Archive for the ‘Glasgow’ Category

Be Part of Cycling History for £25

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 and contain your excitement for a few months. Your coffee table will have to wait too.

Posted in Books, citycycling, Climate Change, commuting, critical mass, CTC, cycle racing, Cycling News, cyclingedinburgh, Edinburgh, EducatedTravel, Glasgow, History, Physical Activity and Health, Sheldon Brown, technology | Leave a Comment »

Professor Criticises Council Practices

Posted by chdot on October 25, 2009

Photo blackpuddinonnabike

Writing in today’s Sunday Herald, Edinburgh University professor Michael S Northcott mentions the ‘cycle facility’ near his office.

“..when the new Missoni Hotel was opened earlier this year the cycle lane was ditched in favour of a publicly provided parking bay for the hotel and two lanes for motorists.”

It’s been like this since May. After lots of protests by locals and cyclists, the Council ‘promised’ to do something, that was in June.

Michael Northcott’s article says a few other things about the environment in Edinburgh.

“..the city council continues to favour speeding cars over slow pedestrians. At many junctions pedestrians have to walk hundreds of feet corralled by metal cages to designated crossing points away from their direction of travel.”

But it’s not just Edinburgh that’s mentioned in the Sunday Herald’s “Essay of the Week” which highlights Governments’ and other organisations’ confusion and hypocrisy over Climate Change and economic growth.

“The Scottish Government recently built one of the world’s most expensive pieces of motorway – an extension to the M74 – against strong local opposition, through a housing scheme to the east of Glasgow. The road raises noise and pollution for local residents to unhealthy levels and significantly reduces the quality of their environment. But it enables drivers who don’t live in the area to traverse it at 70mph on yet another fast motorway through the environs of Glasgow, a city already strewn with urban motorways.”

Posted in Active Travel, 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, Glasgow, Lothian Buses, Peak Oil, ride, Safe Routes to School, Safety, Spokes, Sustrans, technology, Trams, TryCycling, walking, What the papers say | 1 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 »


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 »

Edinburgh Council Signs Cycle Treaty!

Posted by chdot on May 26, 2009

brussels treaty

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 | 2 Comments »

CyclingEdinburgh in The Scotsman

Posted by chdot on August 26, 2008

CyclingEdinburgh was asked to comment on cycling provision in relation to the recent success of Chris Hoy.

It’s in today’s paper – on-line (if you have a Premium account).  

and here –

Every summer, for a couple of weeks, streets and courts are awash with ‘Wimbledon effect’ racketeers. There are plenty of tennis courts in private clubs and public parks. Swimmers wanting to emulate Rebecca Adlington are reasonably well catered for. But what about the provision for cyclists?

Chris Hoy’s fine Olympic performances are due to an alignment of talent, dedication, supportive (but not pushy) parents and a variety of back-up people and facilities.

Previous Olympic medal winner Chris Boardman’s “Secret Squirrel Club” has been developing the winning bicycle technologies. Not a cheap process.

The other key factor in Team GB’s cycling success has been the Velodrome – in Manchester. It was opened in 1994 and resurfaced in 2007 – seven years sooner than expected, due to intensive use. 

It isn’t just for elite riders; as the venue’s web site says: “we provide 1 hour track sessions for beginners with all equipment included at reduced rates for school, college and university student groups”. It’s not just cycling – “facilities include fully sprung sports courts For basketball, netball and badminton”.

By contrast Edinburgh’s velodrome at Meadowbank was built for the 1970 Commonwealth Games and resurfaced in time for the 1986 Games. Some 22 years later the track is suffering not so much from use as neglect – and the inevitable results of being permanently open to the elements.

The Edinburgh track is well used – as can be seen in the YouTube video produced by Edinburgh Racers (the Saturday morning club for 8 to 16 year olds) as part of the campaign to save the velodrome. 

Hoy recorded an endorsement before flying off to Beijing. The Racers run from April to September. That could double with a fully-enclosed track (like the Manchester one), with no cancellations when it rains. 

It’s well-documented that City of Edinburgh Council’s plans for a new velodrome evaporated when Glasgow was awarded the 2014 Commonwealth Games. In short, the money went west. It can’t be confirmed if any tears were shed around the City Chambers. 

Even now, after a few medals for riders who began track riding at Meadowbank and positive noises from First Minister Alex Salmond, there are no certainties other than an open topped parade in Hoy’s honour organised by the city council. He is too polite to make a point by boycotting it.

The Council is still talking of a new “cycling facility”. No details, no certain site, no dates – not even promises of continuity. There is a real possibility that Meadowbank will be demolished before the Chris Hoy stadium is completed in Glasgow with no (smaller) Edinburgh replacement built.

Cycling isn’t just a sport – elite or otherwise. Nor is it merely a leisure active, though Mountain Biking is serious business in Scotland. Forestry Commission Scotland has made Glentress (and the other MTB trails that make up the 7Stanes) the envy of the world.

Cycling is primarily transport. It’s an activity open to all ages – without needing a licence or much in the way of specialist equipment. Bikes are cheap (unless you are an Olympic wannabe when £10k might be the price tag!)

The UK and Scottish Governments want more people to cycle – for a range of reasons: “carbon reduction”, congestion reduction, health and even tourism. In spending terms it’s generally transport budgets (national and local) that are expected to deliver.

Governments need to get to grips with the fact that if they really want more people to cycle, not only do they have to shift the balance in transport budgets they also have to use health and education money.

It would help if cycle training was on the curriculum. Sciennes Primary, Edinburgh’s longstanding example of “best practice” manages to train almost all its P6 pupils each year. That’s ninety children – in school time. 

Hoy has raised the profile of cycling. It’s important that it’s not seen as a two week wonder or an elite activity.

Posted in Chris Hoy, City of Edinburgh Council, citycycling, cycle racing, cycle training, Cycling News, cycling world, cyclingedinburgh, Edinburgh, Glasgow, HEALTH, Meadowbank Velodrome, What the papers say | 3 Comments »

Historic Free Entry to Lothians

Posted by chdot on March 27, 2008

A view from Craigmillar Castle

Once again Historic Scotland is offering a weekend (12th and 13th of April) of free entry to 268 of its 345 properties which span “over 5,000 years of Scotland’s history and culture”.

There was a time when cyclists were notoriously ‘careful with their money’ – or was it that ‘only poor people cycle (or take public transport…)’. Now, cyclists are just sensible

You could just visit Edinburgh Castle, but how about Craigmillar Castle – and then travel east to Dirleton Castle and Gardens and on to Tantallon Castle.

Or cross the Forth and visit Dunfermline Palace (lunch at Abbot House) – and check out Pittencrieff Park (aka “The Glen”). (Last two not HS properties.)

Maybe try a tour of West Lothian taking in Blackness Castle (movie star), Cairnpapple Hill and Linlithgow Palace.

You could organise a ride and make it an official Bike Week ‘preliminary event’. All venue pages on the Historic Scotland site have links to the appropriate part of the Sustrans NCN map.

EDINBURGH AND LOTHIANS properties included in the Free Weekend.

Opening times over the Free Weekend are 09.30 to 17.30 (last admission 17.00) unless otherwise stated. Some of the smaller properties may close over lunchtime.

Blackness Castle
Cairnpapple Hill
Craigmillar Castle
Crichton Castle
Dirleton Castle and Gardens
Edinburgh Castle – open 09.30 to 18.00; last admission 17.15
Linlithgow Palace – last admission 16.45
On Saturday 12 April some parts of the Palace will have restricted access between 11.00 to 13.30 due to a wedding taking place. There will be no car parking at the Palace on that day. To fully enjoy exploring the Palace, visitors are advised to come on Sunday 13 April instead
Seton Collegiate Church
Tantallon Castle
Torphichen Preceptory – open 13.00 to 17.00
Trinity House, Leith – open 12.00 noon to 16.00; last admission 15.30

Posted in ChangingPace, commuting, connect2, cycle parking, cycle training, Cycling News, cycling world, Edinburgh, Forth Bridge Route Campaign, Glasgow, holidays, Lothian Buses, Peak Oil, Safety, Spokes maps, Sustrans, tandem, walking | Leave a Comment »

Cycling on Prime Time TV

Posted by chdot on March 26, 2008

Photo from

YES – that is news. It’s so rare. It’s years since the Tour de France was on Channel 4 at tea times in July. Today sees the start of the 2008 World Track Cycling Championships at the Velodrome.

No not Meadowbank, that looks set to be demolished, nor Glasgow – it’s not ready (for the 2014 Commonwealth Games). No, it’s the Manchester Velodrome – “the National Cycling Centre, Britain’s primary indoor Olympic cycle track and widely regarded as one of the World’s finest and fastest board tracks”.

Taking part will be local boy made very good, Chris Hoy. He started racing BMX bikes at a particularly young age and had a brief flirtation with Mountain Biking but (because of Meadowbank) found he had a future as a track star. He had to move to Manchester to live/train because the Edinburgh track (used in two Commonwealth Games) never got a roof.

TV times from

Wednesday 26th March
19.00-20.00 BBC 2
19.00-22.00 BBC interactive
19.15-22.00 British Eurosport
00.20-01.00 BBC 2

Hoy won silver in Men’s team sprint

Thursday 27th March
18.30-22.00 British Eurosport
19.00-20.00 BBC 2
19.00-22.00 BBC interactive
00.10-00.50 BBC 2

Hoy through to sprint semi-final

Friday 28th March
19.00-22.00 British Eurosport
19.00-20.00 BBC 2
19.00-22.00 BBC interactive
00.35-01.20 BBC 2

Hoy wins gold – BBC story 

Saturday 29th March
13.00-16.30 BBC 1
14.00-17.30 British Eurosport

Sunday 30th March
14.00-18.00 British Eurosport
15.30-18.00 BBC 2

Posted in City of Edinburgh Council, citycycling, cycle racing, cycle training, Cycling News, Cycling on TV, cycling world, cyclingedinburgh, Demonstration Towns, Edinburgh, Glasgow, TryCycling | 1 Comment »

Clyde to Forth – the Long Way

Posted by chdot on March 23, 2008

Image Sustrans

You may have tried (or just thought about) a day trip from Glasgow to Edinburgh. Some people have even been both ways in a day! There’s a choice of routes – along the Canals or by road (like the annual Pedal for Scotland ride).

This summer you could try the 5 day, 200 mile, scenic version. Sustrans in Scotland is organising the “Clyde-Tae-Forth” ride as a “pedal-powered adventure”.

Riders will set off from the banks of the River Clyde in Glasgow on 9th of June and cross the Tay and Forth – as in “Clyde-Tae-Forth”… They will arrive in Edinburgh just in time for the Bike Week Film Festival.

Participants will be able to ‘trailblaze’ proposed routes between Perth and Kinross. After each day’s ride there will be talks and presentations from leading environmental and wildlife organisations, including a guided woodland walk with the Forestry Commission Scotland.

Clyde-Tae-Forth will also pass two of the Scottish schemes included in Sustrans’ Connect2 project, which won the Big Lottery Fund’s The People’s £50 Million contest in December 2007. In Glasgow riders will see the ‘Bridge to Nowhere’, a half-finished walking and cycling bridge over the M8 motorway in the centre of the city, and in Perth the ride will stop at the site of a new walking and cycling bridge over the River Tay which will connect Perth and Scone.

John Lauder, Sustrans National Director for Scotland, is keen for people to join the ride and “see Scotland in a different light”. He said: “The Clyde-Tae-Forth ride is a fun way for people to explore the landscape, heritage and culture of this region of Scotland – with stunning views from the saddle guaranteed. It’s going to be an exciting ride, especially with the added adventure of trailblazing a possible new route and visiting the Connect2 schemes to see the real difference better facilities for cyclists and walkers will make.”

The event is expected to be extremely popular and with only 100 spaces for the full five day ride, cyclists are “urged to register early”. Each overnight stop is £30, which includes ride organisation, maps, camping accommodation, a light breakfast, luggage transfer and a special edition ride t-shirt. Those not wanting to take part in the full ride are welcome to join in for day rides – the cost is £10 for a guided ride, map and special edition ride t-shirt.

Booking for Sustrans’ Clyde-Tae-Forth ride closes on 28th May 2008. Anyone interested in booking a place on the full ride, or joining in for a day section, contact Sustrans’ Events Team on 0117 915 0125 or

Posted in Bicycle Film Festival, Bike Week, bikeweek, Climate Change, commuting, connect2, Core Path Network, Cycling News, cycling world, cyclingedinburgh, Edinburgh, Forth Bridge Route Campaign, Glasgow, HEALTH, holidays, paths, Peak Oil, Queensferry, ride, Safe Routes to School, Sustrans | 1 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 »