November 2020 Newsletter

Welcome to the season of mists and mellow fruitfulness, and whatever else late autumn has to throw at us. However it turns out, let’s carry on cycling when and where we can. To help with that, we’ve got some seasonal riding tips for you. Also some spectacular Scottish scenery from a wild camping cycle trip as well as more local stories. And more about our AGM on 24th November – you don’t have to go out in the cold or rain, it will come to you. Plus we have a fantastic guest speaker. So what’s not to like?

Wheel Spiels: Midge mayhem

He may have misjudged the midges (yes, they are still there and biting in September), but Jon Phillip tells us about his otherwise fantastic wild camping foray to Scotland and provides tips for anyone wanting to emulate him.

Ten top tips: cycling in winter

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As the nights draw in, we asked members their best tips for riding through the autumn and winter. All these seasonal tips are valuable, but at this time perhaps pay most attention to number ten:

  1. When it’s bad weather, brake earlier and before the corner – you won’t know if that corner’s icy or covered in diesel until you get to it.
  2. Be careful riding on wet leaves & mud which can be as slippery as ice. Along with puddles they can also hide potholes which always get worse at this time of year.
  3. When riding in snow, it’s best to reduce the pressure in your tyres to their minimum as this gives better grip – don’t forget to pump them back up again later.
  4. Keeping a good pair of waterproof trousers in a pannier can save you (or your trousers at least) if you get caught in the rain.
  5. A snood is great for keeping your neck warm and can easily adjust whilst riding, it also doubles as a handy face covering when you’re in the shops.
  6. Check that your lovely warm coat doesn’t hang over your rear light if it’s on your seat post, if you’ve got a rear pannier rack try fixing the light to this to keep it clear.
  7. If you’re off the road and on a shared path, switch from flashing to steady lighting for everyone’s comfort.
  8. Get in the habit of charging lights on a regular schedule so you know they’ve got charge, rather than waiting for them to go flat. Having in two pairs of lights, not only will you be more visible you’ll have a backup if one goes flat whilst you’re out.
  9. Do away with batteries altogether and invest in a wheel that has a hub dynamo.
  10. Most importantly, enjoy it. Whilst cycling you’re best placed to take your time and appreciate the seasonal delights of our city.

Ward pedal: Rawcliffe and Clifton Without

The latest in our member-organised rides round council wards to show local councillors the good, the bad and the ugly took place in October. Two ward councillors joined Tom, Robyn and David on the route, and you can read about it here. We welcome more ward pedal volunteers – please get in touch if you’d like to get involved.

The Missing Link

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We’ve got some promising news about the proposed walk/cycle route between Heslington and Wheldrake. Cllr Christian Vassie (Councillor for Wheldrake Ward) has been hard at work, talking to landowners and council officers, and costing up materials. Earlier this month Christian met with one of the key landowners and talked through concerns about security and access. They agreed that these could be solved by planting a hedgerow, keeping people on the straight and narrow and enhancing biodiversity! There are a couple of other minor landowners that Christian intends to talk to and he is setting up a meeting with Forest England (who own Wheldrake Woods). Council officers has previously estimated that it would cost £500,000 to create this route, but Christian has found a way to significantly reduce costs. “The Surfacing Guide for Path Projects produced for the Scottish Government says that a 2 metre wide semi-bound path costs around £35 per metre length of path. Scale that up to 1000 metres and you get £35,000 not £500,000. I am now working with officers to confirm that if we dump the dream of a tarmac covered path and go for something like the current wide path through Wheldrake Woods – which I think we cyclists would all agree is fine – then it is more within our reach than people have previously told us!” he said. The proposed route is indicated in the map below with the fuzzy pink line showing the missing link. Do join the ‘Supporters of a York to Wheldrake & Elvington Cycleway‘ Facebook page if you’d like to receive updates.

ReCycle in running for award

ReCycle York, the bike shop on Walmgate, is on the shortlist for Britain’s Best Small Shop of 2020. The award is run by the Independent Retailers Confederation, a trade association of about 100,000 independent UK retailers. As well as buying, selling and repairing bikes, ReCycle (as its name suggests) supports waste reduction. It recycles more than 5,000 bikes annually and donates many to local causes.

Good news: cycling between Bridge and Bootham

A Council Transport meeting on Tuesday 4th November is set to approve a project to improve the journey between Scarborough bridge and Bootham. Key proposals are to: construct a ramp to address the level differences between St. Mary’s and Marygate Lane; widen the path alongside Marygate car park; put traffic lights at the top of St Mary’s; and revamp the crossing near the old Bootham hospital. You can read more on the YorkMix website.

Many thanks to all of you who responded to the consultation. There were 96 responses in total, so your voice can really make a difference.

Councillors get briefing on new government guidance

So what does the new Government guidance on cycle infrastructure mean for York? That’s the question we’ve posed to Phil Jones, transport consultant at Phil Jones Associates, and co-author of the new LTN1/20 guidance. And we’re delighted to report that Phil has agreed to do a webinar for York’s councillors this week, to help bring them up to speed on the new guidance and empower them to make optimal active travel decisions. This invite-only event will be hosted by York Cycle Campaign, but we hope to record the webinar and share it with members of the cycle campaign’s ‘Better Infrastructure Group’ afterwards.


Saving the best till last! No excuse for not knowing that the AGM is on 24th November. The guest speaker is journalist and hand cyclist Ellis Palmer from BBC Radio 5 Live. Ellis lives with cerebral palsy and uses a wheelchair to get around on a day-to-day basis. But he’s recently taken up (and become obsessed with) hand cycling. It promises to be a fascinating talk. We’ll also elect the Committee for the coming year (let us know if you’re at all interested) and vote on some refinements to the Campaign’s Constitution. Exact time and Zoom link to be confirmed, all you have to do for now is put the date in your diary.

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