Monday, July 27, 2009

Cycling Campaign Wins Bike Hub Funding

Darlington Cycling Campaign has been awarded one of just three New Ideas Fund to build on the work of the Beauty and the Bike project. The Campaign's submission is for a bike pool of the kind of dutch-style bikes that are proving so popular amongst young women who want to cycle. With funding for between 60 and 100 bikes, and support staff to promote the bike pool in workplaces, colleges and schools, the aim is to kick-start a cycling culture in the town that is more attractive to women in particular.

The documentary Beauty and the Bike, which will be premiered in Darlington Arts Centre on Wednesday 9th December, found that peer group culture is an important barrier to young women cycling. But where small groups got together to start using stylish bikes, the barriers began to crumble.

The Campaign also hopes that a growing culture of gentle cycling in the town will lead to better quality infrastructure. As one of the Beauty and the Bike girls said, "We're getting the lovely bikes, we've got the lovely girls to ride them. Now we are looking forward to the lovely cycle paths".

See also: BikeBiz: Bike industry grants cash to three 'increase cycling' schemes

Monday, July 20, 2009

Beauty and the Bike - Our Changing Face

Darlington Cycling Campaign organised a farewell party on Thursday for the many participants of the Beauty and the Bike project. It marked the end of one year of filming the remarkable story of these young women by Darlington Media Group, who hosted the event. Girls from cycling-friendly Bremen in Germany had just spent a week in Darlington exploring what it is like to cycle in a typical British town.

Editing now begins in earnest, whilst photographer Phil Dixon will be continuing to document the Darlington girls for a few more weeks. He and German portrait photographer Sabine Bungert are working towards a book about the project, which will also feature an essay by cycling activist and Cycling Campaign member Beatrix Wupperman.

The project began a year ago with just one regular cyclist amongst these teenagers. Now there are 13 bikes out on long-term loan, and a waiting list of 7 more. Plans are now afoot to formally constitute the scheme.

The film, which will be premiered in December, explores why so many British teenage girls give up cycling - and what needs to be done to reverse the trend. Perhaps these photographs are a clue. They are all regular cyclists, and most are now members of our Campaign.

Tuesday, July 07, 2009

Another incident at the Dolphin Centre bike racks

After at least two, but possibly more, bikes were stolen from the racks outside the Dolphin Centre recently, the racks have been modified to make them more secure. However, there now looks to be a new method being used:

Left it outside the dolphin centre at 8 this evening, locked on rack. Went out to ride it home at 9 and some helpful person had attached a massive padlock to one of the spokes so that I couldn't ride it home. Managed to wheel it into the dolphin centre where the duty manager attempted to remove the padlock. Unfortunately he was unable to so the bike is spending the night at the doli pending use of some serious bolt cutting equipment in the morning.

This sounds similar to a strategy I've heard is used by thieves in several places. They will use their own lock to lock a bike to a rack, sometimes with "their own" bike also attached. When the owner comes back, they assume that someone has accidentally locked their bike up, and will get home by some other means, thinking they will be able to retrieve the bike the following day. The thief them comes back in the night, and cuts the owner's lock while nobody is around.

If this happens to your bike, make sure you report it, and do as much as you can to keep your bike safe and secure. In this instance, as there was just a padlock attached to a wheel, the bike could be moved to safety.

We will be pushing for extra CCTV coverage on these racks.