Browsing articles tagged with " health"
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. 

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.

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