What about the Cuckoo Trail?

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Unlike the actual cuckoo – only with us in the summer – the Cuckoo Trail, an off road surfaced 14 mile Sussex cycle, riding and walking route, has things to offer all year round.

This picturesque trail follows the former ‘Cuckoo Line’ railway track and stretches from Heathfield to Eastbourne Park. It passes through Horam, Hailsham and Polegate. Gentle gradients and a sealed surface along the whole route, makes the Cuckoo Trail usable in all weathers, by all users, and the trail forms part of the National Cycle Network in East Sussex.

Enhancing the Cuckoo Trail

We have been contacted by Hailsham Active, to support their  campaign for walking and cycling infrastructure within any new proposed housing estates.  South Wealden  is planning  on building 13,000 homes in the Hailsham and Willingdon area and the current walking and cycling strategy has a plan that does not include these estates and many of these sites are not within the 2016 Local Plan. To remedy this and try to ensure that the importance of the Cuckoo Trail is recognised and supported, a petition has been put together:

We the undersigned petition the Council to Ensure that the Cuckoo Trail is developed, extended and protected as the main “traffic free” route in South Wealden.

Much of the current ESCC planning for walking and cycling revolves around 5 year strategies and plans. Routes therefore reflect the priorities of a few years ago when many of the new housing developments were unknown. In the current planning climate, where sites that are not even in the Wealden Local Plan are being considered, the approach must be much more proactive. The possibility of more than 10,000 additional houses in South Wealden requires that clear guidance is given to developers.

This early guidance to developers, especially in the Hailsham area, should include:-

1) The Cuckoo Trail is the main north-south “traffic free” route in the South Wealden area and must be both protected and enhanced. It is part of the National Cycle Route 21 from London to Eastbourne and has a direct route into the centre of Hailsham.

2) Developments should, where possible, include a “traffic free” pedestrian and cycle link to the Cuckoo Trail. Ideally sites should also have a “traffic free” route around the edge of the site as part of this wider network.

3) New estates should provide healthy more direct routes, away from main roads, for pedestrians and cyclists and provide permeability between estates, shops, community resources and schools. This will encourage exercise and a healthier population.

If you would like to support this petition by adding your name, click HERE

If you would like to know more about the Cuckoo Trail see the East Sussex website HERE

For maps of the trail, click HERE and HERE

Cuckoo Trail cycling   Cuckoo Trail walking  The Cuckoo Trail

Fire and Fruit

Autumn Equinox is upon us and the nights will be getting longer…but along with shorter days and chillier times, this season also brings two of our best local group rides – courtesy of Brighton BikeTrain.

Starting with the celebration of the humble apple, which gets bigger and fuller each year, BikeTrain to Apple Day at Stanmer Park takes place on  Sunday October 2nd, with two scheduled rides leaving the Level at 11am and noon.

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The next ride is the huge BikeTrain to the Lewes Bonfire celebrations on November 5th.  BikeTrain is an entirely voluntary group, dependent completely on people coming out to help. If anyone is free to lend a hand at either of these events, here is a note from Duncan – the group co-ordinator – explaing what they need:

With Lewes Bonfire being on a Saturday – and coinciding with a Southern Rail rail strike – it has the potential to be a huge with 500+ riders.  Last year we did an amazing job of pushing it to a new level by using the A27 dual carriageway. The challenge will be to do that again on a bigger scale and with two rides there instead on one. It will really help to have enough of us involved with experience from last year.
We will also need a Bike Train Station on the Level (a marquee with tools, lights information and a base for sound systems)   from about 2pm to 5pm. We could do with some people who are not coming on the ride but can help with that. Any offers?

For Apple Day, in addition to the rides,  we will be running a Bike Cafe and a bike parking area throughout the day (10am – 5pm)
The Apple Day ride will be a good opportunity to give some new ride marshals a bit of experience prior to Bonfire.

bonfire-biketrain-poster-nov2016-2If you can help in any way, contact Duncan on 07944 152607 or find the group on Facebook

Improve Elm Grove – Petition

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Back in July, following an incident where a cyclist was hit and injured by a left turning lorry at the Brighton Elm grove junction, local resident Dani Ahrens felt something needed to be done and put together a petition calling for a junction review at this spot. For more on this, look HERE.

The petition has so far gathered 200+ signatures and will be submitted to the council Transport and Environment Committee in October. Signatures can still be added until September 29th – to do so, look HERE.

To outline just how hazardous the current junction layout is, a new flyer has been put together detailing past incidents. See above and below for details or download a copy HERE

As we noted back in July,Brighton & Hove City Council has committed itself to supporting the  Space For Cycling Campaign  which includes support for:

  1. Protected space on main roads and junctions
  2. Removing through motor traffic in residential areas
  3. Lower speed limits
  4. Cycle-friendly town centres
  5. Safe routes to school
  6. Routes through green spaces

We very much hope that the council is willing to live up to this commitment and to have another look at this junction with a view to making it safe for all.

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Cycle to work day 2016

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Wednesday September 14th is national cycle to work day This is an event which aims to encourage everyone to take to two wheels and cycle to work for at least one day. As part of the national shindig, cyclists and employers are being invited to pledge their support and get the chance to win some rather fancy prizes.

Here in Brighton & Hove, probably our most prominent and dignified cyclist-to-work is the Mayor of our fine city. Ditching the company car whenever he can, Mayor Pete West is becoming a common sight on his tandem – with his chauffeur taking a back seat. Here he is captured by former Mayor Bill Randall taking a turn along the seafront.

Brighton Mayor

He is also taking a front seat vis a vis cycle to work day, and is holding a breakfast mayoral reception at Brighton Town Hall on the 14th, offering croissants and other refreshments to cyclists for as long as stocks last. Happening from 8.30, there will be photoshoot at 8.45, so the more that can turn up for that, the happier we all will be.

All Brighton and Hove City Councillors have been invited. Please encourage your councillors to join us, and to check out the “Ward by Ward requests” posted on Bricycles website. This is where we are putting requests for specific improvements for cycling which we would like ward councillors to support as part of the commitment to the Space for Cycling campaign which Brighton and Hove City Council signed up to in November 2015.

Look forward to seeing you on the 14th!

Hanover Parking and Street Improvements

Following an initial consultation earlier in the year, the Environment, Transport & Sustainability Committee have given the go ahead for a full consultation into provision of a residents parking scheme for Hanover and Elm Grove which will take place between August and October this year.

The Hanover scheme is unusual in that – having a history of two proposed schemes being locally rejected – it has been taken forward following extensive local consultation led by the Local Action team, and aimed at developing a community supported scheme to take to the council – setting out in detail what residents wanted, rather than just waiting for the council to come up with a scheme of its own devising.

Having taken it this far, the LAT are keen that residents continue to get involved and pass on ideas for improvement, not just about vehicle parking regulations, but also looking at matters such as one way streets, cycle storage facilities, traffic calming, changes to yellow lines, community maintained planters and dropped kerbs…and any other issues which affect the way that roads, streets and pavements are used.

Detailed designs will be out in the autumn, and in the meantime local views and ideas are being sought by ward councillor David Gibson – davidsg@ntlworld.com and Hanover & Elm Grove Local Action team chair Chris Taylor greysland@sky.com. For cycle specific suggestions, see also our Hanover and Elm Grove ward pages – and don’t forget to add your voice to the Elm grove junction review petition, asking the council to look at improvements at this difficult junction.

Old News New News

Bricycles members will have had the latest newsletter popping through their letterbox or inbox this weekend – and a treat of a read it is. Non members will need to wait a while for it to appear on this website for viewing. Being issue 108 suggests that Bricycles news has been around a while, and back issues are available on the website, but only going back to the early noughties. For last century stuff, a visit to the Keep is required, where the earliest copy on record is issue 21 from September 1984.

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The front page news back then describes how we were within a hairs breadth of achieving a two way cycle lane along Western Road, but the scheme – which included a ban on all vehicles except cycles and buses –  was dropped following opposition from “taxi drivers and private motorists”.

The other big spread in this issue complains of the illegality of cycling along the seafront.

“In 1934… Special constables were being drafted in to keep order during the summer. One of their duties was to prevent cycling on the undercliff walk. Hans Roth argues that it is time to change the two generations old attitude that still makes cycling illegal along most of the Brighton area coast”

So while Western Road remains a semi hostile, semi mess for all modes and a possible solution slipped away 30 years back, staunch and stalwart campaigning has changed minds and opened up the seafront as probably the most useful and pleasant cycle route around.

If you would like to read the 1984 edition in full, then click HERE and HERE. If you want to be among the first to receive Bricycles news of today, join HERE.

 

The Truth Is Out There…

Ever been to a community meeting where cycling comes up? or looked at the comments bit of the local news websites below a story that mentions cycling? Chances are you have been presented with all of the “facts” – all of the reasons why cycling and cyclists are bad, misguided, in the wrong country, a general hazard….

In this post-truth age, where otherwise intelligent and accomplished commentators can state that the impact of cycling is on par with the blitz, and the dismissive “you can prove anything with facts” put-down gains ever more credence, it is important to get the real deal, and what could be better than a whole website devoted to debunking cycling myths and mistruths and giving some clear steers and comebacks to the most common varieties of nonsense we may encounter. Step forward cyclingfallacies.com

Falacies

Created under the auspices of the Cycling Embassy of Great Britain, Cycling Fallacies covers most of the issues routinely used to undermine cycling and cycle infrastructure, and the popular misconceptions and has proven so helpful that it is being translated into several other languages. Another handy feature is the randomly generated cycling fallacies Bingo Cards – next time you are listening to a cycling item on a radio phone in, or or attending a public meeting where cycling comes up, give it a go – sadly, it doesn’t take that long…Bingo

 

 

Elm Grove Junction Review

Last November, Brighton & Hove City Council passed a Notice of Motion that the council should sign up to the Space For Cycling Campaign

Space for Cycling is a campaign run by Cycling UK (at the time of the NoM known as CTC). The campaign is divided into six main themes:

  1. Protected space on main roads and junctions
  2. Removing through motor traffic in residential areas
  3. Lower speed limits
  4. Cycle-friendly town centres
  5. Safe routes to school
  6. Routes through green spaces

Following an incident last week where a cyclist was struck by a lorry at the junction of Lewes Road and Elm Grove, the council has the opportunity to act on its commitment to cycling in the city as local resident Dani Ahrens submits a petition for a junction review and urgent improvements at this location.

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Dani comments

The junction of Elm Grove and Lewes Road is nerve-wracking to cycle through from any direction, and with good reason. On July 9th, a local cyclist was hit and seriously injured by a lorry turning left into Elm Grove. There have been two other serious accidents at the same junction in the last five years, one involving injury to a pedestrian and the other involving a cyclist being injured. Two further serious accidents have occurred at the nearby junction of Union Road with Lewes Road, and both locations have seen numerous less serious incidents in recent years.

Junctions like this are a huge part of the reason why many people don’t cycle. Having to cross multiple lanes of traffic, position yourself assertively in the centre of your lane, and race ahead of left-turning vehicles is simply too terrifying for a lot of people. Making a mistake shouldn’t mean risking your life. A moment of inattention shouldn’t render a driver responsible for putting someone in hospital.

Suggestions for improvement include:

  • Simultaneous green lights for cycling only. This is a system that is commonly used at road junctions in the Netherlands. Here is a page with more information, videos and photographs showing how this works in practice: http://www.aviewfromthecyclepath.com/2014/05/the-best-traffic-light-solution-for.html
  • Removing railings
  • Straightening the pedestrian crossing on Lewes Road, just north of Elm Grove
  • Adding a pedestrian crossing south of Elm Grove (improving access to Park Crescent surgery)
  • Protected cycle infrastructure, connected with the cycle paths at the Level, enabling people on bikes to cross or bypass this junction without conflict with other road users.

Please support this petition and to make sure that the council lives up to the commitment to Space for Cycling which it made last year. The petition can be found HERE and it will be open until 29th September 2016 before being presented to the Environment, Transport & Sustainability Committee meeting on 11 October 2016.

The Art of Cycling

14th – 16th July ONCA Gallery, Brighton

A Series of Events and Discussions in collaboration with Brighton Bike Film Festival.

Thursday 14th July, 7pm: BFF Brighton’s opening night with a talk from the brilliant Boneshaker magazine‘s regular writer, Jet McDonald. Following Jet’s talk the BBQ will be on, the bar open and music playing – come down and say hello! Jet’s talk has been organised by Ride With A View, and sponsored by Boneshaker magazine. Free admission/£3 suggested donation.

Friday 15th July, 7pm: alongside local craftsmen Reilly Cycleworks, with some of their bespoke bike frames, join us here at ONCA as we explore the Art of Cycling in an exhibition, workshop and discussion. See technical blueprints, ask advice, learn skills and celebrate making. Doors open at 6pm. Free admission / £3 suggested donation.

Saturday 16th July, 11-6pm: (As well as the installation from Reilly) Kids and adults alike, get your creative (cycling) caps on in our colouring competition supported by Velodrome publishing, RichMitchDropsCycling and Ridewithaview to win a ‘Grand Tour’ Colouring book. There are two to be won, one for children and one for adults.

The Big Bike (Hub) Revival

 

Brighton BikeHub Re-Opens

Brighton BikeHub started life a couple of years back at the former municipal market on Circus Street, and with the support of the Groundwork Charity who had been given temporary use of some of the space prior to demolition and redevelopment. It offered a free to use community workshop and self help repair sessions as well as repairing donated bikes for sale.

Times move on – Circus Street is now demolished, Groundwork has opened its own shop on Lewes Road and the team of volunteers behind the original Circus Street workshop have opened up a second space at The Field (formerly Preston Barracks – next to B&Q on Lewes Road). With workshop space formed of a cluster of shipping containers, provided by u+i the developers of the site, Brighton BikeHub joins a collection of creative makers and start-ups who have found a home at The Field, which also includes The Old Tree Brewery Garden Cafe offering on site sustenance.

The Big Bike Revival

The Big Bike Revival is a series of events across the country, put together by Cycling UK and is aimed at getting bikes back on the road and riders back on their bikes, and Brighton BikeHub is taking part as a local centre, where you can get help to spruce and fettle your machine ready for a summer of cycling

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BikeHub will be open each Friday and Saturday from 11-4 and will be providing a self-help community workshop where you can repair your own bike, and is looking for volunteers to help refurbish donated bikes for re-use.

For more info, check the Bikehub Facebook page HERE and their Twitter Stream HERE