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Archive for June, 2009

Chris Hoy Wins Again

Posted by chdot on June 30, 2009

This year’s winner of The Edinburgh Award is Sir Chris. (Press release)

“The Edinburgh Award was set up in 2007 to recognise an individual’s outstanding achievements and contribution to the city of Edinburgh. The winner is selected by a judging panel chaired by the Lord Provost, with representatives from all political groups on the City of Edinburgh Council, Edinburgh Voluntary Organisations Council and the business community.”

Previous winners are writers Ian Rankin and JK Rowling. Another nominee this year for “services to cycling” was Maggie Wynn of ChangingPace.

UPDATE – Chris Hoy’s acceptance speech

Posted in Bicycle Film Festival, Cycling News | Leave a Comment »

“IS THE GOVERNMENT SERIOUS?”

Posted by chdot on June 29, 2009

Is the Government seriousThat’s the question Scottish cycle campaign groups are asking this morning.

Spokes (Edinburgh) and Go Bike (Glasgow) are handing out leaflets to delegates at the transport, technology and climate change conference in Glasgow.

The handout contains a selection of quotes – e.g.

Transport is the poorest performing area in terms of sustainable development” and, within this badly performing area, “Active travel (walking and cycling) is in relative decline...”

Sustainable Development Commission’s Review of Progress by the Scottish Government, November 2008

It also lists a few of the things the Government is and isn’t doing – e.g.

We are developing a Cycle Action Plan.” Correct and good – but there is no commitment to investment. The Action Plan is in any case very overdue, and allows the SNP government a full period of office with minimal and declining cycle investment.

The campaigners conclude –

“more” means “less.”

Posted in Active Travel, ChangingPace, City of Edinburgh Council, citycycling, Climate Change, commuting, cycle parking, Cycling News, Cycling Scotland, cycling world, cyclingedinburgh, Demonstration Towns, Edinburgh, EducatedTravel, European Moblity Week, Forth Bridge Route Campaign, Glasgow, Lothian Buses, Peak Oil, Physical Activity and Health, ride, Safe Routes to School, Spokes, Sustrans, walking | Leave a Comment »

“Smarter Ways Forward”

Posted by chdot on June 23, 2009

Smarter Ways Forward
Photo Colin Howden

Smarter Ways Forward is the latest report from transport pressure group Transform Scotland Trust. It’s 50 pages of detailed research into the results of various measures, north and south of the border, encouraging people to walk, cycle and take public transport.

It highlights the ongoing problems and some of the answers:-

“Distances as short as one kilometre are regularly travelled by car (Scottish Executive 2005). Nearly a quarter of car journeys are less than 2 miles and over a half of all journeys made by car are less than 5 miles (CfIT 2007). Research on the impact of Smarter Choices by Sustrans/Socialdata found significant modal shift is possible: 50% of all local car trips in non-metropolitan towns could be replaced by walking, cycling and/or public transport (CfIT 2007).”

Annual surveys of school children in Scotland demonstrate a small shift towards more walkng and cycling.

Sustrans’ National Hands-Up Survey Scotland 2008 (May 2009) reported that 51.8% of Scottish children travel to school by active travel modes – a greater number that those who get to school by car, bus or taxi (47.7%). The number of children cycling (2.8%) or walking (48.3%) to school was greater than Sustrans had expected. It was found that 27.6% of children were driven to school for all or part of their journey (6.1% of this amount took the car for part of the journey and walked the rest) while 18.1%” took the bus.”

Transform’s researchers asked local authorities what would help them implement measures and what, if any, problems they had encountered in attempting to implement measures. The report finds that “general problems such as ingrained car culture among staff, and lack of senior management buy-in to Smarter Choices make it difficult for them to implement various measures”.

In Edinburgh there is some evidence that such attitudes are being. slowly, overcome. The Council’s recent adoption of a policy of ‘15% by 2020’ for cycle journeys is a massive step forward, though a few days later the firm target was officially described as “aspirational”

The conclusions of Smarter Ways Forward (page 32) are under five main headings: –

A national Smarter Choices programme – “..The programme would be delivered at local and regional levels – making commonplace the implementation of schemes such as workplace travel plans, school travel plans, car clubs, and car sharing..”

Car clubs – “..a review of possible support strategies that would encourage the development of car clubs to serve communities throughout Scotland.

(Tele-)Conferencing -“Local authorities (and/or RTPs) should increase access for small businesses and voluntary organisations to affordable conferencing facilities through creation of local ICT hubs.”

School travel plans – “..We recommend that School Travel Coordinator posts be a mandatory requirement of Local Authorities; that Local Authorities should provide adequate budgets for school travel planning; and that the Scottish Government (as part of recommendation 1.1 above), consider reinstating ringfenced funding for the School Travel Coordinator programme.”

Public transport information – “The Association of Transport Co-ordinating Officers in Scotland (ATCO Scotland) should take forward work on improving common standards for public transport information across Scotland..”

Is it possible that the Government can ignore another well researched and well argued report on ‘sustainable’ transport that addresses some of the issues that need to be dealt with if the ambitious targets of the Climate Change Bill (today in Holyrood) are to be met?

Posted in Active Travel, bike security theft, Bikes on trains, ChangingPace, City of Edinburgh Council, citycycling, Climate Change, commuting, Core Path Network, cycle parking, cycle training, Cycling News, Cycling Scotland, cycling world, cyclingedinburgh, Demonstration Towns, Edinburgh, EducatedTravel, European Moblity Week, Forth Bridge Route Campaign, Lothian Buses, Maps, paths, Peak Oil, Physical Activity and Health, ride, Safe Routes to School, Safety, Spokes, Sustrans, TryCycling, walking | Leave a Comment »

“investment in walking and cycling is declining”

Posted by chdot on June 17, 2009

delivering climate change

That’s the sad, but very understandable, conclusion of Transform Scotland after reading the Scottish Government’s new Climate Change Delivery Plan.

Press release in full –

Responding to today’s launch of its Climate Change Delivery Plan, Transform Scotland have criticised the Scottish Government’s plans as being unambitious on transport.

Colin Howden, Director of Transform Scotland, said:

“Transport is the basket case of climate change policy. It is the second largest sector for emissions after heat, and it is the sector where things are still going in the wrong direction.

“The delivery plan does a good job of setting out the range of measures that could reduce emissions from the transport sector – including demand management, investment in active travel and Smarter Choices, and cutting speed limits. The problem is that Government action in these areas is small and stunted: investment in walking and cycling is declining, the budget for Smarter Choices is tiny, while there is little action to ensure the enforcement of current speed limits let alone reducing speed limits.

“All of this contrasts with the Government’s multi-billion road-building programme – which goes strangely unmentioned in this document. At £2,000 million, the proposed Second Forth Road Bridge on its own represents 100 years of Government investment in active travel at current levels.

“There remains a huge mismatch between Government stated aspirations towards reducing greenhouse gas emissions and its own spending priorities. If the Government truly wants to deliver on its climate change targets then it needs to give top priority to low-cost and swiftly deliverable investments in active travel and Smarter Choices measures, rather than relying on the vain hope that technological change – mainly outwith its control – will come to save the day.”

Posted in Active Travel, bike security theft, Bike Week, Bikes on trains, bikeweek, ChangingPace, citycycling, Climate Change, commuting, connect2, Core Path Network, CTC, cycle parking, cycle training, Cycling News, Cycling Scotland, cyclingedinburgh, Demonstration Towns, Edinburgh, EducatedTravel, European Moblity Week, Forth Bridge Route Campaign, HEALTH, Lothian Buses, Maps, paths, Peak Oil, ride, Safe Routes to School, Safety, Spokes, Sustrans, technology, TryCycling, walking, What the papers say | 4 Comments »

Free Breakfast – Courtesy of the Council

Posted by chdot on June 16, 2009

Spokes Bike Breakfast 2007s
In the morning (Wednesday) there’s the annual Spokes Bike Breakfast, at the City Chambers, as part of Bike Week. From 8.00 there will be orange juice, cofffee, bacon, rolls and scrambled eggs.

In addition there will be stalls from organisations like Spokes, Sustrans and Transform. There’s “free chain clean and lube from Edinburgh Bicycle” – the first 100 people to the Edinburgh Bicycle stall get a free gift pack. The first 20 arrivals to the Spokes stall will get a free Spokes map.

As well as food and information there’s usually some serious networking and lobbying by Edinburgh’s cycle campaigners as various Councillors and MSPs pass by. There will be speeches – including Councillors Paul Edie (Lib Dem), Convenor of the City Health Committee and Steve Burgess (Green).

Around 9.30 Cycling Scotland will lead a small group of MSPs on a short tour. (The current forecast is for heavy rain).

Posted in Active Travel, Bike Week, bikeweek, ChangingPace, City of Edinburgh Council, citycycling, Climate Change, commuting, Core Path Network, CTC, cycle parking, cycle training, Cycling News, Cycling Scotland, cycling world, cyclingedinburgh, Edinburgh, EducatedTravel, Safe Routes to School, Spokes, Spokes maps, Sustrans | Leave a Comment »

iPhone 3.0 Week

Posted by chdot on June 15, 2009


Not everyone has, wants or could afford to have an iPhone, but they can be of great use to cyclists. At a basic level it’s a ‘phone, with text, e-mail and (almost) full web access. So it’s ‘your office in your pocket’ and means, if you have a flexible work life, more chances to go cycling without being ‘out of contact’!

In addition it is a highly effective GPS device which tells you where you are and, using the built in Google Maps Application, can help to plan routes. This is confined to on-road routes as Google doesn’t know much about cyclepaths!

For planning cycle journeys it’s hard to beat CycleStreets.net. This is officially a “public beta” and is getting better every day due to feedback from users (and people adding data to the underlying Open Street Map base.)

On Wednesday iPhone maker Apple is releasing the the latest version of its software – iPhone OS 3.0. The main difference is that copy and paste and device-wide searching will be available – things that should really have been available two years ago.

One thing that sets the iPhone apart from other ‘smart ‘phones’ is the availability of Apps (applications/programs). Many are free, some are really useful. Pictured here are pins produced by the FirePin app. This records your journey and automatically uploads it to the Internet. So you can see where you went, show other people ‘suggested routes’ or even let people know where you are while you are actually cycling.

Another very useful mapping app is EveryTrail which also lets you take photos with the iPhone’s 2MP camera and puts them on an on-line map (which can be kept private). Again good for showing places to go (e.g. Braid Burn from Morningside to the Pentland foothills). Cycling with an iPhone in one hand is not a good idea…

On Friday Apple releases its 3rd generation handset – iPhone 3G S (watch for queues of desperate ‘must-haves’ outside O2 shops). This promises faster processing, a better camera and an electronic compass.

UPDATE: Today an iPhone alternative to Google maps was launched (details), but so far it seems to be US only.

Posted in Active Travel, ChangingPace, citycycling, Climate Change, commuting, Core Path Network, CTC, Cycling News, Cycling Scotland, cycling world, cyclingedinburgh, Edinburgh, EducatedTravel, European Moblity Week, HEALTH, Maps, paths, Physical Activity and Health, ride, Safe Routes to School, Spokes maps, technology | 4 Comments »

Velib Comes to Capital

Posted by chdot on June 12, 2009


Photo sidewaysbike

Yes that looks like Edinburgh’s Rose Street, but of course it’s Dublin. (More photos on Velovision Forum by Sideways Bike inventor Michael Killian.) London is due to be next and Edinburgh – one day, maybe. City of Edinburgh Council is actively looking into the idea – having seen the success in Paris.

There is a real possibility that Edinburgh’s version of a mass bike hire scheme could arrive before the first trams run.

Imagine an immaculately resurfaced Princes Street (tram line laying there due to be finished by the end of this year) with a Velib station by every block (perhaps where the bus stops used to be) and the buses still running via George Street.

This is certainly the vision of Spokes which is calling for Princes Street to be just for pedestrians, cyclists and trams. Remarkable this idea seems to have struck a chord with Councils officials and politicians and many Edinburgh residents.

Maybe it’s a ‘must do’ if Edinburgh is to have any hope of the proposed 15% of journeys, by bike, by 2020.

Posted in Active Travel, Art, bike security theft, Bikes on trains, citycycling, Climate Change, cycle parking, Cycling News, cyclingedinburgh, Edinburgh, European Moblity Week, Lothian Buses, Peak Oil, Physical Activity and Health, Spokes, technology, Trams, TryCycling | 1 Comment »

Bike Week Film Festival Starts Today

Posted by chdot on June 11, 2009


Edinburgh’s Filmhouse plays host to the Bike Week Film Festival for the 4th time this year. 

Tonight there’s the chance to see Dave Sowerby’s sensational YouTube video hit, Inspired Bicycles, showing off the exploits of talented Edinburgh based rider Danny MacAskill on the big screen.

Danny is on a non-stop 24 day tour demonstrating his skills in person, but Dave is expected to attend. 

The main event is Mark Huskisson’s film Home which “combines a celebration of mountain biking with a passion for shooting in stunning landscapes”.

Afterwards Chris Ball of Dirtschool (who appears in Home) will lead a discussion on cycling – in Scotland (audience participation welcome).

Posted in Active Travel, Bicycle Film Festival, Bike Week, bikeweek, ChangingPace, citycycling, Climate Change, commuting, Core Path Network, cycle parking, cycle racing, cycle training, Cycling News, Cycling Scotland, cycling world, cyclingedinburgh, Edinburgh, EducatedTravel, TryCycling | Leave a Comment »

Will WNBR Happen In Edinburgh this Year?

Posted by chdot on June 10, 2009


Edinburgh isn’t very good at doing mass cycling events that are wildly successful elsewhere. On the last Friday of each month thousands take to the streets in more than 300 cities across the world in local Critical Masses. Here it’s just a few people, maybe.

Similarly with WNBR.  70 cities have citizens brave enough to take some, or all of their clothes off (‘official’ dress code is “As Bare As You Dare”). Last year (see photo) a few dozen people who were willing to show as much skin as might be seen on Porty beach assembled on Middle Meadow Walk by the Sustrans signpost. A few even contemplated revealing more, but Lothian and Borders Police have a very firm position on such things… 

This year no-one has been bothered to organise WNBR here. If you pass by at 3.00 you may see more Police than participants (you’ll be missing the Cycle Speedway International too!

Posted in Active Travel, Bike Week, bikeweek, Climate Change, critical mass, Cycling News, Cycling Scotland, cycling world, cyclingedinburgh, Edinburgh, Physical Activity and Health, ride | 8 Comments »

Cycle Speedway International Comes to Edinburgh

Posted by chdot on June 10, 2009

Cycle Speedway posters
Scotland’s only Cycle Speedway club, Edinburgh Falcons CSC, is hosting the Home International on Saturday.

Teams from England, Ireland, Scotland and Wales will compete elbow to elbow, (it’s a contact sport), at the red bleas Rebraes track (map).

Thrills and spills in fast four lap heats.

Tapes up 2.00 (admission FREE).

Posted in Bike Week, bikeweek, citycycling, cycle racing, Cycling News, Cycling Scotland, cycling world, cyclingedinburgh, Edinburgh, Physical Activity and Health | Leave a Comment »