Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Beauty and the Bike-What Happened Next?

The excitement of the film premiere is over. Back we go to "normal" life in Darlington. We've managed to keep the beautiful dutch bikes - in fact we're going to buy 40 more this year and expand the bike hire scheme. But how many girls will keep on cycling? We know that cycling is still "uncool" for many UK teenagers - perhaps because it feels so unsafe on our meagre infrastructure? Here, one of the girls from Beauty and the Bike, Lauren Pyrah, comes behind the camera to ask what is happening to the Darlington girls now. Kate, one of the original group, is joined by Francesca to shout the praises of everyday cycling. But Ashley has stopped. Why? And will politicians listen?

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Beauty and The Bike film in Velosophie magazine

Beauty and the Bike makes an appearance in German magazine Velosophie, page 22.

I don't read German, but Beatrix does:

Note: On page 13 John F. Kennedy praises the bicycle!!!
And on page 27 they advertise a pedelec with a trailer (young mum and toddler)

I am quite impressed by the variety, Chic and Charme of Velosophie.

The next article will be in „Radwelt“ the magazine of the ADFC (the CTC of Germany) in April
And after that a review of the film in „Radtouren Magazin“ in May

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Dear driver of baby poo brown Renault Scenic

Please don't overtake me over the top of the railway bridge on Haughton Road. It's not wide enough.

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Hint: that's why I was riding in the middle of the lane.

Lucky you got in to the left before going head on into that car coming the other way, eh?

So, please don't do it again, thanks.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Blocked bike path on Borough Road

Another regular annoyance on my ride to work, is the red Astra that parks over the bike path exit on Borough Road.

Blocked Borough Road filter

This short length of bike path allows cyclists to legally bypass the No Entry on the northern end on Borough Road, and forms part of one of the main radial routes into town, as well as being on the Sustrans NCN14 route.

When heading into town, cyclists using the bike path alongside Haughton Road have to cross the entrance to Bannatyne's gym and then use the filter to get onto Borough Road. As shown in the Google Streetview below*.

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This isn't the easiest manoeuvre and is made harder by the fact there are also often pedestrians crossing in the same place, so cyclists have to watch where they're going while looking behind themselves back up Haughton Road for gym members turning left, forwards on Haughton Road for people turning right and into the gym car park for people heading for Haughton Road. Add in people sometimes driving out of Borough Road, or the access the the Bannatyne's HQ, which is also behind you, but on the left and behind a wall and you've got a situation that's not made easier by the parked car!

I've reported the car to the police via email, with the above photo (but with visible car reg plate) attached, so look forward to their response.

(*Incidentally, if you have a look up the bike path on the Streetview photo, you'll see that there's a family on the bike path. Doing the illegal, but safest, thing of using the pedestrian side of the segregated path to avoid them at the point they were photographed would have you heading for a bin.)

Monday, March 22, 2010

2010 AGM

Darlington Cycling Campaign is holding their Annual General Meeting at 7pm on Monday 29 March at the Media Workshop (behind Darlington Arts Centre). Whether you ride a bike or simply have an interest in cycling as a means of everyday transport and sheer good fun, then Darlington Cycling Campaign would like to meet you.

As well as electing members to the committee, the meeting will set out its aims for the coming year and give some information on the exciting new project darLOVElo. This is your chance to help influence the way the needs of all types of cyclists will be met by Darlington Borough Council this year beyond. So, whatever your interest – more cycle parking, dealing with dangerous potholes or the provision of safe cycle lanes that actually take you to where you want to ride, then the Darlington Cycling Campaign is for you. Membership is currently free, but this may change, and the emphasis is on having fun for a good cause.

Darlington Cycling Campaign’s 2010 Annual General Meeting. 7pm on Monday 29 March at the Media Workshop (behind Darlington Arts Centre). Cycle parking is available at the Arts Centre.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Traffic Pinch Points - A Hazard To Cyclists

Karl McCracken, our guest speaker for Friday night has a post on his blog about pinch points and the hazard they present to cyclists.

This struck home to me, because there are three pedestrian refuges that I pass in quick succession on my way home from work each day which have caused me more than a few worrying moments recently. Actually, it's not the pinch points that cause the problem, it's the average motorist's inability to judge speed and distance that causes the problem, and this inability is highlighted at these pinch points.

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The first isn't too bad, but there are often parked cars around making the approach trickier. This is also the point where cars "released" from the throughabout back down the road catch up with me, meaning a nice succession of cars to pass me.

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The second is a bit trickier, as it's on an odd bend just after the top of a slight rise in the road and before a descent. It is not wide enough for a car to get through at the same time as me yet I often have cars desperately trying to get by me here. I often ride down the following hill swearing and gesturing to the car (now) in front of me.

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Then, still swearing, I meet pinch point number three where another car races past.

There's another one just after this, but I turn off here (squeezing past the car-for-sale parked half blocking the pavement, but that's a separate rant).

I'm going to be taking Karl's advice for dealing with these from now on:

I’m trying a modified technique:
I. Will. Own. That. Road. (Girlfriend).
Never mind this looking over the shoulder and pulling across if it’s safe - my moves will be accompanied by the full arm-out hand signal, and I will be riding through these kill zones at about 50-60% of the distance from the road’s edge. I will be doing this on every single one, and only IF when I get into one, I find that it’s ridiculously wide, will I then pull across to let cars pass safely.
It’s time to reclaim the streets

Sunday, March 07, 2010

Karl McCracken Guest Speaker

Leading cycling campaigner, Karl McCracken is the guest speaker at Darlington Cycling Campaign’s forthcoming open lecture event.

The second event of the new DCC season is on Friday 19th March when we welcome Karl McKraken. He has titled his illustrated talk "What's needed to make riding a bike part of the transport rather than the sports & leisure agenda"

This will certainly chime with any cyclist who views their bicycle as a legitimate means of everyday transport and yet wonders to themselves…’Surely, things could be better than this?’?

Karl’s talk will be very much an open forum, with everyone encouraged to ask questions and voice opinions. For more information on the McCracken view of everyday cycling, please visit his website at

The talk is being held at Darlington Arts Centre on Friday 19th March, starting from 7.30pm in the Media Workshop, Entry is free and open to all.