Posts Tagged ‘cycling’

Community path petition handover

September 22nd, 2014

Hands up who would like a safe, off-road walking/cycling route between Eynsham and Botley. If you put your own hand up, you’re in good company; 4,000 people have signed a petition created by local group Bike Safe for a path running between Eynsham and Botley, via Farmoor. At the moment, cyclists have to use th B4044, which means sharing a single-track road with double-decker buses.

Eynsham to Botley is only 5km, a comfortable cycling distance, but many people are put off by the density and speed of the traffic (the speed limit is 50mph). So they get in their cars, contributing to the motorised traffic on the road, which contributes to putting off potential cyclists, and so on. That vicious circle could be ended by the provision of a safe, convenient alternative route. That’s why the B4044 community path campaigners will be handing over their 4,000-signature petition to Councillor Ian Hudspeth on Wednesday (24th September).

Cllr Hudspeth will be cycling from Eynsham to Hill End Centre before the petition is formally handed over. The campaigners are looking for as many people as possible to escort him and show support for the campaign. All are welcome. The ride will assemble at the junction of Orchard Road and Eynsham Road at 2pm before riding to Hill End. The ride should only take five minutes (see route). They still need at least 30 more cyclists to make the escort really special – can you join them? If so, please email as soon as possible.

Licensed ecological surveyors sought

March 26th, 2014

We’ve written before about the fantastic campaign to build a community path between Eynsham and Botley. The proposed path would run alongside the B4044, providing a safer alternative to this busy road for cyclists and pedestrians. A group of determined residents have been working hard to make this project a reality and they’ve just received a funding boost which could mean that construction of the path starts as soon as this summer.

However, the campaign group have been advised that they need to carry out a detailed ecological survey of the area proposed for the path (the grass verge alongside the B4044) in order to find out whether or not there are any rare or protected species living in this area. They are urgently seeking one or two licensed, qualified ecological surveyors to carry out this work. The work has to be done in the spring so would have to be started this week or next week. (If it can’t be started very soon, this could delay the whole project by several months.)

If you are a qualified ecological surveyor, please ring Ian Leggett on 01865 862614. And if you know of someone who might fit the bill, please show them this blog post!

Why is eBay making life easy for bike thieves?

February 12th, 2014
Photograph by Matthew McVickar showing attempted theft of his bike.

Photograph by Matthew McVickar showing attempted theft of his bike using a car jack. Pic released under a Creative Commons licence.

Most cyclists know about bike marking: the police carry out free public sessions where they indelibly mark your bike with your postcode. You can then add your bike’s details, such as the frame number and model, to the National Cycle Database. This means that if it’s stolen, you can mark it as stolen on the database.

This all sounds good, but will it really help you get your stolen bike back? Most bike thieves are stealing to sell – and the internet is a great place to do it. Smart thieves will avoid adding too much identifying detail to their online seller listings, so they won’t list the frame number and they may even avoid giving the correct make and model.

But what if sellers had to give the frame number? It wouldn’t stamp out reselling of stolen bikes – but it would make online selling less convenient for thieves. That’s why cyclist Richard Biggs recently created a petition asking eBay, one of the world’s biggest online marketplaces, to make frame numbers mandatory for bike seller listings. The petition gained 5,989 supporters before closing. Then Richard came up against an unexpected problem – he couldn’t actually deliver the petition to anyone at eBay. This giant online marketplace is distinctly lacking in human beings to communicate with. After several “return to sender” responses he did a bit of digging and found personal contact details for John Donahoe, the CEO of eBay.

The response? Making frame numbers mandatory in bike listings would be “too difficult”. If you know a tiny bit about web development, you’ll know that adding an extra field to a seller’s listings is actually quite easy. In fact, eBay already makes it compulsory for car sellers to add registration numbers to their listings.

Maybe it’s time for more cyclists to get in touch with eBay to express their wish for this very minor change. The postal address for eBay UK is:

eBay UK Ltd, Complaints Department
PO Box 659, Richmond-upon-Thames

They’re on Twitter too, as @eBay – but they never seem to respond to any attempt to contact them on there.

If more cyclists get in touch, perhaps we can persuade eBay to change its policy and stop making life so easy for bike thieves.

Barn dance in support of community path

January 10th, 2014

There will be a barn dance at Eynsham Village Hall on 1st February to raise money for a much-wanted community path. The planned B4044 Eynsham-Farmoor-Botley Community Path would provide a safe, off-road alternative to the busy B4044 for walkers and cyclists. Lots of money has already been raised and last year’s barn dance, also in aid of the proposed path, sold out early – so book your ticket now!

The event will feature the Mouse & Trousers Ceilidh Band, a raffle and a bar.

Tickets cost £10 adult, £6 child, and are available from the following places:

  • Eynsham DIY
  • Farmoor Stores
  • Aloha Cafe, Botley
  • Cumnor Newsagents


A Christmas gift for our members

December 11th, 2013
The balcony at Seren Loft

View of the balcony at Seren Loft

What do you call the time between Christmas and New Year? Whether you call it “Christmas week”, or use the catchier “Twixtmas”, it’s a time when a lot of people are at a loose end – and a surprisingly popular time for booking the next year’s holidays.

Welsh holiday cottage Seren Loft is offering a special discount for members of Sustainable Witney and Witney BUG: 10% off bookings for the whole of 2014. Just use the code SUSWIT13 when you ring up or make your booking online. Bookings can be made any time between now and autumn 2014 and the holiday can be taken any time before the end of 2014.

Why go there? Well, it’s the perfect place for genuinely green-minded travellers: a rural holiday destination you can reach without a car. Seren Loft is a short walk away from Cynghordy station on the scenic Heart of Wales train line; you can get to Cynghordy from Oxford station in just over five hours.

It’s slap-bang in the middle of cycling country, less than two miles away from the cycle trails of Crychan Forest. Bringing your bike on the train is pretty easy – if you’re used to Oxford-London journeys, the friendliness of Welsh train staff might be a bit of a shock to the system! Or you can hire a bike to collect at the cottage when you arrive. There’s even a cycle museum for rainy days. No wonder the owners describe Seren Loft as a “perfect base for a cycling break”.

The cottage itself sleeps three people (plus room for a cot) and is run on eco-friendly lines. Everything from the energy supplier to the cleaning products is chosen with sustainability in mind.

So during that odd, quiet period after Christmas, when you’re idly websurfing to avoid yet another “Countdown of the Year” programme on telly (or another round of turkey sandwiches), think about booking your next holiday at Seren Loft. The code SUSWIT13 is valid for bookings for the whole of 2014.

Can we get Britain cycling? (Oxford event)

November 8th, 2013

Philip Darnton OBE, executive director of the Bicycle Association of Great Britain, will be speaking at the Cyclox AGM. Cyclox describe him as an “inspiring speaker” who believes strongly in the importance of cycling for national wellbeing.

  • Date: Thursday 21st November
  • Venue: St Michaels at the Northgate on Cornmarket Street, Oxford
  • Time: 7:30pm.

All welcome at this free event. Refreshments provided.

Bike marking at Witney police station today, 2-4pm

August 3rd, 2013

If you’re interested in security-marking your bicycle, to help track it down in case of theft, Witney police station are running a marking scheme today (Saturday), 2–4pm. Sorry for the last-minute notification, but we’ve only just spotted the event ourselves!

But it’s worth noting that, if you’re cycling around town anyway, Witney Bike User Group is meeting at Cogges from 1pm. Come along for coffee, cake and maybe a ride!

Bums on saddles and feet on pavements

April 15th, 2013

Oxford cycling organisation Cyclox has organised a meeting exploring why so many people get in their cars for short journeys. What obstacles are there to getting more people using their legs?

Brookes University Research Fellow Dr Tim Jones will talk about a recent study, Understanding Walking and Cycling.

Head to St Michaels in the Northgate (Cornmarket Street entrance). Entry free, all welcome. Tea, soft drinks and possibly cake will be provided.



Active travel and health: a talk in Oxford

March 20th, 2013

Public attitudes towards cycling are focused on “safety” – but what are the health effects? Dr Oliver Mytton, Lecturer in Public Health, will give a talk entitled Active travel – good for your health, but how good? in Oxford at St Michaels in the Northgate (at the junction of Ship St and Cornmarket).

Prime Minister Backs Cycle Campaign

February 10th, 2012

The Times Cities fit for cycling David Cameron endorsed the ‘Cities fit for cycling’ campaign this week saying, “As a keen cyclist, I congratulate The Times for drawing attention to this issue. We want to encourage cycling as a cheaper, greener, more healthy way of getting from place to place, and making people feel safe cycling on the roads is crucial to that.”

WitneyBUG has pledged its support to the campaign and the 8-point manifesto. We urge you to do so too by following this link to complete step 1. Do step 2 if you’re on Twitter or Facebook. Forget about step 3, your MP is already signed up.

So why does The Times give a damn about cycling all of a sudden? Is it something to do with the 2012 Olympics? The people best placed to tell you about that are the colleague of a young journalist, and her editor. I can vouch that when a loved one is hit and injured, out of the blue just going from place to place, it makes one think long and hard about road safety.

» Read more: Prime Minister Backs Cycle Campaign

Experimental Cycle Route

August 30th, 2011

An idea from the Charlbury Cycling Group for a route from Charlbury to Finstock has been taken up by the Cornbury Estate on a trial basis. See the full story here in the Witney Gazette.

The trial ends Sep 30th so if you’re interested best try it out sooner rather than later.

There are many reasons for taking a trip to Charlbury: the train station, the Rose & Crown and the Good Food Shop and Cafe are some.

We tried it on the tandem not realising there’s a kissing gate half way along the route – that was a real struggle. There’s also a short section of field which doesn’t look suitable during wet spells, but otherwise it’s a delightful alternative to the fast, hilly B4022.

Let us know what you think if you try it out.

An Introduction to MTB – Windrush Pub

June 22nd, 2011

Sample a taste of off-road riding with Witney Mountain Bike Club this Thursday 23th June.

Starting from the Windrush Pub on the Burford Road at 7pm.




A Potter to the Pottery

June 15th, 2011

The Mayor opens Bike Week this Saturday at 10am on Church Green and announces the release of the Green Travel Map.

Join WitneyBUG, Witney Mountain Bike Club and CTC Witney for a gentle ride over to Aston Pottery for Tea and Cakes.

Bike Week

June 13th, 2011

Making Your Mark

May 3rd, 2011

It took a while. It’s been going for about five years now, but the BUG eventually got an account, sending the first tweet in February. Sustainable Witney have an account too which is generally used to publish posts.

Depending on how many people or things you choose to follow, you get a relatively constant stream of twitterings of 140 characters or less on all sorts of topics throughout the day – should you need it.

Two that came in to my own account one after the other this morning caused the Mr Angry cogs to engage.

» Read more: Making Your Mark