• National Trust cycling initiative

    The National Trust is making a nationwide push to have a greater focus on its coastal and countryside sites – and has promised to put cycling at the heart of this initiative.

    There are more than 200 trust properties within a mile of the National Cycle Network, and the conservation and heritage charity has announced that it will be working with green travel organisation Sustrans to 'ensure that the last mile is as good as it can be'.

  • Claim free cycle parking stands for your London workplace

    LCC are reporting that there's still money for FREE bike stands for employers with more than 50 staff this financial year. To secure the free stands your employer has to sign up to the Cycle To Work Guarantee scheme (this is free) and pay for installation of the stands.

    Each workplace is entitled to up to 20 free stands, but if your employer has fewer than 50 staff, you can apply in partnership with other employers: for example in an office building.The stands must be installed on private land.

    You have until the end of the financial year to claim the allocation by asking your employer to visit here before the end of March 2011. Otherwise, applicants can email Transport for London directly.

  • Cycling Pride?

    A fascinating article has called for unity among cycling campaigners, invoking the 'Gay Pride' movement that was so successful throughout the world in unifying separate campaign groups (and thereby changing attitudes) in the 70s. The author explains:

    "If each of these ‘minorities within a minority’ had lobbied the Government alone they’d have struggled much longer in order to achieve their goals. However, by participating in Pride they could approach the law makers by demonstrating they were part of a much larger and more powerful voting block. This has been the legacy of Pride; legislative changes which affect a small amount of people but which are important none the less have been secured with the back-up of a million people in the street. Those who wanted adoption rights marched in support of those who wanted to serve openly in the military and vice versa. Solidarity won the day."

    The author continues:

    "Cycling is already represented by a number of different campaigning groups with different aims. Some people want to build more bike lanes; some people want to increase the budget for cycle training. Some of us want to see money spent on developing sports cycling; others still want to improve the lot of cycling commuters. Since the abolition of Cycling England our campaigns must each negotiate with the Government one by one. Separately they have a few thousand members here, or a few thousand members there. No one campaign group is big or powerful enough to be able to go Parliament with a consensus for cyclists...

    ... It’s great that we have different cycling campaigns for different types of cyclists, but perhaps they could learn something from the Gay Pride movement and once a year have all types of cyclists come together to show strength in numbers and solidarity in their similarities."

    What a great idea! It's one that Cycle Lifestyle supports enthusiastically.

  • London Cycle Map Challenge

    Maybe it’s the philosopher in me, but I’ve come up with a logical challenge to anyone who doesn’t support Simon Parker’s proposal for a London Cycle Map.

    If you agree that:

    1. there should be a signed ‘strategic’ cycle network in London, i.e. one enabling people to make medium-to long-distance (i.e. 2 – 20 miles) cycle journeys from one part of the capital to another; and
    2. this network should predominantly incorporate the 'London Cycle Network (LCN)' infrastructure already put in place over the last 30 or so years; and
    3. the signs on the network should be visible, informative and frequent enough to enable cyclists to follow them without needing to know the names of the streets they are riding on; and
    4. cyclists should be able to make journeys that are as direct (i.e. straight) as possible while avoiding (where practically possible) main roads; and
    5. although useful, Satnav technology should not be considered sufficient as a navigational tool for cycling in London, because it excludes the poorest Londoners from being able to plan journeys easily;

    then:

    Can you come up with a better way of fulfilling these criteria than Simon Parker’s ‘London Cycle Map’ with its ‘Compass Colour System’?

    I’m not a betting man, but I predict that no-one will. Parker’s system is so efficient. By envisaging the current LCN as a series of long, straight routes that uniformly dissect the capital at five different angles, evenly spread throughout the 360 degrees of the compass, his London Cycle Map more or less guarantees that there will be a direct cycle route connecting wherever you are in London with wherever you want to go; such that most cycle journeys therein would predominantly involve following signs of a single colour along such a route.

    In many ways Parker’s proposal is ingenious, bearing the classic hallmarks of an elegant and simple ‘why-did-nobody-think-of-that-before’ solution to a longstanding and complicated problem. His London Cycle Map and its Compass Colour System represents a genuine breakthrough for cyclists in the capital, and possibly the world over.

    Yet Parker’s London Cycle Map would also be right at home in the capital. Users of the Cycle Superhighways already get to follow coloured signs to navigate. Parker’s system would simply enable cyclists to do the same on all the routes on the LCN, thus vastly multiplying the available choices.

    Find out more about Parker's proposal here, and sign the London Cycle Map Campaign petition here.

  • Cycle lane row in New York

    A row (and a legal case) has broken out in New York about a cycle lane on an affluent street in the city. Not only has the story made the front page of the New York Times, Guardianistas in old blighty have been waving their broadsheets at the flames. Bike blogger Matt Seaton concludes his article:

    “New York City justly sees itself as the world's greatest city: here, in some sense, people live the way everyone would live if they had the chance. How New York – the city that still has a uniquely low level of car ownership and use – manages its transport planning in the 21st century matters for the whole world: it is the template. If cycling is pushed back into the margins of that future, rather than promoted, along with efficient mass public transit and safe, pleasant pedestrianism, as a key part of that future, the consequences will be grave and grim.”

    Now, I don’t know who is wrong or right in this case. I’ll leave that to people who live within, say, 3,000 miles of New York to decide. This comment below the article in the Guardian caught my eye:

    “I live in Brooklyn and feel the need to speak up. While I wholeheartedly agree with [The Guardian] article's final sentence you have to live here to experience the absolute lack of common sense that is used by the city when planning bike lanes.

    Instead of introducing them into less busy streets (that still make good route one directional sense for cyclists) bike lanes are often introduced into each local areas' main traffic arteries.

    This leads to more bottle necking, traffic jams, aggressive driving and engine idling pollution in communities that had not experienced these urban blights prior to the bike lanes.

    I live on Dekalb Avenue in Fort Greene- a busy road, especially during school runs etc and a very popular and busy bus route. Despite this, the traffic moved smoothly a great deal of the time. Since introducing the bike lanes it has become a cluster f***. Running parallel to Dekalb is far quieter street that would have been perfect for a bike lane.

    ... The law suit has not come about because of peoples' mistrust of the bike and love of the automobile but because we're getting royally pissed off at idiotic decision making.”

    Could it be that New York needs Parker’s ‘Compass Colour System’ too? It might reduce the tendency of planners there to attempt to achieve route directness through using main roads. In London, Parker’s system comprises long straight roads connecting all areas of the city, but it manages to do so while predominantly using the generally quieter streets of the LCN.

  • Cyclists launch petition against helmet compulsion

    Two UK organisations that promote cycling, CTC and Sustrans, have joined together to launch a petition against proposed legislation in Northern Ireland which would require cyclists to wear a helmet when riding in any public place. The petition can be signed by anyone in the UK, whether they live in Northern Ireland, England, Scotland or Wales.

    The Cyclists (Protective Headgear) Bill was narrowly approved by the Northern Ireland Assembly in January and is now being scrutinised by the Environment Committee.

    CTC and Sustrans have been careful to explain that they are not “anti-helmet”. Instead, they point to a catalogue of evidence showing that Northern Ireland would see a sharp reduction in the number of people who cycle if the bill becomes law. This would have serious consequences for public health, quality of life, congestion and the environment.

    Explaining CTC’s stance, Roger Geffen, Campaigns and Policy Director, said: “Cycling for day-to-day journeys is a relatively safe activity and it gets safer the more people there are cycling. This bill may be well-intentioned, but it will deter vast numbers of people from cycling, while increasing the risk for those who remain. At a time of mounting concern about obesity and climate change, scaring people into car-dependence is bound to shorten more lives than helmets would possibly save. I’d recommend our petition to everyone who enjoys cycling. With their support we can defeat this fundamentally flawed bill.”

    Sustrans’ Northern Ireland Director Steven Patterson adds: “We share the wish of the supporters of this bill to improve the safety of cyclists but there are many better ways of doing this, such as giving every child on-road cycle training or reducing speed limits to 20mph in residential areas.”

    Alongside this petition, CTC and Sustrans will submit a portfolio of evidence to the legislative committee.

    You can sign the petition at tinyURL.com/NorthernIrelandHelmets

  • Cycle to Work tax relief scheme 'should be continued'

    Cycle to Work legislation has played a key role in creating new cyclists and helping people live healthier lives, the independent 'Office of Tax Simplification' has concluded, recommending that the popular tax relief scheme be continued.

    The findings have been presented to the Chancellor of the Exchequer and a formal response is expected as part of the 2011 Budget.

  • Tour of Britain returns to London

    Having been moved last year, the final stage of the Tour of Britain will be in London again this year on 18 September. Successful circuits took place in 2008 and 2009, but this year’s final day is predicted to be even more popular, falling as it does on a Sunday, and also providing a chance to see some of Britain and the World’s top cyclists in action on the streets of the capital less than a year before the Olympic Games.

  • Government report backs 20mph speed limits

    A report from the National Institute for Clinical Excellence (NICE) has recommended 20mph speed limits in residential areas. These include roads where children and young people are likely to be, for instance near playgrounds or schools, or where pedestrian and cyclist journeys are frequent. Find out more in this LCC article, or from campaign group Twenty's Plenty. Group founder Rod King says: 'speed really becomes greed when it stops people from walking or cycling on the streets they call home'.

  • 'Bike spike expected as motoring costs increase'

    The average cycle speed in London is higher than the average car speed. But if that's not enough to get people on their bikes, then maybe recent news from the AA that average petrol prices have passed the 130p a litre mark for the first time might do the job. With RAC motoring strategist Adrian Tink telling the Evening Standard that instability in the oil market and fuel duty price rises in April could see petrol prices 'increase by another 8p a litre in the near future', Bike Biz are prediciting 'good news for the cycle trade'. The times they are a changin.

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