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a big ask for Oxford cycling - Botley Rd?

Oxford — July 2017

I realise that ranting on this blog is a pretty ineffectual way of actually achieving change. But when I contemplated requesting a meeting with my local councillors (city and county), I had trouble working out what I was actually going to request from them. Two-way cycling on Howard St, or the removal of parking in cycle lanes on Donnington Bridge Rd, were asks too small to be worth the trouble. Requesting anything as abstract as "Dutch-style infrastructure" seemed too waffly, while if I was going to lobby for Broad St to be turned into a square, that was going to require more than me acting in isolation.

So my suggestion as to what we (CyclOx and others) could request as part of a concerted lobbying campaign is first-rate cycling infrastructure along Botley Rd. more

walking versus cycling (in Oxford)

Books + Ideas, Life, Oxford — July 2017

Last night I went to a talk by Eva Heinen titled "Why, where and how people travel" and that got me thinking about the balance between walking and cycling more

loved the Wee-Ride, can't fit a tag-along to my bike

Life — July 2017

Four years ago I posted here looking at moving-child-by-bike options, but I never followed that up. I ended up with a Wee-Ride centre-mounted seat, which I've been really happy with over the last three and a half years. more

Oxford's Pembroke St upgrade a lost opportunity

Oxford — November 2016

The recently redesigned Pembroke St is attractive, but also seems a lost opportunity.

Previously it was a fairly traditional lane, with a carriageway and pavements. The new design keeps essentially the same layout, only replacing the kerbs with gentle "gutters" or brick edging, on as far as I can tell exactly the same line, and changing the (still too narrow) footpaths to a "brick" surface. The other substantive change is that the street is now two-way for cycling (motor traffic is still allowed to enter only from St Ebbes). more

my commute

Oxford, Travel — January 2016

My cycle to work is about 3.6km and takes maybe 15 minutes, which I think is about the perfect length. It's enough that I'm getting at least a small amount of regular exercise, but not so long that it ever feels tedious, and even on the rare occasions when there's serious rain (or it's dark on the way home in winter) it's not too daunting. It's also an attractive route, much of it quite pleasant cycling. I begin with a description, which I follow with some commentary on Oxford cycling infrastructure, on which it doesn't shed such a flattering light. more

Where's the backlash against cycling in Oxford?

Oxford — November 2015

It's true that every Oxford Mail article about cycling gets the usual complaints about red light jumping, people cycling without lights, and suchlike, but I've seen no sign of any kind of backlash against cycling infrastructure. And this is easy to explain. There is no cycling infrastructure in Oxford. That is to say, nothing that gives people on bicycles any real space of their own, nothing that substantially inconveniences cars, buses, trucks or taxis. more

Oxford cyclists, imagined, actual and potential

Oxford, Travel — February 2015

A dual network strategy for cycling only makes sense if we have a bimodal population of cyclists. To illustrate this, consider Frideswide Square, where the planners are clearly picturing something like this. more

civil liberties, cycling, sinking lifeboats and the shoulders of giants

Books + Ideas — February 2015

I was an active civil liberties campaigner in Australia: I led two protest marches through the streets of Sydney in the 1990s and was a board member of Electronic Frontiers Australia for twelve years. Here in Oxford I've become involved with cycling advocacy instead. more

cycling Cowley Rd

Oxford — December 2014

The term is amorphous and vague, but Oxford's forthcoming redevelopments at the Plain roundabout and Frideswide Square continue to follow some kind of "shared space" ideology. So it's interesting to look at how previous incarnations of that have worked for cyclists. So Cowley Rd more

not cycling in Oxford

Oxford — November 2014

I have three friends who I use as a litmus test for cycling. They don't cycle in Oxford, even though it would often be convenient for them if they did — one of them walks two miles to work instead — largely because they find the environment too hostile and unpleasant. more

walking and cycling: relative risks

Books + Ideas — October 2014

In the UK, the averages suggest that you are slightly less likely to be killed cycling two miles to the shops than you are making the same trip on foot, but slightly more likely to be seriously injured. more

improving Oxford cycling

Oxford — May 2014

Oxford is pretty good for cycling, at least compared to most cities in the English-speaking world, but there's huge room for improvement, those improvements aren't happening fast if at all, and I feel we need a change of focus to advance further.

In particular, I feel we need to ditch a "dual network" approach which is incapable of growing cycling much beyond its current share of transport and making it an option for everyone. Education and training, encouragement and so forth are important, but to make cycling significantly more popular than it is already we need to give people the option to cycle with minimal interaction with fast or dense motor traffic. more

making Oxford's Broad St a central square

Oxford — May 2014

The Plain is being rebuilt and ambitious plans to redesign St Giles have been floated, but for me the most obvious redevelopment for central Oxford, the one that will cost the least and deliver the most, is Broad St. All that is basically needed is to remove the car parking, remove the kerbs and resurface the entire area, drop the speed limit to 5mph and time-restrict loading access, and Oxford could have a showpiece central square. more

cycling costs

Life, Technology — April 2014

I've been cycling for four years now in Oxford, so I thought I'd look at the costs involved. more

Wheatley windmill + Bishop Edward King chapel

Oxford, Travel — August 2013

A few weekends ago I went on a short cycle trip, with someone I had met on an earlier cycle tour, to two sights I hadn't known about: Wheatley windmill and Bishop Edward King chapel. more

Kettler Spirit city bike - first impressions / review

Technology, Travel — July 2013

What is it? It's a Kettler Spirit, the product of a respected German company which sells online into the UK (though they do have a showroom in Redditch as well). Basically an upright city bicycle: what one might call a "Dutch bike" or a European city bike, though it's fundamentally pretty similar to my other bike, a thirty year old English three-speed roadster. more

a new bicycle?

Life, Technology — June 2013

I've been very happy with my old three-speed over the last three years and it's still a fine bike for getting around Oxford, but I'm thinking about buying a new bike. more

cycling with a baby/child

Life, Oxford — April 2013

It's early days yet, but I'm starting to look at the options for moving Helen around by bicycle. The basic choices seem to be a front-mounted child seat, a rear-mounted child seat, a trailer, or some kind of front-load cargo bicycle or tricycle (bakfiets-style or modern variants on that). more

ice photos

Oxford — December 2012

Some photos from the cold snap last week. more

Breaking up Oxford

Oxford — July 2012

A View from the Cyclepath has an interesting account of how Groningen in the Netherlands came to be the world's number one cycling city. more

cycling + speed limits

Oxford — June 2011

Oxford is a vastly nicer environment for cycling than any part of Sydney I know about, or pretty much any town or city I have visited. This is not because of its cycling infrastructure, which is actually pretty pathetic, but because of its low speed limits. more

between the bicycle and the electric car

Technology — June 2011

When it comes to "green" personal (rather than public) transport solutions, the only real options seem to be bicycles and electric cars, but I think the continuum in between those deserves more attention. more

cycling: helmets, lights and cars

Oxford, Technology — December 2010

I'm not sure where I stand on legally mandated helmets for bike riders. more

bicycle maintenance and evolution

Oxford, Technology — October 2010

Camilla and I have just done a bicycle maintenance course with Oxford Cycle Workshop Training (a member-owned cooperative). more

a bicycle

Oxford — July 2010

I bought myself a bicycle to replace the one that was stolen, and have been cycling around for a couple of weeks now. more

Oxford bicycle theft - stolen the day it was bought!

Oxford — May 2010

Yesterday, after waiting for them to get something the right size in, I bought a refurbished bike from the Oxford Cycle Workshop around the corner. I was very happy with the purchase, and put it next to C's bike at the back of the house. This morning when I got up it had been stolen. more

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