Author: Ian Pennington

Why Prioritise Active Travel? The Health Reasons

Why Prioritise Active Travel? The Health Reasons

Words by Dr Patrick Carrington, Lead Cancer Clinician for Trafford overseeing provision of all cancer services in Trafford hospital First, a bit of context – I have been a doctor treating people with various diseases for around 40 years, and for over 30 years I 

Consultation Opens for Beswick Filtered Neighbourhood Project

Consultation Opens for Beswick Filtered Neighbourhood Project

Proposals for the latest Bee Network scheme have been published for consultation, with Beswick residents encouraged to get involved with shaping their neighbourhood for people using active travel modes such as walking, cycling or other mobility aids. Where is it? The project area, labelled ‘Safer 

Tameside’s Quiet Streets Initiative Helps Residents Reclaim Space During COVID-19

Tameside’s Quiet Streets Initiative Helps Residents Reclaim Space During COVID-19

Residents of Tameside are being encouraged by the council to apply for Quiet Streets in their neighbourhood.

Tameside Council recently launched its Quiet Streets initiative to give residents the opportunity to enforce regular, temporary road closures to create more outside space for people living on the street, allowing people to use the street for exercise.

The council website states that, “Quiet Streets are a place for skipping, jumping, cycling and scooting, a place where everyone living on the street can be safe and enjoy being outside. They are a resident-led initiative designed to allow residents to reclaim their streets and provide additional safe space for people to socially distance outside.”

Quiet Streets are endorsed by NHS Tameside and Glossop, and designed to be able to help residents adhere to the current COVID-19 guidance by creating additional space to help people maintain social distancing.

The council suggests the temporary road closure is enforced for several hours at a time to give all households the opportunity to use the road while adhering to the current guidelines for meeting people outside.

The Quiet Streets initiative is described by Nicola Burrough from Tameside Council in this video webinar.

For more information, view the Quiet Street Guide here.

Hundreds of People Form ‘Human Bike Lanes’ Along the A6

Hundreds of People Form ‘Human Bike Lanes’ Along the A6

More than 150 people lined up alongside the A6 in Levenshulme on Saturday 27 June to form ‘human cycle lanes’, with everyone observing social distancing rules and most wearing masks. The aim was to call on Manchester City Council to address the lack of provision 

Getting Back On Your Bike: Cycling Essentials Part Five

Getting Back On Your Bike: Cycling Essentials Part Five

Words by Jane Bedford McLaren and Jonathan Keenan. Image by Lucy Sykes. Riding Now that you have all the gear you need and the right bike for you, we thought some tips on riding might be helpful: Pedalling – this is most efficient if the 

Getting Back On Your Bike: Cycling Essentials Part Four

Getting Back On Your Bike: Cycling Essentials Part Four

Words by Jane Bedford McLaren and Jonathan Keenan.
Image by Lucy Sykes.

Clothing

The main thing is to wear whatever you feel comfortable in. You don’t need any special clothing, unless you are planning a long ride. That said, here are some tips that might make the ride more comfortable:

    1. Jeans have bulky seams in inconvenient places for riding, so that is something to consider when choosing what to wear.
    2. Cotton will hold moisture, whether that’s sweat or rain, so if you are going somewhere with no changing facilities, you may want to consider wearing something that has moisture wicking properties, which is fast-drying.
    3. Take another layer to wear at the other end of the ride, as you will be warmer on the bike than you will be when you stop.
    4. Padded underpants – these exist for both men and women. It can add a level of comfort whilst not having to wear full lycra.
    5. If you do want to try out lycra, don’t wear underpants under the shorts. They are designed to be worn snug against the skin.
    6. Gloves – your hands can get surprisingly cold if you are not riding in the height of summer. Cycling-specific gloves will have padding to dampen the road vibration and to ease the pressure points. Fingerless versions exist for riding in summer.
    7. Longer skirts need tucking into pants to avoid getting caught in the wheels (leg holes; not the waistband!).
    8. As mentioned in Part Three of this blog series, use trouser clips, tuck trousers into socks or fold trouser legs up to avoid getting oil on them.
    9. If you were to buy one piece of cycling specific clothing, I would recommend a cycling specific waterproof jacket, because these are cut in a way that is more comfortable to ride in than traditional waterproofs and are usually a bit more breathable.

There are loads of brands offering cycling specific clothing that is not lycra and would be completely acceptable to wear at work, other than the most formal of settings. Again, I would recommend riding regularly for a few months before spending money on those brands, because you may find you don’t need them.

Showers – it is a myth that you need somewhere to shower at the other end of your journey. If you pedal steadily you will probably find that you are not overly hot or sweaty when you arrive. Your need of a shower largely depends how fast you want to go!

Footnote:

The current circumstances we find ourselves in are scary and unusual. I find it reassuring in these times to see those helping and supporting others. I thought about what I might be able to offer. As an experienced cyclist seeing loads of new and returning cyclists out and about, I thought I might be able to give some simple tips on making your cycling experience easier and more comfortable. I have collaborated with Jonathan Keenan of Walk Ride Greater Manchester on putting this blog series together.

The main thing to remember is that cycling is a simple pleasure. It is easy to get overwhelmed by the amount of information out there. If you have a bike that you like and feel good riding, then read no further!

But if you are wanting some pointers on either improving your cycling experience or are looking to start riding, then I hope this series is helpful.

About the writers:

Jane Bedford McLaren – is solicitor acting for vulnerable road users at Leigh Day and also rides a bike regularly. She cycles to work and likes to ride bikes at the weekend with her local women’s cycling group, Team Glow, of which she is ride leader coordinator. She also gives her time and voice to Walk Ride Chorlton.

Links: Leigh Day website profile / Twitter: @JaneB_M / LinkedIn profile

Jonathan Keenan – is a freelance photographer based in his Northern Quarter studio and living in Chorlton. He’s a secret petrolhead and occasionally drives for work but it makes him very grumpy. He took to cycle touring as a youth, including organising an expedition to cross Iceland long before that was somewhere anyone went. Interest in architecture, regeneration and urbanism came together with his interest in cycling when kids came along and it became obvious how much their independence and freedom was stifled by our car-centric design and planning, so he became an activist for better cities through the medium of cycle infrastructure. He now has an unfortunate inclination to suggest a bike is the solution to any and every social problem. Because it is.

Links: JK Photography website / Instagram (@jkphotography_work) / Instagram (@JonathanKeenan) / Twitter @JonathanKeenan

Getting Back On Your Bike: Cycling Essentials Part Three

Getting Back On Your Bike: Cycling Essentials Part Three

Words by Jane Bedford McLaren and Jonathan Keenan. Image by Lucy Sykes. Kit: Now that you have sorted your bike, you need to think about what sort of accessories you will need. As I have said in Part One of this series, you don’t need 

Getting Back On Your Bike: Cycling Essentials Part Two

Getting Back On Your Bike: Cycling Essentials Part Two

Words by Jane Bedford McLaren and Jonathan Keenan. Image by Lucy Sykes. Purpose: There are loads of different bikes intended for different things and there is a lot to consider. This section of the blog series is the longest – we have tried to keep 

Getting Back On Your Bike: Cycling Essentials Part One

Getting Back On Your Bike: Cycling Essentials Part One

Words by Jane Bedford McLaren and Jonathan Keenan.
Image by Lucy Sykes.

Bicycle

You do not need all the gear, or a £1000 bike or a professional bike fit. There is, of course, a place for these things if you decide you want to expand your cycling horizons, but they are not necessary for short rides or commutes.

  1. Cost – the reality is that a good, reliable bike is not likely to give you much change from £500 as new, and e-bikes will cost more. We will cover what to consider when choosing a new (or new to you) bike in Part 2 of this series as there are some important factors which will make a massive difference to your enjoyment of the bike. However, given the cost of a decent bike is not particularly cheap, you might want to consider the following options:
    1. Cycle to Work – If your employer has a Cycle to Work scheme you could buy your bike via that scheme, which will give you a tax break and you pay via instalments.
    2. Second-hand – Alternatively, you might want to investigate buying a good second-hand bike as you will get better value for your money that way. I would recommend identifying what sort of bike you want as if you were going to buy new and then look for similar second-hand bikes. At this point, I would strongly recommend joining cycling interest groups on social media, as bikes are often advertised in those groups and they are also full of advice should you have any questions on bikes you might be interested in.
  2. Fit – two important factors: saddle height and reach to handlebars. The saddle should be at your hip height as you stand next to the bike. When sitting on the saddle, it is normal to be able to reach one foot to the floor on tip toes, with the other foot on the pedal. But if this feels wrong to the point you don’t want to ride, then ignore me and ride with the saddle at the height you are comfortable with. You can think about adjusting it as you gain confidence. You should be able to reach your handlebars with some flex in your elbows.

Both issues are typically easy to fix by your local bike shop without needing to replace your existing bike unless the bike is completely the wrong size for you. You may able to sort out the saddle yourself if you have a quick release seat pin clamp (google this if you are not sure).

If you are buying a bike but are not sure about sizing, you can check this via many sizing tools online. As a rule, sizing is based on height.

*Special note for women here: whilst this is generally improving, it is still too often the case that female specific bikes have a lower specification, but are more expensive than the male versions. Just because you are a woman doesn’t mean you definitely need a female specific bike, so that’s something to bear in mind! All my bikes are not female specific.

I am sure other cyclists will say that there are many more factors to a bike fitting properly and they would be correct. However, for the purposes of getting your bike to be comfortable without spending lots of money, I would say these are the two most important factors.

Saddles – these sometimes can feel like instruments of torture when they are new to you. As you ride more, the saddle will mould to your shape and become more comfortable. Sometimes the saddle will be fine from the outset and sometimes you’ll never get on with it. There are solutions if that happens – don’t give up! Good bike shops will be experienced in advising on adjustments that can be made and help you get one that suits you.

Footnote:

The current circumstances we find ourselves in are scary and unusual. I find it reassuring in these times to see those helping and supporting others. I thought about what I might be able to offer. As an experienced cyclist seeing loads of new and returning cyclists out and about, I thought I might be able to give some simple tips on making your cycling experience easier and more comfortable. I have collaborated with Jonathan Keenan of Walk Ride Greater Manchester on putting this blog series together.

The main thing to remember is that cycling is a simple pleasure. It is easy to get overwhelmed by the amount of information out there. If you have a bike that you like and feel good riding, then read no further!

But if you are wanting some pointers on either improving your cycling experience or are looking to start riding, then I hope this series is helpful.

About the writers:

Jane Bedford McLaren – is solicitor acting for vulnerable road users at Leigh Day and also rides a bike regularly. She cycles to work and likes to ride bikes at the weekend with her local women’s cycling group, Team Glow, of which she is ride leader coordinator. She also gives her time and voice to Walk Ride Chorlton.

Links: Leigh Day website profile / Twitter: @JaneB_M / LinkedIn profile

Jonathan Keenan – is a freelance photographer based in his Northern Quarter studio and living in Chorlton. He’s a secret petrolhead and occasionally drives for work but it makes him very grumpy. He took to cycle touring as a youth, including organising an expedition to cross Iceland long before that was somewhere anyone went. Interest in architecture, regeneration and urbanism came together with his interest in cycling when kids came along and it became obvious how much their independence and freedom was stifled by our car-centric design and planning, so he became an activist for better cities through the medium of cycle infrastructure. He now has an unfortunate inclination to suggest a bike is the solution to any and every social problem. Because it is.

Links: JK Photography website / Instagram (@jkphotography_work) / Instagram (@JonathanKeenan) / Twitter @JonathanKeenan

Walking and Cycling News Roundup: 21 June 2020

Walking and Cycling News Roundup: 21 June 2020

Welcome to our June newsletter which will focus on walking and cycling news both good and bad – including controversy still rumbling on within Manchester, where there is protest ride next Saturday (27th June). It seems like there has never been so much activity in the ‘active