Tag Archives: urban

cycling and integrated active travel with train journeys in Scotland

Vlog 001: Active Travel

In my first ever video blog, I do a bit of ‘active travel’, first cycling to work, then taking my bike on the train to Edinburgh for the afternoon. A look at integrated transport in Scotland.

It was interesting to chat with Stirling Cycle Hub and I was grateful that Suzanne came on video at a moment’s notice. They have been doing good work at Stirling Train Station for several years now. I hope to get back there soon to do more audio or video content.


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Observations from the Scottish Bike Show

I missed the Tour of Flanders to take my 5 year old to the Scottish Bike Show today. The show has moved towards a family event, and I’d like my little one to get into bike riding, but of her own accord, because she likes it. I have marketing on my mind right now, for various reasons,

I’d have liked to attend on the Saturday, of course, and hear what Sir Chris, Brian Smith and Finlay Pretsell had to say, and then catch de Ronde today with a few chilled Chimays. I suspect that is what many folks did, given today was reportedly quieter than the Saturday, but family is where it’s at for me right now.

I was greeted outside the show hall by David Brennan who was leafletting for the Pedal On Parliament Scotland event on Saturday 26th April. I have meant to attend this gathering in the past, as safer cycling is something I want for my own and my kids’ future. Guerilla marketing, perhaps, but David is always open for a friendly chat and was interested to absorb the views / observations I offered from the Stirling perspective – is enforcing a rule that kids must operate their own lock encouraging younger ones to ride to school, for example?

Scottish Bike Show 2014

Inside the hall, we headed for Kiddimoto’s inflatable track (above), which is a superb way for them to market their balance bikes, helmets and accessories and I5 went back for three shots on it. She has all but grown out of the Firstbike balance bike I bought her 3 years ago, and it has done it’s job of circumventing the need for stabilisers, so she was fully confident here and at the upper end of the age range for this attraction.

Scottish Bike Show 2014

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Pedal on Parliament 2 announced

In May this year cyclists young and old will once more be converging on Holyrood to urge the Scottish Government to make Scotland a cycle-friendly nation and Pedal on Parliament needs the help of club riders as well as ordinary cyclists to make it a mass event.

POPs manifesto, and other cycling advocacy issues are often seen as the domain of urban cycling ‘campaigners’. This blog has moved more towards club and racing themes but I can think of two local racers off the top of my head who were knocked off their bikes recently, one of whom was out of work for 6 months, lost his hard-earned fitness and had a top end frame destroyed. Road safety equally affects racers like the Drum-Up audience and the ordinary leisure cyclist or commuter.

Pedal on Parliament: Just a ‘wee protest’ then?
“Pedal on Parliament: just a ‘wee protest’ then?”: Ian McNicoll (father of Andrew McNicoll, killed on his bike in Edinburgh in 2012) and Mark Beaumont lead out the ride from the Meadows. Photo courtesy of Richard Cross; http://www.richardx.co.uk/

‘POP2’ will start from the Meadows in Edinburgh at 3pm on Saturday 18th May and end at the Parliament building where politicians will be presented with an eight-point manifesto. Last year, 3000 cyclists, young and old, attended – an amazing turnout considering Pedal on Parliament is a grass-roots group that didn’t even exist a year ago. It couldn’t have been achieved without a wide base of support from cycling clubs – and POP needs even more people to attend this year if they are to keep the pressure up. Please help us to spread the word among your members – and let us know if there’s anything else you can do, whether it’s distributing posters , by helping other cyclists attend, or even organising your own ride to Pedal on Parliament on the day.

POP Mother-2013-e1358540038154-214x300
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Going Carbon Neutral Stirling: motorist awareness

Going Carbon Neutral Stirling is planning a motorist awareness campaign later in the year to learn more about how motorists currently perceive cyclists on the road.

GCNS said: “Cycling will go up if safety and perception of safety increases. Using a marketing and film intern from France, we will examine the views of European drivers with regards to cyclists…how do European drivers see cyclists as other roads users, how do they feel about them? Are they a cyclist themselves? We then will investigate Stirling drivers to try to understand why our drivers act differently. Why don’t we see cyclists? Why do we not give them priority all of the time? What prompts might drivers need to act differently? Are we prepared to act differently to make the roads safer for other users? ”

Cycle Stirling awareness campaign
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Snowy Scottish cycling (part 4)

Flickr is a brilliant source of images, and I knew I’d find some great stuff there. First stop: the Cycling in Edinburgh group, where regular poster chdot had unsurpisingly posted some good shots.

slow progress

tentative confidence
Two commuting pictures from the Cycling in Edinburgh flickr group, by chdot, aka CyclingEdin on twitter.


Stirling mountain biker Crispin Bennett went for a lunchtime spin up Dumyat and shot this beautiful landscape

easy parking :-) 301110

Frozen Canal 301110
Cyclingdriver on flickr commuted on his mountain bike, and beat the snowdrifts but was thwarted by a full train.


Grant from Cowdenbeath in Fife sent me this shot of a midweek ride/walk. The snow confuses the camera giving the landscape a positively arctic feel.

Snow Cycling in Scotland – commute

I was sent so many pictures of snowy Scottish cycling that I had to split them into different posts. In some cases though, the line between ‘commuting’ and ‘mountain biking’ can be blurred…


Buried commuter bikes parked at Edinburgh Quay
Pic by Louise aka @lemon_squeezy


Tony Leach‘s bike parked in Edinburgh: after 9 mile commute from Leith to South Gyle. Schwalbe Marathon winter tyres doing the business!

The 'light' snow
Urban Cyclist Anthony Robson battled through deep Edinburgh snow conditions on his Cotic Soul.

Snow bike
Angus McDiarmid shot this shopping bike engulfed in a snowdrift in Edinburgh. (from the Cycling in Scotland flickr group.


Craig Hardie‘s ride to work- his bike shop in Cairneyhill, Fife – is more of a play than a commute on his 29er.


Steve Macluskie is the only bike commuter at his workplace in Glasgow city centre.


David Martin, a regular cyclist, resorts to alternative methods in Dundee.

Council consulting on cycling infrastructure

In December 2008 Stirling Council commissioned a study to improve cycle lane standards. Following on from this, they consulted members of Stirling Bike Club and other community members about what was good and what was bad for cycling in the city, using a Google Map to highlight good, ‘needs fixing’ and dangerous spots. Discussion thread on Stirling Bike Club forum.


View Stirling Bike Club: Hotspots for Cycling in a larger map

Further to this the council worked with two members of the club and JMP Consultants to produce an advisory map of graded roads in the Stirling area. Thread

New crossing on A905 Stirling

New crossing on A905 Stirling

The crossing above was installed following the consultation and helps cyclists and pedestrians to cross safely on a stretch of road that is prone to speeding, which is great news.

However the “cycle lane” that has been painted on the pavement near the crossing is a daft afterthought, and is symptomatic of the worst kinds of cycling infrastructure. It directs cyclists into the path of oncoming traffic on a side road.

Stupid cycle lane

Stupid cycle "lane"

This shows two sides of the coin when it comes to developing cycling infrastructure. On the one hand, the consultation and the desire amongst planners to improve the infrastructure in a co-ordinated manner is a big plus. On the other hand, the implementation tends not to be particularly “joined up”.

Further reading: another lively thread about what Stirling is like to cycle in.

Call for views on walking and cycling in Scotland

The Transport, Infrastructure and Climate Change Committee of the Scottish Parliament is holding an inquiry into walking and cycling in Scotland, an Inquiry into Active Travel.

To contribute, there are six questions that you can answer. Cyclists of Scotland, this is YOUR CHANCE to directly affect cycling infrastructure. The committee will be considering further action “to ensure that significant progress is made in the development and implementation of active travel in Scotland”. If people engage with this enquiry there will be tangible benefits.

Question 1: What more can be done to encourage people to change their travelling habits and walk and cycle more?

Question 2: Is enough progress being made in developing and delivering improvements in the uptake of walking and cycling?

Question 3: If not, what are the barriers to progress? (for example, lack of policy development, lack of political leadership, lack of funding/investment, the lack of prominence given to active travel in transport policy development, project planning and construction etc.)

Question 4: Why do walking and cycling policies set out in national, regional and local transport plans not result in a greater modal share for walking and cycling?

Question 5: What further action is required by the Scottish Government, local authorities and other bodies to ensure that significant progress is made in the development and implementation of walking and cycling, particularly if transport is to make a greater and more meaningful contribution to the reduction in greenhouse gas emissions?

Question 6: What can Scotland learn from good practice/successful implementation in other countries?

You should read the page at the link above, but I copy some of the submission instructions in brief below:

The closing date for written submissions is Friday 11 December 2009. Ideally submissions should not exceed six sides of A4 paper. The Committee prefers to receive written submissions electronically. These should be sent to: activetravel@scottish.parliament.uk

Or by post:
Transport, Infrastructure and Climate Change Committee
Room T3.40
The Scottish Parliament
Edinburgh
EH99 1SP

Bike Friday social commute

European Mobility week Edinburgh is 16th – 22nd September. As part of this, the city is trying Bike Friday – an organised social commute ride, starting from several designated points at the edge of town- Portobello (Swim Centre), Corstorphine (David Lloyd Centre) and Gracemount (Leisure Centre).

The idea is to mix experienced cyclists with ones less used to riding in traffic to try a commute. This has been achieved successfully in London, as featured recently on the Guardian’s Bike Podcast.

Could this work in Stirling? The council have already consulted local cycling club in preparation for improvements to the bike path network in Stirling. The city’s rush hour traffic has several ‘black-spots’ (such as the Craigs roundabout) that are difficult to navigate on a bike. An organised group commute could help newer commuters to overcome fear of these areas.