Wednesday, December 21, 2005

How to commute by bicycle, all of a sudden

There's a stike of public transport workers in New York at the moment, so this article explains how to commute by bicycle, all of a sudden. And, it's a lot colder in New York than it will get here over the winter.

Once you start commuting by bike, it's awful if you have to stop. I've ridden my bike to and from work (3 miles each way) since February, and I've been doing an extra 8 mile round trip to teach a lesson in Hurworth one afternoon a week since September. But, I was off work with flu for a weekand the following week got the bus to work because I just didn't think I would make it on my bike, and it's awful. I miss the exercise in the morning and the chance to wind down after work, and I hate queueing for buses and sitting in traffic. I can't wait to get back on my bike in the wet and cold in January, it's way better than the alternatives.

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

David Cameron MP

An open letter to the Right Honourable David Cameron MP on the Velorution blog.

I think it's great than he cycles to the Commons. But, anyone notice that he must have stopped round the corner to take his helmet off before he rode (across a really busy junction) past the press and into Westminster while holding his helmet. Slightly vain perhaps?

Thursday, December 08, 2005

How Green Thou Art

How Green Thou Art, Bridgestone Bicycles 1994 Catalogue page 13, an article by Maynard Mershon.

Are bikes inherently 'green', or does it depend upon how you use them?

Saturday, December 03, 2005

Critical Mass Cycling

As a cyclist in Darlington, you may sometimes feel isolated as you battle your way round another inner ring road roundabout. Well, try this if you need a lift (you need Quicktime or similar to be able to play the video):

As is pointed out on the critical mass web site:

"Critical Mass is not an organization, it's an unorganized coincidence. It's a movement ... of bicycles, in the streets."

But if you think about it, many of our problems stem from the simple fact that we are heavily outnumbered by motorised traffic on the streets of Darlington.

You can get more details about the above film (which unfortunately is currently only available in American NTSC format) at

Saturday, November 12, 2005

An Open Letter to Alan Milburn MP

Dear Alan,

You are doubtless aware that the Road Safety Bill will shortly be entering the House of Commons. As a regular cyclist, I am concerned about the Government's proposal to lower the penalty for "marginally" exceeding the speed limit from 3 points to 2 points ; the Government has suggested that "marginal" could mean driving at 39mph in a 30mph area. Small differences in speed can make a huge difference to the severity of the injuries suffered by injured pedestrians or cyclists. I would urge you to oppose this proposal.

On the positive side, the Safer Streets Coalition has drawn up a number of proposals that will make our roads safer for all road users. I do hope you will be able to support these, particularly the first two in the following list, which are of particular concern to Darlington Cycling Campaign. I am sure you are aware that Darlington has recently been awarded funding as a Cycling Demonstration Town. It would surely be an appropriate response from the town's MP to send a clear signal of support for this important initiative by supporting the following proposals.

* Introduce a default 20mph speed limit for most urban and residential streets.
* Change the law on drivers' insurance schemes, to make it easier for non-motorised users to claim injury damages from drivers who hit them.

A pedestrian struck by a car traveling at 20mph has a 95% chance of survival, but this drops to 50% at 30mph. Properly enforced 20mph speed limits have been shown to reduce casualties by 70% amongst child pedestrians and 60% amongst other vulnerable road users. Casualty figures could be slashed if the vast majority of built-up roads had 20mph limits, as two-thirds of casualties occur on these roads. Darlington Cycling Campaign has been calling for more 20mph zones in Darlington for some time.

If a driver hits a pedestrian, cyclist, equestrian or disabled person, the non-motorised user is far more likely to be injured. Therefore, drivers ought to have a greater duty of care for non-motorised users' safety, but this is not currently recognised in law. The law on driver insurance schemes should therefore be amended so that non-motorised users can claim injury damages from drivers who hit them - unless it can be proved that the non-motorised user behaved recklessly. This is a standard approach in a number of EU countries, and has encouraged car drivers to be much more aware and careful in relation to cyclists.

The Safer Streets Coalition is also calling for:

* Lower "default" speed limits: 30mph for villages, with a 40mph or 50mph limit on non-built-up single carriageways.

* Speed camera detectors: the proposed ban should cover all such devices, including those GPS devices which can only detect but not interfere with speed cameras.

* "Black box" event data recorders: in the event of a collision, they would provide clear evidence about the driver's speed. Black boxes currently used by some police forces are only able to store 40 seconds of data at a time, and this data is only accessible if the vehicle is involved in a collision.

* Mobile phones: the Government's proposed increase in fines should be for hands-free as well as hand-held phones, as the evidence shows they are just as distracting when used whilst driving.

*Drink-driving: a reduction in the blood-alcohol limit from 80mg to 50mg per 100ml of blood in line with the majority of EU countries.

*Bad driving offences: we await the Government's proposals to iron out the discrepancies in sentencing powers which lead the courts regularly to issue derisory sentences for drivers who kill and maim.

The full briefing on the Safer Streets Coalition's proposals is available at

I hope that I can count on your support for Darlington Cycling Campaign's agenda. I would be grateful if you would advise me which measures you will be willing to support.

Yours sincerely,

Richard Grassick
Chair, Darlington Cycling Campaign

Monday, November 07, 2005

Minutes of the Darlington Cycling Campaign Meeting 13th September, 2005

Present: Richard Grassick, Mike McTimoney, Tim Stahl, Ruth Gill
Apologies: Anthony Millet, Owen Wilson, Martin Wood

1. Minutes of previous Meeting

Smithfield Road closure
Anthony has been in contact with Ramblers’ Association.

Previous ride
30mph sign in inconvenient location on Newton Lane.

How do we approach cyling on the pavement?
What about parking on the cycle lane on Conniscliffe Road? We think a better location for the lane would be on the verge on the opposite side of the road, so would we support a complaint about cars parking on the existing cycle lane?

Bank account
Response from bank that various parts of forms were not filled in correctly but seems to be a problem with the bank rather than us (other than one signature). 3 weeks ago was returned to Co-Op bank, but heard nothing since.

Nobody has seen anything on display in library.

Presentation of German fact-finding trip will be at next Cycle Forum meeting, November 22nd.

Second Local Transport Plan
It was agreed to have a separate meeting to discuss our collective response to this document, before the end of the year.

Cycling Strategy
Council needs to tackle difficult parts, not just easy answers.
How do we respond as a Cycle Campaign? Could we split “Proposals” chapter into individual proposals and place online for people to add individual comments, to give opportunity for representation to people who cannot attend the specific meeting to discuss the proposals? Mike to do this.

2. Grants
Don’t apply for grants. Concentrate instead on recruiting members. Leaflets for handing to cyclists, putting on bikes, etc. Use Cornmill business card machine for this?

3. Cycle Strategy Response
More and better parking needed. Richard to integrate Anthony’s suggestions into current response to send to Oli Lougheed tonight!

4. Next Meeting
Tuesday 8th November, 7:30pm

November Meeting

The November meeting of the Darlington Cycle Campaign will take place tomorrow night, Tuesday 8th November, at 7:30pm, in the upstairs room of the Red Lion. Minutes of previous meeting to follow...

Darlington Cycling Campaign Meeting

The next meeting of the Cycling Campaign will be held in the upstairs room of the Red Lion, Priestgate, on Tuesday 8th November, starting at 7.30pm (please note new, slightly later time). All welcome!

Thursday, October 20, 2005

PRESS RELEASE: Cycling "Demonstration Town" Grant a Chance that Must be Taken

Darlington Cycling Campaign today welcomed the news that the town is to receive £1.5million from central government for new cycling initiatives. Darlington is one of six towns that have won the cash. But it warned that the local authority now has to be bold in its approach if it wishes to encourage people to leave their cars and take to their bikes.

The town's Cycling Campaign has actively supported the local authority in its aims. Said campaign chair Richard Grassick, "We now hope that, with this award, a genuinely attractive, safe and direct cycling network will be developed in Darlington. Cyclists have until recently been a relatively small political voice in the town. But we know people want to cycle, and to do so safely. This will only be achieved if the priorities given to cars in the town are now challenged. It is a very straight forward engineering solution, but one that most politicians can't face. The bullet must now be bitten - cars should give way to cyclists and pedestrians where they cross paths, not vice versa".

Darlington Cycling Campaign has been particularly vocal in arguing for better, and safer, everyday cycling provision. "Political thinking has often been very muddled in relation to cycling. It is interesting that the government's comments on these awards focussed on the health benefits of cycling", said Mr. Grassick. "Of course cycling is very healthy, but it is also an everyday means of transport. Once politicians understand that we want to cycle to work or school in our everyday clothes safely, and not just dress up in sporty lycra at weekends, we will be on the right track. We now have three years to really make a difference in Darlington. We hope that by 2009, most parents will feel that it is safe to allow their kids to cycle to school, and that most commuters will feel it is quicker to cycle to the town centre than to drive. When we achieve this, we will surely have demonstrated to the country that cycling is a safe and healthy way to get around".

The funding from the Department of Transport will be used over the next three years, coinciding with the period of development currently being funded by the Town on the Move initiative.


Darlington to get share of £17m to improve cycling

DfT announces cycling demonstration town winners: "Six 'bike beacon' towns in England will share £17m to promote cycling. The Cycling Demonstration Towns are Brighton, Darlington, Derby, Exeter, Lancaster and Aylesbury."

Sounds like good news. Hopefully, some worthwhile work will get done; big issues, not the easy ones.

Sunday, October 02, 2005

Darlington Cyclocross - Results

Results are up, and I came 46th out of 50 finishers, with 6 who Did Not Finish. I did the same number of laps as last year. The winners only did 8 laps this year, compared to 9 last year; I got 6 both years, so that may be an improvement. I just missed out on getting a seventh lap in, after being overtaken by the winners on their final lap.

It was a great race, with an excellent course, and seemed really well organised, though I’ve not really anything to compare it against. I’ll be back next year: middle third on the table…

At the end, someone asked me if I was Mike, and if I beat last year's position. Don't know if it was someone who reads this, or someone from a forum.

I think I spotted Anthony spectating.

Friday, September 30, 2005

The Health Impacts of Biking in Traffic

According to this post, "you may be hurting your health by biking in urban traffic" but "you are not hurting it as badly as you could be" because "studies show you get the biggest hit of the nasties when you're inside a car".

Wednesday, September 28, 2005

Act Now to Open Up New Rights for Off-Road Cycling!

"In 1968 CTC, the national cyclists’ organisation, successfully lobbied to allow off-road cyclists to make use of bridleways, which opened up hundreds of new trails across the UK.

On October 11th MPs will vote on the Natural Environment and Rural Communities Bill, whose rights of way clauses could provide welcome protection for trails and the countryside from the damage caused by motorised vehicles. With a suitable amendment, the Bill could also help clarify cyclists’ ability to claim rights of way, in the same way that walkers and horse-riders can at present.

CTC is lobbying MPs to ensure that cyclists can claim ‘restricted byway’ rights. This would enable new trails to be opened for off-road cycling, because where there is enough evidence of past cycle use, we will gain a permanent right to use the trail!

This could provide our first new opportunity to claim off-road rights for cyclists in almost 40 years."

Act Now to Open Up New Rights for Off-Road Cycling!

Monday, September 26, 2005

August Cycle Tour - North and East

2005_08_14_DCC_ride 001

A hardy band of three took to the cycle paths for our August tour. As you can see, we were lucky to be able to find our way.

Photos by me, so they're not as good as Richard's...

Sunday, September 25, 2005

Darlington Cyclocross - Sunday 2nd October

Next Sunday at 12:30 the Darlington round of the North East Cyclocross League ( takes place at Branksome School. Entry is £7, if you're a non-member, and all finishers get an Aldi goody bag!

The course is likely to be largely unchanged from last year, when it went down well with the riders, the course offers plenty of fast singletrack, a couple of stream crossings (aided by purpose built bridges), dismounts, off camber sections, some decent decent climbs and fast open sections.

I raced this last year and came a fantastic 36th place (out of 36 finishers...). It's probably the hardest 50 minutes I've ever spent on a bike but I'll be there again next Sunday to try to improve on last year's result.

Even if you're not a racer (and I'm not a racer!) it's a great introduction to bike racing, and would be worth going to just to watch and cheer everyone one. I'll be the one at the back on a mountain bike getting lapped.

Thursday, September 22, 2005

Health workers to get access to free bikes

The Northern Echo today is reporting that Darlington PCT has been given two bikes free of charge, as part of the Town on the Move initiative. Employees can book the bikes for use to travel to meetings.

Friday, September 16, 2005

In time for the dark nights

A poster at Singletrack World is saying the law on bike lights has been changed to allow lights that "flash at least once and not more than four times per second with a brilliance of at least four candle-power". Read the post in full for more info.

Monday, August 22, 2005

Freedom from Cars: Declaration of Independence

Freedom from Cars: Declaration of Independence: "We, the undersigned, solemnly swear to strive for a better way to move around our cities, towns, and neighborhoods.

We have been held captive by automobiles for too long and we're ready to break the shackles once and for all.

We are tired of the lies forced upon us by automakers that spend billions to try and convince us that cars are fun, sexy, and can make us happy. We know better.

We are saddened by the deaths of cyclists on dangerous roadways and we believe our local and national politicians must protect our interests with greater vigilance.

We are convinced that the joy and freedom experienced while riding a bicycle can bring about an important revolution of values that has vast potential."

Saturday, August 13, 2005

Tour of North Darlington cycle routes

I will be leading a tour of cycle routes in the north of Darlington tomorrow, Sunday 14th August. Meet in the Market Place at 2pm.

Monday, August 08, 2005

Northwest Environment Watch Publications

Northwest Environment Watch Publications: "Excerpt from Seven Wonders - Chapter one: 'The Bicycle'"

"Pound for pound, a person on a bicycle expends less energy than any creature or machine covering the same distance. (A human walking spends about three times as much energy per pound; even a salmon swimming spends about twice as much.)"

Thursday, July 28, 2005

Bicycle Facilities Photographs

A new group has been started on Flickr, for uploading and discussion of bicycle facilities. From it, I've already found the Manual for Streets website, which gives you the facility
to comment on any problems and areas of conflict which can arise in providing innovatively designed residential streets and lightly trafficked local roads
and will eventually
give guidance to a range of practitioners on effective street design

Tuesday, July 26, 2005

Darlington Cycle Forum ride

Just a reminder that tonight's Darlington Cycle Forum (the council-led cycling group, not us) meeting takes the form of a tour of cycle routes around the town. Meeting at 6:15 at the Town Hall.

Friday, July 22, 2005

Bikes in schools

There's a story in one of this week's free papers (I forget which, and they're downstairs, not by the PC) saying that 200 kids turned up on bikes as part of Heathfield School's "Wheely Wednesday" activity. Heathfield is one of the four (or three?) Bike It schools in Darlington, being targetted as schools where cycling could be increased.

It seems to me that there's real potential for encouraging cycling in Darlington schools. Get 'em while they're young... Of course, the challenge would be to keep them riding when they go up to secondary school, and past 17 when they can drive...

Saturday, July 16, 2005

Darlington Cycling Campaign July Meeting

The next meeting of Darlington Cycling Campaign will be held in the upstairs room of the Red Lion pub, Priestgate, starting at 7pm on Tuesday 19th July. Amongst other things, we'll be reviewing the two cycle route tours, and looking at proposals for grant-funded projects following Anthony's excellent work in digging around for funding sources.

Sun Shines on July Tour of the Cycle Routes

Anthony well sunned at the end of the tour

© Richard Grassick 2005

Darlington Cycling Campaign enjoyed wonderful summer sun on 10th July as we checked out the cycle routes of west Darlington. Split between the town centre "designated cycle routes" - streets with the odd painted bicycle on the tarmac - and out of town off-road routes, campaign members had a lot to say about their pros and cons. A full set of photographs of the tour can be viewed at our Flickr site .

Thursday, June 30, 2005

Bike Traps Coming to a Road [Not So] Near You

KSL NewsRadio 1160: "Five Utah police agencies will be participating in a state-sponsored crackdown on motorists who aren't sharing the roads with bicycles.

Plainclothes officers will ride bicycles to catch motorists who aren't sharing the road."

What a great idea! What are the chances of it happening in Darlington, do we think?

Monday, June 27, 2005

Sustrans Darlington youngsters connect to the National Cycle Network

I just stumbled across the following story (updated: May 26 2005) on the Sustrans site.

Sustrans Darlington youngsters connect to the National Cycle Network: "Hundreds of young people in Darlington will be able to enjoy a school journey on foot or by bike from today, thanks to a new cycle route developed by Sustrans, the UK's leading sustainable transport charity together with Darlington Borough Council. Cllr Nick Wallis today joined Ryland Jones of sustainable transport charity Sustrans and youngsters from local schools to open a new safe cycling and walking route that will connect schools and local community to the National Cycle Network."

"This link provides a dedicated, mostly traffic-free route between Abbey Infants and Junior School and Hummersknot School and Language College, via the upgrading of an existing footpath to segregated shared use, plus a Toucan crossing of Carmel Road, and associated signage. The new link provides safer access for pupils to both schools from surrounding residential areas, particularly crossing the busy Carmel Road. The route will eventually link to National Cycle Route 14 once additional sections of the cycle route network in Darlington are completed. The scheme has been implemented by Darlington Borough Council with £35,000 from Sustrans' Department for Transport Grant."

Monday, June 13, 2005

Treehugger: Naked Bike Ride shocks London

Treehugger: Naked Bike Ride shocks London: "Naked cyclists took to the streets in more than 50 cities worldwide this weekend to protest against society’s dependency on oil. In London around 200 cyclists and roller skaters braved typically British summer conditions (grey, chilly, threat of rain) to make their point. Departing from Wellington Arch in Hyde Park, the riders passed Piccadilly Circus, the Houses of Parliament and Covent Garden, before causing chaos on Oxford Street, Britain’s busiest shopping street."

CAUTION: Photographs of tinkies and boobies...

Sunday, June 12, 2005

Wet But Undeterred Cycling Campaigners

Five brave souls from Darlington Cycling Campaign braved the rain in June to explore the cycle routes of east Darlington. Fair weather cycling it was not! Please leave your comments about the route here, or at the Cycling Campaign flickr page, where you can see more photos of the day.

© Richard Grassick 2005

Thursday, June 09, 2005

Ride this Sunday, 12th June

The group agreed to organise rides on the second Sunday of each summer month meeting at 2pm in the Market Place, starting 12th June. On this date, Anthony Millet will organise/lead rides along the cycle routes in the south east of the town, South Park, Eastbourne etc.

I think we were planning on being out for two hours. It might be good if people can bring digital cameras, and possible paper and pens, so we can document the good, the bad and the ugly.

I'll be the guy on the singlespeed Kona.

Sunday, May 29, 2005

"York Rally" is the biggest cycle festival in the UK.

Some of you may be aware of the York Rally, billed as the "biggest cycle festival in the UK". This year's takes place on June 25 and 26 on York Racecourse.

  • Over Fifty Exhibitors and Traders
  • Lots of HPV's, tandems, mtb, tourers, freight bikes, trailers to view or try out
  • Racing heats and finals and a chance for youngsters to try their skills on the track.
  • Cycle rides for all abilities - view pics from the 2004 family ride
  • Like-a-bike Challenge for 3 to 6 year olds
  • Cyclists Service at the Central Methodist Church
  • Grand parade of two thousand through York to the showground
  • Jubilee G8 Bike Rides - MAKEPOVERTYHISTORY Rickshaw
  • UK Emergency Services Cycling Conference and Bike Handling Display
  • Jo Baxter and the Unicycle Display Team
  • Mike Healey's Skills Training Arena for kids and teens
  • Bygone Bikes' Display of Historical and Classic Cycles
  • Thousands of campsites on the showground
  • Entertainments
  • Santana Challenge Charity Treasure Hunt
  • Company of Cyclists Bike try-Out Roadshow
  • Free Arena Events
  • Large Covered Restaurant
  • Children's Entertainments including Bo-Clown and York Woodcraft Folk
  • Huge Auction of Bikes & Equipment

And its run by volunteers so events are FREE

If anyone is thinking of taking a car there, one cyclist in Darlington, Robert Dixon, is looking for a lift to bring back any bits and pieces that he buys on the day (there's loads of second hand bike parts sold on the weekend), and has approached the Cycling Campaign for help. If anyone can help him with a lift, please phone him direct on 07949 405236.
More details about the York Rally at

Friday, May 20, 2005

Darlington Cycling Campaign May Meeting Minutes

Here is a short resume of the Cycle Campaign meeting held on 18th May:

The Smithfield Rd.-Parkside Cycle Path closure, as well as a list of other matters arising from our previous meeting, was raised at the Cycle Forum. Members expressed concern that the police representative at the forum was the most consistent opponent of any pro-cycling proposals. This, it was felt, severely restricted the forum’s ability to articulate a cyclists’ perspective – and explains the need for a strong voice from the Cycling Campaign. It was agreed to approach the council’s Cycling Officer to get a clearer explanantion of the role of the Police Rep on the Cycling Forum

Richard reported that information had come in about an online advocacy group, BUMP, in Worcester ( Mike agreed to trawl the internet for any further clues as to groups in Peterborough/ Worcester. Richard to contact BUMP.

from cycle forum meeting: The forum claimed that bike racks were installed at Darlington Memorial, but members have still to find them. Tim to enquire what is really going on with hospital estates manager Kevin Oxley. Anthony added that racks are also needed at the Crematorium. Members will raise this at next forum.

The group agreed to organise rides on the second Sunday of each summer month meeting at 2pm in the Market Place, starting 12th June. On this date, Anthony Millet will organise/lead rides along the cycle routes in the south east of the town, South Park, Eastbourne etc. On July 10th, Richard Grassick will organise/lead rides along the cycle routes in the west of the town, hospital, West Cemetery etc, ending with a visit to the Pumping Station (Tim Stahl to host!). Rides in August and September to be finalised at next meeting.

The meeting expressed concern at the dwindling numbers of people attending meetings. It was agreed Richard would write to people on the mailing list asking them to say why they can’t/won’t attend. Are meetings so important? Do we put the stress on other aspects of the group? Richard will seek answers.

The next meeting will be held on 19th July at 7pm, in the upstairs room of the Red Lion, Priestgate.

Thursday, May 19, 2005

Bike takes the strain of internal mail

Bike takes the strain of internal mail: "From May 31 a specially-made trike, which can carry up to 200 kilos of post, will be used to collect, sort and deliver some of the internal mail for three Darlington Council departments"

Bike To School Success

Bike To School Success: "Bike To School Success

18/05/05 A DARLINGTON school involved in Bike to School Week had the second highest number of riders in the country."

Tuesday, May 17, 2005

Darlington Cycling Campaign Minutes of April Meeting

Darlington Cycling Campaign Group

Minutes of Meeting 20th of April 2005 at Red Lion, Priestgate

In Attendance:

Sally Forth (Treasurer)

Richard Grassick (chair)

Peter Lumley

Anthony Millett

Bill Morrison

Tim Stahl

Beatrix Wupperman (secretary)

1. Apologies for absence

2. Minutes 1st March 2005 and Matters arising

3. Travel Summit March 2005 (Anthony, Beatrix, Ruth, Tim)

4. „Bike to School week“ (Anthony, Peter, Richard, Ruth, Tim)

5. Cycle Forum 26th April 2005

6. Report by the Treasureress Sally

7. Elections: Secretary

8. Any other business

  1. Next meeting

  1. Apologies for absence

Colin Lowe, Peter Roberts

2. Minutes of meeting held on
March 1st 2005 and matters arising

The attending members agreed the minutes.

Matters Arising

The Smithfield Rd.-Parkside Cycle Path will be closed. The group had a letter from the Council confirming this. Here a cycle path will be blocked with the argument of anti-social behaviour of kids living nearby. The Group opposed the decision, but could only delay the procedure. We shall protest on the Cycle Forum at the 26th of April 2005. Questions connected: How many footpaths or roads have been closed because of anti-social behaviour? Which are the alternatives for cyclists now? How do the councillors (Williams and Wallis) explain their decision? Which role does the police play here? Should they not protect the majority of reasonable cyclists against anti-social behaviour from all sides?

3. Town on the Move travel summit 15th and 16th of March 2005

Anthony Millet, Ruth Gill, Tim Stahl and Beatrix Wupperman attended the Summit. Anthony, Tim and Beatrix reported. All of them were impressed by Werner Brög from Socialdata, München. Brög had pointed out that the support of cycling is the major strategic starting point to support sustainable transport in Darlington. Tim was especially impressed by Brög’s obvious praise for Darlington and its inhabitants.

Beatrix reported that Brög has offered to support the Group if it wants to host a cycling congress in Darlo, maybe inviting similar Cyclicng Campaign groups from the other “towns on the move”: Peterborough and Worcester. Beatrix and Richard will try to find out about cycling campaign groups in P. and W.. (At the Cycle Forum Greg McDougall (Town on the move officer) offered to help in this matter).

Another suggestion was to install a 20-miles-per-hour-zone round and in the centre of Darlo. Werner Brög reported that lethal accidents of kids in Graz (Austria) were reduced to zero after Graz introduced 30-kmh-zone in its centre.

Beatrix and Tim also mentioned the impressive speech and picture show of Ryland Jones from Sustrans. He offered to repeat this at a group meeting as well.

4. “Bike to school week”

Richard and Tim reported that they heard nothing from the organiser so they were not able to attend or help (“Bike to school week” (18th to 22nd of April)).

Anthony Millett, Peter Roberts, Richard Grassick, Ruth Gill and Tim Stahl had put themselves on the list, which was be forwarded by Beatrix to the organizing officer Louise Neale.

5. Cycle Forum 26th of April 2005

Richard pointed out that this is an open meeting, so everybody can attend. Anthony, Beatrix and Richard are definitely going to. They are asked to mention:

- Advanced stop at North Road (B&Q), North RoadWhessoe Road, no green light filter (how to report broken lights)

- Bike racks at hospital still missing (not enough)

- crossing Haughton/McMullen Road, no crossing possible from cyclepaths

- Cemetery Lane: no traffic lights at the end of it, over Carmel Rd. but further down instead on a narrow pavement, causing turning bike problems for pedestrians

- Building works around the station: no cycle paths though a lot of space, building work at Parkgate on a “Planned-off-road-cycle-route”.

- Smithfield Rd.: Closing of cycle path

Next date of Cycle Forum: 26th July 2005, 18.00, Townhall with bikes

6. Report by the Treasurer

The last meeting had agreed an annual membership fee of £ 5. The Treasurer already got various cheques but could not yet open an account due to signature of the founding members under the constitution. This will happen soon. The treasurer asked the members to send their subscription fee. Cheques should be made payable to: Darlington Cycling Campaign, as the account will have that name, and sent to Sally Forth, 77 Stanhope Road, Flat 3, Darlington DL3 7SF.

7. Elections: Secretary

Beatrix pointed out again, that she is leaving Darlington at the beginning of May, though will be returning regularly, hopefully for occasional meetings. So far nobody stood for the position, but it has to be sorted in the next meeting.

10. Any other business

The group agreed to organize summer cycle rides in order to critically explore and plan a cycle route network for cyclists. The rides will be done to record the group’s views about specific routes, how cyclists are treated in specific locations on these routes, and to add our reccomendations for improving them. Dates to be agreed at next meeting. (Peter Lumley from Darlington Free Wheelers also attended and was very happy to collaborate).

If members want to complain to the council about cycling, cycle path etc. conditions, they can do this by calling 01325 388 777

9. Date of next meeting

The next meeting will be at Wed, 18th of May, 7 p.m. at the Red Lion, Priestgate, upstairs room.

Friday, May 13, 2005

Darlington Cycling Campaign May Meeting

The next meeting of Darlington Cycling Campaign will take place upstairs in the Red Lion, Priestgate, on Wednesday 18th May,starting at 7pm. Main topics of discussion will be:

  • Links with groups in Worcester and Peterborough
  • Have you paid your £5 membership yet?
  • Beatrix is going back to Germany. Any takers for post of secretary?
  • Planning routes and dates for summer cycle rides along Darlo cycle routes.

All welcome!

Summer Rides in Darlington

Here is a timetable of all known summer cycle ride activities, including those organised by Darlington Freewheelers and Town on the Move. I have made suggested dates for our own events that would fit in with these, which will be confirmed at the May meeting of Darlington Cycling Campaign. All Darlington Freewheeler rides start from Darlington Market Place at 7pm. Contact Peter Lumley on (01325) 356226 for further information.


Tuesday 17th. Darlington Freewheelers Ride via Heighington

Tuesday 24th Darlington Freewheelers Ride via Sadberge

Tuesday 31st Darlington Freewheelers Ride via Piercebridge


Thursday 2nd Family Green Lanes Cycle Ride Start: Dolphin Centre 11:00 am
Duration: 2.5 hours. Aimed at parents with their children, this ride will take in the green lanes around
Darlington and quiet back roads. The ride is a good way for parents to gain confidence in riding on the roads with children, which they can then use by going out on more rides throughout the summer.

Sunday 5th 50 Mile Trial Ride Start: Dolphin Centre 8:30 – 9:30AM
Finish time: 12:30PM – 1:30PM This 50 mile cycle ride is an ideal way to prepare for the longer rides later in the year.

Tuesday 7th Darlington Freewheelers Ride via Eaglescliffe

Sunday 12th Darlington Cycling Campaign Cycle Route Tour 1

Tuesday 14th Darlington Freewheelers Ride via Hornby

Wednesday 15th Evening Cycle Ride to Walworth Gate Start: Dolphin Centre 6:30PM
Duration: 2.5 hours. An easy going ride on quiet roads cycle paths to Walworth Gate.
It is advised that you bring lights in case of unforeseen circumstances, and to help you getting back from the end of the ride.

Sunday 19th Cycle Treasure Trail Start: Asda, Whinfield Road, 10:30AM
Duration: 1.5 hrs. Meet at Whinfield Road Asda for a treasure trail around Skerningham Woods nature reserve. There will be a prize for the first to complete the trail.

Tuesday 21st Darlington Freewheelers Ride via Bishopton

Tuesday 28th Darlington Freewheelers Ride via East Layton


Sunday 3rd 70 Mile Trial Cycle Ride Start: Dolphin Centre 8:30 – 9:30AM
Finish time: 2:30Pm – 4:00PM. Heading out towards the Cleveland Hills this is a natural progression from the ‘Round 50’ and includes a climb up Clay Bank. Check in and lunch stop at the The Dog and Gun in Potto.

Tuesday 5th Darlington Freewheelers Ride via Whinney Hill

Sunday 10th Darlington Cycling Campaign Cycle Route Tour 2

Tuesday 12th Darlington Freewheelers Ride via Bolam

Saturday 16th Company of Cyclists Venue: Town Hall forecourt 10:00AM – 4:00PM
Free -try out of different types of bikes (including some wild and wacky ones). There will also be opportunities to talk to bike experts. Under 16s must be accompanied by a parent / guardian.

Tuesday 19th Darlington Freewheelers Ride via Yarm

Tuesday 26th Darlington Freewheelers Ride via Caldwell


Tuesday 2nd Darlington Freewheelers Ride via Redworth

Thursday 4th ‘Pupils & Parents’ Schools Ride Start: Dolphin Centre 10:00AM
Duration: 3 hours. A ride from the town centre to a nearby green space, using quiet back roads and some surfaced off road routes. Activities will be arranged for arrival at the site.

Sunday 7th Castles Trial Cycle Ride Start: Dolphin Centre 8:30 – 9:30AM
Finish time:
3:00PM – 5:00PM. This 85 mile ride takes in some of the region’s most scenic countryside and is linked by castles. There is a stop for lunch in Thirsk market place.

Tuesday 9th Darlington Freewheelers Ride via Croft

Sunday 14th Darlington Cycling Campaign Cycle Route Tour 3

Tuesday 16th Darlington Freewheelers Ride via Moulton

Sunday 21st Salters Circular Off Road Cycle Ride Start: North Road Station, 11:00AM
Duration: 3 hours. A ride around the countryside to the North of the town, following mostly quiet roads and with a sizeable portion of off road riding. This is a ride for those with a mountain bike, looking to find new routes to ride near the town.

Tuesday 23rd Darlington Freewheelers Ride via Aycliffe

Wednesday 24th Nature Reserves Cycle Ride Start: Dolphin Centre 1pm
Duration: 2.5 hours. A ride from the town centre for children with accompanying adults, visiting a local nature reserve. The ride will go along quiet roads and off road cycle lanes, with activities arranged by the countryside team upon our arrival.

Tuesday 30th Darlington Freewheelers Ride via Manfield


Sunday 4th Hell of the North Trial Road Ride Start: Dolphin Centre 8:30 – 9:30AM
Finish time:
4:30PM – 6:30PM. This is a challenging 100 mile ride which is only for experienced cyclists. The ride goes through some spectacular scenery and lunch is in Kirby Stephen.

Tuesday 6th Darlington Freewheelers Ride via Headlam

Sunday 11th Darlington Cycling Campaign Cycle Route Tour 4

Thursday, March 17, 2005

Cycling Campaign response to Travel Summit

Darlington Cycling Campaign has released the following statement to the press in response to the Town on the Move summit at the Dolphin Centre this week:

“Be Brave, Leave Your Car Behind” call by Campaign

Darlington Cycling Campaign today called on residents to back their local council’s attempts to improve the safety on the streets by getting out of their cars and walking or cycling instead. The appeal comes in the wake of the findings of a major survey into transport patterns and perceptions, which clearly showed that cycling could replace many unnecessary car trips in the town. But the survey also revealed that 82% of those questioned think that cycling in Darlington is dangerous.

“The people of Darlington feel in a Catch 22 situation”, said Richard Grassick, chairman of Darlington Cycling Campaign. “But the only way cycling will be safer is when the number of cars on Darlington’s streets is reduced”.

The Town on the Move travel summit, which concludes today (Thursday) in Darlington’s Central Hall, was told by Werner Brög, who authored the 4,500-strong survey of Darlington residents, that the £3.24million won for the project is a once-only opportunity to solve Darlington’s traffic problems. Mr. Brög interviewed a representative number of households in Darlington about their expectations, perceptions and hopes for the development of transport in the town. 94% said they were against an increase in car traffic, but at the same time they expected that that will happen. 53% think that walking in Darlington is rather risky, and even 82% think that this is the case for cycling.

All in all, said Mr.Brög, 50% of car trips could be replaced by another choice of transport like bus, bike or feet. And whilst there is a clear need to improve the reliability and comfort of the town’s buses, most unnecessary private car trips – those under 1 km - could be done by bicycle or walking. But he said repeatedly that Darlington should put a stress on developing cycling. Cyclists currently comprise just 1% of Darlington’s traffic, compared to a typical European figure of 20%. The German transport expert cited the Austrian city of Graz as an example of what could be done to improve road safety and encourage more people to walk or cycle. After reducing the speed limit in the city’s central zone to 20 miles an hour, child fatalities fell to zero.

Mr. Brög was backed up by Ryland Jones, who spoke at the summit on behalf of Sustrans, and argued for traffic priority measures in favour of the cyclist. “Clearly safety is a paramount issue for people who might otherwise leave their car at home”, said Darlington Cycling Campaign chair Richard Grassick. “Bold measures, such as the Graz scheme, may be needed from the council before people feel safe enough to try walking or cycling. Once people feel that the town’s streets are geared to cyclists and pedestrians rather than cars, there will be an unstoppable momentum towards sustainable transport”.


Thursday, March 03, 2005

Next Meeting of the Cycling Campaign Group

Our next meeting will be at Wed, the 20th of April 2005, 7pm at the Red Lion, Priestgate, upstairs.

Wednesday, March 02, 2005

Imagine Cycle Heaven in Darlington..A roundabout in Bremen, Germany with full cycle priority at every entrance and exit. Posted by Hello

Tuesday, March 01, 2005

Google Groups : Darlington Cycling Campaign

As discussed at the meeting tonight (more later), I've set up a Google group, so we now have a new place to discuss cycling in Darlington: Google Groups : Darlington Cycling Campaign. Come along, sign in and introduce yourself.


The next public meeting of the Darlington Cycle Campaign takes place tonight at 7pm in the Red Lion (upstairs room), Priestgate, Darlington. All Welcome.

Monday, February 28, 2005

Darlo Cycling Campaign has 2 invitations to Town on the Move Summit March 15

Just received notice that Darlington Cycling Campaign can send up to two delegates to the Town on the Move Travel Summit, which takes place in the Dolphin Centre all day on Tuesday 15 March. I'll bring along all the documentation to the meeting of the campaign tomorrow evening (1st March). Anyone who would like to attend on the group's behalf, please make sure you get to the Red Lion tomorrow.

You can get further info about the summit at:
this web page.

Sunday, February 27, 2005

Email to a councillor

To: Nick Wallis
Date: 27 February

As Darlington Council's Cabinet Member for Highways and Transport, I'm very interested to know about your own use of cars, car sharing, buses, bicycles and walking during your Council work, and day-to-day. I'd also be interested in the use of various forms of transpot by other Darlington Councillors.

I am part of the recently-founded Darlington Cycle Campaign, and would like to post your reply on my website,, which is currently being used as an interim website for the group.

Our next public meeting is on Tuesday 1st March and I'd very much like to share your response with the group at that time, though I realise this is short notice for a reply.

I'll post Nick's reply if I receive one.

Saturday, February 26, 2005

Darlington Cycling Campaign

Next meeting at 7pm, Tuesday March 1st, Red Lion (upstairs room), Priestgate, Darlington. All Welcome.

Who's coming?

Friday, February 11, 2005


  1. Smart new covered, secure bike sheds get donated to school as part of an initiative to get kids out of cars & more active
  2. Sheds kept exclusively for year 6 pupils that are doing their cycling proficiency; not available for general use
Read about it for yourself.

Update: It turns out the bike sheds in question are at a Darlington school!

Wednesday, February 09, 2005

Go By Bicycle

The centre pages of the current Town Crier magazine are about transport in Darlington, with a few quotes from Nick Wallis about the need to get out of cars. I'll put some more details up when (if) I get time, or you could just read it yourself. It might be interesting to contact councillors to find out how they travel...

Thursday, February 03, 2005

Boris Johnson MP: Violent Crime on the Up - How are you supposed to get on your bike?

Boris Johnson MP: Violent Crime on the Up - How are you supposed to get on your bike? - "Someone had actually gone to the trouble of leaving the carcass, but stealing the rear wheel, without which, unless you are extremely skilful, a bicycle is useless and indeed not a bicycle in the technical sense of the word."

Thursday, January 27, 2005

Look at that pansy Luke. If he can ride to work in the middle of winter, what excuse will I have not to ride come June when it's pleasant out?

Speaking of riding to work, I saw the Surly Crosscheck from the Fixed Gear Gallery riding Duke Street this morning, as I walked up it on my way to work. My plan is to ride to work after the February half term holiday (I get the bus at the moment, so I'm not to blame for the queues of traffic in Darlington). I'd start straight away, but the bus is dry and warm, gets me in on time, and I can read a book on the way in and out of work. My main reason for starting to ride is to make my journey into work a fixed length of time; at the moment, if I leave home 5 minutes late, I'm 20 minutes later getting to work. The bike should get me to work in the same time regardless of when I set off. (Plus, once the nights get a bit lighter, I get to go the long way home...)

Thursday, January 20, 2005

Darlington Cycling Campaign meeting reflections

The Chair of the Darlington Cycling Campaign, Richard Grassick, has posted his thoughts about the meeting as a comment in the previous post. I'm pushed for time at the moment, but will add my thoughts when I get chance. Here are Richard's comments, reposted:

Well, the meeting came off with about 12 to 15 people turning up, plus a few more who emailed in support but couldn't make it. I thought a good turnout for a first gathering, and most people seemed positive about the idea of a united voice for cyclists in Darlington.

I still think it's sad that so many cyclists don't want to challenge the current thinking that cars should always get priority when it comes to traffic management. As many at the meeting said, if you want to get from A to B in Darlington using the cycle network, it's like negotiating a series of jokes - from "Cyclists Dismount" signs to idiotic diversions for cyclists at roundabouts (the Woodlands Road roundabout at Cockerton taking the top prize for Total Lack of Cycling Perspective).

Yeh, it's not "cool" to ride a bike to 6th Form, sure there are a lot of people in Darlington who would rather buy a Porsche and live in debt for the rest of their lives than be seen dead on a bike, and yes, we need to change hearts and minds on this one. But I'm sorry, somewhere in there we need to offer other priorities in life. Maybe "carism" should be challenged like racism or sexism.

Anyway, next meeting at 7pm, Tuesday March 1st, Red Lion, Priestgate, Darlington. All Welcome. And before then, if you can make it, the council's Cycle Forum meets at the Dolphin Centre on Tuesday 25th January. I think the meeting starts at 6pm.

You might also want to read this reflection on cycling to work in winter.

(Richard, or anyone else in the group, if you'd like an account to post new posts on the site, just drop me an email at the address I gave out at the meeting.)

Tuesday, January 18, 2005

Reminder: Darlington Cycling Campaign meeting tonight

Darlington Cycling Campaign is holding a public meeting at the Red Lion pub on Tuesday [tonight] at 7pm. Anyone interested in helping to improve the rights of cyclists in Darlington is welcome.

Decisive cycling Moments

Luke Seeman writes about Decisive cycling Moments.

Wednesday, January 12, 2005

Darlington Cycling Campaign meeting

Other than exchanging an email or two, I know nothing about the Darlington Cycling Campaign, but the folowing is in this week's Advertiser:

Cyclists meet: Darlington Cycling Campaign is holding a public meeting at the Red Lion pub on Tuesday at 7pm. Anyone interested in helping to improve the rights of cyclists in Darlington is welcome.

A coordinated group can only be a good thing; I'll try to get along to the meeting. (I assume it means next Tuesday, 18th January.)

Darlington council to encourage staff to share cars

A piece in the Advertiser today describes a new website they're running for employees to enter journey details to sacilitate car sharing. It also mentions schemes being developed to increase bike and bus lanes and to encourage children to walk/cycle to school.

I wonder how much they're spending on the scheme, since elsewhere in the paper is an article about the £52million scheme to upgrade the bypass, so it can cope with the estimated increase in use from 20,000 cars a day to 41,000 a day by 2025...

All of the articles I've seen about the proposed Tesco development in the town centre mention increased car parking.