A bad decision…..

New Forest rider and pony (CC licensed by iNew Forest:Flickr)

Email as issued to the New Forest NPA
Dear New Forest NPA
Bike hire scheme refusal
I am writing to express my sadness and concern about the NPA’s decision to veto the New Forest Bike Scheme.
I use the word “veto” as it appears that the national and local media have picked up on and are reporting that there appeared to be a justifiable and solidly backed economic basis for the scheme, which appears to have been outmaneuvered by local vested interests.
The view that there wasn’t a strong support for the scheme is also slightly hindered by reported objections from locals who said they were “simply not listened to”, and who fear that they may loose out on a potential revenue stream as a result of  lost trade.
It appears too that Mr Bright of B-Cycle was never asked to comment or address the concerns raised by your members either. This is truly lamentable, and I would think that the New forest NPA would need to demonstrate the steps taken to have as open and as a transparent decision process as possible, because at the moment it looks like the views of a few have dominated the views of many.
After interest from world famous sporting personalities such as Sir Chris Boardman and a petition of support from 800 + signatories “lack of support for the scheme” and a tight timescale look like poor reasons to justify closing down a scheme that was almost ready to go in framework terms.
am aware that there are a number of local campaigners in the area who have showed an extreme opposition to cycling as a sport , a transport option and a pastime with high profile media reporting “tacks on the road” or “dumped slurry” episodes being used to derail public sporting events on public roads. These are criminal acts on public services and unfortunately have tarred the area with a “no cycling”  brand which will certainly attract media interest and take some time to overcome , if ever.
Unfortunately I fear this will certainly hinder possible income generation from a  larger portion of the population than you think.
Whether you like or loathe it,  the cycling industry in the UK is a massive income earner in tourism terms, with Scotland alone highlighting that it earned around £239 million in tourism benefits from cycling as leisurely pursuit.
Government policy has highlighted the need to increase alternative transport means and world bodies are highlighting this need on a massive scale, with Intergovernmental Panel for Climate Change reports calling on global Governments to prioritise infrastructure for pedestrians & non-motorised road users.
I’m not talking about super fast lycra clad speed junkies chasing a race here either, because the cycle hire scheme that has now been vetoed proposed bikes that are, in cycling terms, relatively robust and heavy, and that are designed for slower more ambling type cycling pursuits, precisely for the leisurely tourism and access to the spectacular views and scenery that the New Forest area is rightly famous for. It can’t really be argued that the availability of cycles to hire would automatically cause problems to livestock and farming either as they would be slow moving and relatively quiet, unlike the fast moving , clumsy, big and noisy motor vehicles that are the alternative, and which cause a lot of the traffic grid locking seen in the new forest area villages at peak tourist times. Motor vehicles  also cause problems with space taken up by parking and pollution, which bikes wouldn’t. So who precisely is losing out here?
Sadly then, I see this a great opportunity missed, possible income for the area denied, and another anti bike message portrayed across the media.
Pity really, as I would have welcomed such a scheme in the area as a plus point for deciding to visit.
Yours sincerely,

More Tour de France fallout….

Two more pro-cyclists have dropped out of the Tour de France today before Stage 17  Saint-Gaudens > Saint-Lary Pla d’Adet (124,5 km) got underway.

Can’t say I blame them – whilst this stage is the shortest at 124.5 km, its one of the toughest – with absolutely brutal climbs.

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168 men are left in the race for this stage today.

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Orica-GreenEdge’s sprinter Simon Gerrans suffered injuries in the stage one crash that with Mark Cavendish and has struggled with them ever since.

“With the injuries I have from stage one I think the best decision is actually to stop now and completely recover,” he said. “I know I haven’t been 100% right since my crash but I was hoping to improve throughout the race. That hasn’t really been the case.”


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IAM’s Reto Hollenstein – The Guardians News feed meanwhile has alerted me to another story of the sheer stubborn intensity that pro cyclists need for their sport.

At the start of yesterday’s stage Iam Cycling’s Reto Hollenstein crashed and punctured a lung.

The medical car was a distance away up the road monitoring the leaders, so the young Swiss rider got back on his bike and finished the stage.

With a punctured lung.

Unsurprisingly he has not made the start today.


Post script:-

Even as I’m typing this update, the Tour de France official news feed has highlighted that at least one other rider has been forced to quit mid stage.

Simon Spilak was forced to quit the Tour because of a stomach bug while Zak Dempster (NetApp) called for medical assistance after being bitten by a wasp.

It is unclear yet if Zak Dempster has had to  quit because of the sting…….


Its been an attritional race this year – but probably no more so than normal……


The Tour de France……. genuinely one of the toughest sporting events of all time.

‘On the outside’: Constructing cycling citizenship by Rachel Aldred

I came upon this recent paper about “Constructing a view of citizenship” that is changed by active engagement in cycling as a social activity and as a means of transport, in my usual review of all things cycling this lunchtime.


The paper uses in-depth interview data from Cambridge, England, to discuss the concept of the ‘cycling citizen’, exploring how, within heavily-motorised countries, the practice of cycling might affect perceptions of the self in relation to natural and social environments. Participants portrayed cycling as a practice traversing independence and interdependence, its mix of benefits for the individual and the collective making it an appropriate response to contemporary social problems. In this paper I describe how this can be interpreted as based on a specific notion of cycling citizenship rooted in the embodied practice of cycling in Cambridge (a relatively high cycling enclave within the low-cycling UK). This notion of cycling citizenship does not dictate political persuasion, but carries a distinctive perspective on the proper relation of the individual to their environment, privileging views ‘from outside’ the motor-car.

There’s an interseting section that muses on the decline of street life and citizen engagement and its relationship with the increasing motorisation of public spaces – perception of road danger – risk of injury etc.that caught my attention. See the link below for a free download….It’s cogent, relatively concise, well written and has multitudinous cross references to there related papers.


Quite thought provoking, but it also highlights the lack of much research into the impact of motorised transportation in changing  peoples perceptions of public life and space , private life and space,  and general citizenship.

Gets the grey cells going ….

Now it’s Fabian Cancellera out of the Tour de France – what’s going on?


A note from “The Guardian” excellent article on this subject :-

“Unlike previous winners Chris FroomeAlberto ContadorAndy Schleck and 25-time stage winner Mark Cavendish - all of whom crashed out – Cancellara chose to abandon the race prior to the Alps and Pyrenees in order to prepare for September’s Road World Championships in Spain.

Cancellara said in a statement released by his Trek Factory Racing team: “I will travel home now and take a little break. The season has been long for me, starting back in Dubai (in February).”

- See more at: http://www.independent.ie/sport/other-sports/cycling/fabian-cancellara-becomes-latest-tour-de-france-casualty-30433694.html#sthash.guTpmZjV.dpuf


What the hell?

When Cavendish crashed he injured his shoulder and needed surgery…

When Froomey crashed (albeit much less spectacularly) he broke his wrist and bones in his other hand…

When Contador crashed he broke his leg , remounted and rode for another 15km – uphill – overtaking back markers in the pelaton until the pain became too much to bear. That, in my book, is the very definition of a committed team cyclist – so he gets my deepest respect. Chapeau Sir!

But…. Cancellara cancels the greatest cycle race in the entire years calendar to get some rest – because he’s tired?  Leaving his team with just 6 riders?

He is doing his team and his sponsors a great disservice, and is clearly demonstrating a lack of leadership skills to commit to something – only to leave it a third of the way through.

I am … deeply, awfully, unimpressed.

Alberto Contador out of the TDF

Mark Cavandish crashed out,  Chris Froomey crashed several times and abandoned , Andy Schleck withdrew , and now Contador withdraws after trying to catch up with the pelaton after a heavy crash whilst cycling with a suspected broken tibia….what a guy.

Get better soon Alberto !!!

The Tour de France is definitely not the same without you.