More than 18 months ago ChangingPace suggested, at a Sustainable Transport seminar, that Edinburgh could do with its own version of the impressive Cambridge Cycle Journey Planner. This was a section of the, equally impressive, Cambridge Cycle Campaign web site.
The CCJP was the creation of two cycle campaigners and computer programmers – Simon and Martin. It was a complex (but simple to use) on-line tool for journey planning in and around Cambridge full of local knowledge and packed with photos that magically appeared as a slide show along a planned route.
Just over a year ago the Scottish Government’s Sustainable Transport section awarded ChangingPace (via Cycling Scotland) a tiny amount of money (in computer project terms! – £5,000 UPDATE some controversy about spending on another cycle journey planeer) to develop an Edinburgh Cycle Journey Planner. The Cambridge duo soon realised that the opportunity was there for a UK wide CJP and began developing CycleStreets.net.
One reason that this became a viable project was the rapid development of Open Street Map which is a free to use (copyright – creative commons-attribution-share alike) on-line map which anyone can update and improve.
CycleStreets.net has been “beta” since earlier this year, this means that the public has been able to try it out but improvements (large and small) are still being made. Last week the Photos-en-route (PER) function was switched on which will be a great bonus once there are more photos (for Edinburgh) in the database.
Almost every town and city in the UK now has a sub-domain – e.g.edinburgh.cyclestreets.net (though most don’t have their own logo). Work is in progress to allow schools and workplaces (etc.) to have a customised start page for planning journeys (walking or cycling) to the chosen destination.
One challenge not yet resolved is the issue of hills. Cambridge is flat so a journey takes roughly the same time in both directions. At present the suggested journeys are impressively sensible (with a choice of direct or scenic) but estimated times are less reliable.
Posted in Active Travel, ChangingPace, Climate Change, Cycle to Work, Cycling, Cycling Scotland, EducatedTravel, European Mobility Week, Safe Routes to School, Spokes, Sustrans
For the third year running ChangingPace has been awarded a small grant for “soft measures” (as opposed to engineer works) to encourage cycling to school.
Previously CP has developed its Bicycle Awareness Afternoons and organised holiday bike clubs. Children get the chance to learn new skills including journey planning and basic bike maintenance.
This year’s project will build on the accumulated success and (working with four schools spread across Edinburgh) will also work with teachers to find out what would help them to involve bicycles in the curriculum more – and where they would value external input.
ChangingPace is helping the South Edinburgh Healthy Living Initiative (SEHLI) to get more people cycling. Using money from Cycling Scotland CP is working with children and parents in nurseries and schools in South Edinburgh.
CP is providing wooden bikes (without pedals) for nursery classes and good quality Raleigh ‘hybrids’ from the CP ‘fleet’ of useful machines (bicycles and tricycles).
The project is even discovering budding bike mechanics!
Maggie from ChangingPace has been nominated (by person or persons unknown) for the Edinburgh Award – “a prestigious annual award to honour an outstanding individual who has made a positive impact on the city”.
The nomination was for “contribution to Cycling”, so it’s not clear if it’s for any particular activity – running TryCycling in Edinburgh, devising Bicycle Awareness Afternoons, initiating Green Passport Days, programming the Bike Week Film Festival etc.
Previous Award winners have been Ian Rankin and JK Rowling. Even if Maggie’s doesn’t win, this year, there’ll be a nice lunch!
ChangingPace is working with Stenhouse Primary School to develop ways of bringing ‘cycling’ into the curriculum.
Twenty one children signed up for the four week after school ‘club’. They are learning the basics about looking after their bikes. Inevitably many needed their tyres blown up and/or saddles raised. Both are simple things that children can do for themselves which make a big difference to the comfort and efficiency of cycling.
Simple adjustments also involved numbers – sizes of allen keys and spanners (in millimetres). Frame and wheel sizes are still mostly measured in inches! Other activities that can be slotted into various places in the curriculum include photography and IT (recording details in case bikes get stolen). Planning cycle trips involve mapping (and GPS) and local history and geography. The actual trips will mean ‘physical activity’, ‘social and personal development’ etc!
ChangingPace goes into a lot of schools, particularly to deliver Bicycle Awareness Afternoons.
One aim is to encourage young people to look after their bikes. We give a short talk on tools, showing that it’s possible to do quite a lot of the basics with a few simple ones.
Numbers are mentioned (well the ‘lesson’ is usually delivered in the classroom) – 8, 9, 10 spanners and 6, 5, 4 allen keys. The numbers are all millimetres.
ChangingPace has just bought this colourful high quality set (1.5 to 10) which will help to reinforce the message.
It will also add to the fun when the pupils use them on their own bikes outside.
After the success of the first Green Passport Day last September ChangingPace has organised another.
Again it is on part of the North Edinburgh Path Network, but this time the destination is the Botanics rather than Victoria Park.
Bring the Green Passport along on Sunday 15 March (These have been delivered to all schools in Edinburgh, spares ones will be available at stalls on the day – or download your own.)
Come with friends and family and discover some of Edinburgh’s greener routes. Join the path network in the north of the city and walk, cycle, or scooter all the way to the Botanic Gardens. Get your passport stamped at two or more checkpoints and return it to any one of them before 1pm to be entered into the free prize draw.
In the Botanics you can enjoy the sights and smells of spring, the cafe and of course visit the fabulous Dreams on Wheels exhibition.
Last year ChangingPace ran a couple of highly successful holiday cycle clubs for pupils of primary schools in the Royal High cluster. This term it is the turn of Firrhill’s cluster schools.
Previously youngsters explored the North Edinburgh Path Network. This time they will be led on rides along the Braid Burn, Water of Leith and Union Canal.
Once again this is being made possible with funding from Sustrans.
Two of ChangingPace’s recent projects were chosen for the short-list of Cycling Scotland‘s Innovation Award 2008 yesterday in Perth.
The wonderful Bingham 50+ Cycle Club was one: Not wonderful because we did it, but because of the happiness of those who re-discovered cycling.
The other was BikeBase, a new project in the early stages of development. This offers basic tools (e.g. track pumps) and information to schools and employers. It is being piloted in Edinburgh, but will be offered more widely, (partnership agreements are being negotiated), soon.
Neither project actually won. That honour went to Recyke-a-bike in Fallin. ChangingPace will have more innovations in time for next year’s award!
Photo by Mark Happer
There seems to be an idea that young people do little except sit in front of screens and ‘fear’ the outdoors or ‘a bit of weather’ as they are ferried everywhere by car!
This is certainly not the case for the 17 who took part in the four day Summer Club organised by ChangingPace.
As one parent wrote – “I just wanted to congratulate your organisation for running such a well received course. Laura truly loved the 3 days she attended. Considering the bad weather on the last 2 days this was a great achievement. I was amazed to witness her come home soaked and splattered with mud but totally glowing from the events of the day. Even more amazing was to see her get out of bed early the next morning, get on her waterproofs and head off happily in the rain for more of the same.
I’m sure the skills you have taught her will be practiced and put to good use for years to come.”
At the end of the programme the youngsters where given up to date info about cycling opportunities around Edinburgh, One girl who came to the Easter Club is now winning races at the Meadowbank velodrome.