Sunday, 14 April 2019

Ceri’s RideLondon Team offer - £20 entry fee; raise £400 for a local hospice

MCC activist, former newsletter editor and author Ceridwen Davies, recently died of cancer, aged just 63, at St Raphael’s Hospice in Sutton.  She was one of our longest serving members, a regular attendee at MCC meetings since the early 90’s where her energetic sense of fun infected us all.
MCC member Richard Evans visited Ceri on 11th March, two days before she died. She was at peace in bed at the hospice. He explains, "when I arrived I was mildly miffed that there was no cycle parking, and of course I could not resist mentioning it to Ceri. After all, the lack of bike parking had been a staple topic of debate at MCC meetings for decades. Ceri beamed her broad toothy smile, so I said, flippantly and in jest, that I’d get MCC onto it."
The idea has since grown legs, and has approval from both Ceri’s family and the hospice.  So MCC would now like to fundraise for and deliver two cycle parking facilities at the hospice – one short term for visitors near the main entrance, like this; and one more secure and sheltered for staff in the car park, like this – in loving memory of our dear friend Ceri. Combined costs are looking to be around £1,600.
The hospice has 20 charity places in the Prudential RideLondon-Surrey 100 ride on Sunday 4th August. The entry fee is just £20, and the hospice asks riders to try to raise a minimum sponsorship of £400 each. The hospice will provide a fundraising pack and a St Raphael’s cycling jersey and will be at the event on the day to give support and encouragement.
Any additional funds raised will go towards the general running of St Raphael’s which will help to continue providing exceptional hospice care to more people like Ceri. St Raphael’s needs £6 million every year to run and only receives 20% of this from the NHS, so they need to fundraise a staggering £4.8 million every year.
Contact EmilyKaniecki@straphaels.org.uk for further information and to get your place on Ceri’s RideLondon Team.

Thursday, 11 April 2019

Response to LB Merton’s LIP3 Consultation

Merton Council have been consulting on their Third Local Implementation Plan (LIP3). It is a statutory requirement for all London boroughs to develop a document setting out how it is going to deliver the Mayor's Transport Strategy, its priorities and objectives at a local level.

LIP3 is the Council's main transport strategy and sits alongside the Council's Local Plan and other future strategies. It should set out the borough transport objectives; a short and longer term delivery plan and a series of targets set by Transport for London that we are working towards achieving

In March 2018 the Mayor of London released his vision for the future of transport in the Capital called the Mayor's Transport Strategy. It sets out three priority areas for delivery; these are:-

  • Healthy streets and healthy people
  • A good public transport experience
  • New homes and jobs

It also set an ambitious target for 80% of all trips in London to be made on foot, by cycle or/and using public transport by 2041.

MCC's Consultation Response 

Merton Cycling Campaign is the local group of the London Cycling Campaign, working to encourage more people to use active and sustainable forms of transport. 

While the foreword of the LIP includes encouraging statements about reducing vehicle journeys, discouraging drivers from using cars and support for Vision Zero and claims the LIP “focuses on delivery of tangible improvements for walking and cycling” the actions and targets set out fall far short of delivering against this. The LIP3 also proposes developing features that directly or indirectly promote cycling, including the highly desirable Borough-wide 20 mph. Other features promoted as formal ‘Objectives’ are Liveable Neighbourhoods, Cycle-parking (including on-street ‘hangars’), Cargo-bike deliveries, Hire Bikes, Vision Zero and Bicycle training.  A Healthy Streets Policy and Permeability are mentioned as desirable.

However MCC is concerned that the LIP as drafted does not comply with TfL’s requirements for this document. There is little in the LIP3 in terms of practical actions or programmes that demonstrate how Merton will reach the ambitious goals set out in the Mayor’s Transport Strategy, and what proposals there are are lacking in ambition.

TfL’s analysis of cycling potential suggests 41% of all daily trips made by Londoners are potentially cycleable, with 55% of these in outer London boroughs. Merton’s current plans will not unlock this potential – a more radical approach is needed.

The targets set fall significantly short of MTS requirements with just a 5% fall in vehicle km (against a mayoral target of 10-15%, with the largest reductions needed in outer London boroughs such as Merton). Likewise, just a 5.5% reduction in car ownership is forecast by 2041 – again this seems unambitious for a borough where car ownership is above the London average.

There is a particular lack of ambition in the list of “cycling-related infrastructure that could be developed”. This includes a crossing that would require cyclists to dismount and a series of shared use paths. Shared paths provide a poor experience both for those cycling and those walking. They are generally only a good solution where low numbers of pedestrians are expected – i.e. they are a poor solution in London.

We acknowledge that funding is limited but additional funding for ambitious projects is available through TfL’s Liveable Neighbourhoods programme. The LIP needs to be revised to include:

  • More ambitious targets for reduction in car ownership and driven km
  • A commitment to protected space for cycling on main roads within the borough
  • Reprioritisation of funding to create low traffic neighbourhoods, focusing on areas with a high concentration of schools.
  • Development of a larger high quality Liveable neighbourhood bid

You can read our full response and more detailed comments here

Tuesday, 9 April 2019

Spring Equinox ride report

Sunday 24th March saw a small but hardy crew set out for our Spring Equinox ride around the Surrey hills, a more ambitious and longer route than we'd normally attempt. 

Thanks to Jim for the route planning, and Chris, Mark and Dominic for the report-back; possibly the most literary contribution we've had ever! 

When sun and moon between them cite
That hours in day shall equal night
Merton cyclists are gladly met
Outside The Sultan, there to get
Vantage o'er yon Farthing Down
And thereafter foaming tanks to crown
With tributes and tales of trials tried
And builds we built but never flied

The blessed sun upon us shone
As 10.30 stuck upon the gong
Sallied we forth to the Wandle Trail
And eftsoons to Wallington in the dale
The Downs lifted us up, her apron gently spread
As Jim's route bade us on ahead
And with every climb, upon the ear
Fell an electrical whirr most queer
Charles and Mark were more than man and steel
Between their calves sly design could not conceal
Lithium-ion and rotational force
Towed they up by electronic horse

A feast of cheese and tomato panini
And the streets of Coulsdon soft and dreamy
Spurred our riders to mount the Down
And there behold fair Surrey all around

The Wagner Way a ribbon far to run
Pricked our thigh and upon the bum
A concentrated turn of heel
Brought us back to The Sultan upon the wheel
Amber effervescence there to flow
As we settled to the afterglow
Of a ride when the March sun kept her promise
And wishes for another upon the solstice

A fitting prose, no less, forsooth!
For it be told, in honest truth,
Tales of heroic climbing speed,
Not Charles and I, but young John Ede!
Who battled rough stuff, hill and glade,
And put men half his age in shade!
In later times, this tale regaled,
Tears will fall in pints of ale,
By cyclist looking sad and wan,
Regretting that they had not gone!

Which prompted this observation from Dominic: 

There was virile young young rider,
Who happily threw his leg over carbon fibre,
He went out one day,
And took off up the street,
Only to be passed by a man, He  on a roadster, short and fat,
He muttered "How does he do that?"
And slunk home embarrassed by his defeat!