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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. 

Jan 31, 2012
Andrew Budd

Health, Work and Wellbeing – event 8 Feb 2012

A healthy workforce is good for your employees, for the wider community, and for your business. There’s a Health, Work and Wellbeing event at Eight Ash Green, run by the “Business in the Community” organisation, and “NHS northeast Essex”. It will be in the morning of 8 February, and will include lunch. Please follow the link for details, and book your FREE place. There will be a series of interesting presentations, some market stalls, and opportunities to network. See you there…..

http://www.bitc.org.uk/events/health_work_.html

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.

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“.

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

 

What’s coming up?

18 April - CTPC members meeting at Culver Square

1 - 31 May - Walking Month

4 - 7 May - Jane's Walk Colchester

21 June - Clean Air Day

27 June - CTPC members meeting at CHUFT

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