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The Edinburgh Festival of Cycling 2016 is coming

The Edinburgh Festival of Cycling 2016 is coming

With the fourth outing of the Edinburgh Festival of Cycling just under two weeks away there is a lot to look froward to, here is a very brief snap shot:

There is cycling journalist Laurence McJannet who will be talking about his Bikepacking adventures along some of Britain’s most beautiful off-road trails and ancient trackways.

Fraser Cartmell, Pro Triathlete and Scotland’s most successful Iron Man competitor.

Ed Shoote, writer and photographer, who will be talking about his adventures riding through central Asia.

Journalist Scot Whitlock chose to pedal the ‘Way of St James’ or the Camino de Santiago to commemorate the love for his father.

Jet McDonald who will be offering an enlightening, multi-layered talk that applies philosophy to modern life conundrums, using the experience of a bicycle journey and the components of a bicycle as metaphors to help us understand philosophy – and therefore ourselves.

Cycle style blogger Jools Walker (aka Lady Velo), who will be helping to www.hayamix.com launch the Women’s Cycle Forum Scotland. The organisers of the Women’s Cycle Forum, Sally Hinchcliff and Susanne Forup (both based in Scotland) are also well worth talking to.

There is also Dave Cornthwaite, a record-breaking adventurer, who will be giving a workshop on how to make a living from your passions and a talk about his adventures. Which include 25 different non-motorised journeys each at least 1000 miles in distance, such as riding a tricycle from Germany to the UK, skateboarding across Australia and Stand Up Paddleboarding the Mississippi.

Edinburgh based Jenny Tough will be talking about cycling around www.garida.net the Baltic Sea, and Genevieve Whitson about her one woman’s journey to the top in the world of professional cycling.

The final talk is from Julian Sayarer will be talking about his record breaking circumnavigation by bicycle, and the differences between pedalling the globe by bicycle, and pedalling the city of London as a cycle courier.

This is just a snapshot of what is happening at the Edinburgh Festival of Cycling this year. There is loads more!

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Vote For Edinburgh: MONOPOLY Here and Now

Vote For Edinburgh: MONOPOLY Here and Now

I am taking a lead from EdinBlogger to become part of the campaign to put Edinburgh on the Board, the Monopoly Board that is.

MONOPOLY’s 80th birthday is fast approaching, to celebrate they will be creating an updated global board, we need your help to make sure Edinburgh makes it onto the board! The cities with the most votes from around the world will take pride and place on the new MONOPOLY HERE & NOW: World Edition game launching this autumn.

How to Vote for Edinburgh

Fans of Edinburgh and/or MONOPOLY will have until midnight on Wednesday 4th March to select Edinburgh from a list of 80 global destinations that will be featured in the MONOPOLY HERE & NOW: World Edition. Just click on the image below.

Vote for Edinburgh in MONOPOLY
 

Once you have done so, make sure you tell all your friends and family to do the same!

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City of Edinburgh Councillors and twitter: Updated

City of Edinburgh Councillors and twitter: Updated

An updated a list of City of Edinburgh Councillors (post 2012 elections) who have Twitter accounts (not all are "active"), but are as far as I can tell, are genuine. I am also on Twitter @kim_harding.
CouncillorPolitical PartyTwitter address
Elaine AitkenConservativeN/A
Ewan AitkenLabour@EwanAitken
Robert C AldridgeLib-DemN/A
Jeremy R BalfourConservativeN/A
Eric BarryLabourN/A
Angela BlacklockLabourN/A
Mike BridgmanSNPN/A
Deidre BrockSNP@DeidreBrock
Gordon BuchanConservativeN/A
Tom BuchananSNP@tombbuchanan
Steve BurgessGreenN/A
Andrew BurnsLabourAndrew Burns
Ronald CairnsSNPN/A
Steve CardownieSNPN/A
Maggie ChapmanGreen@MaggieEdinburgh
Maureen M ChildLabour@MaureenChild1
Joanna ColemanLib-Dem@Joanna_Coleman
Bill CookLabourN/A
Jennifer A DaweLib-DemN/A
Cammy DayLabour@cllrcammyday
Charles DundasLib-Dem@cdundas
Paul G EdieLib-Dem@paul_edie
Nick Elliott-CannonSNPN/A
Paul GodzikLabour@PaulGodzik
George GrubbLib-DemN/A
Norma HartLabour@normamayhart
Stephen HawkinsLib-DemN/A
Ricky HendersonLabour@henderson_ricky
Lesley HindsLabour@LAHinds
Allan G JacksonConservativeN/A
Alison JohnstoneGreen@AlisonJohnstone
Colin KeirSNPN/A
Louise LangLib-Dem@CllrLouiseLang
Jim LowrieLib-DemN/A
Gordon MackenzieLib-DemN/A
Kate MacKenzieConservativeN/A
Marilyne A MacLarenLib-DemN/A
Mark McInnesConservative@Morningsidemark
Stuart Roy McIvorSNPN/A
Tim McKayLib-DemN/A
Eric MilliganLabourN/A
Elaine MorrisSNPN/A
Joanna MowatConservative@jomowat
Rob MunnSNP@robm2
Gordon J MunroLabourN/A
Alastair PaisleyConservativeN/A
Gary PeacockLib-DemN/A
Ian PerryLabourN/A
Alasdair RankinSNPN/A
Cameron RoseConservative@cameronrose
Jason G RustConservativeN/A
Conor SnowdenLib-Dem@DrSnowden
Marjorie ThomasLib-DemN/A
Stefan TymkewyczSNP@tymkewycz
Phil WheelerLib-DemN/A
Iain WhyteConservativeN/A
Donald WilsonLabourN/A
Norrie WorkSNPN/A

If you spot any errors, please let me know, I am also on Twitter @kim_harding.

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Thoughts on the Spokes Hustings

Thoughts on the Spokes Hustings

I was at the Spokes Hustings the other night and since then I have had a number of thoughts about it churning through my mind, and so have decided to write them down here. It was good to hear that all parties support the commitment of 5% of the transport budget to cycling, which was a good start. Generally there was a positive attitude to cycle friendly policies, which is hardly surprising as these councillors were trying to capture the cycling vote.

However, there were other things which stuck in my mind, such as Cllr Gordon Mackenzie (Lib Dem) saying that the Council couldn’t remove on street parking from bus lanes or the “Quality Cycle Corridor” because people depend on their cars to drive to the local shops. What? The reason we have so many local shops is because Edinburgh still has people living in the city centre, and they shop in places within walking distance. If the on street parking was removed from Causewayside, the antiques shops would still be there, it is just the residents of the Grange and Newington would have to walk 5-10 minutes to get there. The reason those shops are there is because the customers live nearby and not because there is on street parking. Come on, Cllr Mackenzie, have you actually gone and looked at other cities which are pedestrian and cycle friendly? One thing you will find is that they have lots of local shops, because people can walk and cycle to them. It is the places where people are car dependent that don’t have local shops, which is the result of failed transport policies making people car dependent and causing the death of the High Street in clone towns across the UK. Also, Cllr Mackenzie, when you say people have to be able to drive to their local Health Centre, have you talked to the doctors about this? Increasingly the medical profession is waking up to the benefits of active travel, and encourage people to be more active in their daily lives. This includes walking to their local Health Centre. It should be noted though that Cllr Mackenzie is a regular cyclist and the current Transport Convener of the City of Edinburgh Council, who has done much to support cycling in Edinburgh.

Then there was Cllr Lesley Hinds (Lab), who said that she thought cycling was a good idea, but doesn’t cycle herself because she doesn’t feel safe. The interesting thing here was the reaction of avid cyclists, who all told her that cycling was safe and completely ignored what she was trying to tell them. This is important, as it has a dramatic effect on policies to increase cycling: we are constantly being told that it is safe to cycle, and that we just have to share the roads. We are told that we just need to train more people to cycle with the motor traffic, and cycling will become even safer. Then, once a critical mass of cyclists on the roads has been achieved, we can have more infrastructure to accommodate cycling on the roads. Well, we have had cycle training for children for 60 years, and yet we haven’t seen this increase in safety, just a decline in the numbers cycling and walking as transport on a regular basis. We need to learn to listen to people like Cllr Hinds who say they would cycle as transport, if they felt it was safe. It is the provision of infrastructure to make cycling feel safer and more convenient that increases cycling rates, and not the other way around. Experience from other countries has shown that, when safe and convenient routes are provided between places people want to go, cycling rates increase rapidly.

Instead, British transport policy has historically been aimed at making driving easier, and at the same time taking away choice by making it harder to walk and cycle, through measures such as “traffic smoothing” and “cycle networks” which look like they have been designed by a spider on caffeine. This is something we need to turn around. The one piece of news Cllr Hinds gave the meeting, that came as a surprise to all (including Cllr Mackenzie), was that TIE (the company set up to run Edinburgh’s trams) intends to renege on its promise to carry bikes on the trams when they start running. This would be a very foolish move on their part.

Next on the list was Cllr Cameron Rose (Con), a long time Spokes member and regular utility cyclist. Given that description, you might expect Cllr Rose to be supportive of active travel, but he wasn’t keen on the idea of spending money on it, well he is a Tory. More oddly, he seemed to think that we should “experiment” with different solutions, rather that using existing best practice from places where cycling is common, and where they have already carried out these “experiments” and found out what works. The reason given by Cllr Rose was that the Netherlands are flat, an argument which I really can’t get my head around, what has topography got to do with safe junction design and the principles of separation? If he was trying to suggest that high levels of cycling can only be found in places that are flat, he should try telling that to people in cities throughout the Alps where cycling rates are high. I have personally seen this in Salzburg, Innsbruck and Bozen/Bolzano, these places are not exactly flat. I do however like his strong support for the idea of having a bicycle share scheme in Edinburgh, similar to those found in cities across the world.

I don’t remember Cllr Steve Burgess (Green) saying anything I could disagree with, indeed he seemed to have read the Pedal on Parliament manifesto and was supporting all the things we are calling for. Then again, I would be seriously worried if the Greens weren’t supportive of Active Travel.

Finally there was Cllr Alasdair Rankin (SNP) who seemed a wee bit unclear as to just what the SNP policy on cycling is – he is not alone there, non of us are clear on that. He was, however, keen to take on board the need for change. I just wish Keith Brown MSP, the Transport Minister, was the same. Currently the SNP’s transport policy seems to be stuck somewhere in the 1980’s, building more roads without strategic thought for the future. For example, the new Forth road crossing has been designed with no provision at all for cycling or walking (which came as news to Cllr Rankin). At the end of the day, using the roads should be safe for all, and no one should have to take their life in their hands to get from A to B.

The one glimmer of hope on the SNP front comes from Marco Biagi MSP, whose response to the Pedal on Parliament manifesto I received today. He says: “The Pedal on Parliament manifesto is a set of practical and helpful proposals that set out very clearly the action that must be taken at all levels if cycling is to grow and flourish in Scotland.” Let us hope that he can persuade the rest of his party of this.

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City of Edinburgh Councillors who have a Blog

City of Edinburgh Councillors who have a Blog

As part of doing my bit for local democracy I though I would follow up my list of City of Edinburgh Councillors with Twitter accounts with a list of Councillors who have a blog, not all are active:

Attention: The internal data of table “2” is corrupted!

If you spot any errors, please let me know.

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Please note: this post was written before the before the 2012 elections, so some of those above are no longer Councillors, when I find time, I may get around to updating the list in a new post.

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