Sunday, 30 December 2018

Ealing Cycles Closes

After 46 years running Ealing Cycles, John Hoskins closed the shop for the last time on Saturday 29th December 2018. After nearly half a century of serving Ealing's cyclists, he has decided it is time to retire. Back in 1972, John bought the Ealing Cycle Centre from William Hinds, and started Ealing Cycles.

Ealing Cycle Centre in the 1970s

The first shop was in the old Hinds premises at 16 Bond Street. In 1989 John moved the business across the road to 9 Bond Street. Sadly the store will no longer be a cycle shop; the premises have been taken over by a company specialising in child education.

Since John's wife, Therese, announced on Facebook that the business was closing, they have received many messages of support. Rupa Huq MP said: "Always sad to see small business fold. My best wishes to owners as someone whose used the shop for repairs and parts myself."

Ealing Cycling Campaign would like to thank John and all the staff at Ealing Cycles for their service over the years, and we wish John a long and happy retirement.

Sadly, Ealing Cycles is not the only local bike shop closing down. Following the sale of Evans Cycles to Sports Direct, it was forecast that some branches would close. On 8 December, the new owners announced that the Evans store in Brentford would be one of the first to shut. Earlier this month, Mike Ashley, the new owner of Evans Cycles, told MPs that there should be a 20 percent tax on online sales to help save high street stores.

You can see a list of existing bicycle shops in Ealing on our Bike Shop page.
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E-Bikes Come to Ealing

Ealing Council has given American bike-sharing company Lime permission to run its electric bikes in Ealing. On 7 December, the first bikes appeared for hire.  They are equipped with an electric battery capable of taking the bike to top speeds of 14.8mph.

Users can unlock the bikes for £1 using the Lime app, and there is a 15p surcharge for every minute of use. This means a ten minute trip, say from Ealing Broadway to Northfields, would cost £2.50. A twenty-minute trip would cost £4.00. This is more expensive than rival operator Mobike whose bicycles are not electric and cost £1 for up to 20 minutes.

However, unlike Mobike, you can currently use Lime E bikes all over Ealing. If you park a Mobike outside of the blue zone shown on the Mobike app, you will be charged £20. If the bicycle is then stolen or goes missing, you could be charged £300.

When using a Lime E-bike, the electric-assist is most noticeable when you start pedalling. It kicks in around the second pedal stroke, and accelerates the bicycle more than you might expect. In contrast, the bike's top speed appears to be limited; however hard you pedal there comes a point when it doesn't seem to go any faster. From experience, this appears to be the 14.8mph quoted on their website. The bikes are likely to benefit people living in hilly parts of the borough, as the electric-assist should make it easier to cycle uphill.

As with the Mobikes, people have raised concerns about the bicycles blocking pavements. Both operators instruct users to park the bicycles in places where they won't cause an obstruction. Ealing Council has opted for dockless bicycle rental schemes as they don't require subsidies. On average each Santander docking station costs about £7000 per bicycle to install and maintain.

You can download the Lime App from the Apple Store or Google Play

Lime Website:

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Saturday, 22 December 2018

Reports Galore

Two major items have occupied us this year: the Uxbridge Road and the West Ealing Liveable Neighbourhood project. After the tragic death of Claudia Manera in October 2017 the Make Uxbridge Road Safe campaign raised a petition and led the council to commission a study into the whole length of the road within the borough from Acton to Southall from a well-regarded consultancy, Urban Movement. They have performed a Cycle Level of Service (CLoS) study, a formal method of scoring a section of road on how safe and convenient it is to cycle there. ECC and MURS accompanied the engineer for a morning to observe the working method first hand, then received the draft report late Summer. We met with Ealing council on December 13th and received the final report. You won't be surprised to learn that is is critical of (pretty much) the whole road. In parallel the council has conducted a study of the collision statistics for the Uxbridge Road to try and identify hot spots of casualty risk. (We shall try writing a digestible summary of these reports. In the meantime the MURS Facebook page has a write-up in their review of 2018 here and you can download the full report from here.) 

The council have been awarded £6.5 million by Transport for London to improve West Ealing as a "Liveable Neighbourhood" scheme and have allocated £2 million to top it up. We attended a meeting in November to be updated on the feasibility report, but heard no details beyond the good news that a stepped, segregated, cycle lane is the recommended option. Also the junction of Northfield Avenue and Mattock Lane, part of a cycle route passing through Dean Gardens is to be improved, though outside the Liveable Neighbourhood project. The original intention was to publish the report by this years' end, but we learned this week that TfL will release it in January. Once we get it we shall let you know. Some things have happened already. Kirchen Road now has a 'No Entry Except cycles' treatment at the Uxbridge Road end (making it a complementary pair with Bedford Road immediately to the west) and some cheerfully-coloured pedestrian crossings have been laid (in Felix Road, for example, near the Jacob's Ladder bridge over the railway). Let's see what the full report brings in the new year. 

See here for a summary of the project, though at time of writing this has no details of the design.

And best wishes from all of us in Ealing Cycling Campaign. Don't forget your lights, will you? We want to see you next year.

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Monday, 8 October 2018

Cycle training provider closes

Cycle Training UK ,the organisation that provides the cycle training for schools in Ealing, ceased training on 20 October. Ealing Council are going to put the work out to tender in March 2019, so it looks like there will be no training in Ealing's schools for the next five months or so. A notice on CTUK's website had said: “Thanks to the support of Ealing Borough Council, all the Bikeability courses for this current half term will be completed. Other training and Dr Bike events will continue until late October.” It looks like that time has come. 

The not-for-profit workers’ co-operative ran for over 20 years and for nearly all that time provided the cycle training for Ealing council.  In 2014/15 it trained over 1000 children at 42 schools in the borough, and ran individual sessions for 244 adults and 318 children. It also ran the Dr. Bikes the council provided around Ealing – roughly one per week.

Sadly, it appears to be a victim of the gig economy. It was a not-for-profit workers’ cooperative and paid its trainers a monthly wage. Many other organisations employ their trainers on a job-by-job basis.

Cycle Training UK revolutionised the way cyclists are trained. Back in the 1990’s it was a pioneer of Bikeability training - taking trainee cyclists out on the roads so they could gain the skills to cycle in busy traffic. Before then, cycle training was confined to the school playground. In the last 20 years, CTUK trained over 80,000 people, including many of the instructors that now work for other organisations. It provided Ealing Cycling Campaign with the ride leader and marshal training that enables us to lead our mass rides to central London for the Freecycle event. It will be greatly missed. 
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Friday, 28 September 2018

Annual General Meeting

Our Annual General Meeting was held on Wednesday, 3rd October, at our usual venue: The Library, Questors Theatre, 12 Mattock Lane, Ealing W5 5BQ, at 7.30pm.

We elected the following members of LCC as the new committee:-

Borough Coordinator:  Nick Moffitt
Treasurer:  Jon Chambers
Secretary:  Tom Hartwell
Meeting Chair:  Elly Castellano
Council Liaison:  Peter Mynors
Rides Coordinator:  Helen Hayes
Newsletter Editor:  Nick Moffitt
Press and Publicity:  Andy Hillier
Deputy Borough Coordinator:  position not filled*
Deputy Council Liaison:  David Lomas and Nick Moffitt
Deputy Rides Leader:  Alan Neil

* This position is not required by our constitution.
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Wednesday, 19 September 2018

Eales Ride arrives in Amsterdam

Congratulations to all the riders in the 2018 David Eales Memorial Ride. All 16 cyclists in the four teams pedalled into Amsterdam and posed for the traditional photo outside the Rijksmuseum.
If you would like to sponsor a rider, you can still do it through the following links:

The Story of Tonight
Elias Belkis, Nick Moffitt, Cici Romain and Chris Woods

Born to be Mild
Michael Broom, Jon Chambers, Richard Miller, Tanya O’Toole and Brian Smith

Old Friends
Elly Castellano and David Lomas

Chain Gang
Kathie Binysh, Giovanni Pilides, Ros Ramsay, Alexandra Taylor and Nick Goldsmith

Team The Story of Tonight (modified)

Team Old Friends

Team Chain Gang

Team Born to be Mild

Team Born to be Mild

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Tuesday, 11 September 2018

Help Install Segregated Cycle Lanes on the Uxbridge Road

Now's your chance to have your say on the council's early draft of its plans to transform West Ealing. There are two options for the Uxbridge Road. The first is segregated, stepped cycle lanes, which would provide safe space for cyclists. The other is a central median, which would force cyclists to share a narrower road with motor vehicles. Please support the stepped cycle lane option – here’s a link to do it. You can add comments in your own words.

Full details of the consultation are here.

What makes segregated lanes so good?
  • Segregated cycle tracks open up cycling to people who currently feel intimidated by busy traffic, enabling a lot more people to make their journeys by bike. This has huge health benefits – both for the individual, and the NHS
  • Cycle lanes are one of the best ways to reduce congestion in London, carrying up to five times as many people per hour as a main road. [details]
  • Stepped cycle tracks are safer than on-road cycle lanes as they give cyclists their own space, and help ensure motor vehicles stay out of the cycle lane. [details]
  • They can help boost profits in local shops. Although motorists will buy more in a single trip, cyclists visit the shops more frequently and overall spend more money. [details] 
  • And it seems installing high quality cycle lanes can even boost your house price! [details]

Why is the central median so bad?
  • This central median will narrow the road, forcing cyclists to share the carriageway with motor vehicles, which will not encourage more people to take up cycling.
  • Cyclists can get blocked by congested motor traffic.
  • A median island can increase the danger to pedestrians [details p.21]
  • The lack of cycle lanes puts pedestrians closer to polluting motor vehicles.
  • Slower cyclists will slow all the vehicles behind them, creating potential conflict with motorists.
After the death last year of cyclist Claudia Manera at the Lido Junction, it is good to see the council putting forward proposals to improve safety for cyclists, but it's imperative they choose the right option. The project is part of Transport for London's Liveable Neighbourhoods scheme.

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