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Archive for the ‘technology’ Category

Councillors Rejected Gritting Plan

Posted by chdot on January 13, 2010


In November officials in the Council’s City Development Department submitted proposals to councillors that, if approved, would have meant that the city’s main cycle commuting (and leisure) routes would be added to the priority gritting list.

Purpose of report

1 To advise the Transport, Infrastructure and Environment Committee of the results of the review into increasing the scope of treatment to the roads and pavements in Edinburgh to include the main off-road cycle paths in the city and to advise of the potential cost of such treatment.”

Currently only Middle Meadow Walk is on any priority list – “Pavement Category 2” which means being dealt with ‘when resources permit’ – in spite of being a major walk/cycle route with a continuous slope at the north end.

Councillors were told that “the additional cost of treatment would be between £ 70,000 -£100,000 for which there is no current budget provision.” Presumably this included some capital spending rather than just salt and labour(?)

Councillors, not supplied with crystal balls to predict the last few weeks, decided that this was too much money to find.

If you disagree – particularly if you have experienced dangerous paths due to ice or frozen ‘tramlines’, or had the experience of being forced into roadside slush by impatient motorists – you might like to contact the Chair of the TIEC Gordon Mackenzie and/or your local councillors.

Comments on CityCyclingEdinburgh Forum

Posted in Active Travel, City of Edinburgh Council, citycycling, Climate Change, commuting, Core Path Network, Cycling News, Cycling Scotland, cycling world, cyclingedinburgh, Demonstration Towns, Edinburgh, EducatedTravel, paths, Peak Oil, Physical Activity and Health, ride, Safe Routes to School, Safety, Spokes, Sustrans, technology, walking | 1 Comment »

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 jabritchie@hotmail.com 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 »

YOU can help CycleStreets

Posted by chdot on December 12, 2009

CycleStreets is the premiere UK-wide Cycle Journey Planner. It got a boost last year when Edinburgh based ChangingPace (interest declared) got Scottish Government money to help create the Edinburgh version.

Cambridge based CycleStreets (created by people involved in the Cambridge Cycling Campaign) is looking for help

Test routes in the Journey Planner

Add photos to the Photomap

Fundraising – donate / fundraise!

Contribute map data to OpenStreetMap

Become a feedback reviewer

Coding: join the coding team

Spread the word

That one is easy

Designer needed

Write us an iPhone app!

“We’d love to have an iPhone version of CycleStreets, but we don’t have the code expertise yet. Quite a tall order, we know, particularly as we don’t (currently) have funding!”

Discussion on CityCyclingEdinburgh Forum

UPDATE – Now an Evening News story

Posted in Active Travel, ChangingPace, Climate Change, commuting, Core Path Network, cycle parking, cyclestreets.net, Cycling News, Cycling Scotland, cycling world, cyclingedinburgh, Edinburgh, Maps, openstreetmap, paths, Physical Activity and Health, Safe Routes to School, 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 »

Super?

Posted by chdot on October 12, 2009

superhighway


Still from video
of video

A few days in London confirm that cycling is ‘hot’. Cycle commuting is rampant – multi-colours of Bromptons, monotones of yellow jackets, obsessions of speed.

Many examples of fashion on wheels – one gear wonders (a lot of London is fairly flat), and plenty of retro/traditional styling – from ‘Europe’ or England. In truth, some of this is concentrated in trendy/studenty parts of the city.

Transport for London has an overview of Public Transport, the Congestion Charge and also cycling. With millions of people travelling daily it’s a big job and comes with a relatively big budget. The Cycling section of the tfl site is useful. You can order any (or all) of the 14 free cycle maps.

The ‘next big things’ are Cycle Hire – a variation on the Paris Vélib’ – and the Superhighway. Both due to arrive next summer.

Edinburgh is thinking about its own Vélib’ variation and also plans to spend £150k on a “corridor”.

The London Superhighway plan is reasonably ambitious, though not without its critics (LCC demands Cycle Super-highways, not superficial highways). It’s not going to turn London into Copenhagen any time soon.

The most obvious feature is that the lanes will be BLUE. and there is a ‘promise’ for a minimum width of 1 1/2 metres. In addition the blue won’t stop at junctions and the surface is planned to be “smooth” with some remedial actions before the new tarmac is laid.

tfl regards this as revolutionary and has good reason to encourage cycling – basically it’s cheap. It keeps people out of their cars, reducing congestion and making bus services more reliable. It also reduces pressure on the tube.

In Edinburgh ‘transport’ is mostly the responsibility of the Council. At present much thought and money is being spent on trying to get the Tram on track. Unfortunately too many councillors and officials seem agree with the the new RAC Boss that cycling is a ‘niche mode of travel’ (which should therefore be ignored). Hard to imagine an Edinburgh councillor replacing Boris on a banner like this.

Perhaps when the tram is finished things will be different – but the planning needs to be started sooner. Perhaps Superhighway Blue could be used on Marchmont Road to replace Fading Red.

Cycling
Edinburgh has a wide network of on and off-street cycle facilities. Throughout the Tram works cycling remains an effective way of getting around the city, offering easy parking irrespective of roadworks.” (From EdinburghTrams.com)

Posted in Active Travel, bike shops, City of Edinburgh Council, citycycling, Climate Change, commuting, Core Path Network, cycle parking, cycle training, Cycling News, Cycling Scotland, cycling world, cyclingedinburgh, Edinburgh, EducatedTravel, Lothian Buses, paths, Peak Oil, Physical Activity and Health, ride, Safe Routes to School, technology, Trams, walking | Leave a Comment »

Cyclehoop Comes to Edinburgh

Posted by chdot on October 1, 2009

cyclehoops

Photo Anthony Lau

Award winning simple cycle parking has arrived in Edinburgh.

The Cyclehoop is a simple but stylish way to provide secure parking for two bikes. It can be fixed to poles commonly seen on most streets for holding (car) parking/waiting/loading information.

They are often used for bike parking already. Cyclehoops demonstrate that bike parking is encouraged, but more importantly make it much less likely that bikes will swivel and fall on the pavement or roadway.

Two have been fixed in West Nicholson Street as part of a trial. Hoops are are available in a range of eye-catching colours – but City of Edinburgh Council will probably stick to black!

London based designer Anthony Lau trained as an architect.

Posted in Active Travel, Art, bike security theft, City of Edinburgh Council, citycycling, commuting, cycle parking, Cycling News, cyclingedinburgh, Edinburgh, EducatedTravel, European Moblity Week, technology, walking | 2 Comments »

Government Relies on Spokes Statistics

Posted by chdot on August 5, 2009

SPICe

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 »

He Didn’t Mention Cycling

Posted by chdot on July 9, 2009

pc
UPDATE – TEXT OF SPEECH  NOW ONLINE

The sight of a well heeled, white, Western, very conservatively dressed man hardly conveys the impression of eco/class warrior or radical anti-capitalist.

Prince Charles’ appearance on last night’s Dimbleby Lecture will have reassured some and turned off others.

But it’s the words that count. They were delivered with the assurance of a well practiced public speaker who actually knows his script and believes what he is saying.

He has advisers (including Jonathon Porritt) and no doubt the 50 minute lecture was not written solely by Charles. However many hands were involved behind the scenes the result was a well crafted, and wide ranging summary of the issues facing the natural world and the role of the human population involved in it.

The delivery was confident, the passion mostly hidden, though he clearly cares about the loss of the rain forests – pointing out that the Greenhouse Gas consequences are greater than those caused by all the world’s transport.

There were wry references to a genetic interest in architecture (and the trouble it has caused him). The tone and content was about questioning the apparent assumption of “business as usual”. He pointed out that “there can’t be capitalism without capital” and added that ultimately all capital comes from the earth whether as raw materials or food (etc.) derived from sunlight/plants.

He reminded his audience (mostly white, well dressed and not particularly young) that he had previously warned that ‘we’ had 100 months to make changes or there was a serious chance of irreversible (and undesirable) Climate Change. He told the audience that it was now 96 months.

But it wasn’t just a call for a return to a simpler life where pubs and post offices were still open. He talked about how such “community capital”items and the value of people interacting was not just difficult to measure, but also largely unmeasured, in a world primarily concerned with GDP. He called for ‘balance’ and argued for a marriage of older ‘values’ and new technologies which he sees as the best way forward.

Prince Charles has been seen on a bike in the past, but the photographic evidence has previously been used to mock his ‘greeny’ interests.

Catch the lecture for 7 days on iPlayer

Mobile version

Posted in Active Travel, ChangingPace, Climate Change, Cycling News, Cycling on TV, cyclingedinburgh, Demonstration Towns, EducatedTravel, Peak Oil, technology, walking, What the papers say | Leave a Comment »

“investment in walking and cycling is declining”

Posted by chdot on June 17, 2009

delivering climate change

That’s the sad, but very understandable, conclusion of Transform Scotland after reading the Scottish Government’s new Climate Change Delivery Plan.

Press release in full –

Responding to today’s launch of its Climate Change Delivery Plan, Transform Scotland have criticised the Scottish Government’s plans as being unambitious on transport.

Colin Howden, Director of Transform Scotland, said:

“Transport is the basket case of climate change policy. It is the second largest sector for emissions after heat, and it is the sector where things are still going in the wrong direction.

“The delivery plan does a good job of setting out the range of measures that could reduce emissions from the transport sector – including demand management, investment in active travel and Smarter Choices, and cutting speed limits. The problem is that Government action in these areas is small and stunted: investment in walking and cycling is declining, the budget for Smarter Choices is tiny, while there is little action to ensure the enforcement of current speed limits let alone reducing speed limits.

“All of this contrasts with the Government’s multi-billion road-building programme – which goes strangely unmentioned in this document. At £2,000 million, the proposed Second Forth Road Bridge on its own represents 100 years of Government investment in active travel at current levels.

“There remains a huge mismatch between Government stated aspirations towards reducing greenhouse gas emissions and its own spending priorities. If the Government truly wants to deliver on its climate change targets then it needs to give top priority to low-cost and swiftly deliverable investments in active travel and Smarter Choices measures, rather than relying on the vain hope that technological change – mainly outwith its control – will come to save the day.”

Posted in Active Travel, bike security theft, Bike Week, Bikes on trains, bikeweek, ChangingPace, citycycling, Climate Change, commuting, connect2, Core Path Network, CTC, cycle parking, cycle training, Cycling News, Cycling Scotland, cyclingedinburgh, Demonstration Towns, Edinburgh, EducatedTravel, European Moblity Week, Forth Bridge Route Campaign, HEALTH, Lothian Buses, Maps, paths, Peak Oil, ride, Safe Routes to School, Safety, Spokes, Sustrans, technology, TryCycling, walking, What the papers say | 4 Comments »

iPhone 3.0 Week

Posted by chdot on June 15, 2009


Not everyone has, wants or could afford to have an iPhone, but they can be of great use to cyclists. At a basic level it’s a ‘phone, with text, e-mail and (almost) full web access. So it’s ‘your office in your pocket’ and means, if you have a flexible work life, more chances to go cycling without being ‘out of contact’!

In addition it is a highly effective GPS device which tells you where you are and, using the built in Google Maps Application, can help to plan routes. This is confined to on-road routes as Google doesn’t know much about cyclepaths!

For planning cycle journeys it’s hard to beat CycleStreets.net. This is officially a “public beta” and is getting better every day due to feedback from users (and people adding data to the underlying Open Street Map base.)

On Wednesday iPhone maker Apple is releasing the the latest version of its software – iPhone OS 3.0. The main difference is that copy and paste and device-wide searching will be available – things that should really have been available two years ago.

One thing that sets the iPhone apart from other ‘smart ‘phones’ is the availability of Apps (applications/programs). Many are free, some are really useful. Pictured here are pins produced by the FirePin app. This records your journey and automatically uploads it to the Internet. So you can see where you went, show other people ‘suggested routes’ or even let people know where you are while you are actually cycling.

Another very useful mapping app is EveryTrail which also lets you take photos with the iPhone’s 2MP camera and puts them on an on-line map (which can be kept private). Again good for showing places to go (e.g. Braid Burn from Morningside to the Pentland foothills). Cycling with an iPhone in one hand is not a good idea…

On Friday Apple releases its 3rd generation handset – iPhone 3G S (watch for queues of desperate ‘must-haves’ outside O2 shops). This promises faster processing, a better camera and an electronic compass.

UPDATE: Today an iPhone alternative to Google maps was launched (details), but so far it seems to be US only.

Posted in Active Travel, ChangingPace, citycycling, Climate Change, commuting, Core Path Network, CTC, Cycling News, Cycling Scotland, cycling world, cyclingedinburgh, Edinburgh, EducatedTravel, European Moblity Week, HEALTH, Maps, paths, Physical Activity and Health, ride, Safe Routes to School, Spokes maps, technology | 4 Comments »