Archive for the ‘sswc07’ Category

Cycle Ride Offered to Council Leader

Posted by chdot on February 28, 2008

Jacquie Phelan on the beach at Portobello last year after SSWC07

Pioneering Mountain Biker Jacquie Phelan has e-mailed City of Edinburgh Council‘s Leader Jenny Dawe asking; “can we go for a ride and have tea?”

Jacquie’s offer came after reading about the Spokes comments on LibDem plans for making Edinburgh a “model cycle friendly city”.

She also wrote: “I live in a California suburb where the LAST thing anyone cares about is the cyclists. I’ve always considered Scotland to be years ahead in terms of cycling infrastructure, but am worried that spending for the essentials in cycle routes, staff, publications etc will cause you to slip back to USA standards… don’t do it. You can’t afford it. We’re all too fat, too sedentary. ”

“If you’re up for a pleasant ride along the Water of Leith with a tea stop please let me know. I’m writing about cycle policy in Scotland for a couple of magazines over here, you’d be a very valued contact.”

The mention of tea isn’t just about a sensible refreshment option. Jacquie Phelan is the founder, of the Women’s Mountain Bike & Tea Society (WOMBATS) – “A network of women of all ages and abilities who share a passion for pedaling in the dirt.”

She will be in Scotland in June for Bike Week, to introduce the film Hardihood (in which she’s seen running bike skills sessions) at the Bike Week Film Festival. Expect to see her on some rides and leading some more inspirational classes.

Posted in Bicycle Film Festival, bike shops, Bike Week, bikeweek, ChangingPace, City of Edinburgh Council, citycycling, cycle racing, cycle training, Cycling News, cycling world, cyclingedinburgh, Edinburgh, EducatedTravel, ride, Safe Routes to School, Safety, Spokes, sswc07, TryCycling | Leave a Comment »

Rail Realities

Posted by chdot on April 18, 2007

Transform Scotland Rail Report
Just ahead of an election when politicians are promising the earth (or just ways of saving it…) it’s good to see people concerned with rational reality.

Although the new report (PDF) from TRANSform Scotland doesn’t mention bikes or cycling it’s an important document for anyone interested in ‘sustainable’ transport.

Once again politicians and interest groups are talking up the idea of a brand new high speed link between Edinburgh and Glasgow. Nothing will ever be as fast as broadband. Face to face meetings can (often) be just as effective by video link. Free WiFi on ScotRail (not just in First Class) would be a cheaper way to ‘increase productivity’ for those who ‘have to’ commute.

TRANSform says “The fantasy of a ‘bullet train’ taking twelve minutes should remain just that – the new infrastructure for ‘Maglev’ type hovertrains would be enormously expensive and very destructive of the urban fabric unless long sections were put in tunnel. Ultra-highspeed trains are highly energy-intensive, and need vast amounts of new traffic to justify their existence thereby creating the danger of increasing rather than reducing overall CO2 levels from transport. A multi-billion pound, entirely new route is simply not required to get substantial reductions in journey time from the current 48 minutes down towards 30 minutes.”

As well as proposing cost-effective moves such as re-opening Edinburgh’s South Suburban Line to passengers, (an ever running saga), TRANSform makes sensible suggestions about tourism.

“Scotland’s rural routes need a distinctive approach. Many of them depend on tourism and leisure travel, yet the trains provided are standard designs used for suburban services in the Central Belt. Unlike the situation in Switzerland, our scenic routes have no special panoramic railcars aimed at the tourist, and too many of the Highland lines are saddled with worka-day Class 158 units with poor window views, badly designed toilets and a cramped atmosphere.”

The potential for ‘low impact’ tourism in Scotland is MASSIVE. There are good Sustrans routes in many places. Local Authorities are developing Core Path Networks. The Forestry Commission is building mountain bike trails. Though in spite of the fact that taking bikes on trains is free (booking sometimes required) most are transported by car. Somehow the idea of “Green Tourism” hasn’t got much further than low energy light bulbs and whether people are willing to use the same hotel towel two days running….

Posted in Airdrie to Bathgate, Bikes on trains, BikeStation, City of Edinburgh Council, citycycling, commuting, cycle parking, Cycling News, cycling world, cyclingedinburgh, Edinburgh, Glasgow, holidays, paths, ride, Shawfair, sswc07, Sustrans, walking | 2 Comments »

Borders Gets Serious about Mountain Biking

Posted by chdot on February 13, 2007

Ask any young Edinburgh Mountain Biker where they’d like to ride and the word “Glentress” is likely to get an early mention. Older ones will probably have it on their list too. There was a time when ‘The Pentlands’ (recent management plan, PDF 3.6 Mb) was the most likely destination, both in aspiration and reality.

The success of Glentress is an interesting mix of geography (steep hills), ownership (Forestry Commission Scotland which added the trees and trails) and people, including Emma Guy and Tracy Brunger who have created The Hub In The Forest (“friendly café and bike shop“), plus support from Scottish Borders Council and the Local Enterprise Company – Scottish Enterprise Borders.

Last week tenders were invited for a passenger uplift service at the downhill mountain bike venue at Innerleithen. This week it was announced that the report behind that move also said that “installing the world’s first dedicated mountain bike chairlift system in Innerleithen could create 200 new jobs and generate more than £6 million a year for the Scottish economy.”

The report was commissioned by Scottish Enterprise Borders. Its Director of Strategy, Dr Julian Pace, says – “The success of mountain biking at Traquair Forest and Glentress, means the Tweed Valley region is fast becoming a favourite location for beginners and enthusiasts. This report demonstrates there is now a real opportunity to capitalise on that success and position the Borders as one of the world’s leading mountain bike destinations.”

“We are now looking forward to working with our partners to identify how we progress with the chairlift system and ensure that future development at Tweed Valley will deliver significant economic benefits while minimising the impact on the local infrastructure, environment and community.”

Christina Tracey from Forestry Commission Scotland added – “We will continue to work with the partners in looking at the options for growing the venue in a sustainable way.” Bryan McGrath, Head of Economic Development & Regeneration at SBC says “the project isn’t just about mountain bikers, it could open up all sorts of tourism opportunities in the surrounding area.”

SEB is looking at further development in the Tweed Valley as part of a wider ‘Adventure Sports’ strategy, “focusing on activities that capitalise on the natural assets of the Borders, to help position it as one of the UK’s main locations for outdoor leisure activities such as equestrianism, mountain biking and diving, which will attract more overseas visitors as well as those from across the UK.”

It is also looking at ‘cultural events’, this could include something like Edinburgh’s Bicycle Film Festival – perhaps with a Filmmakers Festival which might produce Scottish versions of Bits 3, CKD and Kranked 6: Progression! Film Festivals across the UK recently launched The Bike Film and Animation Award “to showcase bike culture”.

‘Sustainable’ and ‘green’ tourism are very much popular notions in Governmental and Economic Development circles these days. Minister for Tourism Patricia Ferguson said recently that the aim is “to grow tourism revenues by 50 per cent, between 2005 and 2015. Our ambition is for Scotland to be the most sustainable tourism destination in Europe. We can achieve this by offering an all year round experience for visitors, and encouraging them to spend more during their stay and visit a wider variety of the country’s tourist attractions. This strategy will help to both boost the economy and lessen the impact on the environment.”

That is clearly a selection of soundbites and not a detailed policy, but gives no indication of what will actually be done to get people to visit more places AND reduce the impact on the environment.

Much more could be done to increase cycle tourism (where people actually travel by bike). It’s a pity that a safe cycle route from Edinburgh to the Forth Road Bridge isn’t more of a priority.

‘Sustainable’ travellers to the Borders will benefit from the Waverley Railway Project. This is due to run from Edinburgh to Galashiels in 2011. (Hopes for completion by 2008 hit the realities of Parliamentary and planning processes.)

In the meantime it would be good if it was easier to get to the Tweed Valley from Edinburgh by Public Transport – especially with a bike.

Posted in Bicycle Film Festival, bike security theft, Bikes on trains, City of Edinburgh Council, cycle racing, Cycling News, cycling world, cyclingedinburgh, Edinburgh, HEALTH, holidays, Maps, paths, ride, Shawfair, sswc07, TryCycling, walking | 1 Comment »

Single Speed World Championship Date Announced

Posted by chdot on January 26, 2007


After months of quiet negotiations with a number of landowners, the confirming call to the organisers (the self-styled “The Telly Savalas Players Club”) came today.

SSWC 2007 will be on September 1st & 2nd (Race Day) in Aviemore.

So book your holidays – whether you are planning to race, drink or watch. Unless you have been before, any Single Speed World Championship will be a (fun filled) surprise. The Scottish version even more so!

Keep an eye on the official web site for details.

Aviemore is 3 hours north of Edinburgh by train. Will ScotRail put on extra trains or extra cycle capacity (booking free but essential to Aviemore)?? In keeping with the party spirit, visitors from London (or overseas) might like to start their Highland weekend at London Euston on the Sleeper.

AND THEN – on the 3rd (until the 9th) – there’s the Fort William UCI Mountain Bike & Trials World Championships – only 60 miles away!

Cycling, Scotland, September!

Posted in Bicycle Film Festival, Bikes on trains, cycle racing, Cycling News, cycling world, cyclingedinburgh, Edinburgh, holidays, ride, sswc07 | 2 Comments »

.citycycling issue 19

Posted by chdot on January 5, 2007

Online now.

.contents include – .editorial farewell to 2006, hello 2007 | .bike right 2007, a cycling weekend away | .caption high-rise biking | .numbers, cycling trends from the 40s | .competition winner, did you win the cycling jersey? | .igor lives!, one man and his welder (and his dad) go to work | .road signs, 5 road signs that don’t exist but should.

Posted in citycycling, commuting, Cycling News, cycling world, cyclingedinburgh, Edinburgh, holidays, ride, sswc07, What the papers say | Leave a Comment »

HAPPY New (Cycling) Year

Posted by chdot on January 1, 2007

Braid Hill fireworks
Fireworks over the Braid Hills

2007 will be a great year for Cycling in Edinburgh.

TWO Bicycle Film Festivals (details soon).

LOTS of TryCycling in Edinburgh rides.

And more suggested routes added here (you can add your own).

And many Bike Week events.


Also as it’s election year (May 3rd) there will be new MSPs and new Councillors (as Local Government elections are being run under Proportional Representation for the first time – there will be a LOT of new faces). SO why not send the candidates your cycling suggestions….

Posted in Bicycle Film Festival, City of Edinburgh Council, citycycling, commuting, Craigmillar Cycles, critical mass, cycle parking, cycle racing, cycle training, Cycling News, cycling world, cyclingedinburgh, Edinburgh, HEALTH, holidays, Maps, paths, ride, sswc07, TryCycling | 10 Comments »

More Free Bikes

Posted by chdot on December 19, 2006

Another train operator is following the longstanding (since 1998) ScotRail policy of carrying bikes on trains for free.

At present ‘one’ is charging £3 for a single journey to take a bike on inter-city trains into London and £1 on local services across Norfolk, Suffolk and Cambridgeshire.

From January 2nd the charges will be removed. “Reservations are still required on services to London and also encouraged for local journeys.” These are free – as they are for GNER journeys and also required for a few ScotRail routes to the north.

‘one’ says “The combination of bikes and trains is a ‘green’ option for many journeys. So we’re pleased to encourage sustainable transport trips wherever we can. This development, combined with our work to increase cycle parking at many of our stations in recent years, is part of a dedicated effort to make integrated public transport a real alternative for as many journeys as possible in East Anglia.”

Bikes on Trains ‘rules’ from AtoB Magazine.

Posted in Airdrie to Bathgate, Bikes on trains, citycycling, commuting, Cycling News, cycling world, cyclingedinburgh, Edinburgh, Glasgow, ride, sswc07 | Leave a Comment »

Government Mentions Cycling 505 Times

Posted by chdot on November 13, 2006

A brand new Scottish Executive report Joined Up Policy and Practice in Health and Transport (PDF) mentions bicycles and cycling 475 times in 277 pages.

"(Executive Summary par. 1.30) It is clear that significant progress needs to be made to convince policy makers across, both health and transport sectors that there is merit in working together to achieve, common outputs, even where sectoral objectives may contrast (for example, modal shift for transport, healthy living for health). Moreover, there is effort needed in the, transport sector to convince decision makers that there is firstly merit, and secondly a duty to consider the health impacts of transport policies and projects, as well as, actively seeking to maximise health improvement opportunities.


A related (and more accessible) publication PROMOTING ACTIVE LIFESTYLES, GOOD IDEAS FOR TRANSPORT AND HEALTH PRACTITIONERS (PDF) manages 30 mentions in 25 pages.

Selected quotes

“Joined-up thinking and practice in transport and health is not mainstreamed in Scotland.” THAT’s an understatement!

“encouraging cycling or walking to work, school and other day-to-day activities is a good opportunity to promote health at both a policy and practical level.

“Employ dynamic dedicated individuals willing to forge links across sectors, and take a proactive approach to the development of new projects.”

This report shows what has been done in 8 areas in Scotland – 2 in West Lothian, none in Edinburgh. It demonstrates what works by using careful targeting, cost effective promotional methods and involving enthusiastic ‘champions’ – preferable at a high level in key organisations.

Posted in Airdrie to Bathgate, 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, Shawfair, sswc07, Tall Bike, tandem, TryCycling, What the papers say | Leave a Comment »

Cash Offered for New Cycling Films

Posted by chdot on November 3, 2006
Brendt Barbur’s great idea for a Bicycle Film Festival has spread around the world from its New York base. Other cities have started their own versions.

This year TryCycling in Edinburgh created a BFF in Edinburgh which was great success. The 2007 event is currently being planned.

Edinburgh and BFFs throughout Britain have joined together to initiate a Bike Film and Animation Award “to showcase bike culture at the growing list of Bike Film Festivals across the UK”.

Film makers (that’s anyone with a good idea and access to a camera!) are invited to create something that could win a £300 prize. There are three categories ‘Best Action’, ‘Documentary’ and ‘Animation’. Additionally prizes for best local film and an audience vote winner will be awarded. Selected entries will also be available on a limited edition 2007 Bike Shorts DVD.

Andy Salkeld of the Leicester Bike Film Festival said “The aim of the Awards Is to encourage people to make their own films, start festivals and have fun with the new bike culture”.

Bella Stewart, Organiser of Derby’s Bike Film Festival adds “We organised our first Bike Film Festival last year. It was a massive success. 500 people came to see films and biggest hit was a short film made by local kids riding BMX and breakdancing in the park”.

In Edinburgh BFF Organiser Maggie Wynn says “We were hopeful that the festival would be a success, but the reality was that we were overwhelmed by the positive response the event received. As a result both Cycling Scotland and the City of Edinburgh Council have pledged to increase their support. This year we hope to screen films like the Tall Bike Tour of Britain. Indeed, near calamitous events almost contrived to cut short their Tour in Edinburgh!”

Lesley Ann Rose of Lancaster’s Bike Film Festival said “If cycling is ‘the new football’, bike film festivals are ‘the new fanzines’ – engaging, irreverent and passionate”.

Download a submission form at Entry deadline is 26th January 2007.

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, Cycling News, Cycling on the Radio, cycling world, cyclingedinburgh, Edinburgh, recycling, ride, sswc07, Tall Bike, tandem, TryCycling, What the papers say | Leave a Comment »

SSWC Comes to Scotland

Posted by chdot on October 12, 2006

Jacquie Phelan at SSWC06
Pioneering Mountain Biker Jacquie Phelan at SSW06 in Sweden (Photographer ??)


The Single Speed World Championships will be held in Scotland next year. You’ve probably never heard of it. It’s not exactly a mainstream event – “The Single Speed World Championship race is an annual event. It is open to only bicycles with a single gear ratio.” (Wikipedia)

Why Scotland? According to britishtrails “At the recent 2006 World Singlespeed Championships in Stockholm, Sweden the decision for the host location of the 2007 SSWC was made over a drinking game. The right to host the event was apparently won in the bar by the Scottish contingent.” Merit then(?)!

It may be at one of the established Mountain Biking centres south of Edinburgh such as Glentress or the 7Stanes – but it might not… Expected to be in August.

Riding a single-speed bike is becoming more common, though most people in places with hills – like Edinburgh – will prefer gears! Bikes with one gear have less to go wrong and can be cheaper and lighter. Some people go further and ride ‘fixed‘ – no freewheel and no need for a rear brake. But THAT is a different level of skill!

Provisional web site – | More than you need to know about Single-Speeding.

Jacquie had hoped to be in Scotland for this year’s Bicycle Film Festival in Edinburgh. She’s pretty sure to make SSWC07.

(THIS story was mentioned in detail by Tom Morton on his Radio Scotland programme (12.10.06). He said that he hoped that people riding in mini-kilts would be the future of cycle racing. He could be right – next year at least!)

Posted in Bicycle Film Festival, cycle racing, Cycling News, cycling world, cyclingedinburgh, Edinburgh, holidays, ride, sswc07, TryCycling | 8 Comments »