Tuesday, 15 October 2013

Brompton Dock: best bike hire solution yet

For some time Suffolk Bike Aid by its participation in the Halesworth Bicycle Team has been trying to entice an entrepreneur to establish a cycle hire scheme in Halesworth. There are several potential sites on the Millennium Green or just off the pedestrian-friendly Thoroughfare. Ideally we'd like to see this facility at the train station for business and recreational visitors alike.

WIth easy access by train, loads of interesting independent shops, quiet backroads leading to delightful pubs and a variety of nearby attractions inland and on the coast, which is an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, Halesworth is the ideal base for a cycling holiday in Suffolk's gentle expansive landscape.

Halesworth also has a 1.5 km cycle path across its Millennium Green which makes up part of National Cycle Route 1, the 20 km Halesworth Wheel route, guided cycle rides by Sustrans volunteers, cyclist-friendly B&Bs and cafes, Huggy's Bike Shop and not least of all our Bike Aid network.

At a sustainable transport conference in October Bike Aid came across the well spoken Harry Scrope and the Brompton Dock cycle hire concept. 

We've always been a big fan of Bromptons but ride a cheaper Dahon ourselves because of the more accessible price. The price of a new or secondhand Brompton fairly reflects though, in case you don't know, that it is a stupendously well-engineered bit of kit made in England by craftsmen. It folds down to become one of the smallest on the market yet unfolded it barely compromises on any aspect of riding performance.

Folding bikes can be carried in the boot of a car or in a boat and taken on buses and trains as luggage whereas, with Greater Anglia's new cycle policy, full-size bikes and so their own hire bikes cannot. You can fold a Brompton to put it under a desk and keep it safe. A rigid bike needs a lock and racks or shelter. Folding bikes extend Suffolk's sparse public transport into the furthest corners and so encourages ridership on all forms of sustainable transport.

A folding bike also has many advantages as a rental bike because it takes up less room to store them in an enclosed cabinet that protects them from the elements and vandalism. We reckon the visitor to Suffolk that hires a Brompton folding bike would be more likely to use it and retain it for longer as they can carry it and store it wherever they go.
Harry gave a very convincing pitch on how the Brompton Dock beats the 'Boris Bike' model and told us we would need £25,000 to install the solar-powered rental station and stock it with bikes, incidentally about the same cost as an automatic ticket machine at a railway station. Tech blog Bike Radar rode a Brompton Dock in Manchester and was more than positive. It concluded "the Brompton Dock really does the have the revolutionary potential to make cycling integrated with many other forms of transport a realistic option for millions."

Brompton Dock scheme being unveiled in Warrington

A Brompton Dock facility can produce huge savings on staff transport costs for their sponsors and many have returned a profit for borough councils. Even after Barclays cough up £5 million in sponsorship, the Boris Bikes lose £8 million a year. Harry cited the Whittington Hospital as one case study saving a fortune on taxi fares by offering its staff free Bromptons stored at docks across their facilities.

The Brompton Dock costs the hirer a very reasonable £2.50 per day with an annual subscription of £20 or alternatively £5 per day with a £1 subscription. Businesses get discounts for staff schemes too. Harry cited an impressive rate of conversion but many customers sign up straight away at the higher rate, such is the consumers' faith in the product.

By our reckoning hiring a Brompton as needed is competitive with ownership on hire purchase and avoids any storage and maintenance headaches. On that score, we think the Brompton is less trouble to maintain than many others folders and rigid bikes we've ridden, so it can survive hire use perfectly well.

Therefore, against such a useful model, it is disappointing to learn that Greater Anglia's cycle hire scheme rolling out in East Anglia will cost its users £10 per day. 

Suffolk Bike Aid reckons as soon as someone installs a Brompton Dock nearby, Cycle Station hire bikes will have to plummet in cost or will sit unused. That could impact the additional services of the Cycle Point repair schemes Greater Anglia have promised. Unless the parent company Abellio acts soon, this will hurt the reputation of bike hire and cycling as a public transport investment. Bike Aid would like to suggest to Greater Anglia they install Brompton Docks at their rural stations and naturally Halesworth would be the ideal place for a pilot project.

Who would have thought that a British company can go one better than the Dutch on cycling but that's innovation and progress.

Vandalised Velib in Paris Photo: Luc Legay

As far as we know Abellio don't plan to provide cycle hire in Halesworth anytime soon so if someone else wants to put one near a station with 73,000 rail passengers per year, please get in touch and we can discuss what inducements could be available. There would certainly be support from a number of regional and national cycling bodies and organisations in the town.

Wednesday, 5 June 2013

Railway Bicycle Stations in Stuttgart

Original site in German:

At the Möhringen, Vaihingen, Bad Cannstatt and Feuerbach railway stations in Stuttgart, Germany, bicycle service stations will clean, repair and store your bicycle. Open from Monday to Friday 7 AM - 8 PM, the bicycle service stations also have bicycles available for hire. The hire machines have been donated by the public and refurbished by the scheme and cost between €3 -5  per day.

The operator of the bicycle service stations is a social enterprise that helps young unemployed people on their way to a job.

People using the DLR in London will love the way bicycles are carried on its similar light rail transit system as well.

But before we get too excited, it's only the Stuttgart to Degerloch Zahnradbahn where you can find these open bike-cars along a two kilometer line because this particular train climbs 200 meters from the station. It must make for a fun ride home.

Stuttgart is the capital of motoring with Daimler AG, Porsche and Bosch being headquartered there but has ambitious goals for cycling as cyclists make up 20 percent of the total traffic. Local government is working to expand the cycling network and provide other services that make cycling attractive:
  • 160 km of cycle track is available - more than twice as much as 20 years ago.
  • Route planning by an online bicycle route planner.
  • A fleet of electric rental bikes has been offered since 2011 to also help flatten Stuttgart's many hills.

Tuesday, 4 June 2013

How the Dutch got their cycle paths

The lesson here is public demonstrations made it happen. Does that have to happen in the UK as well?

Thursday, 30 May 2013

A free country

1000 miles. No money, no bikes, no clothes and no clue. 

One of the founding principles of Bike Aid is that it will rely on the generosity of people to be hosts to provide assistance to any cyclist if they need it and that guests will repay their hosts with whatever their conscience thinks is just or whatever their means will allow. We think, on balance, this will more profitable for those concerned and society as a whole.

While many scoff at relying on such altruism, we find it already works well. For example, 'honesty boxes' are still thriving and a delightful feature of the Suffolk countryside.

So we're very pleased to hear, though long after it happened, that after thorough testing, this altruism is alive and well all over the UK.  

In September 2006 photographer George Mahood and composer Ben Cocks left Land’s End wearing nothing but Union Jack boxer shorts heading, where else, to John O' Groats and aiming to get there solely on the kindness of strangers to provide their clothes, transport, food and accommodation.

Eighteen and a half days later and without spending a dime they arrived well fed, well rested, fully clothed and on bicycles. Along the way they met many very nice people and drank deep from the well of human kindness and raised £1000 for charity.

And, had it not been for a prototype Bike Aid host, it would have taken them longer because sure enough, on the tenth day of the trip George reports:

...Soon after Ellesmere we unknowingly crossed the Welsh border. George heard a sinister hissing of air, and then saw a huge thorn poking out of The Falcon’s front tyre. We had no puncture repair kit, or pump. We walked to a nearby house, but they couldn't help and asked us to try next door. Peter, the man who answered the door, kept laughing at us for some reason, but lent us a pump and repair kit, and within minutes The Falcon was fixed. It turned out to be the only puncture that either of us received on the entire trip, and it is quite fitting that Wales made its mark on our journey. If it hadn't been for the thorn, we would've passed through Wales un-noticed, and would not have experienced the Welsh generosity shown by Peter.
They were accompanied by a film crew and so hope to produce a documentary. Meantime there's a jolly amusing book to enjoy.

Visit George’s website www.georgemahood.com for the rest of the story and George's slide show of the many other OFFICIALLY very nice people like Peter who helped them.

An original 'Bike Aid' host
Peter, if you are still a Bike Aid host, please get in touch and we'll put you on the map and the blog.

Friday, 24 May 2013

Cycle Safety in the UK

I was sent this by Georgia Penny from www.biteus.net who is working on behalf of Osbornes Solicitors LLP who produced this infographic highlighting the benefits and risks of cycling in the UK. It illustrates the need for legislation to protect cyclists.

There is also a video version of the infographic here.

The popularity of cycling has increased hugely in recent years. The number of people who own a bicycle has doubled over the last 10 years and there are continuous campaigns which are run to improve cycle safety. However, there is still a lot which needs be done before we can say that cyclists and motorist are travelling together in a harmonious way and before those travelling on two wheels are completely safe.

Tuesday, 21 May 2013

Host Profile: The Pink Pitstop, Bankside

Through Cyclehoop Bike Aid heard that Better Bankside have introduced London’s first free cycle repair workstation. We have written to them asking for some background info to complete this profile.

"The Pink Pit Stop" is a bike stand that fits any bike with a track pump, tools including tyre levers and an adjustable wrench.

The tools are tethered by aircraft cables. We don't know where you can obtain a puncture repair kit nearby, we hope a local shop stocks them but what if the stranded cyclist didn't have any money with them? This difficulty is what the Bike Aid concept overcomes.

While providing two out of three essentials (spanner, patch and pump) ain't bad, without access to a small patch and some glue, that cost pennies, a puncture becomes a major hassle.

Our critique of these stands is also they may become a 'tickbox' of cycle infrastructure provision without a thought to the social aspects of cycling and its potential to build communities. If the stand is not located in an amenable place, it won't be used by people for routine maintenance, especially if the tools are worn. Emergency use is statistically small so difficult to justify on cost, hence why we advocate the no-cost Bike Aid model. We wonder would cyclists put a burred wrench onto their exquisite soft chrome nuts? However, a cluster of these stands in a park near a cafe could perhaps become a social space; a meet-up place for social cycling. But rather than be provided blind, we think they should be provided in response to demand, say if a local people lobby for one to be placed in their community so giving the providers some confidence it will be used and that those users will take 'ownership' of it. 

The Pink Pitstop is located at the Better Bankside Community Space, 18 Great Guildford Street, SE1

Sunday, 19 May 2013

Millennium Green Cycle Path Ride

At yesterday's (18/5/13) opening of the Millennium Green Cycle Path the sky was very overcast but today there was bright spring sunshine, so it was a perfect opportunity to to show how the new path makes it more pleasant and safer to reach Halesworth from Bramfield, Walpole or Wenhaston via the Mells Crossing, which is now part of National Cycle Route 1.

The little Flip camera used was a bit shaky as it was only mounted on a Gorilla Grip on the handlebars but you get the idea. Plenty of cyclists and dog walkers were out making the most of it,  showing how the  path now extends the use of the Town Park into the Millennium Green. At the end of the route Edwards Restaurant in the Thoroughfare is usually open on Sunday mornings and it welcomes the hungry cyclist. Still a bit left to do on landscaping, installing the 'kissing' gates and rationalizing the signage. The cattle grids proved passable on 20 inch wheels.

Saturday, 18 May 2013

Millennium Green Cycle Path Opens

For everyone, forever.

Suffolk Bike Aid rarely goes on the road to events but as hundreds of cyclists were expected to come to the opening of the Millennium Green Cycle Path in our home town of Halesworth on Saturday 18th May 2013, we thought we should be there to welcome them.

View the Millennium Green Cycle Path in a larger map

Eventually several of the 250 or more cyclists attending did need to avail themselves of the donated  tools and pump we had brought along so it was a successful day on that front but also we spoke to many people who said they would like to host the kits in their own communities.

The night before we knocked up these information panels and were able to make an exhibition stand from bean poles to hang them from. We carried everything; table, chair, tools and pump to the event on a bicycle. We hope that inspires others to emulate taking bike aid to events.

But enough about us. The main event had splendid turnout with two Suffolk MPs and several County, District, Town and Parish councillors showing their green credentials by coming on bicycles. A large contingent of friends of the late Brian 'Boysie' Tate came en-route to St. Mortiz on a fundraising ride in his memory along with several Sustrans officers and volunteers and Suffolk County Council's Cycle Challenge who were conducting video interviews. A large marquee was kindly provided by the Lions Club of Halesworth and all the bunting made by the community for the Jubilee got yet another use. A pay-what-you-can stall serving home made food and drink encouraged people to be very generous and the takings reportedly exceeded expectations, proving Bike Aid's ethos that trust has greater efficiency than control.

The event organizers and project réalisateurs Halesworth Millennium Green Trust asked local schoolchildren to submit designs for bicycles of the future and a held a fancy dress competition for decorated bicycles. Several prizes were given to worthy winners and speeches of thanks made before the ribbon cutting by a pupil of Edgar Sewter Primary School.

The Millennium Green is owned by the people of Halesworth and will be so forever. With a grant from the Department of Transport, the charity Sustrans acquired and donated the land for the path adjacent to the green but a small plot prevented joining this to the Town Park until a Green Party district councillor urged Waveney District Council to acquire the land from a bankrupt developer, so unifying a patchwork of gifts by local philanthropists and the town council's efforts of more than forty years ago. In the last seven years HMGT volunteers have spend countless hours on negotiations, fundraising (still more to do), debating the virtues of hoggin versus tarmac and a great deal of hard physical labour to remove dangerous structures, buried railway lines and undergrowth before the contractors could begin the work. They and the contractors then battled the worst winter weather anyone can remember against a closer and closer deadline right up to the day. Without a doubt it has all been utterly worth it. The town park has been vastly extended into the Millennium Green, children now have a safe environment to learn to cycle on, people on an industrial estate have a safer way to cycle to the town's shops at lunchtime and people (of all ages) in buggies can go deep into a nature reserve on its hard surface.

The HinT pay-what-you-can coffee stall did very well. Many people were over-generous 

Design competition with work by local schoolchildren 

Cutting the ribbon on years of hard work 

Bike Aid supporters from Halesworth in Transition, Town Council and Sustrans 

Uncredited photos courtesy of Halesworth Millennium Green Trust. Others require permission.

Saturday, 11 May 2013

Bicycles made out of cars

This is a neat idea by Lola Madrid; it's a handmade bike created specially by bicycle shop owners out of real car parts designed to recycle as much automotive waste as it can.

Not to be outdone, Lola's neighbors in Lisbon have also come up with the aptly named Carma Project where the bikes will ride-back the mileage of the cars they were created from.

Leo Burnett Lisbon, CARMA bicycle, bike out of car parts, Recycled Materials, green bicycle design, B-Bicycle Culture Magazine, urban cycling, shared bicycles lisbon, recycled car parts, green design, recycling, green transportation, bicycle design, bicycle sharing

Friday, 10 May 2013

What Mary Portas forgot to mention

Mark Treasure @AsEasyAsRiding writes a blog about what should be the simple act of riding a bike in London and about how fantastic it is in the Netherlands. 

A posting of May 10, 2013 recounts his presentation at a Town Centre Opportunities event in London; the theme of the conference was on revitalizing urban space and keeping ‘The High Street’ thriving. In this he rightly points out a flaw in the recommendations of the Mary Portas Review into improving the environment of town centres.

The Portas Review recommends a number of measures to redress the balance, including a presumption in favour of town centre, rather than out of town, development. But on the subject of access to towns, the Portas strategy is rather unimaginative – namely, to attempt to make high streets as cheap and easy to access by car as out of town centres. In essence, the Review calls for:

  • free car parking;
  • cheaper car parking generally;
  • car parking in more convenient locations (presumably closer to shops);
  • and a parking ‘league table’, showing which authorities are charging the most (doubtless in an attempt to encourage them to charge less).
There’s even an attractive illustration of someone happily shopping, thanks to free parking.
But there is a problem with this Portas vision. Make parking free, or cheap, and allow it close to where people actually want to go, and the end result is cluttered, congested and unpleasant streets. And, of course, more car parking in towns means more driving, which means streets are noisier, less pleasant, and less safe.

Accessibility versus amenity – how the bicycle can solve the dilemma

Bike Aid wholly concurs and hopes that one day all those cycling shoppers will be served by traders and town councils keen to make cycling as simple and natural and convenient as possible for them.

At least in Halesworth, Suffolk, the town's Portas Town Team identified that cycling should be at the core of its strategy though it remains to be seen if there is the political vision in local government to see it through against short-term thinking of the local traders. The scene above is easily found in many Suffolk towns where pedestrian areas are clogged with single occupant cars, many belonging to people living within a few miles.

Tuesday, 7 May 2013

Host Profile: Whole Foods, Giffnock

The US retailer Whole Foods Market has been quietly storming across the Atlantic with its fresh, honest, quality-without-compromise food offer (and innovative employment policies) and it is expanding steadily in Britain. Meantime the UK retail giant Tesco has faltered with its 'Fresh & Easy' concept over in the USA. What can we learn from that?

Perhaps the cycling consumer is a devoted consumer because eagle-eyed Bike Aid fans have spotted it has brought another innovation from across the pond; at Whole Foods Giffnock in Scotland there is a Bike Fixtation public bicycle repair stand outside the store. 

It's not know if the store keeps puncture repair kits but this is a huge leap forward in the UK. Whole Foods is ranked fourth on the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's list of Top 25 'Green Power' Partners

Whole Foods
124-134 Fenwick Road
Glasgow  G46 6XN
Store hours: 8am to 9pm every day
Phone 0141 621 2700

Thursday, 2 May 2013

Halesworth Transition & Cycling Exchange

Save this date:
logos / trademarks used for illustration only

The Halesworth Bicycle Team (HBT) is a community group made up of local cycling interests (including Suffolk Bike Aid) that has been enabled by Halesworth Town Council and Halesworth's Portas Project to develop cycling around the Suffolk town which is situated on the National Cycle Route 1.

The HBT is now inviting potential exhibitors to take part in a market place and meeting of cycling and Transition information and services. In the tradition of Hollywood financing, a dummy poster of the event is being shown to attract exhibitors' interest. If it needs to be any clearer: this event isn't confirmed just yet, but exhibitors interest so far has been very high. The more support shown, the more people will participate. When enough people say "yes" to make it viable, it will happen, so please get in touch as soon as possible.

Halesworth in Transition held a very successful 'Watts from Where?' event in 2011 which proved public interest in Transition and sustainable energy. HinT's members have been very busy lately with realising Halesworth's new Millennium Green Cycle Path (opening 18 May 2013) and the second edition of their local food directory will be published later this year along with holding a local 30:30 food challenge. HinT will have a stall at the market in the Old Print Works on the 14th September and will be 'barkers' to direct visitors to the Rifle Hall and vice-versa.

Home-grown vegetables
The 'exchange' will take place in some form or another on Saturday September 14th 2013, the same day as a annual charity cycle ride with 1000’s of cyclists of all ages passing the door and a popular monthly home & local produce market in the Thoroughfare (which is on NCR1) to bring in footfall. 

However, the purpose of this posting is to find if there is lots of interest or if people are already committed elsewhere. The HBT need to know so they can prioritize resources. Expressions of interest, non-binding naturally, from potential exhibitors greatly enables obtaining funding for street advertising and spurs the enthusiasm of volunteers.

The HBT hopes to attract cycling clubs, cycling organisations, sustainable energy groups, new and second-hand bike sellers, repair technicians, training classes, cycle tourism information, energy saving technology, Transition groups, food growing and plant clubs. If your organisation, product or service enables the use of sustainable energy, it should be here.

HBT want to offer stalls free to community groups. A small charge would be made to funded bodies and traders to cover the costs of hall hire and advertising etc. There is a refreshment serving area. Bikes can be brought inside, the ceilings are high, the hall has disabled access and there is public transport to the door.

Halesworth Bicycle Team

Have they missed anything? If you're interested in taking part in some way, please get in touch. 

Please contact Nat Bocking at Community Action Suffolk who is conducting this market research for HBT.

Mobile 07787 258137

You can share this page with: tinyurl.com/htcexchange

Thursday, 25 April 2013

Host update: Community Action Suffolk E-bikes

The community development agency Community Action Suffolk is keen to promote sustainable travel as part of their responsibility in reducing the negative impact on the environment. They were one of the very first Bike Aid hosts when they were previously known as Suffolk ACRE. Now two electric cycles, named Bert and Ernie, have become available for use by staff and tenants in their Ipswich offices at Brightspace for short range travel within the Ipswich area. They also provide safety equipment such as high visibility vests and cycle helmets as well as a security lock and lights.

A journey into the town or to Suffolk County Council’s Endeavour House now takes just a few minutes and there’s no need to hunt about for a parking space at the other end either. 

The bikes have been part funded by the Low Carbon Champions Project, Suffolk County Council and the European Regional Development Fund.

With two identical bikes, will the temptation for users heading to the same meeting to race them be resisted?

SCCP Bike Ride & Halesworth Food and Drink Fair

This is a local event in our home town so it needs a plug: 9.30 am, 23rd June 2013. Starts and ends from World Land Trust, Bridge Street, Halesworth IP19 8AB.

On the same day and same place is the Halesworth Food and Drink Fair being organised by Jo Crampton of Banyan Fairtrade. If interested in having a stall here, please contact Jo as soon as possible on 01986 872345 or jo@myfairtrade.co.uk and twitter: @ehippies

Wednesday, 24 April 2013

Get Britain Cycling

The All Party Parliamentary Cycling Group report 'Get Britain Cycling' has been released today. You can read the full report at 

We see that £18 million invested on 'cycling towns' got a £64 million return in benefits by same appraisal method used for highways.

In a long list of recommendations, it has:

5 Integration with public transport
5.1 Cycling should be promoted in conjunction with public transport as a 
healthy and sustainable door-to-door option for longer-distance journeys. 
This can be done through:
• Good access to, from and within stations and interchanges
• Secure, sheltered and accessible cycle parking;
• Cycle centres (offering cycle hire, repair and storage facilities) at larger 
stations and interchanges.

• Providing cycle carriage space on new and refurbished trains and trams 
(also on some buses, e.g. for more lightly used routes serving areas which 
are popular for recreational cycling activity, including mountain biking).

Naturally, Suffolk Bike Aid posits a far greater return on investment if authorities could have the imagination to adopt and promote our scheme.

Tuesday, 23 April 2013

Host Profile: Bankside B&B

Bankside B&B is an elegant non-smoking 4 star boutique bed and breakfast situated in the Suffolk hamlet of Uggeshall, just minutes from Southwold on the Heritage Coast. There is ample parking and secure storage for bikes and wi-fi throughout.

Breakfasts are served with local produce and home-made bread and preserves.

Hosts Elaine and Tony have made a puncture kit, tools and pump available for guests and passing cyclists who might need them. Please just ring the bell and ask.


Uggeshall and Bankside B&B is situated just north of Henham Park. From the A12, take the B1126 Wangford Rd away from Wangford toward Stoven and turn left just before St Mary's Church and Bankside B&B is situated about half a mile on the right.

On the A145 London Road midway between Brampton and Blythburgh, take Stoven Road signed towards Wangford and Uggeshall and then the first turning on the right. Bankside B&B will be on your left after some houses.

Bankside B&B, The Hills, Uggeshall, Nr Southwold, Suffolk NR34 8EN
Tel: 01502 578047 Mobile: 0798 559 2543

Email: elaine@banksidebandb.co.uk


BedandBreakfast.gif SilverAward.gif BreakfastAward.gif food_hygiene.jpeg

Sunday, 7 April 2013

Host Profile: Gypsy Hollow B&B & Teas

If you fancy kipping next to nature in a gypsy wagon in the grounds of a Grade II* listed Suffolk farmhouse, then this is a B&B for you. 

Then wake up to hearty breakfasts of their own Gloucester Old Spot/Berkshire pork and fresh free-range eggs. You can cook their farm produce yourself on the open fire or in the kitchen area and afternoon tea cream cakes are available for your delectation.

Along with a spa to soak away the strains of a day in the saddle, what could be missing? 

Absolutely nothing now that it has joined Suffolk Bike Aid so passing cyclists can stop by to make running repairs if need be as well as get afternoon cakes and teas.

Proprietors Philip and Clair Westwood-Dreamer are located deep in the north Suffolk countryside (not far from the Norfolk border), roughly between the market towns of Halesworth and Bungay, yet only six miles from the A12. The can even pick up guests in their horse and carriage from Brampton rail station.

Directions From Halesworth

Take the A144 Norwich Road north for about 2 miles, then turn right onto Nollers Road and then left onto Butts Road.

From Bungay

Take the A144 south from Bungay for about 5 milles, then turn left onto Hog Lane, then right onto Butts Lane.
Gypsy Hollow B&B
Valley Farm
Butts Road
IP19 8RN

Tel: 01986 780995
Mob: 07884 165445

52.39359, 1.51796

Source of cycling symbols

Bike Aid has scoured the internet for a source of official UK cycling symbols but couldn't find any.

But we did find a government handbook on cycle lane markings which will download as a PDF which enable you to enlarge and 'grab' the items to whatever scale you want. We did that with the cycle parking logo below. It seems sufficient for our purpose so we thought we'd share this tip.

Saturday, 6 April 2013

Vancouver bike repair station outrage

Vancouver's CityStudio BikeLab recently introduced the first publicly accessible bike repair stations to the streets of Vancouver. There are now two stands with tools and air pumps where cyclists will be able to repair simple mechanical problems.

This project is part of Vancouver's Greenest City 2020 Action Plan to encourage sustainable transportation.

Instagram of new pump posted by cbruntlett 

In partnership with the City of Vancouver and the Vancouver South Lions Club, this project is piloting two stations; one located in the Woodwards Atrium on the West Hastings entrance and another at Science World.

On Saturday, April 6th, the bike repair first station was unveiled to evaluate the possibility of developing another eight stations in the future.

However, despite Canada's reputation for affability, greenness and hippy values, the installation of two $3000 bicycle pumps has sparked outrage in media editorials.

The pumps were recently installed at Hawks Ave. and Union St. (on the Adanac bike route) and at Science World, near the convergence of the Seaside, Adanac, Ontario, and Central Valley Greenway bike routes. The pumps fit both Schrader and Presta valve types, and have been built to resist the elements. It’s been reported that the two pumps cost a total of $6,000

However, it wasn’t until last week when Scout Magazine and then the Vancouver Courier ran a story that things started heating up. Both The Province’s editorial board and CTV went trolling, and Yahoo! Canada News piled on for good measure. The Province ran an anonymous editorial that was nothing short of an anti-cycling diatribe and then CTV devoted 3 minutes at the top of their 5pm newscast to outrage over this expenditure

Perhaps the no-cost model of Suffolk Bike Aid would be more suitable here?

Monday, 1 April 2013

Cycling Embassy of Great Britain

The CEGB reckons that cycling should be the simplest, easiest and most convenient way to get around in most places in the UK and yet the reality is that it's not – the roads are busy and feel unsafe or unpleasant to ride on and what cycle paths there are seem to take the long way round, or run out just when you need them most.
We intend to act as a conduit for best practice around the World and get standards, as opposed to guidelines, implemented to create cycle infrastructure that we can all be proud of and that people will use.
We feel that this has to be addressed as a matter of urgency as badly designed and implemented infrastructure is continuing to be built at council taxpayers’ expense whether people like it or not.
 The Dutch and the Danes have demonstrated that it is easy to provide safe, attractive and efficient routes for cycling, away from fast traffic, which anybody and everybody – men and women, old and young, and rich and poor – want to use. 

The Cycling Embassy of Great Britain want to see an end to cyclists being pushed to the margins; they want to see a network of direct, well-designed, separated cycle routes that are safe even for young children to use. 

Manifesto & Mission Statement

Cyling Research Library

Sat Nav POI

With GPS satellite navigation technology commonplace in handheld devices and smart phones, if you provide services to cyclists it's probably worth the trouble to ensure that the master sat-nav Point Of Interest (POI) databases have your business in their listings. It's essential too that their maps accurately record local cycling infrastructure such as bike lanes or cycle paths. 

You can do this by checking the information held by Navteq, the main publisher of sat-nav databases. Unfortunately there isn't yet an official Bike Aid POI category but we're working on that.

Browse to http://mapreporter.navteq.com

Use the search box to find the place you want to report on or click-and-drag the map.

On the left of the web page are 4 main categories:

· Point of Interest. Here you can record or make changes to a shop, business, or other Point of Interest (POI). You can promote your community by listing local businesses as people often use their sat-nav as a 'Yellow Pages'.

· Address Marker/Location. Make changes to the location of a house or building.

· Road or Road Feature. Here you can add, edit or remove roads and road features such as signs, one-ways, or restrictions.

· Other not listed.

But if you right-click on a road itself, a dialogue box pops up:

· Edit details of this road

· Exit/Roundabout is new

· Turn restrictions have changed

· Signs are different

· Other categories

Click ‘edit details of this road’ and you will get a choice of:

· Edit Road Segment Details

· Data is correct, I want to report something else

If you click 'road segment' you can report any one-way restrictions, change the class of road, note any vehicle restrictions, the type of road surface and describe the house numbering. Quite often this data will be blank and so you will be providing a useful service to complete it.

Navteq classifies roads in their database as Class 1, 2, 3, 4. This corresponds to A, B, C, D roads. In the UK, only A and B are officially designated on signage although Highways Department will refer internally to C and D and Unclassified roads too.

If you click 'something else' you can add advice about road width restrictions or errors on the map that are not reportable elsewhere.

You can also attach photos of any errors or issues.

You can only report geographic information that can reasonably be reflected in a digital map. Therefore it is probably not much use to report “this road has a problem with speeding…” while reporting “the road is only eight feet wide at this point…” is more useful to the digital mapmakers.

Some GPS devices use data from another company Tele Atlas. You can enter less geographic information on their website but this database is more detailed in POI categories. http://mapinsight.teleatlas.com/mapfeedback/index.php

To research or record local features, or if you want to use maps without paying a hefty copyright fee, you can contribute to the OSM, a global ‘wiki’ map http://www.openstreetmap.org/ where you can record features of interest.

The UK Ordnance Survey gets its POI data from a company called Point X which the OS owns in partnership with Landmark Information Group. Point X doesn't indicate on its website how to correct or submit data but we have asked them and when they tell us we'll post it here. Landmark claims to be an unrivaled source of large scale current and historic digital maps together with high quality environmental risk and planning information.

PointX is a joint venture company established to provide the most comprehensive range of points of interest data in Great Britain. They have over 600 classifications ranging from airports to amusement parks, hospitals to hotels, petrol stations to pubs and restaurants to railway stations. Customers for this data are central government, the emergency services, local authorities and companies developing location-based services.

Point X says it has over 170 data suppliers including Market Locations (who replaced Thomson Directories), Department for Transport, Transport for London, Police, Fire and Ambulance Authorities, Education Authorities, Royal Mail, Visit Britain, LINK Interchange Network, The Court Service, UK Payphone Directory, Little Chef, National Trust for Scotland and the National Association of Citizens Advice Bureaux.

The Point X POI data is used for drawing the Traveline journey maps, in local government 'health checks' and by location pointing services such as finding your nearest swimming pool or ATM. It seems there has been some significant wrangling over merging this data with the 29 million entries of the seperate Postal Address File maintained by the Royal Mail, so these are not combined as yet though the postcode boundaries have been released to the Ordnance Survey.

I wonder how many POI errors that people familiar with Halesworth, Suffolk can find on this map Traveline served on 31/3/13. The public convenience #4 has been closed for a decade, public convenience #2 is non existent, but if it means those that were at the swimming pool, they were demolished in September 2010.