Browsing articles in "cycling"
Apr 18, 2012
Andrew Budd

Summer of cycling?? Yes, really!

Here at Travel Plan Club Towers we were pondering what we could do to promote cycling in Colchester, this summer. Do we need to set up some events? Who are our target groups? When and where might they be? Who will do all this work? Then we looked at what’s already happening in Colchester, liked it, and decided to back those events.

This morning  we helped run a session for Cycle Colchester Comms Group. To emphasise the point that it’s not the local authorities’ event, it’s the collective “ours”, we met at The Castle Inn. There was no set agenda, and no finger-wagging about what has and hasn’t been done. It was about information sharing, and thinking through how we can continue the Cycle Colchester project, working with the goodwill of the local volunteers and the authorities.

Meanwhile, the Cycle Colchester website has disappeared, like the last christmas card behind the radiator. The firm that were running it have ceased trading, and a temporary fix is that some of the site is hosted at Colchester Borough Council. However, the feeling of the meeting was that an independent website is needed, restoring the project branding, with lots of links to all the events , news and activities of the local clubs, interests and organisations.

So what’s happening in Colchester’s summer of cycling? Here’s a taster:

  • Alley Cat ride 28 April, and more dates ….
  • Tour Series professional cycling in town centre, 7 June
  • Bike to Work Week for CoHoC (Colchester Hospital Charity, all welcome to join in) 16-24 June
  • Colchester Carnival 30 June – look out for Keep Colchester Cycling display, and join in if you have decorated your bike?
  • Olympic Flame in Colchester 6 July – Fred Slattern’s Bike Book Club
  • Colchester Free Festival 25 August – lookout for the bike themed elements…..
  • Young Explorers Ride 26 August, from Gosbecks, 7 miles off-road, for families, 4 mile short cut option
  • 5 Mile to Fabulous” women’s ride to Wivenhoe – date to be confirmed
  • CTC rides for new and returning cyclists – big programme of short rides led by the infamous Richard Monk
  • plus lots of charity ride challenges, and local cycle sports club events through the summer

Look out for the new Cycle Colchester website, and follow the links to all these events.  Meanwhile put them on your diary.

 

Mar 28, 2012
Andrew Budd

Double cycling – bring a friend.

According to studies from the University of Made-Up Stuff, 30% of the population will “never” cycle, 59% “might”, 10% will “sometimes” and 1%  will “often”.

 The 1% “often” are cycling enthusiasts, who have a very different outlook to the 89% non-cyclists, “never” and “might”. The ethos of Cycle Colchester is “more people cycling, more often”.  To make a difference, we need to focus on the 59% “might” and the 10% “sometimes”.

Theme One: Who are we, and what are we doing here? (names have been removed) CTC, Sustrans volunteer, CCC, Sustrans “Bike It”, cycling officer ECC, KeepColchesterCycling, ECC road safety, Colchester Travel Plan Club and more interests……

who should be here? CTC cycle champion, theatre and arts sector,  “cycle and seek”, Tendring representative, University of Essex, cycle trade representative,  Colchester Chronicle, cycletech bike mechanic, bike guru, cycle café proprietor, local bookshop who could sell maps and guides, Colchester Garrison, Keep Colchester Cool, General Practitioners/ Anglia Community Enterprise (working for PCT)/ Health Champions and Trainers network, commuter cyclists to Colchester vworkplaces, Colchester stations commuter cyclists/ Station Travel Plan reps, businesses, cafe owners, VisitColchester, UofE academics specialising in sustainability and community building, ECC highways technical staff, Colchester BC, Healthy Living Solutions, local schools, Cycle Sport – local clubs, plus local poets, health workers, celebrities and movers and shakers…..

Theme One Summary:

Everyone’s busy. We don’t expect everyone who can influence Colchester people to get more cycling, to commit to a half-day meeting, all in a room, at the same time.

We want to build a successful and effective network, with full shared access to information about promoting cycling in Colchester.

The public, and the cycling supporters, need to be well informed on what’s on offer in Colchester, looking at the wider demographic of our population.

We all need to understand that each sector of the community has different requirements, if we are to see more cycling.

Whether we are public sector, private sector or voluntary, we need to understand what we can deliver, looking at human resources and funds, and what we will have to leave aside.

Theme Two, 2012 Projects and Events: (some will happen, others are just ideas)

Tour Series pro bike race, 7 June. “Summer of cycling” – instead of national bike week, a summer of cycling is being run, linked with the Olympics. Colchester Carnival, 30 June (will include all day festival). Mountain bike chariot racing????. Wivenhoe May Fair – Saturday 26 May, King George V playing fields. Cycle training for families/ all, held over FOUR Sundays, at High Woods Country Park. Young Children’s Festival –  Saturday 16 June, Castle Park. Colchester Free Festival – Saturday 25 August, Castle Park

Fred Slattern’s Bike Book Club, starting from St John’s Green, Young Explorer ride (seven mile ride, aimed at families, from St John’s Green to Friday Woods and back).  Treasure trail, available all year, possibility in High Woods. Geocaching project. “Hub” project (open in Harlow) a bike recycling scheme engaging with young people not in mainstream education. Greenstead community event. Cultural festival. “5 miles to fabulous” event targeted at women. “singles” bike ride. “Keep Colchester Cycling”.

A suggestion. The cyclists themselves need to get people cycling, on a one-to-one basis. If every local cyclist persuaded one person to take up cycling, we would double the number of cyclists inColchester.

Target Groups. Who? and Why?

WHO? Everyone. Primary school pupils (and parents and siblings). Secondary school pupils (ditto). Young adults. Older students. Family Groups. Business. Women (all ages needed, separate marketing for different sectors). Older people. Inactive people referred by GPs. “Mind” project, using green exercise to help with depression or mental illness

WHY? Fun, Fashion, Health, Green, Cheap, Transport. A matrix could be produced, making an assessment of which reasons for cycling would most appeal to each group. When looking at a cycling promotion we need to think about who the target group are, and why our event might appeal to them. We ignore this at our peril…… 

WHAT HAVE WE GOT?  An Audit for January 2012 

Infrastructure and Assets: a recognised brand with a good reputation, the goodwill of the volunteers and the authorities, a small amount of funding, route maps and equipment (trailers, displays, “pulp friction”), www.cyclecolchester.co.uk website (Colchester Travel Plan Club will update this) (Post meeting note: the company that ran it have ceased trading, updating not possible at present.),  Salary Brook and UofE Knowledge Gateway cycle route works in 2012. Freebies in store. Maps (Good stock of most CC maps, money available for reprints). Lower Castle Park cycle route opening 20 March 2012. Lexden route (includes Crouch St completion 2012), Cyclists database – collected over the last two years, through events, pledges.

Training: Getting adults to take part in cycle training has proven difficult. There will be more opportunities in 2012.

Current promotional projects:  Cycle Champion’s led rides (the best fit to our target audiences?),            VIth Form College, The Gilberd School, Uof E – develop Bike It for older young people,  Tiptree – CTC rides plus public health sector links?, Eco Race – at primary and secondary schools (currently 12), Keep Colchester Cycling – free hire bikes, launching in spring 2012, Feedback forms needed from all events (KCC are already planning this)

NEXT SESSION: Wednesday 18 April 10:00am. Venue to be confirmed. 

Feb 5, 2012
Andrew Budd

Money for cycling – your ideas wanted.

Calling all dreamers! There is some funding available for cycling in Colchester. Rosemary Wilkins, Essex County Council Cycling Officer, has tirelessly shared information about this over the last three months, and the deadline for applications is drawing near.

The Travel Plan Club has been gathering ideas, and has bid for schemes such as :

  • Funds for Colchester Cycling Campaign for saddle cover freebies and event reservations, to help their volunteers when attending local events.
  • Fred Slattern’s Bike Book Club – bringing in new people to cycling in Colchester
  • Cycle Challenge web based competitive event for local employers to get their employees cycling
  • Young Explorers’ Ride – a family event to Friday Woods
  • Bikeability – cycle training for adults
  • “double our cyclists” campaign for local cyclists to sign up a non-cycling friend
  • treasure trail for the summer
  • new cyclepaths at North Colchester Business Parks
  • “summer of cycling” local leaflet of events, also linked with Bike Week and to complement the Olympics.
Please contact us as soon as possible if you have an idea, and would like to make a bid.

 

Jan 26, 2012
emilyharrup

Full set of spanners at CTPC workshop!

 

Not many schools can boast that cycling is an integral part of their curriculum. The Gilberd School teaches mountain biking and Bikeability within timetabled lessons, holds bike races as part of sports day, and has a weekly bike club. And the headliner is an impressive bike maintenance workshop which is run as a small business and where students can learn bike maintenance as part of a qualification.  With  bikes that don’t work, being one of the main reasons kids don’t cycle to school, The Gilberd’s bike maintenance workshop is about to go mobile and help out at other schools.  Thanks to Roger Springett for hosting January’s CTPC event, and for the tour afterwards which included the bike workshop and facilities plus the impressive shiny new trailer which will soon be transformed into a mobile workshop.

So back to club news:

CTPC Governance: With the winding-down of Colchester2020, Jeremy Lucas (ECC) and Paul Wilkinson (CBC) talked about future governance of the club and member involvement in determining the direction the club goes in and priorities.  Emily and Andrew have always responded and evolved to the needs of the TPC members and are happy to continue doing this. Paul will be organising a workshop for members to discuss governance issues/priorities etc. All agreed that any opportunity to bid for funding should be taken advantage of to help ongoing funding of the CTPC and new projects.

Summer Cycling Promotions: Get your costed ideas for promotions within your workplace into Andrew and Emily by the beginning of February. Funding may be available from ECC for training, events, Dr Bike etc and any new ideas you have. We all liked the Cycle Challenge as a cross CTPC promotion but the cost is an issue, could we develop our own online logging system? One for Andrew and Emily to explore…..

STEPS – Active Travel:  Legs Eleven walking project is still happening, and is expected to be launched in the spring. A decision on ERDF funding is imminent, which will put more funding into this and other NCBP projects.

2012 Events:  We are happy to support you in any events where you are promoting sustainable transport. One highlight in this year’s calender is the  ACTTravelwise’s spring conference  which is being hosted by Charlotte at UofE and has an exciting line up showcasing Transport in the 21st Century. There is a pre-conference event on the 29th March with the main conference on the 30th.  Use the link above to see the full programme and to book your place.

Drive Colchester: £5000 is available to CTPC members to promote car sharing and smarter driving in 2012! A second grant from DEFR has given us this great opportunity for some more bespoke promotions over and above the central project we are currently working on. So please let us have your ideas…. whether it be advanced driving lessons, an on site mechanic, car share matching events, Love Your Car promotions, bespoke publicity material, dedicated car share bays or something else…

The central campaign will run over a couple of months starting around mid February, with a short funky film on carsharing and another on smarter driving.  Radio (Heart, Dream, Uni, Garrison, Hospital?-  are there others we can approach??) and billboard campaigns will promote the films and Drive Colchester website, plus publicity in TPC member organisations… watch this space for more info…

Travel Plan Accreditation scheme: Many of our members have achieved a silver and want to go for gold. Survey response rates are the main barrier and Rachel gave us ideas for maximising response rates by offering attractive inventives, offering a paper version, timing the survey to coincide with a change in parking arrangements etc.

Survey time is here again:  We do a full survey across all members every two years, usually in May to measure our progress. Survey results have been good with a year on year 3% decrease in people driving to work and big increases in people mixing their modes.  The challenge this year is to get the high response rate to help our members hit gold, as well as get some robust stats to measure our progress  by.  So we will be talking to members over the next few months on how best to tackle this for their organisation and noted that if we can put the month long survey back or forward a week it will help out the Uni as May clashes with exam time.

Abellio and public transport: Good news that Abellio want to focus on customer service in their 2 year franchise, with their eye keenly set on achieving the franchise in the longer term. This means new dedicated customer service desks at key stations (including Colchester) interest in integrated transport, more user-friendly timetables, marketing of under capacity trains (apparently there are very few that are overcrowded) We have had positive sounds about continuing our discount and hopefully they will be keen to work on some joint marketing of train travel with us. (Conversation today with our current contact at NXEA, Tanya, indicates business as usual from 5th Feb when Abellio take over – she is 99% certain existing discounts will continue.

CTPC public transport promotional material is all set to go, but ticket stock is still awaited from Network Colchester. Tony Mears has gone (Emily met new Regional General Manager Martin Evans after our meeting, hopefully the ticket stock will be appearing very soon so we can get on with our promotions).

ACTTravelwise: The CTPC pays for membership of ACTTravelwise  , who represent and lobbies for sustainable travel and travel planning nationally. Full CTPC members have access via their own log in.  It is a good resource for case studies, events, jobs and includes a forum for posting questions.  Emily will sort out current log ins and passwords.  Another good free resource to sign up to is Ways2Work funded by DfT and focused more on the private sector, with lots of good case studies, advice and best practice.

Helena encouraged us all to sign up  for a Free Business in the Community & ACE conference masterclass promoting health in the workplace, 8th February 09:30 – 13:30, lunch included, at the Holiday Inn in Eight Ash Green.

Thanks, and if you want to know more please get in touch.

Oct 25, 2011
Andrew Budd

It’s not about the bike

It’s not about the bike, or the bus, or the car. Working in the field of travel planning we can sometimes get so engrossed in bus discount tickets, car sharing parking spaces and the minutiae of bicycle deals (salary sacrifice, VAT, residual value, tax liability and so on…..). We overlook the human aspect at our peril, if we expect that people are going to change their lifestyles, from their less than ideal but maybe fairly comfortable current arrangements.

“If you want to build a ship, don’t drum up people together to collect wood and don’t assign them tasks and work, but rather teach them to long for the endless immensity of the sea” Antoine de Saint-Exupery.

So here’s a picture taken at the Hoge Veluwe National Park, in the east of The Netherlands. An area of rolling countryside, heaths, woods and sand dunes. Inaccessible by car, but threaded with a narrow ribbon of tarmac, taking you by bike to a place of total peace. And when you arrive at the loftiest spot, there’s a high chair that lifts you just that bit further, and the horizon spreads many more kilometres. Follow my dream, and sit in that chair.

(And for those who really are interested in the bike, it’s a 1983 Raleigh Metro, 3-speed hub-gear ladies’ bike, with original steel mudguards, chainguard, cranks, rims and bars, updated only by Schwalbe Marathon Plus puncture-proof tyres. An unglamorous machine, but low maintenance and reliable.)

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 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.

Aug 24, 2011
Andrew Budd

“21st Century” national event coming to Colchester

 
‘Transport in the 21st Century’ is the theme of a conference being held at the University of Essex. The event will explore the implications of future transport policy and how sustainable travel interventions will need to advance in order to address the growing environmental demand. Presentations and workshops will showcase developing solutions to achieving reductions in carbon such as the ECOSTARS Fleet Recognition scheme, the Pan European cycle logistics project and the development of high-speed cycle lanes as seen in the Netherlands. Future technology will also feature with a demonstration of developments in mobile phone applications for travel planning. However, enhancements to traditional travel planning interventions will also be highlighted with a new twist on behavioural change and an interactive workshop on motivational interviewing.
 
The event will be run by ACT TravelWise (Association of Commuter Transport) on Friday, 30th March 2012. For more information about this organisation and the Colchester event, check out http://www.acttravelwise.org/home
 
Colchester2020 Travel Plan Club could have some involvement on the day – watch out for details……….
 
(Photo from http://www.care4air.org/eco_stars_profiles.html, we look forward to finding out about your scheme.)
Aug 3, 2011
Andrew Budd

High vis v getting kids on bikes

  

 It’s Sunday morning, 24 July, and the Travel Plan Club members have been invited, with their families, to attend a “Young Explorers” bike ride from the town centre to Friday Woods. It was run to show people the cycle routes, to get people active, and to raise awareness of Type 1 Diabetes (www.justgiving.com/planetfrank ). As a public event, a risk assessment had been prepared, and one of the options was to offer participants advice on cycling, helmets and high-visibilty vests; and some were available if people hadn’t brought their own.

One parent, in the friendliest possible manner, informed the organisers that if we wanted to get young people cycling, don’t expect them to wear a high-vis jacket, as they will want to put fashion before safety. Bear in mind that this was a led 10 kilometre ride (at a slow pace), with almost every metre off-road, with people wearing bright clothing in perfect visibility conditions.

As with many interventions when trying to bring about changes in transport habits, beware of the unintended consequences. By co-incidence there was a recent news story (link below) about the perpetual cycle helmets debate, with many doctors not supporting proposals that might improve safety, but which would also reduce cycling levels, on balance to the detriment of public health. Of course, we all want to see a reduction in head injuries, and helmets might help, but look at things through ordinary people’s eyes, and think about how they will respond. After all, many of us reading this are motorists, and we too could possibly benefit from wearing helmets when travelling in a car, as many of us suffer head injuries in collisions. Think how you would feel if a road safety person promoted helmets to you as a motorist – what would your reaction be, and what reasons would you use to excuse yourself from this road safety measure? 

http://www.thisislondon.co.uk/standard/article-23974179-doctors-dont-make-bike-helmets-compulsory.do

 

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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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