CHANGES Cycling for Health Programme for Beginners in Musselburgh

This free six-week programme is supported by trained, friendly and supportive volunteer ride leaders, helping adults who haven’t cycled for some time or those wanting to improve their cycling skills build up their confidence on a bike.

All equipment is provided so don’t be put off if you don’t have a bike!

The sessions are due to start on Wed 30th May, 2018, Thu 31st May and Sun 3rd June so there is likely to be a session to suit most people.

The timing of the weekday sessions might be of particular interest to parents/grandparents who would like to build up confidence while their children are at school.

If you have any questions, contact Heather Cameron, Project Worker, CHANGES Community Health Project, 108 Market Street, Musselburgh, EH21 6QA

Main Office No 0131 653 3977

Direct Line No 0131 653 1080

Website  www.changeschp.com

ScotRail Alliance launches new £400,000 Cycling Fund

The ScotRail Alliance has launched a £400,000 Cycle Fund, as part of its ongoing commitment to improving access and facilities for cyclists at Scotland’s railway stations.

 Over the next four years, £100,000 a year will be made available to local councils and community organisations. This funding will be used to deliver projects which contribute to the ScotRail Alliance’s vision of providing a ‘doorstep to destination’ journey for customers, whilst reducing congestion and pollution. The fund will provide up to 50% of project costs.

 The fund can be used to support projects which will:

 ScotRail Alliance Cycling Manager Kathryn Mackay said:

“We’ve delivered an unprecedented investment in cycling in recent years, with the provision of Bike & Go at 12 stations, and over 1,200 extra cycle spaces.

 “The £400,000 Cycling Fund will allow us to continue this investment by delivering our vision of a seamless ‘doorstep to destination’ journey for customers. We are encouraging councils and local community groups to take advantage of this great opportunity. It’s all part of our plan to build the best railway Scotland has ever had.”

 Transport Scotland Head of Rail Franchising Andrew Mackie said:

“The Scottish Government is committed to getting more people to make active travel choices by encouraging modal shift wherever possible.  The Cycle Fund offers organisations the opportunity to work with ScotRail to deliver enhanced cycling infrastructure and encourage as many people as possible to integrate cycling into their everyday journeys. 

 “This is all part of our core vision to make the railway as accessible as possible and jointly supports the Scottish Government’s vision to increase the number of people using rail, and the proportion of journeys made by bike”.

 

ScotRail enhances cycling parking at stations

To mark Cycle To Work Day 2016, ScotRail has announced further significant progress in its continuing programme to expand cycle parking at stations across the network.

Since the start of the current franchise, Abellio ScotRail has installed more than 600 additional cycle parking spaces. This is part of the train operator’s wider commitment to encourage sustainable access and smart, integrated travel across Scotland.

These new cycle spaces complement the Bike & Go scheme, currently available at 10 stations, allowing customers to travel by train and hire a bike at their destination to use around the area.

Edinburgh Haymarket, Largs and Linlithgow, where Bike & Go has also been introduced this year, are among the stations to have additional cycle parking installed – 66, 48 and 40 new spaces respectively.

The focus of this initiative is on making it easier for customers to have a sustainable commute, and to create more demand for cycling to busy commuter stations by providing improved facilities and connected travel opportunities.

Fourteen other stations have benefitted from new cycle spaces since April last year, including 32 at Drem and 10 at North Berwick

Transport Minister Humza Yousaf said: “I would like to ensure that as many people as possible can conveniently integrate journeys by rail and bike for their daily commute, or indeed any other journey. This is why a strong focus was made on specifying additional and enhanced cycling facilities at stations as part of the ScotRail franchise.

“Offering passengers more facilities like cycle spaces at stations is a core part of our vision to make the railway as accessible as possible and jointly supports the Scottish Government’s vision to increase the number of people using rail, and the proportion of journeys made by bike.”

Ian McConnell, ScotRail’s Programmes and Transformation Director said: “Travelling by train is already a great choice for the environment, but we’re committed to providing as many sustainable travel options as possible.

“More and more of our passengers are cycling to the station as part of their daily commute or for leisure travel, and we want to encourage more people to do the same.

“By investing in high quality cycle parking we aim to make it easy for customers to make healthy, sustainable choices for their journey to and from the station.

“And Bike & Go adds another option, where people don’t even need their own cycle. It’s a fantastic way for customers to complete their onward journey by bicycle.

“The easy-to-use bikes are ideal for business travellers, visitors and day-trippers.”

Daisy Narayanan, Deputy Director for Built Environment, Sustrans Scotland added: “We welcome this increase in cycle parking spaces by Abellio ScotRail to help encourage people to leave their bike at the station and use the train as part of their everyday journeys.

“Cycling is a great way for people of all age groups to increase their level of physical activity and improve their health and wellbeing.

“We are continuing to work in partnership with communities and organisations across Scotland to make journeys by foot, bicycle and public transport easier and simpler, and to help create vibrant, well-designed communities.”

More information on Bike & Go and ScotRail’s cycling initiatives can be found at scotrail.co.uk/cycling

QMU to offer sustainability campus tours during Climate Week 2016

Queen Margaret University in Musselburgh, East Lothian, will be offering special sustainability tours of its campus from 19th – 23rd September as part of its participation in Climate Week 2016.

The University’s innovative campus set a new benchmark in sustainable design when it opened in 2007. The tours will allow students, staff and visitors to see the University’s sustainable features at QMU’s campus, including areas that are not normally accessible, such as the biomass district heating energy centre. Tour guests will also have the opportunity to learn about the University’s sustainability practice and features, as well as its aspirations for its Climate Change Plan.

As keen promoters of green transport, the University is also inviting staff, students and members of the local community to take part in cycling events during Climate Week. A cycle ride through Musselburgh and East Lothian led by QMU’s Cycle Connections Active Travel Coordinator (23rd September), and a Bike Breakfast (23rd September) will encourage people to swap their cars and public transport for the healthier and more sustainable option of pedal power.

atrium3Craig Cathcart, Chair of the Sustainability Committee at Queen Margaret University, said: “QMU is totally committed to sustainability and our focus goes well beyond the physical building – our campus was recognised as an exemplar in sustainability within the higher education sector nationally and internationally when it was built in 2007. Now, QMU places sustainability at the heart of everything we do. We take a joined up, holistic approach to the social, environmental and economic dimensions of sustainability. We want future generations to inherit a viable planet, and that is reflected in what we do, how we do it, and the partners across the globe with whom we work. However, we recognise there is much more to be done.”

QMU strives to embed sustainability in areas of its curriculum. For example, students on the Public Sociology degree take the ‘Changing World’ module, taught by Eurig Scandrett, which involves studying the United Nations policy for tackling climate change. A module in Sustainable Consumption is also studied by students on our Physical Activity, Health and Wellbeing degree, and our Nutrition and Food Science degree.

Craig continued: “ We know that climate change is one of the most serious problems facing the world today. At our current rate of emissions of greenhouse gases, the world is likely to see increasing frequency of drought, storms, floods and disease. Moreover, most of the damage to the climate which has already happened is caused by us in ‘developed’, western, societies. We all share a responsibility to do what we can to reduce our impact significantly. Climate Week provides a great opportunity to engage the student community in QMU’s sustainability agenda. We also welcome people from the surrounding area and beyond to visit QMU during the week and take part in our sustainability tours and our other related activities.”

Sustainability Campus Tour will take place each day from 19th – 23rd September at 11.15am and 2.15pm. Bookings can be made by emailing E: ethoumire@qmu.ac.uk

Other sustainability activities include:

  • Bike Breakfast – Friday 23rd September (meet at 8.15am – 9.15am in 1875 food court – registration required)
  • Led Ride – cycle ride in local Musselburgh and East Lothian area led by our Cycle Connections Active Travel Coordinator – Friday 23 Sept (meet at 1pm in University Square at the Bike Racks )
  • Active Travel Plan Strategy consultation events on our revised and updated strategy – Tuesday 20th and Thursday 22nd September from 11am – 3pm. Meet in 1875 food court.

Spotlight on…Recharge Bike Project

Local charity, Recharge, has recently launched a bicycle project to promote cycling in the Fa’side area.

The bicycle project has been running for several years and was originally set up to upskill young people on bike maintenance. The project was in high demand and has now seen it set up as a social enterprise thanks to funding from the Fa’side Area Partnership. In addition, Scottish Caravan Storage has provided storage space for bicycles over the last few years and Ormiston Station Growers have also provided an additional space for the project beside the main cycle path in the area.

Recharge bicycle project provides safety checks, bike maintenance, services and repairs. The project also takes donations of bicycles and sells them at affordable prices. However, Recharge can gift bicycles to community members who wouldn’t normally have the opportunity to purchase them. As a social enterprise, all profits will go into supporting Recharge activities.  Other initiatives include the establishment of a register of local bikes to combat theft and partnership with local schools and groups to help educate and build up skills on safe cycling locally.

Recharge Bicycle Project is open on a Monday and Friday from 1.30pm until 4.30pm both days. It runs in the charity’s Church Street premises by bicycle project worker Kyle Munro (shown below right) and Recharge Manager Alan Bell.

img_6995Simon Davie said

“Fa’side Area Partnership were delighted to support Recharge to create a bike project for the Fa’side area. Two of our key priorities are to improve travel options for our residents and increase opportunities for physical activity in our area.”

“To achieve this there are a range of projects within our area plan which we hope to implement. These are all being supported by Recharge and their bike project. One current example is a project to improve the quality of our core paths for use by cyclists. Alan, Kyle and young people from Recharge will take part in our audit of core paths, with a view to rating them from a cyclist point of view. We will then seek to improve core paths following the audit.”

Mr Davie added

“The service provided by Recharge is excellent (speaking first hand as a customer!), especially as a novice cyclist! I got excellent advice and the after sales service was fantastic.

There are a number of other Area Plan projects which are cycling related, which Alan and the project are working on for the Area Partnership and we look forward to continuing our positive relationship with Recharge Bike Project.”

Recharge Project Manager Alan Bell said

“It is fantastic to get the Bicycle project up and running it has been an aspiration for a long time and has been a project which was driven by the needs of the young people and community. It was fantastic to get the support and funding from the area partnership to make this project finally happen.”

Recharge bike project worker Kyle Munro was equally enthusiastic: “I am really excited to be working on this project and I hope we are able to provide new cycling opportunities to the local community as well as helping improve the local cycling infrastructure”

Councillor Tim Day East Lothian Council Cabinet Spokesperson for Community Wellbeing added his support for the project:

“As a keen cyclist I am delighted that Recharge are launching their new bike project. Cycling is a great way to get around, and it’s also a really good way of keeping fit and healthy, so having a project that promotes cycling is an incredibly important initiative. It’s also a good way of recycling old bikes, and giving them a new lease of life. They also offer a repair service and safety checks to keep young people on the road”

Visit East Lothian…by Public Transport!

I love East Lothian but there are parts of the county I haven’t visited because I don’t have a car and public transport can be patchy.

Recently, I was in Waverley station and noticed a Visit East Lothian banner prominently displayed at Platform 4 and I found myself pondering how many visitors to Edinburgh take the train east.

Visit East Lothian has recently produced a TV advert showcasing the county’s attractions – but how easy are they to get to on bus or train?

First to appear in the STV advert is Foxlake Adventures which looks brilliant fun but I haven’t been as I’ve always presumed it would be difficult for me to get to.  The Foxlake website has detailed instructions for reaching the award-winning activity centre by road but no mention of public transport.  So, imagining I’m a car-less visitor to Edinburgh, how do I get there?

The quickest way is to get a train to Dunbar (20 mins), walk to the bus stop, get an Eve’s Coaches 120 bus (10mins) ask the driver to let you off opposite Tynefield and walk the remaining 6 minutes.  Alternatively, you can get the Perryman’s 253 service all the way from Edinburgh and as before, getting off at Tynefield and walking.  VERDICT: Let the train take the strain.

Next up is the John Gray Centre, Haddington, home to a library, museum and the Council archives.  The website has a helpful How to find us page which lists ‘by car’ first, then public transport and finally, cycling.

For the quickest journey, take the Perryman’s 253 (39 minutes).  Alternatively you could take the Lothian Country Bus 104 (51 minutes).  FirstBus currently run both the X8 and X6 services but are scheduled to cease all East Lothian operations in August.  VERDICT: Take the bus

The National Museum of Flight is a great place to visit and their website clearly details the many ways to reach East Fortune (bus, train, bicycle, car – in that order!).

A journey combining train and bus usually takes just over an hour but if you travel on a Saturday when trains are more frequent, you might be lucky with the timings and get there in as little as 44 minutes.  Take a train to Drem and get an Eve’s 121.   If you prefer two wheels, take a look at Cycling Scot’s blog on how to reach the museum by bike.  VERDICT: Easy Train/Bus (or Bike) combo

A trip to the Scottish Seabird Centre is very easy on public transport and their website encourages you to get there by walking, cycling, train, bus, car – in that order (well done Seabird Centre).

Take the train to North Berwick.  Buses are available (until FirstBus withdraws) but the train is quicker and more pleasant.  VERDICT: Take the train!

The video also features Dirleton Castle which is owned by Historic Environment Scotland.  The website gives details of grid reference and has links to travel planners but nothing specifically to encourage people to use public transport.  The withdrawal of the Firstbus X24 will make it problematic reaching Dirleton (and other coastal towns not served by a train).  Until another bus operator takes over the route, your options are walk the 2 miles from North Berwick train station. VERDICT: Wait and see

The last attraction to star in the video is Dunbar Leisure Pool – a family favourite and free swims for children during the summer holidays.  The website has a small map but there are no directions how to reach the pool.  Fortunately, Traveline Scotland suggests taking train to Dunbar and walking the short journey from the station to the pool.  VERDICT: Take the train!

The video ends with the words “East Lothian Attractions – Explore, Play, Stay, Amazing – No Ordinary Day

The ‘Getting Here’ section of the Visit East Lothian website lists the ways of reaching the county as: Road, Rail, Bus, Air & Sea.  Let’s hope that information providers explore the possibility that visitors might want to use sustainable methods of travel to ‘Edinburgh’s playground’ – now that would be amazing.

Further Information:

I’ve only looked at whether a journey was feasible (not taking into account practicalities such as travelling with a buggy) and I haven’t made price comparisons.  You should bear in mind that FirstBus will cease all East Lothian operations in August.

Eve’s Coaches

Lothian Country Buses

Perryman’s

Scotrail – Scotrail have a KidsGoFree ticket which also offers free entry to some attractions 

TravelineScotland

Cycling Scot