Sunday, May 30, 2010

Bringing the Arms race to Darlington

As one local cyclist yesterday commented on Twitter, apparently it is OK to incite violence towards cyclists. From the letters page of the Northern Echo:
READERS afflicted by pavement cyclists may be interested in a device my brothers and I made a few years ago for a TV programme. It consisted of a steel plate studded with spikes and hinged at one end which could be attached to a walking stick and folded up. On the approach of an errant cyclist on the footpath, a flick of a finger could deploy this mini stinger into the cyclist’s path. The resultant punctures to a bike tyre immediately transformed the rider to a pedestrian.

P W Anderson, Consett , County Durham

This declaration of cold war by the Echo has just been warmed up somewhat by a snappy response by blogger Karl McCracken:
The thing is, I’ve been thinking for some time that I need a sting in my own tail . Just as PW Anderson feels the need for a first-strike weapon against bicycles, I feel I need one against certain drivers. In this crazy arms race, I’ve realised that I need something to really discourage those drivers who think they can pass as close as they like - so long as they don’t actually hit you , there’s no harm done. Here’s what I’ve come up with:

Could this be what is termed the "Green Economy" in action, the "jobs answer" to the proposed slashing of North East jobs by our new government? Whatever, we look forward to the Northern Echo's next joyful celebration of cyclist bashing.

PS Memo to Peter Barron : Many new cyclists use pavements, particularly alongside busy roads, when there is no cycle path. Discuss.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Cycling in the rain of the Netherlands

This last week, cycling to work has been an absolute pleasure. The weather has been perfect for cycling on a morning (cool but dry and sunny); in fact, since the snow cleared, we've had pretty much perfect cycling weather in Darlington for the last three or four months.

But I still see the same few cyclists on the roads and bike paths. maybe three or four other riders on a good day, on my 2.5 mile to work that goes through the town centre.

Meanwhile, on a rainy day in Utrecht in the Netherlands...

(Mark Wagenbuur's excellent video found via David Hembrow's excellent blog: A view from the cycle path - Utrecht in the rain

Friday, May 14, 2010

The cycling potential of UK towns

A new tool to help identify where the best places are to invest in cycling has been launched by consultant Steer Davies Gleave.

The cycling potential index aims to provide an objective measurement of cycling potential by scoring three attributes of an area: its hilliness, socio-demographics, and length of journey to work trips.

The index can provide results at different levels of spatial detail, such as an entire urban area or a neighbourhood. You can download the paper for more information on how the index was calculated, along with the full rankings of the 47 towns and cities that were surveyed.