Archive for the ‘Cycling on the Radio’ Category

Bikes to the Fore in Commuter Challenge

Posted by chdot on September 16, 2009

First arrival at St. Andrew Square in today’s annual Commuter Challenge was Richard Bloodworth (left) on a minimalist recumbent. He covered the four miles from The Royal Infirmary in just 15 minutes – half the time of the bus.

A tandem was the first arrival from Ocean Terminal – again twice as fast as the bus. Though even the bus passenger was quicker than the father/daughter carshare team – finding a legal parking space takes time!

The fastest average speed from all four staring places was 21mph on two wheels – but with the benefit of an engine. Second fastest was the train and Brompton combination from Queen Margaret University (Musselburgh station).

The flat out fastest cyclist managed 16.1mph on the 7 miles from the park and ride at Ingliston.

BBC Radio Scotland’s Good Morning Scotland reporter David Miller did a live report from QMU then drove to his office in Holyrood Road and walked to the finish to broadcast interviews with CC organiser Maggie Wynn and Alex Macaulay, Partnership Director of event sponsor SEStran. SEStran is involved with public transport and also encouraging people to walk, cycle and carshare.


Photos from the finish can be viewed on Flickr.



Posted in Active Travel, Bikes on trains, ChangingPace, citycycling, Climate Change, commuting, cycle training, Cycling News, Cycling on the Radio, cyclingedinburgh, EducatedTravel, European Moblity Week, Lothian Buses, Peak Oil, Physical Activity and Health, ride, Safety, tandem, walking | Leave a Comment »

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 »

Edinburgh Cyclists Cross Canada

Posted by chdot on July 28, 2009

UPDATE: Euan’s back. BBC story

Euan Hunter
Photo by cyclingtheamericas Photo by Euan Hunter

Two Edinburgh cyclists are currently crossing Canada on solo adventures.

One, Mark Beaumont, is already well known for his 18,000 miles circumnavigation of the globe which ended in February last year. He is currently “Cycling the Americas” from Alaska to Ushuaia in Southern Argentina – which will take him until next February.

By contrast a five week trip from Vancouver to Halifax (due to end this week) may seem simple. However the rider, former Currie High pupil Euan Hunter, has only been 18 for a few days! Cycle Canada 2009 is certainly adventurous and has been eventful.

His mother Cathleen reports: “He’s got sore knees, an ulnar nerve palsy (temporary paralysis of the muscles of his left hand due to prolonged cycling), a few bumps and bruises, bashes on his bike and a dent in his helmet, but he’s still in one piece so far with only a few hundred miles to go.

“He has carried all his own gear and camping most nights.  So far he has had a few adventures, including encounters with mosquitoes, a reindeer and a baby bear!”

Both riders are blogging and twittering. Mark is ahead in the technology stakes with solar panels and a satellite dish + video equipment good enough for making a BBC1 series!

Mark has even taken time to add a comment to Euan’s blog.

Hi Euan

Congratulations on a great ride so far. Well done also on running such an up to date blog – I know how challenging this can be as well as riding the miles each day. I am sure you have met some great people along the way – Canada is such a welcoming country. I am currently in BC, a week from the US border and it is seriously hot in the west! Only 13,000 miles to go! Keep taking on your dreams.

All the best,

Mark Beaumont

Euan has published a list of “My 50 things to do in my lifetime“. He includes the Canadian trip plus “Cycle a leg of the Tour de France”. In addition his ambitions include “Become independant of technology for at least a year” – that might be more of a challenge!

Posted in Active Travel, Cycling News, Cycling on the Radio, Cycling on TV, Cycling Scotland, cycling world, cyclingedinburgh, Edinburgh, holidays, ride | Leave a Comment »

Commuter Challenge Volunteers Wanted

Posted by chdot on September 10, 2008
Once again Edinburgh is to have a Commuter Challenge as part of European Mobility Week. For the past few years the destination has been Princes Street. 

For 2008 (Friday 19th September) it will be the newly opened, almost tranquil, St. Andrew Square gardens – complete with cafe.

Participants will set off from each of four departure points around Edinburgh (the Park and Ride site at Ingliston, Newcraighall Station, Ocean Terminal and Edinburgh Royal Infirmary) and travel by car, bus, train, motorcycle or bicycle.

Organiser Maggie Wynn of ChangingPace is looking for volunteers travelling either by their normal means of transport, or trying a different one for the day. “The challenge compares some typical commuter journeys into the centre of Edinburgh for speed, cost and impact on climate change.  We hope that the results will help people make their own minds up about how they want to travel to work.”

Departures will be timed so that the participants from each starting point will arrive at St Andrew’s Square around 8.15am.

It’s not a race – all participants will have to follow the highway code and other regulations, so car drivers will have to observe the speed limit and park legally, public transport users will have to buy a ticket, and cyclists will only be allowed to use roads and recognised cycle routes). Awards will be given for the earliest arrivals from each of the four departure points. Coffee and buns for registered participants!

If you want to join in the fun, e-mail Maggie Wynn (or ‘phone 07914 727 018)

Posted in Active Travel, Bikes on trains, ChangingPace, City of Edinburgh Council, citycycling, Climate Change, commuting, Core Path Network, cycle parking, Cycling News, Cycling on the Radio, Cycling on TV, cycling world, cyclingedinburgh, Edinburgh, EducatedTravel, European Moblity Week, Lothian Buses, paths, Peak Oil, ride, Spokes, Spokes maps, Sustrans, walking, What the papers say | 2 Comments »

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 »

Challenging Fuel Prices

Posted by chdot on May 27, 2008

Today and tomorrow, newspapers, radio and TV will be full of headlines and stories about ‘hardships’ caused by the cost of fuel, the effect on ‘poor’ people of the proposed Vehicle Excise Duty increase, etc.

It seems likely that Labour politicians worried about losing their seats and Conservative politicians keen to achieve power will all be maneuvering to propose ‘popular’ ‘solutions’.

The simple fact is that fuel prices are likely to rise significantly in the coming years, due to increasing world demand. Also, whether or not ‘Peak oil’ has been reached, it will become more difficult (and therefore more expensive) to find and extract future oil – especially the grades that produce transport fuels.

A 1998 Government report Car Dependence in Rural Scotland, (published on Christmas Eve – so perhaps hardly noticed), contained the heading Transport policy : reactions and evaluations. It noted: “Given the central place which cars occupy in the collective consciousness, any policy designed to make driving less convenient or more expensive will be strongly resisted, regardless of whether households would be significantly affected or not.”

Not much has changed in ten years. It’s not clear whether politicians are reluctant to ‘offend’ floating voters or just have equal desires to own and use cars without sufficient thought for the implications or consequences.

In spite of the notion that ‘everyone’ is a ‘motorist’, a significant proportion of Scottish households don’t have ‘access to a car’ – over 30% (report based on 2001 census) – and much higher in some parts of urban areas. Under 17s aren’t allowed to drive and many elderly or infirm people don’t, so car ownership and use is far from universal. There is also a noticeable gender gap. Just look at the people waiting for buses. As well as young and old, there are generally far more women than men. Anyone who advocates a ‘fairer society’ – all political parties these days – should perhaps wonder whether it’s fair to listen to the travellers who make the most noise, or the ones with fewer (or different) choices.

The photos at the top were taken in Muenster (there are similar images from elsewhere). They clearly show the benefits for cyclists and pedestrians of the ‘modal shift’ that governments claim to want. More space to move, cleaner air to breathe, quicker, more reliable, bus services etc.

Report by Professor Gilbert N. Hanson states –

* Bicycle: 72 people are transported on 72 bikes, which requires 90 square meters.
* Car: Based on an average occupancy of 1.2 people per car, 60 cars are needed to transport 72 people, which takes 1,000 square meters.
* Bus: 72 people can be transported on 1 bus, which only requires 30 square meters of space and no permanent parking space, since it can be parked elsewhere.

Posted in Active Travel, City of Edinburgh Council, citycycling, Climate Change, commuting, CTC, cycle parking, Cycling News, Cycling on the Radio, Cycling on TV, cycling world, cyclingedinburgh, Demonstration Towns, Edinburgh, EducatedTravel, European Moblity Week, HEALTH, Lothian Buses, Peak Oil, Safe Routes to School, Safety, TryCycling, walking, What the papers say | 1 Comment »

Scottish Cyclist “smashes world cycle record”

Posted by chdot on February 15, 2008

Fife based Mark Beaumont has made it to Paris to end his amazing round the world adventure.

BBC story | Mark’s site –

Posted in Cycling on the Radio, Cycling on TV, cycling world, cyclingedinburgh, ride | 1 Comment »

Cycling on the Radio

Posted by chdot on February 15, 2008

You and Yours Radio 4 12.04 today

Listen again (4 1/2 mins)

Posted in citycycling, cycle training, Cycling News, Cycling on the Radio, cycling world, cyclingedinburgh, Demonstration Towns | Leave a Comment »

“New truths need peddling about pedalling”

Posted by chdot on January 28, 2008

Fresh from her entertaining radio show on Friday, Lesley Riddoch continues the theme of encouraging more notice to be taken of cyclists in an article in today’s Scotsman.

She highlights some ‘best practice’ in Groningen, (the sixth largest city in the Netherlands – slightly smaller than Aberdeen). “Sixteen years ago, traffic congestion led city planners to dig up city-centre motorways. Now it has the highest level of bicycle usage in the West”.

Riddoch has a key quote from senior city planner Gerrit van Werven: “This is not an environmental programme, it is an economic programme. We are boosting jobs and business. It has been proved that planning for the bicycle is cheaper than planning for the car.”

The Scottish Government’s budget will be finalised on the 6th of February. At present only 1% of the Transport budget is spent on cycling. Campaign group Spokes fears this will be reduced further and is asking people to contact their MSPs.

City of Edinburgh Council’s budget will be fixed on the 21st, Spokes wants people to contact their councillors. The Council also has a short on-line questionnaire asking for people to rank their spending priorities.

Posted in City of Edinburgh Council, citycycling, commuting, cycle parking, cycle training, Cycling News, Cycling on the Radio, cycling world, cyclingedinburgh, Demonstration Towns, Edinburgh, EducatedTravel, Safe Routes to School, Safety, Spokes, TryCycling, walking, What the papers say | Leave a Comment »

Phone Line Live at 1.00

Posted by chdot on January 25, 2008

You can ‘phone in comments to today’s edition of Riddoch Questions on Radio Scotland (on air 1.15 – 2 pm).

The programme has citycycling editor Anthony Robson arguing that “we need more cyclists on our roads”. (More info)

Why not “have your say” – call (free) from 1 pm on 0500 92 95 00 or email or text 80295.


Anthony did a good job of being reasonable/responsible cyclist. Lesley admitted cycling through pedestrian lights sometimes – worried about cars behind. General agreement about need to share road space more considerately – and feeling that people in UK don’t know how!

mp3 of programme

Posted in bike security theft, citycycling, commuting, cycle parking, cycle training, Cycling News, Cycling on the Radio, cycling world, cyclingedinburgh, Edinburgh, Glasgow, paths, ride, Safe Routes to School, Safety, TryCycling, walking | 1 Comment »