Author Archives: vanwauwek

Times letters: Cycling revolution could improve all our lives

Sir, Jawad Iqbal is right to be concerned (“Nimbys are putting the brakes on our cycling revolution”, July 20), not just for cyclists, but also for the millions for whom driving is simply not an option. In Greater Manchester, where I work, one third of households do not have access to a car. Without a safe alternative to public transport — which can only operate safely at 30 per cent capacity — hundreds of thousands will be forced on to crowded buses, trams and trains or will not travel at all. In many places, even before schools return, services are at capacity.

This road space is not being given up for cyclists, it is being made available for shop workers, carers, NHS staff …

Full article

Want to start cycling to work ? Here is how !

Want to start cycling to work? Here is how

Cycling is being backed as an alternative to public transport and the government has said it will put hundreds of millions into creating this infrastructure.

However, if recent surveys are anything to go by, many people think cycling on the road is too dangerous.

The Bikeability Trust’s Paul Robison breaks down how to hit the road with confidence.

Source: https://www.bbc.co.uk/news

Cycling to work tips: what to wear, planning your route and choosing a bike for the commute

Britain is slowly going back to the office. Understandably, many have reservations about using the bus, train, tram or Tube, so perhaps it’s no wonder that cycle shops have been inundated and Boris Johnson has predicted a “new golden age for cycling”. If you are nervously contemplating making the switch to two wheels, here’s our beginner’s guide to commuting by bicycle. The bike
Forget how cool it looks. The key is to pick one designed to cope with the worst of Britain’s weather and potholes. “I love road bikes and mountain bikes, but they’re not practical for the average commuter,” says Terry Green of Brixton Cycles in south London.
He recommends sit-up-and-beg Dutch-style bicycles, where the top tube of the frame is dipped so you don’t have to swing your leg over the saddle. It can be ridden whether you are wearing a suit, skirt or dress. “You want to get from A to B with as little faff as possible,” Green adds. These days, sit-up-and-begs are often as light as so-called hybrids, although this cross between a sleek road machine and a mountain bike may be a better choice if you have a hilly ride, because they usually have more gears.
New bikes can cost as little as £100 but whatever you spend, looking after your bike properly will reduce costs in the long term.
Electric bikes are the ultimate way to avoid getting sweaty. Cheaper models will run for between 20 and 35 miles on a single charge. Prices start at about £430.Get the kit
There’s no need for full Tour de France Lycra. The essentials are a helmet that fits properly, lights, a lock, mudguards and some basic tools.
Dynamo-powered lights are great for commuters, because they charge as you cycle. Also available are USB lights that last a few days between charges.
Mudguards will keep you dry and protect your bike. You can buy clip-on ones but by far the most effective types are those that bolt to the frame.
A basic tool kit should include tyre levers, an inner tube, a puncture repair kit and a hand-pump. It’s not that hard to fix a puncture (YouTube can help).
Always pack a waterproof, and padded shorts will be a good investment if you plan on riding longer distances. They can be picked up from about £20.
Consider investing in a rack above your front or rear wheel and some waterproof pannier bags — handy for spare clothes and your laptop, now offices are discouraging use of shared computers. Plan your route
Don’t be tempted to pick the shortest route, as this will usually be the busiest option, with lots of traffic; the website cyclestreets can help you find a quieter alternative.
Try riding the route at a weekend when the roads are quieter and there’s no danger of being late for work. On Monday, leave plenty of time for that first ride in traffic. If a colleague lives locally, suggest you ride together. It’s worth looking up where the bicycle shops are along your route, just in case you suffer a mechanical hitch.Rules of the road
It sounds counterintuitive, but the safest riders are the ones that don’t hug the kerb to avoid cars or hang back at the traffic lights. On narrow lanes, or where you are passing parked cars, adopt what is known as the “primary road position”: in the centre of your lane, where you are most likely to be seen. Only adopt the “secondary road position” — at least 18in from the kerb — on roads where it is safe for cars to overtake. Hugging the kerb is not as safe as it seems, as it encourages drivers to try to squeeze past you.
At traffic lights, wait in front of cars where possible and under no circumstances wait to the left of a lorry or other large vehicle. If you are waiting directly in front of a lorry, make eye contact with the driver to ensure he or she has seen you.
While many cyclists claim saintly status, some can be a hazard, especially if they are weaving around or jumping red lights. The cycling world has a word for these unpredictable, oblivious riders: “choppers.” The best way to deal with a chopper is to give them plenty of room.
If you want to overtake a slower rider, take a look behind to make sure other cyclists aren’t planning the same thing, and signal your intention. Also look out for “nodders” — so-called because the effort of cycling causes them to rock from side to side. They tend to barge in front of everybody at the traffic lights, only to set off at a granny-like pace. Accept these fellow riders as part of the commute. They may be preferable to the maskless commuters coughing on the train. Looking good
Pack your work clothes the night before, to reduce the chances of forgetting your socks or tights or worse. If you wear a suit, consider leaving the jacket at work. If you wear a formal shirt every day, invest in a shirt carrier (as business travellers do) to prevent it from getting wrinkled. If your workplace has showers, work out exactly what you will need: a towel, a bag for the wet towel, soap and so on.
Some commuters may point out that cycling is more dangerous than getting the train. Even without the cars and lorries zooming by, pedestrians are now more likely than ever to step into the road as they try to keep their distance from others. But many believe the benefits of cycling — it’s healthy, fun, cheap and environmentally friendly — far outweigh the small increase in risk. And the virus will find it hard to keep up.

Your regular update from Martin Tett, Leader of Buckinghamshire Council

 Dear Resident,    I hope you are all enjoying being able to safely spend more time outside now that better weather has arrived. I know that while the majority of people are still carrying on with the vital social distancing, I just want to remind everyone that if you do leave your house, it’s essential you keep 2 metres (6 ft) away from any other people you see. It’s the only way we can still control the spread of the virus. Thank you so much for your ongoing efforts. The difficult changes we have all had to make are saving lives. You can now meet one other person you don’t live with outdoors but please remember to do this safely.    For more information on what you can and cannot do, please check the government’s website. Please also keep checking in with our regular video updates for news and information on the local response to the coronavirus crisis.     Coronavirus symptoms The government has updated its guidance on when people should self-isolate with symptoms of coronavirus. People now need to self-isolate if they lose their sense of smell or taste, or if they spot a change in their sense of smell and taste.  This is called ‘anosmia’. Anyone who has a new continuous cough or fever or anosmia needs to self-isolate for 7 days and if they live with anyone else, the whole household needs to self-isolate for 14 days. This means staying at home and getting essentials like food and medicines delivered.    For more information check this section of the government’s website    Coronavirus testingMost people can now get tested to see if they’ve got coronavirus if they are showing symptoms. Anyone over the age of 5 who has any of the main symptoms of coronavirus can apply for a test.There are mobile testing centres in Aylesbury and High Wycombe this week and all tests must be pre-booked.    Check the government’s website and click on the section about testing to find the section most relevant to you.    SchoolsYou’ll be aware that the government has asked schools and early years settings to prepare for a phased return of some children from Monday 1 June.   Children in early years settings (nurseries and pre-schools), Reception, Year 1 and Year 6 are those who will be able to start back first. This is so the youngest children and those getting ready to go to secondary school are able to start face to face education again.   Secondary schools are also being asked to prepare to begin some face to face contact before the summer holidays with Year 10 and 12 pupils who have key exams next year. We’re working with our schools to gather advance information on the likely numbers of children who will return to school so that everyone can be prepared and we can resolve any local issues.   We are also working hard with our school transport team to allow those services to restart with new health and safety measures in place, to support wider schools opening when the time comes.   I would really like to thank all of our teachers, teaching assistants and school support staff for the incredible job they have been doing throughout this crisis. Our teachers have been working hard to support children learning at home, plus they’ve carried on caring for the children of key workers and vulnerable children. Now they are also working hard to get schools ready for children to come back safely.   Individual schools are contacting parents and carers directly about the arrangements they’ll have in place.   Travel safelyIf you have to travel somewhere, for example, to work if you can’t do your job at home, we are urging as many people as possible to try to walk, cycle or travel by car. This will reduce numbers on public transport and will make it easier to stay away from fellow travellers. The government has released more information and advice on travelling safely so take a look here.   It’s also really important to drive safely and keep your speed down. I have noticed, as a cyclist that over the past week that there is now more traffic on our roads. Also, some drivers are driving far too fast which is endangering not only themselves but also walkers and cyclists. 
It’s absolutely vital that all drivers observe the speed limits and take extra care out on the roads. This helps keep all road-users safe and avoids extra strain on the NHS and emergency services at a time when they’re already under great pressure.
We are looking at opportunities to bid into the Government’s recently announced ‘Active Travel’ fund which is designed to promote more walking and cycling.
Here’s more information about the current government campaign on safer driving, and I want to thank you all in advance for being safe and responsible when out and about in your car.    Scams warningsIt’s terrible that many scammers are taking advantage of this crisis and are targeting people when we are all feeling more vulnerable than usual. We’ve had reports of many kinds of scams, such as people knocking doors claiming to be from public health departments, to various text and email scams. Please be on your guard if someone makes contact with you and it doesn’t seem quite right.  If you’re in any doubt then please do NOT respond and check with a trusted friend or family member first. You can also email or call our Trading Standards team for more advice; email trading.standards@bucksandsurreytradingstandards.gov.uk or call 01296 388 788.    Business grantsI just want to remind local businesses in retail, hospitality and leisure that there are grants available if you are facing financial hardship because of the coronavirus pandemic. Buckinghamshire Council has processed more than 5,500 grant applications so far, worth a total of nearly £75 million.For information on eligibility and how to apply, plus general advice and information on the support available for local businesses go to our website.    Registering a birth or a deathThis is a reminder that most of our registration services are currently closed. The usual requirement to register a birth within 42 days is currently relaxed. If you have had a baby while the service is closed then do contact us to make an appointment when the service reopens. We will post updates on our website here.
We have an online form for anyone who sadly has to register a death. Please click here for more information on the current process.
Worried about a vulnerable friend, relative or neighbour?Our Adult Social Care team is checking in with all vulnerable residents we are aware of by making many regular phone calls and by supporting in other ways too. Please tell us if you know of someone who might need our help by calling the Adult Social Care team on 01296 383 204.Please also carry on using our online community hub for details of how to find support in your local area.#ProudofBucks – feeding the frontlineGlobal Infusion Group (GIG) is a global catering, hospitality and brand experience company, with their headquarters in Chesham. Unfortunately, the global events industry has been severely impacted by coronavirus and GIG effectively lost £9.4 million of business in three days due to cancelled events. Despite this, as soon as the crisis hit, they sprang into action to support the NHS and are now catering for 15 NHS sites across Buckinghamshire, providing over 1,000 meals a day to healthcare workers.
This is a fantastic response that is typical of the activity going on right across the county, and it’s brilliant hearing all these #ProudofBucks stories. Keep them coming and keep reading them via our social media channels, (TwitterFacebookInstagram) using the #ProudofBucks hashtag.Mental Health Awareness WeekLooking after how we feel is so important at the moment. People cope in different ways with the current challenges, but some might feel more stressed, anxious or low.This week is Mental Health Awareness Week and you will be able to find lots of information on our social media channels about looking after your mental well-being which will hopefully help you cope better during these difficult times.Keep checking our TwitterInstagram and Facebook pages for tips, advice and how to get some extra support if you need it.Stay safe, stay well and stay alert!
Martin TettLeader of Buckinghamshire Council
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Coronavirus: Cycling numbers in Scotland jump during lockdown

The coronavirus lockdown has prompted a big increase in cycling across Scotland, according to a national monitoring scheme.

Automatic cycle counters at 60 locations found in some places the number of cyclists more than doubled.

The biggest increases were observed in the Dunfermline, Newton Mearns and Dundee.

Cyclists are urged to practice social distancing by staying at least two metres away from others….

Coronavirus: Cycling numbers in Scotland jump during lockdown