Archive for the ‘Art’ Category

Cyclehoop Comes to Edinburgh

Posted by chdot on October 1, 2009


Photo Anthony Lau

Award winning simple cycle parking has arrived in Edinburgh.

The Cyclehoop is a simple but stylish way to provide secure parking for two bikes. It can be fixed to poles commonly seen on most streets for holding (car) parking/waiting/loading information.

They are often used for bike parking already. Cyclehoops demonstrate that bike parking is encouraged, but more importantly make it much less likely that bikes will swivel and fall on the pavement or roadway.

Two have been fixed in West Nicholson Street as part of a trial. Hoops are are available in a range of eye-catching colours – but City of Edinburgh Council will probably stick to black!

London based designer Anthony Lau trained as an architect.

Posted in Active Travel, Art, bike security theft, City of Edinburgh Council, citycycling, commuting, cycle parking, Cycling News, cyclingedinburgh, Edinburgh, EducatedTravel, European Moblity Week, technology, walking | 2 Comments »

Government Relies on Spokes Statistics

Posted by chdot on August 5, 2009


UPDATE: A civil servant has suggested that the headline should say “Holyrood Relies on Spokes Statistics”. “Cycling in Scotland” is produced by the Scottish Parliament not the Scottish Government. It’s assumed that the report’s author looked for statistics from the SG first. It’s also assumed that the SG relies on the best available statistics. If there are better statistics than those compiled by Spokes, Spokes would be keen to have them.

SPICe, the Scottish Parliament Information Centre, has published a concise briefing document titled “Cycling in Scotland”. Many of the statistics quoted have come from Spokes (The Lothian  Cycle Campaign).

Not only does it indicate that Spokes’ surveys of spending on cycling in Scotland are regarded as comprehensive/accurate, it also suggests that no-one in Government is keeping their own tally!

The figures have been compiled for many years by Dave du Feu who has doggedly dealt with Local Authorities – collecting survey answers and compiling the results (and interpreting where necessary). Most Scottish LAs supply information. Getting details from the Government is more difficult.

As “Cycling in Scotland” indicates

Transport Scotland told SPOKES that it was impossible to disentangle the cycle element of trunk road expenditure, but later told Mike Pringle MSP that it amounted to £2m for financial year 2007-2008, so it is assumed that this amount is spent each year on cycle related projects”

This is a footnote from the detailed table produced by Spokes, but its inclusion in this briefing document is significant. As Spokes reports on its own web site “The Spice Research Briefings are intended as impartial documents to inform MSPs and others involved in the work of the Scottish Parliament. They are independent research publications for the entire Parliament, not decided by or controlled by the party which is in government.”

Overall “Cycling in Scotland” is useful background information for MSPs, campaigners and anyone interested in encouraging more people to cycle. Usefully it distinguishes between the two key areas of cycling as they relate to Government policies –

Cycling takes two main forms:

• a form of transport

• a sport, including track and road cycling, mountain biking, BMX, cycle speedway and cyclo-cross

and explains:

This short briefing focuses on cycling as a form of transport. It outlines the legislative and policy framework governing cycling, identifies key organisations and provides cycling related statistics. It goes on to look at sources of funding for cycling projects and the national cycle network.”

This is a useful division and highlights the convention that cycling is either ‘transport’ or ‘sport’. However it is likely that in future a third division will be necessary/desirable.

It is increasingly being recognised that exercise is necessary for good health – physical and mental. There’s a lot of discussion about diet and obesity. Chris Hoy is “Scotland’s first ambassador for mental health“. But money for ‘cycling’ largely comes from ‘transport’ or ‘sport’.

It is quite reasonable to encourage people to cycle to school, shops, work etc. and (as much as possible) record statistics for this, but it probably largely misses the people who cycle for a bit of exercise or to take their kids along a cycle path to the swing park – or just for the fun of cycling!

More importantly the emphasis on ‘transport’ and ‘sport’ perhaps makes it harder to get to people (statistically the majority) who hardly ever cycle – and get the funding to try to encourage them to cycle.

Cycling in Scotland highlights the CAPS (Cycle Action Plan Scotland) process. This is a comprehensive look at ways to increase cycling in Scotland. (YOU can contribute until the 20th of August.) This paragraph outlines some of the intentions

3. For people to have the confidence and the right information to make cycling a realistic choice for some journeys: Provide access to adult and child cycle training and cycle maintenance courses with well trained instructors. Promote the bike-to-work scheme and encourage employers and education providers to become cycle friendly. Produce cycle network maps and an online cycle journey planner.

“Cycling in Scotland” also manages to highlight Spokes’ concerns about funding and future commitment to funding.

Unusually, the CAPS consultation draft was launched without a Scottish Government press release or ministerial statement. Perhaps as a consequence of this, there has been almost no media interest or public comment by stakeholders. However, from what comment there has been it seems that the policy intentions of the consultation draft of CAPS have been welcomed, although concerns have been raised about whether they are backed by sufficient funding. For example Dave du Feu, lead organiser for SPOKES, has stated that “There’s good stuff in the action plan but if they’re not going to spend anything until 2011 – and even then there’s no guarantee that they will – I can’t see it making any difference” (The Herald 2009)

Perhaps the time has come to look beyond ‘transport’ or ‘sport’ for funding. Aren’t ‘health’ and ‘wellbeing’ the main responsibilities of the NHS?

Posted in Active Travel, Airdrie to Bathgate, Art, Bicycle Film Festival, bike security theft, bike shops, Bike Week, Bikes on trains, BikeStation, bikeweek, ChangingPace, Chris Hoy, City of Edinburgh Council, citycycling, Climate Change, commuting, Core Path Network, Craigmillar Cycles, critical mass, CTC, cycle parking, cycle racing, cycle training, Cycling News, Cycling on the Radio, Cycling on TV, Cycling Scotland, cycling world, cyclingedinburgh, Demonstration Towns, Edinburgh, EducatedTravel, ERC, European Moblity Week, Food, Forth Bridge Route Campaign, Glasgow, HEALTH, holidays, Maps, Meadowbank Velodrome, paths, Peak Oil, Physical Activity and Health, ride, Safe Routes to School, Safety, Spokes, Sustrans, technology, TryCycling, walking, What the papers say | Leave a Comment »

Bathgate (to Airdrie) No More

Posted by chdot on July 28, 2009

Sculpture “Legs” by Doug Cocker

If you’ve never cycled on the old railway route between Bathgate and Airdrie you’ve missed the chance for some Central Scotland moorland solitude – and a few sculptures.

The recreation of an extra Edinburgh to Glasgow rail link is proceeding well. The cyclepath was closed last year but many would-be travellers don’t know this.

Sustrans has now issued a press release clarifying things and suggesting alternative routes.

Cyclists are being reminded that a popular traffic-free route between Airdrie and Bathgate is closed, as an increasing number of people pedal to a dead-end.

Sustainable transport charity Sustrans has received calls from cyclists attempting to get onto the former 14-mile route, which ran along a disused railway line.

The railway path formed part of the National Cycle Network Route 75 – a cross-Scotland route linking the Clyde Coast with the Firth of Forth – until last October when it closed as part of a £300 million project to reopen the railway.

Katharine Taylor, National Cycle Network Development Manager for Sustrans Scotland, said: “It is great to see more and more people getting out on their bikes. But because this is the first summer since the route between Airdrie and Bathgate closed, it is catching people out – seemingly anyone from day-trippers to experienced cyclists on a long-distance challenge.

“This route was extremely popular so we’d like to remind them once again that it is now blocked off rather than let people make a wasted journey or face a lengthy detour. We are putting up signs in Airdrie and Bathgate to let people know about the closure, but are unable to sign the whole diversion, so advise people to check the alternative routes suggested on our website before setting out.”

Network Rail will construct a new path close to the original Airdrie and Bathgate route, which is scheduled for completion in December 2010.

Sustrans recommends cyclists and walkers use the towpaths of the Union and Forth and Clyde Canals as a cross-Scotland route. The canals are set to become Route 754 of the National Cycle Network.

Posted in Active Travel, Airdrie to Bathgate, Art, Cycling News | 1 Comment »

Green Passport to TreeFest

Posted by chdot on July 15, 2009


Cycling promoters ChangingPace have organised the third Green Passport Day on the North Edinburgh Path Network. This one is designed to encourage people to walk or cycle to this year’s TreeFest.

On Sunday (19th July) ChangingPace will have a stall where people can bring their Passport for entry into a prize draw. ChangingPace will be offering advice and also hosting a bike obstacle course for children and a basic Dr. Bike safety check.

There are lots of different ways to reach Inverleith Park some suggested routes on EveryTrail (with photos along the routes) –

From Red Bridge (Ferry Road) using NEPN as far as Ainslie Park

Along NEPN from Russell Road (Dalry/Roseburn)

From Raeburn Place Stockbridge

Bellevue via Rodney Street Tunnel and Rocheid Path

There are nine places along the route (map below) with a Pass Port Number to mark on your Passport (distributed to school children in Edinburgh If you want another PRINT THIS).

GPD TF map

Posted in Active Travel, Art, ChangingPace, City of Edinburgh Council, Core Path Network, Cycling News, cycling world, Edinburgh, EducatedTravel, Maps, paths, Safe Routes to School, Spokes, Spokes maps, walking | Leave a Comment »

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 »

Spokes Appeals to Swinney

Posted by chdot on June 8, 2009

spokes letter
Veteran (31 years and still going strong) local cycle campaign group Spokes has written to the Scottish Government’s Cabinet Secretary for Finance and Sustainable Growth, John Swinney, continuing its campaign for increased investment to encourage more people to cycle. (PDF)

It’s not many years since the case would have to be made for the idea of encouraging people to cycle. Now all levels of Government (Westminster, Holyrood and City Chambers) want more people to cycle (more often) but are still failing to understand that the massive increases they say they want will require cash.

As the letter’s author, Dave du Feu, points out – “Transport Minister Stewart Stevenson announced a new government target of 10% of all trips to be by bicycle in the year 2020” and continues “Mr Stevenson and other Ministers refer to comparator European countries such as Denmark which have achieved well over such levels, suggesting that such a target is achievable. However, the difference is that such countries have invested in cycling substantially and consistently over many years, whereas investment in Scotland has hovered around or below 1%, around £3-£4 per head of population, and is now on a significant downward trend. In comparator towns and countries we often find £10-£20 per head, or 5%-10% of transport budgets (even more in some towns).”

(City of Edinburgh Council has recently announced its own target of 15% by 2020 without any indication of sufficient extra investment).

Dave is not just another ‘campaigner’ asking for money for a pet project/vested interest. He has, for many years, collected statistics from all local authorities in Scotland and has a very clear idea of the amount of spending by councils on cycling (not always easy to identify completely accurately) and whether or not that investment is increasing (generally not).

“If the target is to be taken seriously, or even if the government is concerned that cycling investment is falling in contradiction to the aspirations of the SNP manifesto, then the decline in investment must be reversed in the current year, and serious investment towards the target must begin rapidly thereafter.”

Dave’s letter lists suggestions for money required – £5m more in the current financial year, in 2010/11 “a new £20m cycle projects fund, additional to current initiatives, and so roughly doubling existing levels of cycle investment.” As he points out “this proposal, whilst doubling existing cycle investment, would still leave us well below European levels, and certainly not yet on track to meet your 2020 cycle use target.”

Posted in Active Travel, Airdrie to Bathgate, Art, Bikes on trains, bikeweek, ChangingPace, City of Edinburgh Council, citycycling, Climate Change, commuting, connect2, 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, HEALTH, Maps, paths, Peak Oil, ride, Safe Routes to School, Safety, Spokes, Spokes maps, Sustrans, TryCycling, walking | Leave a Comment »

Cycle East Lothian – Sea, Art, Food

Posted by chdot on June 2, 2009

3 Harbours Festival
Just east of Edinburgh is East Lothian. A county of contrasts, (once known as Haddingtonshire), it is mostly rural with rich arable on the flatter land near the coast and sheep grazing on the slopes of the Lammermuirs. The extensive coast has a fishing tradition which remains today and also fabulous sandy beaches.

Easy to access with relatively quiet roads away from the main A1 and an hourly stopping train service to North Berwick with room for 6 bikes. (Mainline trains also stop at Dunbar but booking is required). From Longniddry station there is an off road route gently rising on the old branch line to the county town of Haddington. Outside Drem station are country roads that lead to the large, douce, village of Gullane for dunes, sweeping bay, food and golf.

Prestonpans station is close to the coastal settlements that host the 3 Harbours Arts Festival.Which runs from 5th to 14th of June and promises “Art in Unusual Places” in Prestonpans, Cockenzie and Port Seton.

“Bigger and better than last year, the festival will bring an abundance of musical talent from the Lothians and Edinburgh, a creative mixture of dance forms including belly dancing and a plethora of visual art. Focusing on art in unusual places; highlights include a tremendous collection of artists in the Cockenzie Power Station, the Primary Schools Seafood Poster competition Prestonpans window trail, the model boats and Boatie Blest and the quirky open houses trail in the heart of Cockenzie and Port Seton. There is definitely something for everyone this year.  Also being served is the new addition to the festival – the Seafood Festival.”

Well worth cycling for.

Some routes on | Cycling info from East Lothian Council

Posted in Active Travel, Art, Bike Week, Bikes on trains, commuting, Cycling News, Cycling Scotland, cycling world, cyclingedinburgh, Edinburgh, Food, holidays, Lothian Buses, Maps, Physical Activity and Health, Spokes maps, Sustrans | Tagged: | Leave a Comment »

Bike Week Looms

Posted by chdot on May 31, 2009

Less than a couple of weeks away it’s that annual celebration of cycling that adds a few extra organised rides to the streets of the Capital – and elsewhere throughout the UK.

Find your nearest ride (and a range of other events) on the official Bike Week web site’s Google map.

Some events seem to be offshore – no doubt a technology failure/operator error!

Once again Edinburgh has two fine fixtures – Spokes Bike Breakfast on the 17th and the Bike Week Film Festival (11th to 13th). The breakfast is free, films are at normal Filmhouse prices.

Posted in Active Travel, Art, Bicycle Film Festival, Bike Week, bikeweek, ChangingPace, City of Edinburgh Council, citycycling, Climate Change, commuting, Cycling News, Cycling Scotland, cycling world, cyclingedinburgh, Edinburgh, EducatedTravel, Physical Activity and Health, Spokes, Spokes maps, Sustrans | 1 Comment »

Rapha Ride Today

Posted by chdot on May 30, 2009

Photo Ben Ingham (from a series available as prints)

As a prelude to this evening’s Nocturne racing in central Edinburgh part sponsor/organiser Rapha is organising a ride around the city.

Rapha is a successful upmarket cycle clothing brand which is trading on a mixture of style (with a distinctly retro/nostalgic feel) and quality.

“Rapha will be hosting a ride in conjunction with our retail partner, Edinburgh’s Tri Centre. The ride will leave the Tri Centre (57-59 South Clerk Street) at 13:00 for a scenic tour in and around the city, visiting various monuments and places of interest along the way. Refreshments will be served before the ride and the ride itself will last between 90mins and two hours.”

Posted in Active Travel, Art, bike shops, citycycling, commuting, cycle racing, Cycling News, cyclingedinburgh, Edinburgh, Physical Activity and Health, technology | 2 Comments »

Copenhagen Comes to Edinburgh

Posted by chdot on May 28, 2009

Sustrans womens

Anyone familiar with the web site (a celebration of cycling in a city that has taken bikes seriously for years) will probably have come across Copenhagen Cycle Chic “Streetstyle and Bike Advocacy in High Heels”.

Originally a photo record of well dressed, normal, people (mostly female) going around the Danish capital in all temperatures. It now is increasingly recording people in other cities.

So it seems certain that some photos from Sunday’s Sustrans event will feature there soon! (Pictured here are two of Sustrans‘ Edinburgh staff.)

“Dozens of fashion-conscious cyclists are expected to join the colourful ride along the city’s cycle routes dressed in their favourite outfits.”

“Men are also invited to join the ride, which starts at Haymarket Yards, next to Haymarket Rail Station, on May 31st at 12pm. It will last about one and a half hours along National Cycle Network routes to the north of the city centre. There will be prizes for the most glamorous riders and also a ‘Bling Your Bike’ competition to find the most dressed up bike.”

It seems certain that the riders will cross those on the regular monthly TryCycling In Edinburgh ride which starts at Ainslie Park Leisure Centre at 10.00 taking a leisurely three hours to ride to Cramond and back.

Posted in Art, citycycling, Climate Change, commuting, connect2, Core Path Network, Cycling News, cycling world, cyclingedinburgh, Edinburgh, paths, ride, Sustrans, TryCycling | Leave a Comment »