Spokes East Kent
Spokes monthly rides
Sunday 1 April, Romney and Walland marshes
A Marsh Meander on Sunday 1 April starting at Hamstreet station at 10.30am. Flattish terrain, 25 miles around some of the lesser known parts of the Romney and Walland marshes. Hopefully to include a pub stop and some interesting churches and sheep on route. Suitable for all bikes. Leader: Chris Beswick on 07980 391731.
Saturday 5 May, Catha's Seat picnic
Catha's Seat annual picnic this year will take place on 5 May from 13.00 to 15.00. There will be walks and rides from surrounding towns and villages, a locally sourced picnic, live music and a chance of hear about last year's award winners.
Sunday 6 May, Minster - Deal
Sunday 6 May 10.30 am starting at Minster station (Thanet). Ride to Deal via St Augustine's landing site, then to Sandwich on cycle route reaching Deal via the golf course. Depending on numbers, lunch in Deal at the Black Douglas café or one of the other restaurants/pubs or the end of the pier café. Bank Holiday weekend so could be busy. Return journey is via Fowlmead Park. Around 25 miles. Leader: Beatrice Shire – 07484 863554.
Annual General Meeting
Spokes's AGM was held on Monday 26 March in the Friends' Meeting House, Canterbury. Disappointingly the meeting was not very well attended but there were enough people present for all the necessary business - electing committee members, accepting reports, updates on projects, etc - to be completed with little fuss or bother. An AGM report and minutes will be added to our website shortly.
Our guest speaker at the AGM was Peter Wedlake, Team Leader of Kent County Council's (KCC) cycle training group. Peter, supported by colleague Pat Jarman, reviewed the courses KCC provide for children and young people and adults. Currently, about 3,500 children in primary schools (up to year 6) take KCC's Bikeability courses at levels 1 and 2 but only 150 young people in years 7 to 10 take a course (Bikeability level 3). The primary reason for this difference is the difficulty in finding time for the courses in a packed and demanding curriculum. Interestingly, once KCC's training team run a course in a secondary school, demand grows quickly and the courses are thoroughly enjoyed. Who'd have thought it, young people like being independent!
KCC's adult training courses tend to mirror the Bikeability courses. These are held at five locations in the county and are currently free, although this may change later in the year. So, book now if you're interested. Details and booking forms can be found at www.kent.gov.uk/cycletraining.
Peter also reviewed the progress of KCC's Active Travel Strategy. There are many Active Travel initiatives focussed on Canterbury, including:
Canterbury West multi-storey car park
It's not too late to sign the e-petition to oppose the multi-storey car park in Station Road West!
If 3,000 people sign the petition it will debated at a full council meeting. The Planning Committee will decide on 3 April at the Guildhall starting at 6.30pm. This meeting is open to the public so Spokes and Canterbury Clean Air recommend that as many as possible attend. There will be a demonstration outside the Guildhall from about 6pm.
Meanwhile, in the courts, two legal challenges were launched last year to ensure that future housing developments in the Canterbury area don't lead to worse air quality and harmful pollution.
The first case was against the Government for failing to call in the Canterbury South Expansion plans on air pollution grounds. The second was against Canterbury City Council's Local Plan because it failed to include measures to stop air pollution getting worse.
The good news is that on 22 March, the High Court adjourned the case against the Local Plan until the case against the Government is resolved by the Court of Appeal. This means that that local air pollution problems are now also being taken seriously by the Court.
Thanks to the generosity of local people concerned about air quality, almost £11,000 has been raised so far to meet legal costs. But, a further £15,000 is needed. Donations can be made online at https://www.crowdjustice.com/case/canterburyairpollution/.
A second shipping container for Wheel Potential - a Canterbury based project to help people with disabilties cycle - was delivered in February. It was generously donated and delivered by the Dutch company, BAM Nuttall.
Ruth Goudie, senior transportation officer at the City Council, agreed to extend the rent contract to two containers and gave permission for DDS from Thanet to dig out the site and lay membrane and sleepers for the second container to rest on. Thanks to them for this valuable work and to Ruth for smoothing out the necessary procedures with the City Council. Wheel Potential now can spread out its vehicles, making access to them easier and there is additional space for any more vehicles they might acquire.
Gender and transport planning
Ahead of International Women’s Day, 8 March, Sustrans published a report - Are We Nearly There Yet? - highlighting the need for equal gender representation in transport planning and delivery to help address the low numbers of women travelling actively in the UK.
The report shows that women’s journeys around cities are typically shorter than men’s, use different modes of transport and are more likely to involve ‘trip-chaining’ (multi-stop journeys) which tend to be for a balance of child care, work and household responsibilities.
The report also found that there is a lack of evidence to show how women participate in creating transport policy and planning in the UK. Currently, transport has the lowest percentage of women in senior posts within the public sector. In Scotland, for example, only 6.25% heads of transport bodies are women and the transport sector accounts for only 22% of female workers UK-wide.
Another reason to feel good about your bike and cycling
Aging, sadly, is a fact of life and the pace of the aging process appears to be compounded by modern sedentary lifestyles. However... researchers have found that high levels of cycling results in little age-related muscle decline and decline with age of the immune system is also lessened by cycling. But we didn't we really need academics to tell us this, did we?