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May 24, 2012
emilyharrup

We nearly walked Lands End to John o’Groats!

Walking week 14 – 18 May and Colchester logged 834 miles, saved 144kg of carbon and burned the equivalent of 148 muffins using the Living Streets online challenge!!

We missed making it from Land’s End to John o’Groats by only 39 miles!

The Living Streets website was fun to use and the league tables made for hot competition. It was just a pity the site was so slow to sign up to and add walks.  We will  be feeding back to Living Streets, so let us know if you have anything to add.

In the meantime summer seems to have appeared so keep up the good walks!

May 8, 2012
Andrew Budd

Active Travel – Walking in May, Cycling in June

With a special summer of sport on its way, with the European Nations’ football tournament, the Olympics, and the Paralympics, plus the regular Wimbledon and Tour de France, we could spend the whole summer on the sofa, watching all this activity? Fortunately there’s lots going on locally to encourage and support us, if we want to get active ourselves; stepping out with walking in May, and cycling in June.

We’re now into National Walking Month, and Colchester Travel Plan Club is booting-up for WALK TO WORK WEEK, 14-18 MAY. Some Colchester Travel Plan Club member organisations have signed up for this, and office teams have been invited to take part in a little friendly competition.

Here’s the link for the national event http://www.livingstreets.org.uk/walk-with-us/events/walk-to-work-week Over the next few days your CTPC workplace co-ordinator should sign up your company. If you’re not in the CTPC you can still join in the fun, by registering your company yourself. And for individuals where the company has chosen not to take part, you can still join in by signing -up as an individual. We believe there are already some small businesses and individuals in Colchester that have done that, but we won’t know for sure until the Walk to Work Week’s starting gates open on the 14th May.

“WALK TO WORK” (no, it’s not just about the walk to work) was one of the topics discussed at the CTPC Active Travel event, held on 25 April 2012 at Colchester General Hospital. The other main topic for ACTIVE TRAVEL was CYCLING.

Caroline Bates, fundraiser for Colchester Hospital Charity (CoHoC), spoke about their BIKE TO WORK CHALLENGE at the Hospital, and CTPC members agreed to join in. Caroline’s great idea is that all Colchester workplaces join in with the Bike to Work Challenge, and the individuals donate their bus fares or petrol money to the hospital charity. Bike Week will be 16-24 June, with more information about Caroline’s event at    http://www.bikeweek.org.uk/event_search.php?pagemode=display&event_id=186&postcode=co3&distance=10&category=-1&county=-1&fee=any&child=any 

Find us at “Colchester Travel Plan Club” on Facebook, and @travelplanclub on Twitter.

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 25, 2012
Andrew Budd

Loveurcarcolchester

And now for something completely different. Our keen followers may have heard rumblings about an exciting new project, working on new themes in very different ways. And we can’t keep our secret any longer. Coming to you, and the whole of Colchester, next week, is the LOVEURCARCOLCHESTER project.

At Loveurcarcolchester we recognise that car use is very important in Colchester, and that for many local trips we need to use our cars.
So how do we make our town a better place by playing our part in reducing traffic congestion, as we all accept that it’s sometimes a problem?
Loveurcarcolchester is here to have fun, and support transport change.
We’re here to celebrate what’s good about local driving, and also to encourage smarter driving, looking at car sharing, fuel economy and much more……
And, maybe sometimes, we can try something else?

Thank you to government department Defra for supporting this project in Colchester. The project partners are the Colchester Borough Council Air Quality team, Colchester Travel Plan Club, and local mediamakers and style gurus V102.

So what can we expect? Get ready to meet Bald Baz, Perfect Purdy, Frankie Two-Toes and Bob Noxious, our video heroes. From next week, visit our website www.loveurcarcolchester.co.uk and maybe win an i-Pad2.

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.

 

Nov 14, 2011
emilyharrup

Meet our NQE Business Awards Finalists

 

This year the Travel Plan Club, along with ECC and Inntel, have sponsored the Active and Sustainable Travel category in the prestigious NQE business awards

Having choosen nine finalists we followed this up with a visit to each.  It’s been great finding out all the different things they are doing to promote sustainable and active travel.  Here is a snippet of some of the best bits!

Open Road a charity providing drug and alcohol treatment makes great use of  Skype to deliver training between its centres and to hold meetings. This has greatly reduced its business travel costs and overtime payments.

The whole ethos of Green Path Ventures  is to give new experiences to, and build confidence of, people with mental health problems, through being outside, physical activity, social interaction and teaching bush craft skills.

To complement what they already do to encourage their staff to be more active  Click4Quote are considering installing a Wii in their staff kitchen to promote lunchtime activity over the winter months!

DSG have been monitoring their business travel related CO2 emissions and can show a big drop since they introduced video conferencing and other new working practices across all their sites.

An innovative bike maintenance workshop and mobile maintenance trailer which is going to offer bike repairs to local schools,  attracted a recent ministerial visit at The Gilberd School

Discounted D locks, pumps, cycle maintenance equipment, disounts in local bike schops and the Cycle to Work scheme are offered at Colchester VI Form College to help encourage cycling.

The University of Essex has doubled the number of students cycling to campus over the past couple of years through their termly cycle promotions including cycle training, Dr Bike, cycle watch scheme and the sale of second hand bikes.

Income from charging staff to park at Colchester Borough Council is used to offer staff choosing to regularly travel to work sustainably, 50% off bus season/carnet tickets and 35% off train travel.

Colchester United Football Club are really listening to their fans and tailoring services to suit,  there are now shuttle buses from Greenstead, St Johns, Highwoods and Butt Road plus a coach coming from Braintree. As many as 24% of fans now travel to a game by bus

So that’s it, our finalists in a nutshell.  It has been incredibly difficult to decide three winners as everyone is doing such good work. All will be revealed at the awards ceremony on Friday 25th November.  So good luck to you all and have a great evening!

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 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“.

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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