Archive for the ‘recycling’ Category

Healthy Cycling in Midlothian

Posted by chdot on October 30, 2007

A half day seminar to help encourage the development of cycling throughout Midlothian, On the Right Track, is being organised by HELPP (the Midlothian Healthy Living Partnership Project), in partnership with Cycling Scotland. It will be held on Friday 9th November in the Lesser Hall at Penicuik Town Hall (33 High Street – map) from 10am to 2pm. It “aims to encourage partnership working to increase the health and wellbeing of lapsed or novice cyclists and to raise awareness of local cycle networks.”

HELPP Development Worker, Sandra King, says, “we are bringing together local workers from the local authority, health and voluntary sector with an interest in promoting cycling in Midlothian. We have previously organised Cycle Training through Cycle Scotland and offered a Cycle Family Picnic during Bike Week (Midlothian Advertiser report) and are keen to take this work forward. We are using a participatory appraisal approach to ensure everyone has their say and can contribute their ideas. We are keen to strengthen the links between different agencies to pull together resources, knowledge and enthusiasm.”

The event is open to anyone wanting to encourage cycling in Midlothian. Flyer and application form.

Midlothian has it’s own Bicycle Recycling Project based at the Midlothian Advice & Resource Centre (MARC). It’s even possible to win a refurbished bike in a radio phone-in competition.

Posted in Bike Week, bikeweek, commuting, Core Path Network, cycle training, Cycling News, cycling world, cyclingedinburgh, EducatedTravel, HEALTH, Midlothian, paths, recycling, ride, Sustrans, walking, What the papers say | 1 Comment »

“As New Bike Sale”

Posted by chdot on September 28, 2007

Blackhall PS map
At Blackhall Primary School (Google map) Autumn Fair, Saturday (29th September) 10.00 – 12 noon. Those wishing to sell bikes in good condition can bring them along today (Friday 28th 6pm – 9pm) or at 9.30am on Saturday.

Must be labelled with your name, contact number and asking price, with a reserve price in brackets after it. Unsold bikes must be collected at 12 noon at the end of the Autumn Fair. Cotact Tina Woolnough on 07799 416 360 for more information.

Posted in City of Edinburgh Council, citycycling, commuting, Cycling News, cycling world, cyclingedinburgh, Edinburgh, EducatedTravel, recycling | Leave a Comment »

Thirty Years Ago Today

Posted by chdot on August 1, 2007

recycles ad
A small bike shop opened at 3 West Crosscauseway. Three young people had decided to create jobs for themselves repairing bikes and selling new parts and second-hand bicycles. At the time Edinburgh didn’t have as many cyclists as today or the variety of cycle shops. It was surprisingly hard to get machines repaired, shops often had “No Repairs Meantime” notes on the door.

Recycles, as it had been decided to call the shop, set out to repair bikes within 24 hours. One of the first customers working in a nearby book shop and came in with a puncture. She cycled home the same afternoon. Another early decision was that the shop would open at 10.00, this was to suit the staff/owners!

Of course there were people who thought it wouldn’t work – a small shop in a South Side side street. It was chosen for its cheap rent, (it was semi-derelict and all the houses above were empty – the grand plans for “Comprehensive Redevelopment” of the area had stalled), and the fact that it was in the heart of the student part of town.

The Recycles Co-op (as it was formally known) expanded by creating Edinburgh Cycle Hire at 8 Alvanley Terrace in 1978. The next year it opened a shop for new bikes next door. Gradually the whole terrace became the Edinburgh Bike Co-op – the new name from 1985. Now there is a warehouse near Dalmeny and shops in five UK cities. They still open at 10.00.

Other cycling innovations in 1977. More EBC history.

Posted in City of Edinburgh Council, citycycling, commuting, Cycling News, cycling world, cyclingedinburgh, Edinburgh, recycling, Spokes | 3 Comments »

New Book from Cycling Guru

Posted by chdot on July 25, 2007

The world changed in 1972. Richard Ballantine’s first bike book was published. To call a book “Richard’s Bicycle Book“, might seem like the ultimate act of a supreme egotist. However Richard is far from that. The title is simply a simple descriptive truth.

Cycling wasn’t particularly popular then. It was possible to cycle around Edinburgh on a January day and be surprised to see another cyclist. Cycling was, more or less, what (a few) people did if they couldn’t afford a car – or liked road racing. R’sBB wasn’t really for either group. It was more for people who cycled by positive choice and even more (though perhaps neither he nor they knew it) for people who would become the ‘new cyclists’.

It was really a manual for how and why people should cycle – for their own health and economic well-being and also as a sane transport ‘solution’ to urban problems. BUT it didn’t preach, it wasn’t ecologically earnest. It was written with experienced knowledge, unique insights and understated humour. It pretty much pioneered the idea, to a wide audience, that cyclists had a right to be on the road, but sometimes needed to assert that – positively rather than aggressively.

In the past thirty five years there have been updates and variations, including the Piccolo Bicycle Book (aimed at children) and Richard’s Ultimate Bicycle Book (aimed at the coffee table). Now there is a new variant. City Cycling is as simply honest as the first book’s title. The city is undoubtedly London (it’s Richard’s adopted home), but most of the truths in the book are universal.

If you’ve read any of his previous books about cycling you’ll know (roughly) what to expect – eclectic, far from eccentric, though, as ever, he is interested in interesting bicycles. The longstanding friendship with designer/engineer Mike Burrows is mentioned and illustrated with his evolutionary bikes. The book makes good use of good photos.

City Cycling is a ‘good read’ though not really a book for one session. There is enough bike fixing advice (even for the bike owning technophobe) to be worth the £9.99 cover price. There’s also lots of seriously good advice for city cycling – suitable for the nervous novice and accomplished urban mover. Entertaining, informing, inspiring. Due in book shops on the first of August.

Posted in bike security theft, citycycling, commuting, critical mass, cycle parking, cycle training, Cycling News, cycling world, cyclingedinburgh, Edinburgh, HEALTH, recycling, ride, Safe Routes to School, Safety, technology | 1 Comment »

Which Planet Do You Live On?

Posted by chdot on May 28, 2007

wwf footprint.jpg
Cyclists are generally virtuous, smug even. All the emphasis on ‘Global Warming’/’Climate Change has, to some extent, obscured the concerns about resource use. Even if everyone’s lifestyles produced no ‘Greenhouse Gases’, there’s still the stuff to produce the “Stuff”. Much of it is dug out of the ground – fossil fuels, minerals etc . – processes, by definition, not sustainable.

Now environmental group WWF Scotland has produced a sophisticated on-line calculator. Even its environmentally aware people in the case studies find it hard to get below the ‘need’ for THREE Planets to sustain their lifestyles.

Posted in citycycling, commuting, Cycling News, cycling world, cyclingedinburgh, holidays, recycling, ride, Sustrans, TryCycling, walking, What the papers say | 2 Comments »

Mixed Messages from New Administration

Posted by chdot on May 13, 2007

High Street.jpg
The new (probable) Council Leader, Jenny Dawe, (LibDem) is beginning to work out common policies with her (expected) deputy Steve Cardownie (SNP). Their initial partnership statement has positive bullet points about Edinburgh such as “the importance of its heritage and environment is recognised” and “it has an atmosphere of safe, green and clean living spaces”.

As reported in the Evening News – Cllr Dawe says – “We have not wavered at all from our commitment to the trams and we’ve effectively agreed to disagree with the SNP.” (Whether the SNP minority Government in Holyrood can deliver its ‘promise’ to scrap Edinburgh trams remains to be seen!)

In addition to the tram being the LibDem’s “number one priority” the party is keen on “rolling out underground car parks across the city centre”. No doubt they see this as ‘balanced’ – improving Public Transport while showing that they’re not “anti-car” – a charge commonly aimed at the previous Labour led council.

New car parks presumable mean extra spaces. Cars parked under George Street instead of on it, might be a good idea. One problem is that the car park would have to be dug out of solid rock, not impossible, but previous studies have shown that it would be rather expensive…

Of course George Street could be pedestrianised like parts of the High Street (photo) without finding new places for cars to park. This would take some pressure off the Old Town as a tourist hotspot and, if the trams manage to replace buses on Princes Street, make the whole of central Edinburgh even more attractive for residents and visitors.

Dawes and Cardownie are agreed that the revival of a department bringing together tourism, culture, leisure and sport is a priority. Cllr. Cardownie says – “It was ridiculous to scrap the culture and recreation department.” He used to be the Executive Member for Culture and Leisure before he left the Labour Party.

The Department was responsible for galleries and libraries and parks and sports centres. It suffered many years of under-investment. Parks that were unlikely to attract tourists were often neglected, paths looked after by recreation/culture/leisure (the Department had various names over the years) were often inferior to those created or maintained by transport/development departments.

Some functions of various departments were merged into the new Services for Communities Department which makes sense as a delivery mechanism. There are still areas of the Council where greater co-operation between departments (or even sections) would make the implementation of existing policies easier. A shaky coalition is not the most promising start, though it does claim to offer-

“Major policy commitments include fundamental changes to the governance of the city, replacing the existing Executive with a streamlined committee system and an altered emphasis in several areas of existing service provision.”

LibDem plans include having a “green champion” in every department. This might be tokenism or a serious attempt to begin to make one of the city’s largest employers take the idea of ‘sustainability’ seriously. However filling the Cycling Officer vacancy might also be a step forward.

Posted in bikeweek, City of Edinburgh Council, citycycling, commuting, critical mass, cycle parking, cycle training, Cycling News, cycling world, cyclingedinburgh, Edinburgh, HEALTH, holidays, paths, recycling, ride, Safe Routes to School, Safety, Spokes, walking, What the papers say | 3 Comments »

Edinburgh Decides

Posted by chdot on May 11, 2007

A week after the elections where the LibDems emerged with slightly more seats than Labour, it has finally been agreed who will run the Council. Evening News story.

It will be a LibDem and SNP coalition with Tory backing – described by one insider as a “coalition of the unwilling”. It is unclear how long it will take to appoint people responsible for Transport. It seems likely that the new Council will return the traditional Committee system scrapping the Executive, cabinet style of governance favoured by Labour.

It will be interesting to see how the SNP (anti-tram) get on with the LibDems (pro-tram)!

Posted in City of Edinburgh Council, citycycling, commuting, Craigmillar Cycles, critical mass, cycle parking, cycle training, Cycling News, cycling world, cyclingedinburgh, Edinburgh, recycling, Safe Routes to School, Spokes, TryCycling, walking, What the papers say | Leave a Comment »

Monster Bikes Hit The Streets

Posted by chdot on April 17, 2007

monster bikes
After four days of frenzied creative activity there are another eight ‘monster bikes’ on the streets. Artist Tim Davies (centre of photo) inspired people to cut, weld and create something approximating to their cycling visions.

The most impressive was probably the one based on an old tandem which was produced by a children’s entertainer. Unfortunately this one is unlikely to be seen on the streets of Edinburgh as it has already headed south to start a new life.

YouTube video of building process

The others may make an appearance at Critical Masses and the Evening News Cavalcade.

The monster workshop was held in a great upstairs space at The Forest Cafe in Bristo Place. The raw materials were supplied by The Bike Station from their collection of bikes that are not worth fixing for re-use. (Most bikes are sold or distributed to community projects.)

YouTube video of building the bikes

Posted in Bicycle Film Festival, BikeStation, bikeweek, citycycling, critical mass, Cycling News, cyclingedinburgh, Edinburgh, recycling, Tall Bike | Leave a Comment »

Bike Manufacturer says “Spend More on Bicycle Advocacy”

Posted by chdot on March 28, 2007

trek graph.jpg
“Bicycle advocacy” is American for cycle campaigning. John Burke, President of Trek USA, has created a PowerPoint presentation about why bike companies should increase their financial support of bicycle advocates and political lobbying groups.

The presentation is a conscious echo of the surprise ‘hit’ about Climate Change by Al Gore – An Inconvenient Truth. Burke is unlikely to find the time to do such an extensive tour as Gore did – after all he IS a President!

However the talk has so far been given twice, first at the National Bike Summit in Washington DC two weeks ago (available as audio plus the PowerPoint slides as PP and PDF at and again on Sunday to Taiwan’s bike industry leaders at the Taipei trade show.

The venues are significant, the first is the Capital of the gas guzzling world, the second is Capital of a major bike manufacturing country. Actually production of bicycles is increasing being done in ‘low wage’ countries, but Taiwan is still a key player which emerged as a world leader with the development of TIG welding for frames.

BikeBiz editor Carlton Reid has more on his site and has also posted a video of the talk and the actual PowerPoint slides on the web.

In Edinburgh Spokes has been (most effectively) campaigning for THIRTY years, with hardly a penny from anyone. Bike shops support Spokes by buying adverts in its publications and some money has come from Government sources for specific projects. Most Spokes income is from members and the sale of Spokes Maps.

The maps are direct spin off from campaigning. A new Edinburgh map is due in June and Spokes is working with Go Bike! (the Strathclyde Cycle Campaign) on a new map for Glasgow. In recent years other important bicycle promotional activities have been encouraged (and sometimes financially kick-started) by Spokes.

In 2002 Castlecliff Bicycle Workshop was created to recycle bikes, offer them to people without bikes, (initially by working with organisations dealing with homeless people), and selling surplus bikes to the general public. It was also a place where people could fix their own bikes and improve their skills.

This project developed into the Bike Station – initially at Waverley (Station) and now Causewayside. The Bike Station has added Cycle Training as a practical promotional ‘tool’.

The other significant spin-off is TryCycling in Edinburgh which has monthly rides for the “nervous and novice” which are giving people the confidence to cycle to work. It is also promoting cycling generally with stalls at various festivals and many mentions in the press. It is also responsible for some of the activities under the Craigmillar Cycles umbrella.

image from John Burke presentation
In the UK a levy on new bikes is paid by most manufacturers and importers to the Bike Hub this funds useful things including the bikeforall web site. Initially Scotland was ‘forgotten’ about and all the money was spent south of the border!

Trek’s John Burke says that for every $100 of sales, bike companies typically spend $3.90 on marketing, $1.60 on R&D but just 10 cents on advocacy. Equivalent figures for the UK have probably not been calculated but there can be no doubt that (for instance) spending by Transport for London to promote cycling (along with the Congestion Charge) has boosted cycling significantly (“In 2006/7, Transport for London invested £24.1m in cycling. This will rise to £36.1m in 2007/8. That increase now means London spends more on cycling than the whole of the rest of England put together”. BikeBiz story). The Council in Edinburgh has scored badly on ‘promotion’ in the past, but there have been some improvements recently.

Posted in City of Edinburgh Council, citycycling, commuting, Craigmillar Cycles, cycle training, Cycling News, cycling world, cyclingedinburgh, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Maps, recycling, ride, TryCycling, What the papers say | Leave a Comment »

Bike Week Registration Goes Live

Posted by chdot on March 8, 2007

The UK National Bike Week registration database is now LIVE.

Register your ‘bike week’ event – if it’s between 1st of April and Bike Week proper (16 and 24 June 2007). As long as they will “enable more people to participate in Bike Week and Bike2Work, such as ‘Dr Bike’ free cycle safety checks, cycling skills training, rides for novices, etc.” they will be covered by public liability insurance.

It’s likely that this year Edinburgh will see more Bike Week activity than any previous year. Edinburgh has its own Bike Week web site ( to highlight, promote and encourage more cycling.

Posted in Bicycle Film Festival, bike security theft, Bikes on trains, BikeStation, City of Edinburgh Council, citycycling, commuting, Craigmillar Cycles, critical mass, cycle parking, cycle racing, cycle training, Cycling News, Cycling on the Radio, cycling world, cyclingedinburgh, Edinburgh, Glasgow, HEALTH, holidays, Maps, paths, recycling, ride, Safe Routes to School, TryCycling, walking, What the papers say | 1 Comment »