what's normal?

garmin profits

the year 2012 was arguably the year when the bubble began to inflate. prince bradley made the first downward push of the track pump by taking yellow at the tour de france during those three weeks in july, following it up with gold in the olympic time-trial. he may have ended the olympic road-race in 103rd place, but the other two victories overshadowed that to the point of complete obfuscation. so that was the year that britain began to realise it had become a force to be reckoned with in world cycling, a realisation that was underlined by chris froome winning le tour in 2013, 2015, 2016 and 2017, followed by a somewhat surprising victory by geraint thomas in 2018.

the so-called bradley bubble, the account for which was emphatically opened in 2012, created a purported latent interest in cycling within the british public, inventing the acronym mamil - middle aged men in lycra along the way, as the less svelte amongst the male population squeezed themselves into lycra to ride their top of the range pinarellos, canyons and colnagos. certain corners of the british media claimed that cycling had become the new golf, a statement that had many of us who had been in this for the long-term, to wonder whether indeed that was a compliment or admonishment.

membership of british cycling and cyclinguk (formerly the cyclists' touring club) increased substantially, credit for all of which was placed squarely at the feet of sir wiggins. but as with the dotcom bubble and several other bubbles, there was never any doubt that these circumstances were almost bound to change at some point, either for better or worse. in cycling's case, a decrease was always on the cards; the intriguing part was just how many of those inspired by british victories would remain in place when the fly-by-nights went back to their golf, tennis, or whatever else had previously held their interest.

but then, along came the covid pandemic in early 2020, creating havoc across the world, including restrictions that made cycling a pragmatic means of transport as an alternative to cars or public transport. testament to the importance of the bicycle was paid by government, allowing bike shops to remain open as essential services in order to keep what remained of the wheels of industry turning. as a secondary benefit, it transpired that the severe reduction in motorised transport had lessened inner-city congestion and pollution, leading many city leaders to claim that they would do all in their power to ensure that circumstances did not return to their pre-covid levels if they had anything to do with it.

sadly, that now seems more of a pipe-dream than a contemporary reality.

but yet again, what might, for the purposes of this discussion, be described as the covid bubble, as regards an increase in daily cycling activity, has begun to deflate. many of those who turned to the bicycle during 2020 and 2021, have been drawn back either to public transport or the personal motor car. the rise and rise of the e-bike during the same period has been duly noted, but cursory evidence would tend to suggest this is more for leisure purposes than transportational. disappointingly, but not unexpectedly, the motor car remains king, even during the current bout of seriously inflated petrol and diesel prices.

that said, new car sales have reportedly dropped to their lowest level since 1996 (down by 24.3% on 2021 sales). but industry analysts have allied this situation to the supply chain disruptions from the far east, aggravated by china imposing several new lockdowns earlier this year. another factor is said to be a substantial shortfall in computer chips; many modern-day cars are awash with systems that depend upon such technology, something that, perhaps worryingly, many analogue and e-bikes seem also keen to adopt.

so, the almost inevitable decline in bicycle and component sales could be the result of several sets of circumstances, none of which help gauge the current state of play. for instance, garmin recently announced that their annual profits had dropped by 6% compared with those realised in 2021. not unnaturally, keen to put a brave face on matters, garmin claim that this is due to 'normalisation following a decline in the covid-19 fitness boom.' and given my complete lack of industry and economic experience, their reasoning seems perfectly rational.

according to garmin company reports, revenues from wearable tech and cycling products declined by a substantial 34%, despite garmin having made 'several significant product launches.'

though it's probably too early to tell, given that life has only recently returned to something approaching normality, and acknowledging that there are still some supply issues with which to contend, has cycling's growth, including the ubiquitous e-bike decreased, or remained static? on much of the evidence presented, it would seem a tad optimistic to think there might have been growth, though at the minimally supported sporting end, there's possible evidence for small growth, given the thousands who turned out in copenhagen to welcome home tour winner, jonas vingegaard. and at one of the first post-tour criteriums held in belgium and featuring green jersey winner, wout van aert, a reputed audience of 35,000 turned out to watch.

but both denmark and belgium have longer histories of devotion to the cause than fickle britain, so such levels of interest have possibly always been there, and are nothing particularly remarkable. but perhaps the greater and more pertinent question ought to be, "does it actually matter?" the apocryphal, "how do you make a million from cycling? start with two million" may still ring true, but provided there are sufficient numbers of us purchasing bicycles, clothing, componentry and the occasional garmin product, all is well with the velocipedinal world.

and if that turns out not to be the case, i'm sure someone will tell us soon enough.

monday 1 august 2022

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the dot. lachlan morton. rapha editions/bluetrain publishing softback.132pp illus. £20

the dot - lachlan morton

my saturday bike ride took me to upper killeyan on the oa, from which point it's an interesting trek across the moor to the american monument. this tall pencil-like construction was erected by the american military in commemoration of those who died in two sinkings during the first world war; the otranto and tuscania. the oa is a large peninsula at the southern end of islay, featuring vertiginous cliffs and some grovelling ascents on the way to the monument car/bike park. it's also one of two rspb reserves on the island, the other at loch gruinart on the west coast.

following my return and the upload of saturday's post, my e-mail inbox featured a missive from a resident of the neighbouring isle of jura, enquiring after details of next sunday's ride of the falling rain. she informed me that she planned to raise funds for the british heart foundation in memory of gerry fleming, a lovely fellow who ran a bike hire business on jura and who died suddenly quite recently. gerry was one of the nicest guys you could meet.

the dot - lachlan morton

cycling, along with other sporting endeavours, is often seen as the ideal way to raise funds for various charities, predominantly on the basis that chosen events are frequently seen as a challenge. one hundred miles around a hebridean island surely qualifies as just such a challenge for regular mortals such as you and i. for the more intrepid professional, such a distance would scarcely qualify as a training ride, particularly for the inimitable ef/easypost rider, lachlan morton. when he opted to raise funds, in this case, for world bicycle relief, the parcours was a tad greater than 162km. in fact, it was 5,510 kilometres, the route of the 2021 tour de france, including all transfers.

as if that were scarcely sufficient, the route also presented 65,500 metres of climbing, and required morton to take care of his own nutritional needs, accommodation and mechanical duties, such as punctures and difficulties with pedals and a knee.

"...but here I was, day one, pushing into the night, ignoring the increasing pain in my knee."

though cyclefit's phil cavell would doubtless point out that knee pain on day one was likely the result of an incorrect bike-fit/cleat position, that particular grain of knowledge would only be of use to those with an honours degree in hindsight. ever resourceful, lachie morton opted to ride in open-toed sandals on a pair of cheap, bog standard pedals culled from a cheap, bog standard, supermarket bike.

the dot - lachlan morton

having first ridden with shoes "...on top, triathlon style... I realised that the pain was less severe that my foot was self-selecting its position. [...] it became apparent that this store didn't sell pedals, it sold bikes. About 50 euros later, I pedalled back to the campsite with two bikes." though this fix played havoc with his feet, it pretty much cured his knee pain.

the book's title originates from the slowly moving dot on a map of france that allowed followers of morton's extraordinary exploits to see his progress. it also allowed those living nearby to figure out where he was, and perhaps join his happy throng of one for a few kilometres. the ride also brought the realisation that his judgment of regions of france may have been based more on his racing experience than the reality of riding without the need for speed. with the tour having begun its perambulations in brittany, lachlan had to follow suit, leading him to admit, "Personally, I've always hated racing in this part of the world. [...] I mistook this dislike for racing as a dislike for the place. This was a mistake."

aside from the encouraging possibility that morton would reach paris ahead of the peloton, the guiding light behind his extraordinary adventure, was to raise as much money as possible for world bicycle relief, a purpose never far from his mind, en-route. and while many of us will moan incessantly that it's still a few dozen kilometres to the coffee stop, that is several levels of discomfort removed from having ridden an entire stage of le tour unassisted, only to discover that his chosen campsite was nowhere near any food supply. this elementary mistake almost derailed the entire assault. "I fell asleep dreaming of warm baguettes."

naturally enough, many individuals and media organisations wanted a piece of the action, but all requests originating from education first headquarters, were filtered through the rapha van following his progress, filming from a distance but ensuring that they never interfered in his solo efforts. "All requests from the team went to (Rapha film producer, Sam Craven). He had to be the bad guy..."

the dot - lachlan morton

in truth, the dot is a physically small book that easily fits into a jersey rear pocket, but in terms of what it says, it is enormous. lachlan morton effectively returned to the days in which the tour de france began, when riders covered the distances unsupported, often seen with tubular tyres wrapped about their torso. his views and insights along the way are, as the americans would say, awesome, in the true sense of that word. and though it may sound like an overused cliché, this little book is inspiring way beyond its compact and bijou format.

lachlan's story is exceptionally well written, well illustrated and is truly compulsive (i read it in a single sitting). additionally, the book's production by bluetrain publishing on behalf of rapha editions, is subtly impressive. morton reached paris well ahead of the race 'proper', in the process, raising over £550,000 for world bicycle relief. never again will i complain that i'm tired on the sunday ride, or even the 'ride of the falling rain'.

"It was an opportunity I'm so grateful for. I'm even more grateful that I believe I made the most of it."

brilliantly conceived; beautifully realised.

sunday 31 july 2022

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tour de france femmes - ooh la la

in my final years at secondary school, as an almost permanent resident in the art department, i found myself in charge of designing and painting the scenery for the school drama group, principally because my art teacher was the progenitor of the annual series of school plays. though i'd spent most of my senior years both drawing and painting my way towards a place at art school, this was, by comparison, a rather gargantuan undertaking. the substantial difference in size between the average sheet of watercolour paper, and several frame-backed sheets of hardboard is not to be underestimated.

were it simply a matter of taking a paint roller and mixing a desired concoction of emulsion to emulate the exterior of a cottage, or the dining room of a mansion, there would be little hardship involved, other than the painting itself. but it transpires that certain colours do not 'take light'. the most blatant of those colours is yellow, which does not lend itself well to being plied with stage lighting and should, i was informed, be avoided at all costs. this knowledge came in handy when i later took on similar scenic duties for the end of term opera.

however, the intrinsic difficulty that forms a major part of scene painting, is the need to create a convincing three-dimensional verisimilitude of the demands imposed by the demands of thespian realities. in other words, it has to look convincing to the audience, bearing in mind that the latter are usually sat some distance from the stage. and because we are discussing theatrical presentation, certain aspects require to be slightly exaggerated to promote this false sense of reality. the difficulty relates to the fact that scene painters are rarely more than a paintbrush length distant from their creations, yet painting to persuade at a distance.

and though the audience is invariably aware that the whole affair is a concoction from start to finish, that knowledge is temporarily and easily suspended from opening gambit, till final curtain.

interestingly, that same set of circumstances pervades professional cycling, and, as the expectant audience, we too suspend our knowledge of reality to better enjoy the show. every day of the recently completed tour de france, we watched whomsoever was in yellow wear matching jersey, shorts, helmet and bicycle, shepherded through the stage by a team of identically outfitted domestiques. and those bicycles positively gleamed, from their chains to the cable-less carbon bars. lest you believe me guilty of overthinking the situation, who amongst us can equate that to the sunday morning bike ride?

rarely are our own velocipedes retrieved from the bikeshed in such pristine condition, with nary a squeak to be heard, or a scuff seen on a carbon crank. and if truth be told, the behind-the-scenes actions at the grand tours and one-day classics are all geared to present our cycling heroes as actors on a carefully manicured stage. after all, it is the stage manager's job to ensure that each and every prop works as desired and is in perfect working condition.

but stage plays and operas pay only lip service to the substantial work that has preceded each presentation, perhaps acknowledging the backstage staff in the programme credits. and that's probably more than is the case in professional cycling. thankfully, every now and again, the entire enchilada is deconstructed for the edification of the great unwashed, bursting the bubble with the very best of intentions.

daphne and andrew, of what was once known as this is cambridge, now contracted to tic, have teamed up with nmg productions to present a series of short, behind-the-scenes movies to accompany the tour de france femmes. tic, a cycle clothing provider at the forefront of sourcing recycled fabrics for their products, and who have recently released a 'roam' collection "...for the more casual rides or off bike occasions.", have entitled this collection of short movies, ooh-la-la.

the backstage to sporting reality.

tic - ooh la la

saturday 30 july 2022

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supply and demand

the bike project

the covid pandemic, over the past two years, gave rise to some consternation within the bicycle industry over interrupted supply chains from the far east. over decades, pretty much all serious manufacture of pretty much any type of bicycle, has been (literally in some cases) moved 'offshore' to taiwan. it's been a double-edged sword in the sense that cycle shop owners have been scrabbling for shop floor inventory, both bicycles and componentry, while customers have had either to settle for what was available, or simply be satisfied with what they already owned, postponing any new purchase until matters improved.

whether those matters have actually improved depends a great deal on what it was you were looking for in the first place. i had recent cause to attempt the refurbishment of an ageing mtb, and struggled to obtain one or two components, not because the parts were no longer manufactured, but simply because nobody had stock. along with many others, i've hit the same problem attempting to find stock of road bike tyres (at least the brand and width i'm looking for).

a cycling colleague of mine harboured a desire to upgrade the groupset on his gravel bike, but has hit a brick wall when attempting to find stock and i doubt that he's the only one in this situation. but let's face it, most of us already own operational bicycles, or have at least one that allows for velocipedinal activity while awaiting delivery of a part, or parts; panic would only set in if pedestrianism beckons. in which case, you have to have sympathy for those bereft of any sort of bicycle.

this is a problem currently experienced by the bike project, a charity set up to to refurbish old bikes for those who need access to a cheap and reliable means of transport. and as is frequently the case, one set of unfortunate circumstances begets another. while we have been bemoaning the fact that we can't acquire the latest in carbon fibre, twelve-speed technology, the bicycles we may previously have sold on, may ultimately have released a bicycle at the lower end of the food chain for organisations such as the bike project.

so the bike project is currently experiencing a shortage of unused and abandoned bicycles to refurbish, issuing a plea to members of the public, such as you and i, to donate an unwanted bicycle at one of the main drop-off points in london and the west midlands. and i'm pretty sure that, if the shortage is affecting this particular charity, it seems very likely that it is causing consternation for similar bike charities across the nation. in scotland, there's bike for good and the bike station.

and there is good reason for this unprecedented demand, the cause of which can be laid squarely at the door of vladimir putin.

the arrival of thousands of ukrainian refugees in the uk has increased demand, according to bike project founder, jem stein. "As we have done for almost ten years, with displaced individuals from other countries, we are supporting Ukrainian asylum seekers and refugees by providing bikes, so they can settle more easily into their new lives in the UK." one ukrainian refugee said that, unfortunately, when the war began, she and her daughter no longer felt safe and made the decision to leave the country.

"We arrived in the United Kingdom and as newcomers, we had no experience of London life, and we missed much of our previous life and habits, one of which was bike riding. My daughter started riding a bike at the age of 3, we explored all the routes and parks in Kyiv, and we missed it very much."

in this particular case, the bike project was able to help, but in order to help the next family arriving from war-torn ukraine, they need more bicycles. we've just experienced one of the finest tours de france since the late 1980s, and as pointed out yesterday, its winner had the luxury of experiencing a fighter jet escorted private flight back to denmark. however, it would do us all proud to remember that not everybody's life has proceeded in the manner which they would have expected. if you've a defunct bicycle lying about in the garage, bikeshed or garden, i think i've provided enough of a hint as to how you might pragmatically dispose of it to the benefit of those less fortunate.

the bike project | bike for good | the bike station

friday 29 july 2022

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a world of contrasts

schwalbe bike soap

much comment has been made in recent years over the environmental footprint of professional bike racing, ostensibly green but with a practicability that pretty much says otherwise. you need only witness long or overhead shots of the peloton at almost every juncture of this year's tour de france, to realise that there often appears to be as many motor vehicles and motorbikes as there are bicycles.

and assuming the process to be the same as i witnessed at the irish stage of a relatively recent giro d'italia, aside from the motorcade we can all see, there's yet another upfront, consisting of team cars scoping out the road ahead, conditions of which are subsequently radioed back to the following team cars. in addition, we should not forget the team buses, occasionally viewed along the parcours, and the mechanics' trucks, only ever seen when featured outside the team hotels.

electric vehicles for the commissaires have put in an appearance in one or two events that i've seen, but it's possible that europe's charging infrastructure for such vehicles is every bit as derisory and behind schedule as is the uk's. think of the embarrassment of being unable to follow the breakaway due to a red light showing on the battery indictator. presumably the same would apply to electric motorbikes, none of which i've seen following in any recent cycle race.

and as if that were insufficient to raise the environmental hackles, there's the not inconsiderable problem of tv broadcasting. this is generally accomplished by having tv motorbikes beam their images to one of the overhead helicopters (of which there are often several) for subsequent transmission to a high-altitude aircraft which passes the signal to a low-earth orbit satellite, aimed squarely at the studios of the host broadcaster. so far, the electric movement has yet to succeed in electrifying helicopters and high-altitude aircraft, all of which produce noxious fumes and burn copious amounts of fossil fuels.

though the above might seem a bit over-dramatised, it's a set of circumstances that hardly exist in isolation. aircraft, helicopters, motorbikes, cars and trucks ply the earth's roads and skies 24/7, 365 days a year , so it would be a tad iniquitous to point the finger directly at cycling for causing the world's climate woes. that said, its contributions exist nonetheless, accommodating the racing of what is regularly portrayed as eager and waiting to solve the world's transport emissions problem. however, to a greater or lesser extent, such behaviour can be at least partially justified. that said, no solutions to this quandary immediately spring to mind, though i have a notion that one could be found if truly desired.

what is a great deal harder to justify is the post race antics of yellow jersey winner, jonas vingegaard. though the situation may not have been directly of his making, his return journey from france to denmark to attend a public reception, attended by thousands of fans, was perhaps slightly ill-judged. images and videos on social media show the danish winner of le tour flying home in a private jet, escorted by two fighter jets from the danish airforce. not only would that have been an unnecessarily expensive exercise, but given the record temperatures experienced by the peloton during those three weeks in july, overwhelmingly attributed to climate change, perhaps he could have undertaken the trip by rail.

yet though the above may be the legendary two steps backward, german tyre manufacturer, schwalbe, have made half-a-step forward by bringing a bar of soap to market. inspired by the necessity of regularly cleaning a whole slew of bikes following regular tyre testing, schwalbe developed a biodegradeable bar of soap, bereft of either perfume or micro-plastics. the highly foaming soap costs a paltry £7.99 when purchased alone, but is sold also in a £29.99 starter set, with the soap contained in a recyclable aluminium tin and accompanied by an organic horsehair brush, all wrapped in a wood fibre, compostable and reusable net bag.

that's the very sort of thinking that professional cycle racing might need to adopt, and sooner rather than later.

thursday 28 july 2022

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i did it your way

electric mountain biking

i am, much to my eternal shame, blissfully unaware of the goings on in the world of the mountain bike. and even more embarassingly, that situation exists as a matter of choice; sort of. i did subscribe to one of mountain biking's more praiseworthy publications for many a long year, but when it moved to a new subscription service, i missed the memo, and didn't follow the paper trail. however, the designed part of this apparently questionable omission, is a long-held decision not to set an spd cleated foot in that particular camp.

for starters, i do not own a mountain bike, obviating any opportunity to review mtb dedicated componentry or accessories, but more importantly, excluding myself from that particular genre of riding experience. secondly, and perhaps more importantly, there are any number of publications, websites and youtube channels which cover the offroad world far better than i ever could. more sensible, i believe, to stick to the genre of which, as a confirmed roadie, i have first-hand experience.

that is why, i believe, the fact that e-mountain biking is an actual 'thing' obviously passed me by, without so much as a by-your-leave. i had not unnaturally assumed that, like the intrepid road-rider, the gnarly dudes were every bit as obsessed with demonstrating just how that honed physique could carry them through the undergrowth in a triumph of human strength against the elements. who knew that the gnarly bit was happy to be partially cosseted by the influence of a battery-powered motor?

as advertised above, i have so little insight into the offroad world, that i cannot directly fathom how this state of affairs came about. it may be that the confirmed downhillers were eager to obviate the need for ski-lifts to transport bicycle and self to the top of the nearest downhill course. and having reached the summit under motor-power, that extra weight would no doubt be of great assistance on the descent. that said, i have also gained the impression that downhilling is only one portion of the e-mountain bike playbook and that all associated variations are every bit in thrall to the motor, as are their downhilling partners.

much play has been made of the e-bike as a genuine means of allowing the elderly, less-fit and physically disadvantaged to enjoy the sensations experienced by the rest of us, while providing a practical alternative to the motor car or even public transport. somehow, i don't see mountain biking as easing comfortably into that particular space (though i'm happy to be proved wrong). i'm aware that this year's giro d'italia was paralleled by an e-road bike event, and that the organisers of the latter also offer electric versions of lombardia, tirreno-adriatico, piemonte and strade bianche, but i gain the impression that, despite such a range of high-profile events, e-road biking could not be accurately described as a thing.

however, unless i'm very much mistaken (not an altogether unknown concept), there are no bona-fide training courses teaching the e-roadie how to proceed on a suitably configured bicycle, and allowing apprentices the opportunity to try out electric velocipedinal machinery. just such a programme has recently been announced for a north wales outdoor centre owned by sport england. senior instructor, james bruton was quoted by bikebiz as saying, "E-bikes offer an enhanced experience for all levels of riders..." perhaps implying riding a regular mountain bike to be a less satisfying experience.

to be honest, other than courses teaching individuals to ride a bike in traffic, i'm unaware of any similar opportunities for roadies, on analogue or e-bikes. a trawl through the british cycling website provides many articles on the subject, but i was unable to find any applicable courses. as a member from north of the border, i also looked at scottish cycling's offering, a search halted at the first hurdle. clicking on performance and coaching revealed only a section entitled performance hub, subtitled with the legend coming soon. whether it will provide courses to potentially advance one's performance and bike handling, we can but wait and see.

however, the question i'm asking myself, and perhaps you are too, is whether road cycling will follow in the tyre tracks of its offroad sibling and begin to place more emphasis on bicycles featuring the letter 'e' as a prefix? drop bar models are already offered by pinarello, colnago, bianchi et al, though i'm of the opinion that the market for such is surely limited. with these so-called pedelecs limited to 25kph, surely there's no real point? wout van aert was riding at that speed on the 10% slopes of alpe d'huez; had he exceeded that limit, he would have found himself riding a considerably heavier machine than his green-painted cervelo, but for no good reason.

even an old fart like me regularly returns from the sunday ride with an average speed in excess of the maximum e-speed allowable on uk roads. however, stranger things have happened, so it may be prudent to keep one eye on the electrons.

plas y brenin outdoor centre

wednesday 27 july 2022

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park life

secure bicycle parking

i'm not afraid to say that the village of bowmore in which i live, has been completely ruined by the motor car. this is not entirely at the behest of anything like congestion or traffic levels, but almost entirely because of parking. even more than a decade past, when my son was learning to drive it was well nigh impossible to find a suitable gap in any of the village streets to allow for reverse parking. what were once unnaturally wide roads, have, in several cases, been reduced to single-track roads due to intermittent parking on both sides of the street, usually without a care for the potential disruption incurred. sadly, such parking practices are not confined to bowmore; similar occurrences can be seen in port ellen and port charlotte.

but before you condemn me on the basis that i doth protest too much, i would probably agree, for the problem is undoubtedly magnified tenfold on the mainland. but the streets of islay were once used to drive cattle to market, and thus considerably wider than those of urban areas on the mainland, but frequently inconsiderate parking often substantially reduces the width. as if that is hardly iniquitous enough, all that parking space is essentially free at the point of use. islay not only has no chargeable parking spaces, but no-one in officialdom responsible for parking enforcement.

police scotland absolved themselves from parking duties many a long year ago, except in cases of willful or inadvertent obstruction, itself something of a subjective arrangement. thus, car parking on the streets of islay has been devolved to the local council who once asserted that a traffic warden visited the isle at least once a month. this, however, may be a work of fiction, since nobody i know has ever witnessed such a visit.

therefore, the council is effectively responsible for providing free parking across all of islay's village streets, for which we all contribute through our council or income tax, even those of us who do not possess a vehicle. the same situation prevails throughout the many housing schemes on the island, owned by argyll community housing association (acha), and west highland housing, who are now required by law to provide a minimum of two parking spaces per house or flat when planning new developments. parking within existing housing schemes is often over-subscribed, with many families of four possessing a vehicle for each family member. but still at no cost.

yet recent research carried out by cycling scotland on behalf of the scottish government, reveals that up to 33% have nowhere secure in which to store a bicycle. that figure is quite possibly also true within the hebrides, the saving grace being the knowledge that bicycles are far less likely to be misappropriated if simply left in the back garden, or even lying against a wall in a car park. the downside, of course, is proximity to the sea and often seriously inclement weather.

it takes a disappointingly short period of time to encourage rust on any metal surface left to the vicissitudes of the weather.

a lack of secure bike parking inevitably affects those living in blocks of flats or tenements, a type of housing prevalent in glasgow, edinburgh and aberdeen in particular. but the question begs to be asked why there is no onus placed on government or local councils to provide appropriate amounts of secure cycle parking from the same budget that ostensibly provides on-street parking for the nation's motorists. and while the local council has made it mandatory for any future housing developments to include an equitable proportion of electric vehicle charging, currently (pun unintended) there is absolutely no need for bicycle parking to even be mentioned, let alone considered or implemented.

scotland's government maintains that it already provides substantial funding (10% of the transport budget) to local authorities through its active travel budget, but has reputedly agreed to take account of the results provided by the cycling scotland report and "look closely" at their recommendations. though this particular research is confined exclusively to scotland, anecdotal evidence would suggest the same conditions pertain to the uk as a whole.

if the target of net-zero is a serious one, then every aspect of britain's transport policy, including parking facilities for more than just cars and vans, will need to be looked at a tad more closely than appears currently to be the case. holyrood has chosen islay to be one of six scottish islands expected to be carbon neutral by 2040, though so far, any explanations as to how this might actually be achieved are remarkably thin on the ground. i'm willing to bet that cycling will form a microscopic part of any future strategy, but given that the island is soon to be host to a total of fifteen whisky distilleries, plans for any reduction in energy use are far more likely to be concentrated elsewhere. but secure cycle parking provision might prove to be a remarkably economic starting point in any of scotland's diverse regions.

tuesday 26 july 2022

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