• Cities,  Cycling,  Environment,  Scotland,  Transport

    Pedal on Parliament IV

    Pedal on Parliament, 25 April 2015 12:00 Middle Meadow Walk Edinburgh This Saturday I’ll be among the thousands pedalling from The Meadows down Edinburgh’s Royal Mile to Holyrood for the fourth year of Pedal on Parliament (POP).  The motorised traffic will stop and for once we can enjoy Edinburgh’s beautiful centre without the fumes, noise and fear that are the usual experience of cycling among the internally combusting. This is Pedal on Parliament’s fourth year. Transport is a devolved power in Scotland. According to Sally Hinchcliffe, one of the organisers of POP:- Since we started in 2012, Pedal on Parliament (PoP) has become a national force for cycling in Scotland. As soon…

  • Cities,  Cycling,  Environment,  Ethics,  Tossers,  Transport,  UK Politics,  UKIP,  Zeitgeist

    Incidental nonsense, bicycling nonsense

    When the Plebgate story broke, cyclists were staunch. Though it’s neither big nor clever to swear at the police, a cyclist’s right of way had been unreasonably impeded. According to the law books, there is a right for all Her Majesty’s subjects at all seasons of the year freely and at their will to pass and repass the public highway without any let and hindrance. (Read the rest for how the police have taken control of access to Downing Street). Everyone was partisan about Plebgate. As one of Radio 4’s misnamed comedians said on last night’s News Quiz, it was a hard choice between the Tory toff, and the Sun…

  • Cities,  Cycling,  Environment,  History,  Science,  Technology

    Roads Were Not Built For Cars

    Carlton Reid’s Roads Were Not Built for Cars is a revisionist history, reclaiming the role of bicycles in the development of roads and the cars that dominate them. When a class, a race, a gender reclaims its history it is usually in the cause of self-assertion. After reading this I was indignant when a privileged usurper tooted me for walking across the entrance of a cul-de-sac which they were turning into. Listen, these are my f***** streets too, you know. The later Victorian age. The railway lines had cut through the country on their purpose-built tracks and profoundly changed ideas of mobility. The roads, once well maintained for mail coaches,…

  • Cities,  Cycling

    Making it cool, making it normal

    The well-heeled urbanite, in tailored threads, bicycles with pleasure through the traffic-clogged streets of Jakarta. Meet Monocle Man. Monocle Man is the hip sophisticate who reads the magazine Monocle. a magazine that is in general focused on a particular brand of well-heeled global urbanism, the go-to source for articles on  . .. such new-urbanist obsessions as bicycling (“Kenji Hall goes for a little bike ride — in the middle of traffic-clogged Jakarta with the city’s governor, a Spanish MotoGP world champion and the ambassador of Denmark”), I’m glad to hear that bicycling is a new-urbanist obsession. Of course in some countries like Denmark and Holland it’s merely how you get…

  • Cities,  Cycling

    Re-imagining the streets

    Cyclists are at the sharp end of a city’s infrastructure. When you cycle in a city you start questioning urban design, as those in the first industrial societies started questioning the set up that kept them in factories 12 hours a day for someone else’s profit. A good city would have children playing in the streets and walking or cycling safely to school – so why is that so rare?  How can people shop or go to work without making the air dirty, increasing the noise and the danger for cyclists and pedestrians?  Why are the self-propelled such very second class movers in the urban space? It’s forced upon you…