30 November 2010

Planning Can be Thrilling

ldp english banner

Cardiff Council is revisiting the Local Development Plan (LDP) that sets out the "vision" for the future of Cardiff. It also sets out what new development is planned and where it will happen. As the reference document for all planning applications for the next five years at least, it is an important document.

There is an online questionnaire, and it would be great if the citizen cyclists of Cardiff could make their views clear so a message is sent about the importance of cycling infrastructure. Responses required by the 10th December.


 Cardiff Council have developed a vision for Cardiff that states:

"By 2020... Cardiff will be a world class European capital city with an exceptional quality of life and at the heart of a thriving city region".

Got our work cut out then, considering Cardiff is ranked about 200th in terms of European cities. Perhaps an wholehearted embracing of properly considered cycling infrastructure, plus a genuine city-wide bike hire scheme would do the trick?

10 November 2010

High Visibility, Low Self Esteem

The hi-viz tabard of dreams

I am torn by a dilemma. I fancy myself as an urban cyclist - I diligently read Copenhagen Cycle Chic, I want Mikael to photograph me and wax lyrical about how cool I look cycling to work in the gentle morning light. I want to ride gloriously unencumbered by health and safety preoccupations, helmets or hi-viz tabard.

But, I also want to arrive at work safe and sound.

Although my ride is embarrassingly short, it does include one of the major entry roads into Cardiff, and there is no cycle infrastructure to speak of. There are, however, several lanes of cars, plenty of buses and a worryingly large number of big lorries. So now winter is upon us and dark nights and foggy mornings are the norm, I wear my hi-viz tabard. I hate it, I despise it, but I feel safer with it on. I know that by wearing it, I am associating myself with the respected trades people, delivery people, officials and stewards that are genuinely empowered by the tabard. I know that by wearing it, I am perpetuating the view of cycling as a dangerous minority activity only suitable for those with the correct equipment and ill-fitting tabard. I know that by wearing it, I am further putting off the day when seeing masses of elegant men and women cycling to work in Cardiff in their business attire would be normal rather than just a pipe dream.

But, I also want to arrive home safe and sound.

Better to believe then that the tabard represents my own hideously fluorescent attempt at a personal cycling infrastructure. I rely on the power of the tabard to keep traffic at bay and create a little bubble of Copenhagenesque cycling experience around me. How much simpler if the cycling infrastructure was there for me to use instead, and the tabard could revert to its true calling, clinging to the back of white-van man.

2 November 2010

IT Chair

the IT Chair in (static) action
Always fancied one of these (the seat attachment to the bike - got the little boy and the bike already), but it is impossible to find one for sale anywhere on earth. I even stopped off at the main stockist in Barcelona when we were on holiday there in the summer, but they were out too. Apparently they are hand made by a Spanish company but the supply seems to be very erratic. They occasionally but rarely appear on eBay, but prices are high. There was also a version made by the renowned Brompton modifier and frame welder Steve Parry. I managed to get hold of him and sadly have to report that he has apparently stopped his great work on accessorising and altering bikes it seems due to the pressure of an impending lawsuit from someone who claims to have been injured using one his bespoke products. So the dream of taking my little boy to nursery on the Brompton remains just that for now.