Newsletter - January 2011
|Happy New year from Portsmouth Cycle Forum!
We hope you have enjoyed the festive season and that you're looking forward to and exciting year ahead. We've another bumper issue in our monthly newsletter where we hope to keep you informed of what's been going on and what is planned. We're always pleased to hear from you and we'd like your contributions too - so if there's something going on in your neck of the woods that you'd like to share then please get in touch. Our contact details are at the bottom of the page.
|Cycle Forum Meeting Thursday 13 January
The next open forum meeting is on the 13 January in meeting room 1 of the Guildhall. It starts at 7pm and everyone is welcome to come along, meet us and join in and have your say. We have asked Martin Lavers (Deputy Head of Service for Transport Operations) to attend and talk about road safety audits. We'll also be looking at the city traffic light review to see improvements could be made for cyclists and pedestrians.
|Traffic light survey
The City Council is conducting a review of traffic signals across the city with the aim of removing 'failing' signals. The News reported on 31 December that Councillors Fazackarley (executive member for traffic and transportation) and Stubbs (conservative group spokesman for traffic and transportation) have toured the city with taxi drivers to understand their views on which junctions work and which don't.
It is vital that the views of cyclists and pedestrians are adequately and fairly represented in this process. Traffic lights are there for the safety of all road users. Portsmouth Cycle Forum has written to the Councillors to request that they conduct both a cycling and walking tour of lights in company with members of the cycle forum. In order for us to effectively plan this we need to know what traffic light controlled junctions you think are a problem for cyclists/pedestrians and why. Tell us what you think. Please use the "Contact Us" page on our website to do this www.pompeybug.org.uk .
|The Hayling Ferry is back…
The Hayling Ferry is back in action after passing its third safety inspection. The ferry has been running for more than 200 years, linking Hayling Island to Portsmouth. It is used by schoolchildren to get to school each day and many people that work and live on both sides. The only alternative to the three-minute ferry ride is a 32-mile round trip by road. It is also used by many cyclists seeking a lovely picturesque ride along the Hayling Billy Trail and round the Harbour. Thanks to the Strong Island website and Tristan Savage for this information. www.strong-island.co.uk
|Ride & Dig
In November we took part in a hedge planting session with the Portsmouth Tree Wardens along the new Hilsea Station cycle path. The first session on Friday 26th was so productive that the ride and dig we had organised for the Sunday wasn't necessary but we rode over to the new path and took a look at the lovely new fruiting bushes and hedges anyway. Once the weather warms up, go and take a look at the new route and the hedges, they will provide delicious fruit to eat in the future. www.portsmouthsouthseatreewardens.co.nr
|Cycle Forum Quiz Night
On 9th December 20 people came along to the Eldon Arms and had a lot of fun taking part in the cycle quiz night. Some of the questions were challenging but all of the teams achieved high scores. We'll have another quiz in the near future, so don't miss out next time, even if you only come for the excellent half-time buffet laid on by the Eldon Arms or their selection of real ales!
|Eastney Family Bike Club at Bransbury park
On 29th December we all went along to the Eastney Family Bike Club for the Christmas Bike Party. Attractions included Doctor Bike, bling your bike, security marking, quizzes, skills tests, guided rides free bike wheel biscuits and a whole lot of fun. The day was a great success despite the fog. Thanks to Hilary, Healthy Pompey members of the forum, the police and the community wardens the event was a resounding success.
This new family bike club is open to all and we will be following the launch by running a 6 week course for families with children aged 5-7 in conjunction with Healthy Pompey. Each week there is a badge to collect the courses all meet at the community centre in Bransbury Park and start at 11 am on Sundays and are: cycle skills (16 Jan), road safety (23 Jan), looking after your bike (30 Jan), seafront ride (6 Feb), wobble on the cobbles (13 Feb) and a secret mystery picnic ride on the 20th February. An accompanying adult with a bike must be present. For more details contact [email protected]
o Thursday 13 January, 7pm Portsmouth Cycle Forum meeting - Guildhall (meeting room 1).
o Sunday 16 January, 1-4pm Healthy Pompey Ride - Tea @ Aspex - . Starting at Eastney swimming pool. Approx. 6 miles. This slow and relaxing ride will fill your lungs with fresh air and scenic views before winding into the Aspex Gallery at Gunwharf Quays for a cup of tea and a piece of cake. Contact [email protected]
o Saturday 22 January, 11 am - 1 pm Healthy Pompey Ride - Picturesque Portsmouth - start at Square Tower, Old Portsmouth. Approx 6 miles. A relaxing ride designed to capture the beauty of Portsmouth. Contact [email protected]
o Sunday 30 January 10am-1pm PCF Cycle Ride around Gosport - meet at the Gosport Ferry (Portsmouth side). We'll follow a circular route taking in views of Portsmouth Harbour, a stop at the BMX track and the seaside at Stokes Bay. Contact [email protected]
o Thursday 10 February, 8pm onwards Cycle Forum social evening - Eldon Arms, Eldon Street, Southsea. Informal evening with a chance to meet and chat - and perhaps a game of Pool or Bar Billiards too!
These and other events are listed at www.pompeybug.org.uk.
|Bike Week 2011
Planning for Bike Week has started and the Cycle Forum will be running an event or two. Details are to be finalised but in the meantime mark 18-26 June in your diaries!
|Bikeability lives on…
Until recently it looked like the highly successful Bikeability scheme that is available to all local junior and primary schools would be scrapped, however the Government has announced that it will continue to be funded. Bikeability comes in three stages - the first two build from basic skills to short road journeys while the third introduces more complex traffic safety. Adults can also take part. If you want to get some extra training or know someone who wants to get back into cycling you can contact Peter French on 07775 883224 for more details.
|Bike Recycling Project
Portsmouth Cycle Forum is looking to take responsibility for one of the successful bicycle recycling projects which have been running in the city over the past two years. Negotiations are at an early stage but we hope to bring you more details in the near future.
|Charlotte Street, Landport
The City Council has recently introduced an experimental Traffic Regulation Order which reverses the flow of traffic in Charlotte Street to the rear of the Cascades shopping centre. This road forms a useful, if underused, East-West link between Commercial Road/Lake Road and Unicorn Road where there are links to cycle routes to the west and north. We have asked that this should be signed as a cycling route and that two-way cycling is permitted on the one-way section of Charlotte Street.
|Bike lights - No batteries required!
Ensure you can always be seen when cycling with the Swallow wind-up bike lighting system. The lights are charged by a hand turned dynamo. You then have bright front and backlight for safe cycling in the dark. meaning that running out of batteries is a thing of the past.
|Dutch town bicycles: The next big thing?
No one knows what type of bicycle will become the default choice for style conscious urban bikers when the craze for fixed gear bikes has run its course, but apparently it could be the utilitarian Dutch bikes. They have a reputation for being tough and practical - attributes that make perfect town bikes. "Burgers" is a Dutch bicycle manufacturer best known for its classic-retro bicycle styles; its Nostalgia Basic model compares with the Pashley Roadster Classic, but is £125 cheaper.
|Filming local cycle routes
PCF has been asked to help with the filming of local cycle routes. This has been done in Bristol with some success and local cyclists have filmed well used routes to help less confident cyclists or those with less local knowledge to get around on their bikes. The first routes to be filmed will be the leisure routes in the Healthy Pompey ride leaflets. If you have any footage of your favourite ride or your route to work then please let us know. We would also be interested in publishing on our website any accounts of daily commutes that we can collect. So if you fancy penning a brief account of your daily commute (maybe with some pictures) outlining the highlights and lowlights of your journey then we'd love to hear about it. Our contact details are at the bottom.
|If you are a Pompey fan, why not try cycling to home games?
You'll be helping the blues and keeping it green! On 3 January PCF helped out at an event organised by Healthy Pompey to encourage fans to cycle to the game and to persuade Portsmouth Football Club that they should have decent cycle storage to get fans riding to games and help reduce the 'traffic chaos', caused by the home games as well as beating the traffic queues and saving money on parking and fuel. The event included: free bike checks, free secure cycle parking (you had to bring your own lock), cycling accessories sold at cost price, bike security marking and cycling gift for every cyclist,. We hope to support an get involved with other events like this in the near future. Watch this space for more news or contact [email protected] for more information.
|Brompton child seat - ready for the school run
The Brompton is popular with city commuters because of the way it can be carried on public transport and then quickly folded and stored under a desk, so it is surprising that there is currently only one supplier of child seats for the bicycle. The seat is made to order by frame builder Steve Parry and costs £180. Contact London cycle shop www.velorution.biz for further details.
|Keep Posties Cycling - Update
Earlier this year, the CTC launched a campaign protesting against Royal Mail's decision to phase out nearly all of its cycle delivery. PCF and around 700 others sent letters (by bike, of course) to Royal Mail's new Chief Executive Moya Greene. Since then, CTC representatives have met their deliveries director, who said that they will now keep bikes for 3,000 delivery rounds - their previous plans were for just 500. Ms Greene is also looking into cycle awareness training for their van and lorry drivers.
|Britain's biggest pothole?
Andrew Harmsworth earlier this year reported a mega-pothole 3-metres long, a metre wide on average and up to 6 inches deep, which he encounters each day as he cycles along Longstanton Road on his way to Cambridge. If you know of any potholes that need filling you can report them on websites such as www.fillthathole.org.uk For problems within Portsmouth contact the city help desk at [email protected] or via the online forms at www.portsmouth.gov.uk.
Visitors to Leeds railway station will find a new £700,000, staffed facility offering secure cycle parking, rental, repairs and a cycle shop. Cyclepoint, based on the best amenities at Dutch stations, has been tailored for rail passengers making it easier for them to combine rail journeys with bike travel. Portsmouth next? http://bit.ly/ho0UOc
|Pedal power TV in American prison
The sheriff of Arizona's Maricopa County said he has introduced a new fitness tool to jail inmates -- televisions that run on pedal power. He noticed many inmates at the Maricopa County Jail's Tent City extension were overweight. The jail is now outfitted with stationary bicycles that generate electricity to power the facility's televisions. Sheriff Arpaio said only inmates who pedal will be allowed to watch "Pedal Vision."
|Bike Doctor i-Phone app is here
Andreas Kambanis of the UK's most popular cycling blog (londoncyclist.co.uk) and Ron Forrester, author of the Cychosis i-Phone cycling log have come up with The Bike Doctor application for i-Phone. Apparently, 'it's like having a little bike mechanic in your pocket at all times ready to save the day'.
If your bike making an odd noise or some part feels loose or seems broken you can tap the part on the picture of the bike that appears on the screen and you will be presented with list of repairs that relate to the part of the bike you have indicated. So far there are 24 repairs but more are coming soon.
|Sharing the road
How can we develop a culture of sharing the road in Portsmouth and indeed all over the UK? Cyclists can often be at the end of some unwelcoming words from drivers on the road. Unfortunately, this can lead to them taking to the pavements where they are subject to unwelcoming words from pedestrians or worse it can lead to them leaving their bikes at home! If you have any ideas for improving understanding for all road users then let us know at www.pompeybug.org.uk.
A PCF member has pointed out this article on the BBC news website about a Berkshire barrister who is fed up with aggressive and dangerous drivers and so has attached a camera to his bicycle helmet to record his experiences www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-berkshire-11935490.
On 30th December a new piece of research was published detailing the results of an extensive qualitative survey into the attitudes of other road users towards cyclists. The study was undertaken for the DfT (Department for Transport) and again its quite sad that the report contains many opinions along the lines of this one taken from one of the interviews: "They don't pay road tax, they block the road, they are inconsiderate, they overtake, they are bloody slow . . . I pay road tax, so I should have priority."
You can read it for yourself by following this link: www.dft.gov.uk/pgr/roadsafety/research/rsrr/theme1/researchreport/pdf/rswp17.pdf
A cycle lane that takes a direct route and is never blocked by parked cars or rendered impassable by huge potholes, rubbish or broken glass may be no more than a dream for many British cyclists, but architect Martin Angelov is far more ambitious. His design allows cyclists with nerves of steel to soar up to 4.5 metres above traffic by taking to a network of wires. The bicycle travels in a cupped track and is temporarily attached via its handlebar to a steel wire for stability. The cyclist dons a safety harness and then pedals as normal. This could possibly be the solution for Portsmouth's busy, cramped roads!
|Portsmouth Cycle Forum ...
... is a voluntary group working to make cycling safer, easier and more enjoyable throughout the Portsmouth area. We'd be pleased to hear from you and perhaps you will join us. For more information contact [email protected], telephone 07787 550655 or visit our Web page at www.pompeybug.org.uk.