave a Comment »