Archive for the ‘critical mass’ Category
Posted by chdot on March 26, 2010
The Scottish Parliament Transport, Infrastructure and Climate Change Committee has just reported on its “Inquiry into Active Travel”. (Call for submissions)
A wide range of organisations and individuals contributed evidence. The report calls on the Scottish Government to act in many areas and explicitly says that without significant action (and money) there is no change of the SG’s target of 10% of journeys by bike by 2020 being remotely possible.
“Benefits of investment in active travel
191. Alex Macaulay of SEStran expressed the view that “the capital cost of providing for good-quality active travel is relatively modest compared to other major transport investment.” He went on to say that “…it seems to me to be a no-brainer that in times when money is tight we should put it where we will get a bigger bang for our buck.”
The concluding sentence in the report is – “Stronger, more effective and sustained leadership is required from the Scottish Government in order to implement improvements to walking and cycling policies in Scotland.”
Will Scottish Ministers – for Finance, Transport, Health, Education etc. actually sit down together to discuss this document?
Will Alex Salmond ever ride a bike?
Posted in critical mass, Edinburgh, cycle parking, Cycling News, Bikes on trains, cyclingedinburgh, citycycling, cycle racing, cycle training, commuting, City of Edinburgh Council, cycling world, walking, Safe Routes to School, Bike Week, Sustrans, Spokes, EducatedTravel, Forth Bridge Route Campaign, Core Path Network, bike shops, Demonstration Towns, Peak Oil, Climate Change, Active Travel, Cycling Scotland, Physical Activity and Health, cyclestreets.net, Curriculum for Excellence | Leave a Comment »
Posted by chdot on January 10, 2010
Edinburgh born cycling historian and writer, Andrew Ritchie, is planning to self-publish his next book.
And he’s looking for 100 people to pledge to buy it.
Of course the book’s subtitle may put people off – “Bicycle Racing: Sport, Technology and Modernity, 1867 – 1903″
The title may not appeal either “Quest for Speed“. The knowledge that it is a “substantially revised version of my doctoral dissertation, ‘Bicycle Racing and Recreation: Sport, Technology and Modernity, 1867 – 1903′”, may convince you to keep your pledge in your pocket.
But wait: This is an extract from the abstract (FULL version and details of all chapters) –
“Quest for Speed provides a chronological, developmental, historical account of the emergence of bicycle racing and bicycle technology between 1867 and 1903, focusing to a large extent on Britain, but also investigating France and the United States as the two other major players. As a social and cultural history, it gives an outline of the social and institutional organization of cycling and the wider cultural, economic and technological context of the sport. In doing so, it tackles themes of class, nationality, industry and commerce, the press, speed, and the physical capacities of the human body, and also the nature and definition of ‘modernity’.
Even that might sound a bit dry, but the book will be well illustrated – Andrew is an accomplished cycling image researcher. (He fell out with a prospective publisher who balked at the number of proposed illustrations.)
His first book King of the Road has the following on the back cover –
“Andrew Ritchie, himself a passionate cyclist, has widely researched little know collections of pictures, and has found many fascinating books, articles and documents on the early days of the bicycle and its changing design and social importance. Ultimately, he argues, the history of the bicycle has only just begun and it could provide an answer to many of today’s crucial transportation problems.”
That was written 35 years ago.
Maybe it’s beginning to come true…
You can be part of cycling history by promising to buy this book – the first 100 people will have their names in the first (limited edition) print run.
Send an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org and contain your excitement for a few months. Your coffee table will have to wait too.
Posted in critical mass, Edinburgh, Cycling News, Glasgow, cyclingedinburgh, citycycling, cycle racing, commuting, technology, CTC, EducatedTravel, Sheldon Brown, Climate Change, Physical Activity and Health, Books, History | Leave a Comment »
Posted by chdot on September 17, 2009
“Looks like a lot of fun” Tom Morton Radio Scotland
Tomorrow Edinburgh will have three “Bike Friday” rides. This is the first time that the city has tried to run such organised commutes. Billed as “Edinburgh’s social cycle commute” it will be interesting to see who turns up – and in what numbers!
Similar events have been run in Manchester and London and attract a mix of regular commuters looking for some company plus ‘new’ riders who welcome the security of having other riders with them.
It’s not a Critical Mass, trying to take over the streets once a month and (reasonably) assert that bikes have a right to the streets too. It’s certainly not a race.
The rides will be led and marshalled by experienced riders who will set a reasonable pace and (in places) probable be faster than the ‘rush’ hour traffic. (Yesterday’s Commuter Challenge proved that bikes are a pretty good way to get around the city quickly). Parts of the routes will be on quiet roads and pedestrian/cycle only sections. The routes have been chosen with care with an understanding of likely traffic in the morning. Not the fastest routes or most scenic – a mix of real life riding in Edinburgh. (Other routes are available… Find your own using edinburgh.cyclestreets.net.)
The route from South Gyle hardly has to deal with traffic until Haymarket.
The ride from Gracemount uses Ellen’s Glen Road (local traffic only) and then busy roads (with bike and bus lanes in places) to The Grange and on through The Meadows.
From Portobello it’s along The Prom and (mostly) wide roads until Holyrood Park then ‘underneath’ Edinburgh via the Cowgate and Grassmarket where bikes are likely to be able to ‘rush’ past the motor traffic.
All rides start at 8.00 and finish in Festival Square roughly 40 minutes later. There will be a Spokes stall for advice and info (you could make you own way there). You can swap commuting tales and, perhaps, arrange to run your own Bike Friday/Thursday/Wednesday/Tuesday/Monday.
If you fancy coming along for part of the ride, that’s fine. Check the routes but note that they are likely but not guaranteed. Also (apart from the 8.00 start) timings are not precise but expect to see a group of cyclist passing through Holyrood Park, Roseburn Park and The Grange round about 8.15.
Bike Friday is being organised by ChangingPace as part of European Mobility Week with funding from City of Edinburgh Council.
If these rides are successful/popular they may become regular events. Perhaps more/different routes, perhaps starting in the city centre. If you want to ride in a smaller group (or just with another person – or even carshare) why not register with the SEStran TripShare/BikeBudi scheme.
Posted in Active Travel, ChangingPace, City of Edinburgh Council, citycycling, Climate Change, commuting, Core Path Network, critical mass, cycle training, Cycling News, Cycling Scotland, cycling world, cyclingedinburgh, Edinburgh, EducatedTravel, European Moblity Week, Forth Bridge Route Campaign, HEALTH, Maps, paths, Peak Oil, Physical Activity and Health, ride, Safe Routes to School, Safety, Spokes, Spokes maps, Sustrans, TryCycling | Leave a Comment »
Posted by chdot on September 11, 2009
Next Friday three groups of cyclists will set off from different parts of Edinburgh and head for Festival Square (off Lothian Road).
It will be Edinburgh’s first organised ride for cycling ‘commuters’. It’s an event in Edinburgh’s European Mobility Week and is a mixture of social fun and confidence building.
Similar rides already exist in Manchester and London. The rides will be led and marshalled by experienced cyclists and will take routes that involve quiet streets and some busy roads.
A good turnout is expected – helped by Edinburgh Bicycle telling all its customers in the weekly email newsletter.
In Festival Square Spokes (The Lothian Cycle Campaign) will have an information stall.
Spokes does a cycle count on Lothian Road twice a year. It records that bicycles are a growing percentage of the ‘rush hour’ traffic.
Posted in Active Travel, ChangingPace, City of Edinburgh Council, citycycling, Climate Change, commuting, Core Path Network, critical mass, cycle training, Cycling News, cyclingedinburgh, Edinburgh, EducatedTravel, European Moblity Week, Lothian Buses, paths, Peak Oil, Safe Routes to School, Safety, Spokes, Spokes maps, TryCycling | 3 Comments »
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
“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 »
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 »
Posted by chdot on May 26, 2009
City of Edinburgh Council is often criticised for the gap between its (sometimes lukewarm) pro-cycling rhetoric and the realities in the streets. Manifesto pledges for a ‘model cycling city’ are, so far, little more than words.
Things may be about to change. Fairly new Head of Transport Marshall Poulton travelled to Brussels (probably not by bike) to sign the new Charter of Brussels. Surprisingly Edinburgh is the UK’s first city to adopt its principles. (Even accident avoiding London Mayor Boris Johnson missed out on this photo opportunity.)
Marshall and CEC Cycling Officer Chris Brace were in Belgium for Velo-city 2009 – the latest version of the assembly of cycle planners and campaigners that was hosted by Edinburgh and Glasgow in 2001.
The key passage that Edinburgh has agreed to says: “To set a target of at least 15% for the share of cycling in the modal split of trips for the year 2020 and of further growth if this target already is achieved.”
The truth is this is hugely ambitious – but not impossible. The current share is closer to 5%. The target doesn’t necessarily mean a tripling of cycling (though that would be nice). Less car use will need to be a significant factor. More passenger journeys on public transport will be beneficial to all road users, but will do little to shift the balance between 5% and 15%.
Politicians (local and national) have to grasp the reality that having accepted that it is a ‘good thing’ to encourage cycling it will require a significant change in attitudes – AND money. More people need to feel that cycling on normal roads is ‘safe’. There is little scope in Edinburgh for many segregated cycle lanes on existing roads. Maintaining the current on-road cycle lanes properly would be a good start.
Cycle Training for all pupils (in school time) should be implemented as part of the new Curriculum for Excellence. Widespread availability of practical training/encouragement for adults (especially parents of school age children) would be a good idea.
Politicians have to stop believing that voters=motorists. Even where that is true they are also pedestrians, cyclists, shoppers, parents of children too young to drive, children of people too old to drive, etc.
The Charter ends:
“Furthermore, the signers of this charter call upon all authorities worldwide, at all levels to strongly promote cycling and to incorporate cycling into all areas of policy (health, spatial planning, city management, economy, mobility and traffic, leisure, sports, tourism).”
Earlier this year Copenhagen brought an exhibition (Dreams on Wheels) about its cycling vision to the Botanics. Perhaps in a few years Edinburgh will be able to justifiably boast about its own achievements.
Posted in Active Travel, Bicycle Film Festival, bike security theft, bike shops, Bike Week, Bikes on trains, ChangingPace, Chris Hoy, City of Edinburgh Council, citycycling, Climate Change, commuting, Core Path Network, critical mass, cycle parking, cycle racing, cycle training, Cycling News, Cycling Scotland, cycling world, cyclingedinburgh, Demonstration Towns, Edinburgh, EducatedTravel, European Moblity Week, Exhibition, Forth Bridge Route Campaign, Glasgow, HEALTH, holidays, Lothian Buses, Maps, Meadowbank Velodrome, paths, Peak Oil, Physical Activity and Health, ride, Safe Routes to School, Safety, Spokes, Spokes maps, Sustrans, technology, Trams, TryCycling, walking | 3 Comments »
Posted by chdot on May 8, 2009
Improving Road Safety for Pedestrians and Cyclists in Great Britain is a new report from the National Audit Office. It reports that “the number of cyclists killed or seriously injured fell from 2000 to 2004, but rose again by 11 per cent from 2004 to 2007, despite the amount of cycling staying broadly constant.”
“Nearly one quarter of all trips are one mile or less, and over 40 per cent are within two miles and so potentially suitable distances for either activity. Improving the actual and perceived safety of walking and cycling will help to increase the uptake of these activities. Improving child safety on the roads is also a key strand of the Government’s Public Service Agreement to improve the safety of children and young people, who are more dependent than adults on walking and cycling.”
The report concentrates on the Department of Transport and so some of it is not directly applicable to Scotland, but issues are largely the same with many responsibilities in the hands of local authorities.
Executive summary (PDF – 250KB)
Full report (PDF – 1268KB)
Press notice (HTML)
This report comes just after the CTC released “Safety in Numbers” which conclusively proves that increasing the number of people cycling (and the amount they cycle) has a very positive effect on safety.
Posted in Active Travel, Bike Week, ChangingPace, City of Edinburgh Council, citycycling, commuting, Core Path Network, critical mass, CTC, cycle parking, cycle training, Cycling News, Cycling Scotland, cycling world, cyclingedinburgh, Edinburgh, EducatedTravel, HEALTH, Safety, TryCycling, walking | 1 Comment »
Posted by chdot on May 5, 2009
Of course we’re not talking Straiton here.
“Saturday Morning Ride to IKEA on the Cargo Bike” is the latest post on the famous/delightful/groundbraking (sic) blog copenhagenize.com (subtitle “Life in the World’s Cycling Capital”).
Remarkably the photo shows various similarities with the stretch of dual carriageway at Burdiehouse where cyclists are encouraged to ride on the pavement. After that they have to deal with the turning for Lang Loan, the Bypass underpass, a roundabout and Midlothian (where IKEA is).
If you visited the stylish Dreams on Wheels exhibition at The Botanics earlier this year you will have some idea of what is possible when a local authority takes the idea of encouraging more people to ride bikes very seriously.
You will also have been impressed by the photos of ‘ordinary’ people becoming mobile models in their daily lives . Such photos are collected on “our streetstyle sister blog” COPENHAGEN CYCLE CHIC.
Posted in Active Travel, Art, City of Edinburgh Council, citycycling, Climate Change, commuting, Core Path Network, critical mass, cycle parking, Cycling News, Cycling Scotland, cycling world, cyclingedinburgh, Edinburgh, EducatedTravel, European Moblity Week, Exhibition, HEALTH, Midlothian, paths, Peak Oil, Physical Activity and Health, ride, Safety, walking | Leave a Comment »
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 »