Browsing articles from "September, 2011"
Sep 30, 2011
emilyharrup

Pulp Friction joins giant inflatables!

It was a gloriously sunny day on Wednesday for Colchester Institute’s Freshers’ Fair.

Luckily for us we found a shady spot to set ourselves up, having transported the smoothie maker plus all the fruit to the event in a bike trailer!  Pulp Friction joined an array of strange and energy demanding inflatable fun things and offered a welcome  break and much needed energy boost for weary and hot students fresh from their surfing, bumper cars and this other thing – which I couldn’t quite work out, but having done some googling have discovered was an inflatable laser quest – picture above!

There were plenty of students prepared to pedal for their smoothies, but plenty also that were happy for someone else to pedal one for them! Pulp Friction got a good thrashing from some of the more enthusiastic lads and at times had to be held down to stop the whole bike and turbo trainer from taking off – some serious rubber was burnt!

180 smoothies were made and we ran out of fruit at around 3.  We attempted to do a short travel survey and managed to pin down 84 students, who completed the survey with varying degrees of attention, so the results are a little random! We did at least get how they travelled to campus,  and the top three ways to travel were bus at 42%, train at 20% and walk at 19%.

So Colchester Institute Freshers’ fair is over and we are due to be at the University of Essex’s Freshers’ Fair on Saturday 8th October – sadly we will not have Pulp Friction with us, as she is already booked, but it does mean we will have some time to actually talk to the students!

 

Sep 6, 2011
Andrew Budd

Legs Eleven gets green light

I’ve got an idea for you.” Justin Lewis from Vacuumatic, at Severalls Business Park, got in touch with us recently. He’s keen on playing his part in reducing traffic congestion in the area where he works, and he’s also interested in people getting a bit of fresh air at lunchtime.  He’s a leader of the business community in the area, although, with Justin’s modest nature, he would probably shrug his shoulders and say “well I’m just interested in what’s going on“.

A few of us are keen on going for a walk at lunchtime, and we enjoy it so much, we thought others might like to try it – so maybe the Travel Plan Club would like to take on a walking project?” Yes indeed, the TPC is very interested, especially as we want to work with more businesses in North Colchester Business Parks (NCBP), and it ticks our “traffic congestion/ public health/ low-cost” boxes.

And so, the Legs Eleven project was born. Justin and colleagues have come up with nine routes round the business parks, and Emily and I have come up with two more walking routes taking us just off-site. Justin suggested a series of cards, to show people the route and places along the way – landmarks for wayfinding, places to eat, and snippets of interesting information. As it’s a community project we want to work with local businesses to prepare the cards, and promote the walks, so watch out for our appearance at your local networking events. (And give us an invitation to your event!)

What’s more, we’ll be there with you, stepping out. Look out for our led walks “Highwoods Ramble” and “Tesco Grab”,  in spring 2012. With a media campaign, we expect Legs Eleven will capture the imagination, promoting the businesses at NCBP. We will soon be in touch with you so that your business can be part of this great local initiative. Says Andrew Budd “with Legs Eleven on its way, lunchtimes have never been such fun“.

Sep 5, 2011
Andrew Budd

Holland not coming our way any day soon……..

“There are two possibilities – either to change the way we build our cities, which is a very far-reaching kind of project, or else we make up for their deficiencies by looking at them in a different way.”

August Endell was a painter and architect, who wrote “The Beauty of the Big City”, about Berlin in the 1920s. And here we are, Colchester a cycle town from 2008, and planning for Colchester 2020. Cycle Colchester project is a partnership between the local authorities and the voluntary sector, and the Colchester project continues even though the current government decided not to continue their financial support for the cycle town concept.

There have recently been some observations that we have not yet created Dutch infrastructure in Colchester. Ah yes, Holland, that heaven on earth where people can cycle from everywhere to everywhere else, in complete safety, happy and smiling all the time. Here’s an inspirational link from Copenhagen http://youtu.be/RCDV-7QWt6Q showing it is entirely possible to create places where many people choose to cycle.

There are some people in Colchester who will say that Colchester is too hilly, too wet or too cold for cycling, despite there being plenty of places that have much more adverse conditions, and much more cycling.  There are others who say “it’s too dangerous, and I won’t cycle until I can get from my home to —– (insert your destination here), until there is a dedicated off-road cyclepath from door to door”. Well the path ain’t going to happen sometime soon, and probably never will.

It’s back to Wendell, and how we respond to our city as it is; lovely but imperfect. I suggest that very many journeys in Colchester can NOW be made by bike, with relatively good ease and safety, if we are prepared to give it a go. If people want to make that change from HABITUAL car use, and use their bike for SOME of the journeys, for many of us, we CAN do it. There is plenty of information out there about equipment and training, and lots of information about cycle routes. 

When we look at the Danes in the video link, remember that the Danes have HIGHER car ownership than we do, it’s just that they don’t choose to use the car for ALL trips. (I have cycled in their smaller, Colchester scale, cities – Aarhus, Aalborg and Odense – and it’s not just a Copenhagen thing.)

OK, we don’t have a full network in Colchester of dedicated cycle routes for all possible trips, but we do have hundreds of miles of quiet roads that are safe to use by bike, and some very useful links through green spaces. We can wait until the perfect path is provided, but I suggest we, as a community, should be getting the benefits of cycling now.

We need more people, using bikes for more kinds of journeys, more of the time. Cycle Colchester isn’t just about “them”, the authorities; it’s also about “us”, the members of our community, and what WE do.

Disclaimer: Please note that this blog posting is my own personal opinion. Feel free to comment.

What’s coming up?

5 - 19 May Colchester Walking Challenge

10 - 25 June Colchester Cycle Challenge

(10 - 17 June National Bike Week)

14 June CTPC members meeting

15 June National Clean Air Day

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