Friday, 18 December 2015

Cycling Holidays


The popularity of cycling holidays has grown significantly in recent years and for good reasons. Faster than walking and slower than driving it’s a great way to explore new places and countries whilst getting all the health benefits of regular exercise.

You’ll find lots of specialist companies offering holidays to suit all abilities and to destinations around the world. Some are self-led, where hotels and baggage transfers are arranged, but you need to use the information provided to get from A to B. Others provide a tour leader and back-up vehicle. Many provide hire bikes so you don’t have the hassle of taking your own bike.

When choosing you need to be careful that the holiday is suitable for you. Its also a good idea to use companies that are fully ABTOT or ATOL bonded.

The two biggest UK operators are Exodus and Explore . The biggest independent is Saddle Skedaddle. The latter has also now partnered up with the largest UK walking holiday company HF Holidays to offer easier cycling holidays in the UK and Europe.

CTC Cycling Holidays is also worth checking out. Owned by the national cycling charity, its run by experienced volunteer leaders. You need to be a CTC member but their holidays are almost always cheaper than the commercial operators.

As it’s the leader who chooses where to go the programme varies from year to year and often includes destinations not offered by the main commercial operators. Their 2016 programme will be on their website at the end of November. If you’re interested in any of their holidays it’s best to book as soon as possible as many sell out within weeks. 

Friday, 27 November 2015

Time to Support Your Local Bike Shop

Despite the growth of cycling it’s disappointing to hear that two of Worcester’s largest independent bike shops will have closed by the end of the year.  After 27 years Peddlers in Barbourne has already shut up shop. The Green Bike Company in St John’s has announced it will be closing after Christmas.

Peddlers

It probably reflects the wider retail trends of more shoppers choosing to use the larger multiples and increasingly the internet to buy their bikes and cycling kit.  

What’s often not fully appreciated are the advantages of buying from and supporting your local bike shop. They’re usually staffed by cycling enthusiasts with lots of detailed knowledge about different types of bikes, equipment and the local cycling scene.  They are therefore well placed to offer the advice you need when choosing a bike and accessories to meet your specific needs and budget.

Many independents carry a range of bikes from different manufacturers. They often allow you to try before you buy and can advise on the type and size of bike you need and ensuring what you buy is a good fit.

Most shops offer great after-sales service too.  A free first service and adjustments are usually included. 

Push Bike! will be uploading a full listing of bike shops around Worcestershire on this blog in the new year, but here’s a list of independents in the Worcester News area:

Worcester
Worcester Cycle Centre
Barbourne Cycles
F Lewis Cycles
On Bike

Malvern
Malvern Cycles
On Track
Detour

Pershore
Echelon Cycles

Droitwich
The Missing Link Bicycle Company

If you’re thinking about buying a bike or cycling kit for Christmas I’m sure they’d welcome your custom.

Sunday, 8 November 2015

Share With Care

It's not uncommon to hear motorists and pedestrians complain about errant cyclists. Sometimes this is undeserved and overstated but Push Bike! recognises that local cyclists should obey the law and learn to share our increasingly congested highways better.


Here’s a summary of a ‘cycling code’ the national cycling charity Sustrans has pulled together. Hopefully it will encourage cyclists locally to be courteous and always cycle with respect for other highway users.

When cycling on roads:
  • Always follow the Highway Code
  • Don't cycle on pavements except where designated for cycle use
  • Use your bell or give and audible warning... not all pedestrians can see or hear you
  • Position yourself on the road, wear conspicuous clothing and use lights in poor visibility to make yourself more visible to other road users
  • Keep your bike and especially your brakes road worthy

When cycling on shared use paths:
  • Give way to pedestrians, leaving them plenty of room
  • Keep to your side of any dividing line
  • Don't expect to cycle at high speeds. Slow down and stop if necessary
  • Be careful at junctions, bends and entrances
  • Use a bell or polite audible warning to let others know you're there
  • Give way to wheelchair users and horse riders
  • Acknowledge those who give way to you
Experience in the UK and abroad shows that our roads and shared paths can be shared comfortably and safely if we all show respect for other users.

Friday, 16 October 2015

The Cyclists' Touring Club

To get the most out of your cycling and improve your cycling skills and knowledge its often best to join a local club. The Worcester and Malvern CTC is the largest locally. It has 400 members in the area and organises Saturday rides of 40-60miles, shorter and more leisurely fortnightly Tuesday rides, weekly Thursday night rides, weekends away and various social events including fortnightly Friday night slide shows and talks at a local hostelry through the winter months.

To take part in club activities you need to be a Cyclists’ Touring Club (CTC) member. The Cyclists’ Touring Club is the national cycling charity that has over 70,000 members nationally and 800 in Worcestershire. The CTC has championed the cause of cycling for well over a century and still campaigns nationally and locally to make it safer and easier to get out on your bike.

As a CTC member you automatically receive third party insurance and access to a free legal helpline. Other benefits include the club’s award winning bi-monthly magazine ‘Cycle’, various discounts and access to lots of cycle related information on its website and the CTC’s own worldwide cycling holidays.

Membership also means you can join any of the rides and activities offered by the many local groups around the UK. There are no additional local membership fees to pay. In addition to the Worcester & Malvern there are other local CTC clubs in Kidderminster and Bromsgrove & Redditch.

To find out more have a look at the Worcester & Malvern CTC website at www.worcesterctc.co.uk  Details on national membership and its benefits can be found at www.ctc.org.uk

Tuesday, 29 September 2015

Aviva Tour rides this coming Sunday

Whether you're interested in a family ride, or something longer - at 40/75/100 miles, Aviva have the race for you on Sunday 4th October in Worcestershire. Check out our What's On page for details....

Wednesday, 23 September 2015

Evesham's Second Cyclefest is over

Push Bike! volunteers were pleased to help out colleagues in Evesham on Sunday 13th September at their second annual Cyclefest. Here’s a short report on the full range of cycling events they organised.

Evesham’s second annual Cyclefest is over for another year. There were some new elements to the Cyclefest this year and the organisers were delighted with how well they went. The curtain raiser to the Cyclefest was again a ‘BIG Ride’ which saw 7 cyclists doing 280 miles in 3 days, following ‘Via Magna Carta’ to Salisbury and Runnymede. A week later that was followed by the new Mountain Bike Challenge, which took place on a newly created course at The Valley. Forty nine competitors took part in a range of age-related categories, from under 8 up to adult enthusiast. John Webster, who organised the event, was delighted with the result. “It was great to see so many keen mountain bikers with a specially designed course that they could ride safely. Everyone had the chance to have two runs, with trophies awarded based on the fastest time. We couldn’t have done this without the great support of The Valley and British Cycling. We’ve had great feedback from everyone who took part, including the marshals and other helpers. There is huge enthusiasm for it to be repeated.”

Evesham Cyclefest

John’s grandson, James, was thrilled to win the Under 8 category. The next day he was back on his bike to ride the new Town Ride, a 3 mile route along the river and back. This time he was accompanied by his sister, Ava, who at two and a half was the youngest participant. It was great to see fourteen riders on the Town Ride, which was introduced following requests for a ride that young toddlers would be able to do. The 20 mile Family Ride went to Pershore and back, with a shorter option for those who just wanted to do 12.5 miles. All 36 came back over the ferry, which is always a popular end to the ride.

Evesham Cyclefest
Once back the riders and others had the chance to see a range of stalls and activities.  Using the pedal powered smoothie bike is always popular.  Kim Dunn and her group of scooter riding lads put on a great demonstration of jumps and twists.  There were 24 entries in the Photo Competition – the brief was a photo of any sort as long as it had a cycling theme.  Congratulations to Kevin Harrison for his artistic photo, entitled ‘Cycles in Amsterdam.’

Sue Ablett, Chair of the Cyclefest Committee said “Organising events like this is a lot of hard work – something that Nigel Huddleston acknowledged when he declared the Cyclefest open – but there was a real buzz at the mountain bike event, it was great to see so many toddlers on the new Town Ride, and to hear the comments of those returning from The Family Ride. Some enjoyed it so much they were keen to do the route again, new friendships were made, and for some they achieved their longest ride. The Cyclefest was organised in partnership with Cycle Evesham Vale, who are keen to build on the success of the Cyclefest and encourage more people to get on their bikes and start riding. See their website for details of the popular monthly social rides.” (www.cycleeveshamvale.org).

Wednesday, 16 September 2015

The Tour Ride - Not Just for Mamils

On  Sunday 4th October Worcester will host the Aviva Tour Ride. Its the official ‘sportive’ associated with the Tour of Britain and gives amateur cyclists the chance to experience what its like to be in a professional cycle race.

This year the organisers have gone out of their way to broaden its appeal. The challenging 100 and 75 mile routes will certainly appeal more to those Middle Aged Men in Lycra but don’t let that put you off.  There are two shorter routes.

A gently undulating 40 mile route will circle the City passing through Pershore and Droitwich. Developed in consultation with the local Women On Wheels cycle club it is also the ride cycling commentator Hugh Porter has chosen to invite his friends to join him on as part of his 75th birthday celebrations. To sign up for any of the above visit www.tourride.co.uk


There’s also a free to enter 3.5 mile family ride. The route starts on the Racecourse and follows Worcester’s picturesque riverside between the Sabrina and Diglis cycle bridges before returning on the east side of the Severn beneath the dramatic backdrop of the cathedral.  Being almost flat and traffic free the family route will appeal to cyclists of all abilities. Entry is on the day.

As well as the spectacle of over 1,000 riders starting their challenges from outside The Arena there will be mechanical bike support at the start and an event village on the Racecourse.

Push Bike! will have a stand in the event village with lots of information and advice on cycling locally. www.pushbikecampaign.org

Sunday, 6 September 2015

Worcestershire's Weekend of Cycling 7 Sept 205

Cycle challenges and charity rides are great for encouraging people to get on a bike. In case last Thursday’s ‘National Cycle to Work Day’ didn’t tempt you to get your trusty (or should that be rusty?) steed out of the shed there’s lots of local cycling events to suit all tastes next weekend, 12-13th September.

The second annual Evesham Cyclefest offers Off-Road Mountain Biking at Evesham Country Park on Saturday and on Sunday there’ll be lots of cycle related activities in the town centre and Push Bike! volunteers will be manning the registration desk for three led rides of 3, 12 and 20 miles. For full details  www.cycleeveshamvale.org.

There’s also another three cycle events next Saturday.

The annual Ride and Stride event raises funds for The Historic Churches Trust and a charity of your choice. Many of Worcestershire’s most historic churches will be open and offering refreshments on the day. You decide which churches you want to visit and plan your route accordingly www.rideandstrideuk.org.

The second Ride for Rory offers a one-way 18 mile or two-way 36 mile sponsored ride between Worcester and Redditch Hospitals to raise funds for ‘Rory’, their prostate cancer fighting robot. www.worcsacute.nhs.uk.

If your kids aspire to being the next Bradley Wiggins there’s an under 16 ‘Go Ride’ circuit racing event at Stourport Sports Club www.severnvalleyvelo.co.uk.

On Sunday Malvern sees a welcome return of The Elgar Vintage Ride. For those prepared to either dress up in period costume or ride a vintage bike, (or both), there’s the usual 6 mile family ride and a new 44 mile ‘Sportive’ ride to the Elgar Birthplace Museum and back. www.malverncycles.org.uk.

Push Bike! produces a regularly updated What’s On Guide to cycling events around Worcestershire. You can download the latest copy for free from our website http://www.pushbikecampaign.org/p/whats-on.html

Friday, 24 July 2015

Cyclists' behaviour and the law

Nearly every week, in the pages of this paper there are letters about cyclists not behaving in the City but there are also reports of congestion – where cycling could be beneficial. More cyclists are appearing than for many years.

The Cyclists Touring Club has written a code of practice, which fits into the law. It applies to off-road as well as on-road cycling. A summary of it is:

▪ Cyclists are road users too, they should behave responsibly and within the law.
▪ Penalties for breaching the law should be proportional to the danger to other road users.
▪ Rules should not force cyclists to choose between acting legally and safety. Law enforcers must examine reasons for cyclists’ offending behaviour.
▪ Law enforcers should be able to send offending cyclists on training programmes instead of prosecution.
Highway authorities should reduce hazardous road conditions which cause illegal behaviour by cyclists.

Cycling in Holland
Countries, where cycling is more widespread than UK ( such as Holland, shown here) expect all road users to behave with respect to each other

Thursday, 23 July 2015

No Excuses Bike Commuting

Traffic congestion in Worcester is a regular gripe, but if you drive to work you’re part of the problem. By using a bike you’d be healthier, wealthier and part of the solution. Here’s 10 solutions to common excuses people use for not cycling to work.

1. Excuse: Its not safe to ride in rush hour traffic. Solution: Worcester has a network of backstreets and cycleways to get from home to work without using busy main roads.

2. Excuse: I can’t afford a special commuter bike. Solution: Do up your old bike or buy secondhand. Ask if your employer is in the Government’s Cycle Scheme which gives up to 40% off a new bike.

3. Excuse: I have to dress smart for work. Solution: Go by car once a week. Leave a week’s worth of clothes and take the dirty ones home.

4. Excuse: There’s no shower at work. Solution: Cycle so you don’t get sweaty. If you do, freshen up with scented wet wipes in the cloakroom.

5. Excuse: There’s no secure place to park a bike. Solution: Ask if there’s somewhere in the building you could use. Stash it with a friend who lives near or another business in the area.

6. Excuse: Sometimes I’d have to ride in the dark. Solution: Wear light coloured reflective clothing, fit lights and use a well lit route.

7. Excuse: I don’t like riding when its wet and cold. Solution: Buy clothing to keep you warm and dry and fit mudguards and sturdy tyres to your bike. When its really bad, leave the bike at home.

8. Excuse: Its too far to ride. Solution: Drive or take public transport part way and cycle the last few miles.

9. Excuse: I live too close. Solution: Take a longer, more scenic route to and/or from work. Its cheaper and nicer than using a gym.

10. Excuse: People will think I’m weird. Solution: So what? Point out all the benefits. You never know you might encourage others to give it a try.

Friday, 29 May 2015

Worcestershire Women Invited to Join Social Cycling Group

Women on Wheels
A social cycling group is encouraging Worcestershire Women to join them for a beginners bike rides now that they have launched their 2015 summer season of rides.

Aimed at those who are new to cycling or returning after a break, the rides organised by Women on Wheels cater for all levels and abilities during the course of the summer.

Women on Wheels Co-Founder Rachel Vann explains:

“This is a fantastic opportunity to enjoy leisurely cycle rides in a safe environment with a group of likeminded ladies”. The group will be offering rides to cater for all levels of ability. As well as ‘beginners’, ‘steady’ and ‘intermediate’ rides, there will be weekly fitness rides on a Wednesday evening. Aimed at those who already have a good base level of fitness, the weekly rides cover a 12 - 14 mile loop to increase confidence on the road and improve fitness.

Since launching the group in October 2012, Co-Founders Amy Taylor and Rachel Vann have seen a huge increase in numbers, resulting in several of the group members undergoing training to become Ride Leaders to offer a greater number of rides, as Amy explains:

“By helping some of our existing members to become Ride Leaders, we’re better placed than ever before to offer a regular programme of rides for a range of fitness levels and abilities. It’s a really exciting time for Women on Wheels, so we’re hoping to talk to as many women as possible on Sunday to kick start our summer season.”

To sign up to either the beginnners ride or the fitness ride,please visit the Women on Wheels Facebook page at www.facebook.com/wearewomenonwheels or email info@women-on-wheels.co.uk

Notes:
Women on Wheels was established in October 2012 by Amy Taylor and Rachel Vann with the aim of providing a safe and friendly atmosphere for women of all levels and abilities to enjoy the benefits of cycling.

Thursday, 28 May 2015

Big Bike Revival
The Big Bike Revival is a two-week festival of events from 23 May - 7 June 2015.
Adults in Britain appear to be aware of cycling and its potential for shorter journeys and a large proportion have bikes but are at present not making use of them.
The Big Bike Revival presents people with an opportunity to:
   Carry out basic repairs e.g. fix a puncture
   Cycle safely on and off road
   Donate your old bikes
   Buy a recycled bike
   Get advice about local cycle routes, clubs or activities
The programme is supported by the Department for Transport and delivered in partnership with Bike Re-cycle centres that are operating across England.

In Malvern, over the period, Malvern Cycles will be hosting the Big Bike Revival.
If you have a bike long forgotten and hidden away in your shed or garage this is a time to dig it out.

Malvern Cycles are offering FREE:

Cycle Coaching Saturday 10am session and a 2pm session for Children.
Cycle Safety on and off the road.
Basic repairs and M-Checks
Trade in on old bike
Access to cycle routes and LED rides around Malvern.
Big Cycle Themed Garden Party on the 7th June.

Monday, 4 May 2015

Politics and Cycling

Photo courtesy Free-Pik
Do the two go together? Hopefully they will for the next Government, with the
requirement to set targets for increasing rates of cycling (and walking) and
a budget for such goals to be met. If you want to find out what your
constituency candidates think about cycling and try to influence those ideas
positively before the 7th May, then go to the specialist website
www.votebike.org.uk. Enough of politics!

Worcestershire County Council, in conjunction with Sustrans (www.sustrans.org.uk)
and Cyclists Touring Club (www.ctc.org.uk)  have planned, developed and signed
five leisure routes, distances from nine to fourteen miles, some of them with shorter
loops, taking in the scenic delights of an easy ride along pedways and canal
towpaths, around the City's boundaries, to a slightly more challenging trip onto the
lanes around Crowle. In between are three other routes to Broadheath/Hallow,
Northwick/Ladywood and Kempsey/Norton.

Start points are the Countryside Centre off Spetchley Road for three of the journeys
and one each at the Environment Centre in Gheluvelt Park and Oldbury Road,
adjacent to the entrance to Worcester University, so plenty of opportunity for
refreshments, before you set off.

The routes generally follow quiet lanes, pedways or towpaths and are indicated by
coloured symbols on a blue background, with a cycle logo. Each map will provide
detail of the symbol to follow, whether taking a main or shorter route.

These make ideal rides for anything from an evening trip to a full day out, with
numerous places to eat, on the way or at the start/finish.

Besides a reliable bike' and a few pieces of kit in case of a puncture, all you need
now is either to download a map from the County Council website
www.worcestershire.gov.uk/info/20209/cycling
or call at the Countryside Centre (near to County Hall), the Environment Centre in
Gheluvelt Park or Worcester Tourist Information Centre (by The Guildhall), where a
pack of maps for all of the routes is available, free of charge.

The maps are full of detail, including not only the symbols to be followed and
full route, but also refreshment points. So, with Spring arriving, why not get out on
two wheels and enjoy the wonderful countryside in this part of the County.
                                                ___________________

Working for cycling improvements

Tuesday, 14 April 2015

Road Positioning

It can feel safer to ride in the gutter. It isn’t. It increases the chances of drivers not seeing you and passing too close. You’ll have to contend with drains, cambered surfaces, debris and potholes too.

The most common car-cyclist collision is the  ‘Sorry mate, I didn’t see you’. Drivers pay attention to where their vehicle will be in the next few seconds. They pay much less attention to what’s in their peripheral vision. That’s why a cyclist should never cycle in the gutter. You should be at least 50cm and often 1metre or more from the kerb. This is what’s recommended in the Government’s ‘Bikeability’ training programmes www.bikeability.org.uk and called ‘the secondary position’.


Rule 139 of the Highway Code obliges drivers to give cyclists ‘at least as much room as a car’ when overtaking. – typically considered to be 1.5m. If you’re already 1m from the kerb this usually means drivers should pull out, cross the central, dashed white line, and pull in again. If a vehicle is coming the other way, they’ll have to wait until it is safe to pass. If you hug the kerb drivers will be tempted to squeeze past dangerously close.

There are also lots of occasions where you need to ‘take the lane’ or what is often called ‘the primary position’. This is the centre of the lane you are in. It’s recommended to ‘take the lane’ when:

·         approaching a pinch point such as a pedestrian island
·         negotiating junctions or a roundabout
·         at ‘Give Way’ markings or traffic lights
·         passing a side road or parked cars
·         in queues of stationary or slow moving traffic

What’s equally important for your own safety is communicating your intentions to other road users. Check back before gradually moving into any new position and signal clearly if there are vehicles close behind you.

Cyclists are often encouraged to wear bright or hi-viz clothing. The fact is that taking a more assertive road position is even more important in improving a cyclists’ safety and your visibility to other road users.

Monday, 6 April 2015

Vote Bike

The Cyclists’ Touring Club (national cycling charity) is encouraging cyclists to contact their parliamentary candidates and seek their support for making cycling easier, safer and more popular.

An easy-to-use ‘Vote Bike’ website www.votebike.org.uk makes it easy for you to ask all of your local candidates to show support for the CTC’s five key campaigning aims:

Ambition 
Increase cycling to 10% of trips by 2025 and 25% by 2050.

Funding
Spend an average of at least £10 per person per year on cycling.

Design Standards
Adopt high design standards for cycling in highway and traffic schemes, new developments and planned road maintenance work.

Safety
Improve cycle safety by strengthening and enforcing road traffic law and revising the Highway Code.

Positive promotion
Positive promotion of cycling, including cycle skills training, for people of all ages, backgrounds and abilities.

The site lets you see what commitments candidates have already made so you can help us hold them to account if elected!

Vote Bike follows on from success in securing cross-party support for recommendations in the ‘Get Britain Cycling’ report and a Government commitment to treat cycling as other forms of transport through an amendment to the Infrastructure Bill.

If you’re still undecided which way to vote on 7 May, the website provides a useful summary of what the political parties are saying about their commitment to cycling.

More locally Push Bike! has already secured support from 25% of Worcestershire’s 55 County Councillors for the CTC’s ‘Space for Cycling’ campaign which was aimed at Councils with Highway responsibilities.

The level of support by party on the County is Green (100%), Liberal Democrat (75%), Community & Health (66%), UKIP (50%), Labour (36%), Independent (33%) and Conservative (10%).

Encouraging more to cycle brings benefits for everyone in the local community.  Push Bike! encourages you, your family and friends to use the ‘Vote Bike’ website www.votebike.org.uk to lobby those standing to be your next MP to commit to making it easier and safer to cycle around Worcester and Worcestershire if they’re elected.

Tuesday, 24 March 2015

Push Bike! Cycling What's On

The Push Bike! 2015 ‘What’s On Guide to Cycling Events Around Worcestershire’ is now available. So far we’ve pulled together details on over 50 cycling events for you to either take part in or watch. If you know of any we’ve missed, do let us know!



Highlights for 2015 are a welcome return of the Pearl Izumi Tour Series to Redditch and, for the first time, the Friend’s Life Tour Ride Sportive will be coming to Worcester.

The Tour Series returns to Redditch on 19th May. You’ll be able to see some of your favourite British and International riders as they race around the town centre.  After Worcester hosted the Tour of Britain last year the Tour Ride lets you cycle parts of the route for yourself.  Starting from ‘The Arena’, rides of 35, 75 and 100 miles will be on offer. There’ll also be a short family friendly ride around the riverside.

Want to set yourself a challenge and raise money for charity?  There’s plenty of choice. The ‘Easter Epic Sportive’ takes place at Top Barn on 5th April. Pershore Leisure Centre has a ‘Spinathon’ on 12th April. On the same day there’s the ‘Mad Malvern Team Challenge’. Evesham’s hardy perennial the ‘Blossom Bikeaway’ takes place on the following Sunday 19th April.  The Worcester Classic Bike Ride returns on 12th July.  To help you let off steam the Severn Valley Cycle Challenge arrives on 16 August. On 23rd August there’s the ’Malvern Mad Hatter Sportive’. To celebrate the Magna Carta’s 800th anniversary this year’s Evesham Cycle Festival includes a 3-day fund raiser taking in Runneymead and Salisbury. If you want to make up your own challenge and visit some of Worcestershire’s historic churches there’s the annual ‘Ride and Stride’ on 12 September. Prefer to dress up in Edwardian costume – then why not join the ‘Elgar Vintage Cycle Ride’ on 13th September. Finally in mid October the ‘Bredon Hill Bikeaway’ returns.

So where can you get a copy of the ‘What’s On’? Thanks to sponsorship from local cycle training and event company, ‘Just Ride’ you can pick up a printed copy from your local bike shop. We’ll also be regularly updating a more comprehensive listing for you to download from our blog on our What's On page.

Thursday, 5 March 2015

Roads were not built for cars


There’s an unfortunate and sometimes dangerous ‘two tribes’ mentality between motorists and cyclists. It’s often based on the myth that cyclists don’t pay ‘road tax’ and therefore have fewer rights to be on the road.

The quote above is the title of a best selling Kindle book by Carlton Reid. www.roadswerenotbuiltforcars.com In it he explains why it was cyclists who pioneered the highway improvements that subsequently made it easier for the growth in car use.

The truth is that the vast majority of our roads weren’t built for cyclists either.  Yet if we look back in history the motorist has a lot to thank cyclists for.

It the 1880’s and 1890’s, when mass production led to the first cycle boom, organisations such as the Cyclists’ Touring Club (CTC) successfully campaigned for roads to be paved. Even by the outset of war in 1914 cars were still a rarity on our roads.

There are other ways in which motorists benefitted from the growth in cycling. At least 64 car brands can trace their roots back to bicycle manufacturing. Differential gearing, pneumatic tyres, ball bearings, road maps, road signs and mass production techniques all emerged from the cycling revolution of the late 19th century. Even the Automobile Association was formed from a group that broke away from the Cyclists’ Touring Club in 1905.

As our roads become more congested hopefully cyclists and motorists can learn to share the road better. There is certainly a collective interest in encouraging more to use their cars less and cycle more.

After 137 years, the Cyclist’s Touring Club is still around and working closely with the Automobile Association in lobbying Government to make our roads safer for cyclists.

Locally 25% of County Councillors have already signed up in support of the CTC’s ‘Space for Cycling’ campaign.  You can find out more about the campaign and check whether your councillor supports it at www.ctc.org.uk

Wednesday, 25 February 2015

Useful apps for cyclists

With the majority owning smart phones and the rise in popularity of cycling it’s no surprise cycling has joined the app revolution. So can an app replace a map stuffed down your jacket?



Image supplied by FreeDigitalPhotos.net
Cyclemeter
This fitness app utilises the GPS functions of Apple devices to create a host of statistics to help you log and improve your cycling performance. Records speed, time, distance and has an extensive array of workouts to follow, making it a virtual training partner. The app also includes built-in announcements, so that you don’t have to take your eyes off the road to know how you’re doing.
Available free (with optional upgrade to Elite version) for:  iOS
Strava
One of the most popular GPS cycling apps offers an array of handy ride logging functions which are then uploaded to your online Strava profile. The app keeps track of your ride stats as you travel, including speed, time and distance all the while tracking where you’ve been. At the end of your ride, you can view further stats such as calories burned and elevation ridden – plus whether you have set a new record on any of the numerous Strava segments.
Available free (with optional upgrade to premium member) for: iOSAndroid
Bike Hub Cycle Journey Planner
A Sat Nav for cyclists, Bike Hub Cycle Journey Planner will plot a route from your selected start and finish points using not only roads (omitting dual carriageways and motorways), but also cycle paths and bridleways. The app is UK only at present and uses mapping from cyclestreets.net. You can choose a range of routing options from quickest route to quietest route, and it will avoid hills ‘where possible’. There’s also a function to find bike shops in the locality-always handy!
Available free for: iOSAndroid
These apps get pretty good ratings from cycling websites. 2 other apps I have on my phone are BBC Weather (will track your location) and St Johns Ambulance first aid for cyclists.. both of which are free.

Tuesday, 10 February 2015

Check list for Cycling Safely

Cycling safety

Cyclists’ and drivers’ behaviour towards each other influences the road safety culture. Mutual respect helps safety.

Tips for Cyclists

1.          Follow the Highway Code 
2.          Be decisive, signal, make eye contact
3.          Keep clear of the kerb – at least one metre
4.          Keep your bike roadworthy (and able to fix punctures)
5.          Use lights and bright clothing
6.          Hang back until vehicle moves away from lights
7.          Never pass on left of vehicles – except on a cycle lane.

Tips for Drivers

1.  When turning left, double check for cyclists on your left
2.  Give cyclists 1.5 metres clearance when overtaking
3.  Dip headlights when cyclists approach

Monday, 26 January 2015

The Cuban Diet: eat less, exercise more and preventable deaths are halved


In the early 1990s Cuba was plunged into crisis as a result of the US trade embargo and withdrawal of support following the collapse of the Soviet Union.

Food and fuel were in short supply. Millions went hungry. Cars and buses virtually disappeared as fuel supplies dried up. Farmers had to abandon their machines and work the fields manually. The Government issued one million bicycles to keep the population on the move.

Between 1990 and 1995 the average Cuban consumed fewer calories than they expended, leading to an average weight loss of 5kg. They also exercised more.

Deaths from diabetes began to fall in 1996 and dropped to half the levels experienced in the 1980s. Deaths from heart disease and stroke reduced by a third.

By the late 1990s Cuba was beginning to recover. As the economy grew, so did waistlines. Levels of physical activity fell. By the mid-2000s the prevalence of diabetes, heart disease and stroke were back up to pre-crisis levels.

Cuba’s experience serves to demonstrate that within a relatively short period moderate weight loss and an increase in physical activity can have profound health benefits on a whole population.

 At a local level if more of us walked or cycled regularly and ate healthily there would be wider benefits too. There’d be less pressure on the NHS and Social Services. Congestion and its associated air and noise pollution would be eased. Employees would take less sick leave and be more productive. School children would be more attentive and do better at school.

That’s why Push Bike! is lobbying the City and particularly the County Council with its Highways and Public Health responsibilities to do more in making it easier to leave the car at home and cycle (or walk) for more of the 65% of car journeys that are under 5 miles. We’d also like to encourage you to use your car less and start to enjoy the many benefits of riding a bike.

Friday, 23 January 2015

Travels across America

For all those who enjoy a enjoy a good cycle tour tale.........

Derek Skinner will be giving a digital presentation of his travels across America
last Spring, to the Worcester & Malvern CTC. at the Camp public house, Grimley
on Friday 6th. February 8pm. onwards. This will, I am sure, be an entertaining
evening of life across the Atlantic, covering a cycle route from the West to the
East Coast, via Texas and many other States.
 
Anyone wanting to arrive beforehand, will usually find food (and drink) available
at reasonable cost.
 
Subject to the Severn not being in flood, a great traditional pub on the riverside.

Wednesday, 7 January 2015

New Year Resolutions



Its that time again when thoughts turn to making New Year’s resolutions.  Getting fit, losing weight, reducing stress, saving money, taking up a new hobby, being more punctual, reducing your carbon footprint and raising money for charity are all fairly common. Push Bike! would like to suggest a single resolution that means you’ll achieve all of the above and more.

I’m going to use the car less and cycle more in 2015.

Here’s a few tips to help you stick to it.

  • Get a decent bike. A usual rule of thumb is to buy one that has a list price of more than £300. If you don’t want to pay so much, then think about buying secondhand. It’s also worth checking if your employer is signed up to the Government’s Cycle to Work Scheme as this can save you up to 42%.
  • Get one that is suitable. There’s a vast range of different types. First decide the type of cycling you will be doing and then buy one that best suits your needs. One of the excellent local independent bike shops will be able to advise on what to buy and adjust it to make sure it fits you.
  • Make sure you have the appropriate kit. You’ll need warm, dry, breathable clothing. A helmet, strong lock, basic tool kit, decent lights and something to carry things in are other likely essentials.
  • Importantly try and set yourself manageable targets. Sign up for a charity ride. Join a local cycling club. Find friends of similar ability to cycle with. You’ll find a directory of Cycle Clubs on our Cycle Clubs page. We’ll be providing a regularly updated Cycling What’s On later in the New Year.
  • Select the best and safest routes. The County Council’s excellent Worcester cycling map will help you get around the City. There’s also a series of short, signed leisure rides to get you started.  These maps are often available at local bike shops but you’ll find links for downloading them and for other route finding websites on  our Links page. 
 From all at Push Bike! we wish you all a happier, healthier and wealthier 2015.

Fill that hole!

Potholes are an annoyance for drivers and can cause damage to vehicles. For cyclists they pose an even greater threat, that of injury and even death. Cyclists are also more likely to encounter potholes as the majority are on the edge of the carriageway and are more common on the smaller, quieter back roads we prefer to use. In Worcestershire these roads are only inspected annually whereas the main roads are inspected monthly. That’s why its important for cyclists to report any dangerous potholes so they can be fixed more quickly. There are now two options for doing this.

The County Council has a new on-line reporting tool on its website www.worcestershire.gov.uk. All you need to do is click through on the ‘Report’ and ‘Potholes’ buttons. There’s also a useful video to show you how to complete the form. Once reported major defects should be fixed within 1-24 hours and others between 7 and 28 days. Only holes over 200mm in diameter (the size of a dinner plate) and 40mm deep (the depth of a fist) will be filled. They will however fill linear cracks that a bike wheel could get caught in and clear away debris.




The Cyclists’ Touring Club, offers an i-phone and android ‘Fill That Hole’ App that makes it easier to report potholes in situ. The App is easy to use and automatically sends your report to the appropriate Highway Authority. This means it can be used for reporting potholes and road defects anywhere in the UK. Its also useful for motorists to have too. You can download your free App from www.fillthathole.org.uk
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