Friday, June 25, 2010

Vancouver: Preparing a Cycling City

A Cycling Campaign Talk with Bonnie Fenton, former Chair of the City of Vancouver's Bicycle Advisory Committee

When: Friday, 2nd July 2010, 7 pm
Where: Darlington Media Workshop (Arts Centre)

How does Darlington compare with other towns and cities around the world that are starting out, from a low base, to make cycling a popular everyday means of transport? Vancouver, in British Columbia, Canada, is a city with a similar transport history to ours. But a new regime is trying to change things. On entering office at the end of 2008, Vancouver's centre-left local government pledged to make Vancouver the greenest city in the world by 2020 and cycling is part of that plan. Vancouver currently has a cycling mode share of about 4% and has set a goal of 10% by 2020.

Cycling advocacy was a rather slow slog for many years in Vancouver but the seeds that have been sown seem finally to be bearing fruit. Bonnie will take a look at the development of cycling in Vancouver (and the Vancouver Area Cycling Coalition) over the past 10-15 years. She will touch on issues like:

* getting started: making friends at city (town) hall
* knowing what you want: with car traffic or separated facilities?
* reaching the non-converted: education and promotion
* the money question: can we afford (not) to do it?
* "the next Paris": public bike sharing
* signs of progress: peer pressure forces and two Vancouver city councillors to take a cycling skills course

Many of these issues are central to Darlington as well, and reflect much of the work of the Cycling Campaign here:

* consulting with the council over infrastructure
* cycling in the Pedestrian Heart
* arguing for good cycling infrastructure on main and busy roads
* the film and book "Beauty and the Bike“ (which has already been screened in Vancouver!)
* our Bike Hire scheme Darlovelo (10 bikes, rising to 30 bikes soon)

Come along and meet Bonnie next Friday evening, July 2nd, at 7pm, and enjoy a rare chance to meet a cycling advocate from across the ocean.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Darlington Cycle Challenge

The Darlington Cycle Challenge is a free, incentive based initiative organised by Challenge for Change and the CTC working with the LocalMotion team at Darlington Borough Council to promote cycling in Darlington Borough.

The Challenge takes place this year between 5th July and 25th July and we're hoping to get 50 local companies to register and over 600 people logging trips during the Challenge period.

The Darlington Cycle Challenge is not about cycling to work, but just about getting people to discover the joys of cycling. By registering on our website, you are automatically entered into a draw to win a bike worth £450. People who log trips during the Challenge can win High Street shopping vouchers and people who encourage others to try riding will be given Odeon tickets.

Companies who encourage the highest percentage of staff to try cycling will also win cycling "packs" to distribute to their staff and also gain excellent positive publicity.

Please check out the website to see what is happening.

Darlington Cycle Challenge website

My workplace took part in this last year with a lot of staff getting involved, including getting a mention in a retirement speech as something that had got a colleague into cycling as something she'll continue in retirement.

Monday, June 21, 2010

The Ecotopia Bike Tour Starts Here!

Darlington Cycling Campaign, in cooperation with Darlington Friends of the Earth, is hosting the start of the Ecotopia Bike Tour of Europe! Come and join us!

Where: Clow Beck Eco Centre, near Croft
Time & Date: Saturday, 8pm - 10pm June 26th 2010
What to Bring: Food, drink, bike

The Ecotopia Bike Tour 2010 will ride through the UK, France, Belgium, Netherlands and Germany. Their 1700km itinerary is focused around climate justice issues, and will take more than two months: from 26 June until 31 August 2010. The journey starts with us here in Darlington.

Tour members arrive throughout the afternoon at Darlington Bank Top station with their bicycles, and will be heading for the Clow Beck Eco Centre for an evening social and overnight camping. We require a few Campaign members to accompany the group from the town centre to Clow Beck. An initial group will be arriving mid-afternoon, and will join us in Stanhope Park for the Community Carnival. A second group will arrive at Bank Top station at 18.34. We plan to accompany the cyclists to Clow Beck at 18:45, starting in the Market Place outside the Dolphin Centre.

As hosts, Darlington Cycling Campaign will be screening the film Beauty and the Bike. We would also hope to provide our guests with food and drinks, but this depends on our members stepping forward to help out with a contribution. If you can help with food, drinks, or cycling out to Clow Beck, please email us, or ring Richard on 07967 972092. But most important of all, please come along to the social!

If you are coming to Clow Beck, it is situated about 1 mile west of Croft Village. Take the A167 (carefully - renowned for blind motorists) to Croft on Tees, cross the bridge over the river, and follow the main road through the village. Just outside the south end of Croft, turn right and follow the signs to Clow Beck Eco Centre. See the map of the Clow Beck area below.