Tuesday, 30 August 2011

Reasons to join a bike train #2

Another great reason to start cycling is for health. We all want to feel fit and good in our bodies and many of us will readily admit we want to shed those extra pounds!

A five-mile/30 minute bike ride burns about 180 calories; so if you do the Cotteridge-Victoria Square journey both ways (an hour altogether) you will burn 360 calories – the equivalent of half a portion of spaghetti bolognese or toad in the hole...If you want those calories in junk food terms, that's more than a McDonald's cheeseburger (300) and almost as much as their medium French fries (380). Other more sustainable meals are better for you and the planet, of course, so “I'm lovin' it” could be your new phrase for cycling and getting fit?!

Cycling also gives you more energy, helps improve the quality of your sleep, keeps your weight stable, and delays aging.

By joining one of our bike trains you could be making a step towards regaining your sense of well-being and youthfulness. If you want to be more emotionally stable, less stressed, and – paradoxically – more rested, you could do worse than joining a bike train from one of the five locations (Cotteridge, Quinton, Banners Gate, Cox Moors Woods, Fox Hollies) on September 22nd. Why not try for a day and see how you feel afterwards? You might be pleasantly surprised at how well you sleep that night and how satisfied you feel the next day!

Doing this may give you a taste for exercising on a regular basis – experts in The Lancet say that 15 minutes of daily exercise is the ‘bare minimum for health’. A Dutch study has also shown that people who cycle have fewer sick days: “The more often people cycle to work and the longer the distance travelled, the less they report sick.”

Gergana Manassieva

Critical Mass - cycling together in Birmingham

Using a push-bike for transport can be pretty stressful. Especially in a city which lacks bike routes but has tons of cars. The stereotype is that we hate cars, they hate us and it makes you believe that cycling is not that much fun. But you are wrong.

Cycling is great. What's more, it is currently the only truly green transport solution for cities. So let's make it more enjoyable by showing the city that cars and bikes are not enemies but fellow users of the same streets. This is why cities all around the world organise Critical Mass (CM) bike rides. The idea of CM is to ride our bikes together to show that we are not alone and if this "demonstration" can reach a critical number people can't avoid us anymore.

And what is the critical number? It depends. For example my city, Budapest, has been organising Critical Masses since 2004. The first event drew 4000 participants which surprised not only the organisers. This number did not stop increasing till we reached eighty thousand participants.

It was exciting to follow during these years how these demonstrations managed so achieve the main goals and changed the whole city! The city council started to build bike routes, modify traffic laws and arranged many new bike shelters. These are great things, but for me, CM is till about FUN. CM is about riding my bike with other people which gives me a feeling that I just can't describe.

You have to try it. Birmingham is not a cycling city (yet), we all know that, but a branch of resolute people are keep encouraging cyclist to join the monthly organised CM (first Friday of each month, meeting point at St.Philip's Cathedral, City Centre at 6 pm.


Even though it is still a small event, (100-120 riders in each month) I find it amazing to participate in it from the beginning and hope that it will reach the critical number at some point in the future. But in the meantime I go to the monthly Birmingham CMs to enjoy the ride, the music, the great atmosphere with my friends and to make some new friends. See you at the next ride on 2nd September.


And for a commuting bike ride together, Birmingham Friends of the Earth is organising Bike Trains together with Sustrans and Push Bikes. Sign up to join one of the five routes on our website.

Zsuzsi Mayer

New Cycle Route

A useful new walking and cycling route was opened by Cllr Tim Huxtable on Bank Holiday 29th August.

It connects Sutton Coldfield via the New Hall Valley, through Pype Hayes park, to the Plants Brook nature reserve and the Birmingham and Fazeley canal.

Some mumblings were heard about it being 'a route to nowhere', but it seemed full of walkers and cyclists on its opening day. These schemes are popular and cheap to build (unlike some transport schemes!).
This is part of Bike North Birmingham, a new system of safe routes backed by BFOE, Pushbikes and Sustrans that will link up green spaces. There are several schools, a hospital and three railway stations on the routes, along with 2 new cycling hubs . People will experience another Birmingham - one not from at the wheel of a car.

Bristol is investing £21 million to become a Cycling City. Since Birmingham is twice the size that would equate to £40 million needed here. Bike North Birmingham's £4.1m could therefore be seen as the first 10% of what it will take to make Birmingham into a city that people start to feel safe to cycle around. The Selly Oak bypass cost £63 million, for comparison.

A significant new cycle route is being planned through Sutton town centre, and anyone who knows Sutton can give their ideas to the public consultation (ends ends on 26th September). Ask for details email bikenorthbirmingham@birmingham.gov.uk

John Newson

Friday, 26 August 2011

Weekly compilation 26.08.2011

Once again, we've put together a compilation of all our most interesting tweets from the week according to campaign theme:

Energy & Climate Change
RT @wwwfoecouk: Parliament gives green light to polluting power - MPs approve guidance for future power projects http://bit.ly/o8M6wT

RT @mark_lynas: Why peak fossil fuels won't save us from #climatechange - vast unconventional gas+oil opening up:http://bit.ly/qiw9jB

BMI, Wednesday 21st Sept at 7.00 pm there's a meeting about setting up a new energy saving cooperative:http://www.energysaving.coop/

Some very useful lessons learnt on an eco-refurb here:http://bit.ly/ps58tM Hope it inspires others to do the same.

A bit close to the bone: RT @newsbiscuit: Government science advisors to be replaced by tabloid columnists http://bit.ly/qbHths

If only Bham would follow the lead of this council leader from Rutland protecting high streets from supermarkets:http://bbc.in/qpj7Gp

RT @wwwfoecouk: Government wildlife protection lacks action - is their new strategy enough to protect wildlife? http://bit.ly/oqC5pZ

RT @BrumLife: Bore: we need a markets guaranteehttp://dlvr.it/hcZzg #Birmingham #SaveBhamMarkets - What good is it by the motorway?

RT @wholesalegurru: Ladywood MP gets behind the Support Our Markets Campaign on tour of Digbeth: http://bit.ly/q4WlxW #SaveBhamMarkets

Birmingham Friends of the Earth Support Campaign to Save Birmingham's Historic Markets: http://bit.ly/r9qQX4#SaveBhamMarkets

You can now register for our Bike Trains on the website. Please do, so we know how many people to expect: http://bit.ly/n3LPxt

RT @AirportWatch: Government admits 'without further action' flagship aviation climate target will be missed: http://bit.ly/oaEyGN

RT @AirportWatch: DfT response to CCC report on reducing aviation emissions to 2050 published. Considerable growth.http://bit.ly/oR81fz

RT @brumcyclist: No easy ride for Birmingham Cyclists http://bit.ly/pfxczr (Birmingham Post)

RT @citycyclists: New eco developments in UK design out cycling and walking. People in UK not given choice NOT to drivehttp://bit.ly/orgRXo

Pensioners and disabled to lose half-price coach travel in govt cuts:http://bit.ly/nL3UEg

RT @FairFaresNow: Tourism in UK at risk due to high fares - 78% think UK rail journeys over 100 miles are too expensivehttp://bit.ly/oXYqv7

RT @Bham_carfree: Reasons to join a Bike Train No. 1 - Clean Air:http://bit.ly/npMPAr #biketrains #airpollution

The Train Arriving in Birmingham Shortly Will be made up of Bikes: http://bit.ly/mY0DBE

RT @HACAN1: This is a good article from Christian Wolmar A blueprint for a new British railway - Telegraph http://tgr.ph/oWBXZV

RT @Bham_carfree: Here's a good reason to join us for our bike trains - good for the economy and for health: http://bbc.in/qcBHF7

Waste & Recycling
RT @myzerowaste: Are you signed up to reduce your #waste? Join in with #nzww frm 5th Sept http://bit.ly/qaQzxB

RT @bbcmtd: Reward points to boost recycling http://bit.ly/qv2NX6 - Are nectar points really going to help?

Our response to the nectar points for recycling project is up on Birmingham Recycled: http://bit.ly/ophaIf

RT @Earth_News: Recycling rates highest in fortnightly rubbish collection areas, study shows http://bit.ly/qwEaZy @guardian

In a food chain dominated by centralisation, the wholesale market must be preserved: http://bit.ly/nZJnQv #SaveBhamMarkets

Challenging blog post from @marcreeves on divides in Birmingham that most only notice when there are #riots: http://bit.ly/r0Vf9A #wearebrum

Birmingham International Film Society put on some very good films and have a human rights festival:http://bit.ly/n27Li6

RT @Bebirmingham: Birmingham Environmental Partnership #SustainabilityForum 3rd October 2011. http://bit.ly/rlFu6B for details

Good article with new director of the Soil Association talking about changing the way organic food is seen: http://tgr.ph/pwEcKO

Wednesday, 24 August 2011

Reasons to join a bike train #1

Over the next few weeks, leading up to September 22nd, we're going to be posting reasons why joining our bike trains is a good idea, which also apply to increasing cycling in Birmingham overall.

Some of these will be more serious than others, but as the planet has now reached over 1 billion cars, there is an urgent need to start reducing our car use and In Town Without My Car Day or World Car Free Day is the perfect time to start.

Clean air: These days, the major threat to clean air is now posed by traffic emissions, so cycling on a mass scale can dramatically reduce air pollution, potentially making Birmingham a more pleasant and healthy place for both inhabitants and visitors. Given that the UK is also well behind on its NOx emissions targets, and facing fines from the European Union, we believe it would serve Birmingham – and Britain – well to act fast and effectively.

Please register on our website to join the cycling revolution and get on a bike train on September 22nd - it could be the start of something big.

Gergana Manassieva

Friday, 19 August 2011

Weekly compilation 19.08.2011

Here's this week's collection of tweets on news relevant to our campaigns:

Energy & Climate Change
Are you from Birmingham? If so, we'd love to hear your views on #energy in this quick survey: http://t.co/UtPsswm

RT @wwwfoecouk: Worried re being overcharged for #energy? Watchdog orders suppliers to explain how bills are calculatedhttp://t.co/83SC2rV

Energy saving light bulbs cut bills and help ward off price rises:http://t.co/PoU2yVx

RT @wwwfoecouk: North Sea oil spills are further reason to switch to green energy: Shell reports second spill http://t.co/OHF5DEr

RT @MikeChilds1: Solar feed-in tariff = solar cost competitive with fossil fuels in Germany by 2014 Deutsche Bank http://t.co/ihVSjut

RT @Bham_carfree: Press release up on the website now about the Bike Trains event on September 22nd: http://t.co/CHrn6uB

Good blog post by @wwwfoecouk transport campaigner Richard Dyer on hikes in train prices: http://t.co/Xy2Yo5c #fairfaresnow

RT @SaveOurBuses_UK: Suffering since bus service was cut? About to lose one? We'll take your comments to the minister.http://t.co/hXO2h5p

RT @RichardHebditch: Guadian editorial on Gladstone, Parliamentary trains & need for affordable fares:http://t.co/ET7HudW

RT @BhamRecycled: New post: Birmingham to follow Brighton with Bike Trains http://t.co/ud1JjAw

Are local #transport planners neglecting green travel? New report from Friends of the Earth & @sustrans http://t.co/otQnaS5 #councils

RT @FionaJoseph: Commuter fun at Utrecht Overvecht train station: http://t.co/B17Zkgg Would it work here in UK? - Why not? Great idea!

RT @leftfootfwd: How Govt could keep train fares down:http://t.co/y5oZyZs Campaign for Better Transport's @RichardHebditch #fairfaresnow

RT @AirportWatch: Aviation Biofuels - NOT the brilliantly "sustainable" solution the industry makes out. Lots of info.http://t.co/ofNxLkK

Waste & Recycling
This looks an exciting way to campaign against incineration - in the nude: http://t.co/ofufIMk Don't think we'll be stripping off just yet!

So Surrey achieved 50% recycling rate by collecting food waste.http://t.co/qTJP00F Why can't we do the same? http://t.co/dlDSYs5

2 waste petitions - 1st: RT @myzerowaste: Ban Supermarket Plastic Bags - e-petitions http://t.co/DXYOJgU

and the second one to put a tax on the incineration of waste:http://t.co/mTbaot5

RT @PhilBeardmore: Destroying the High Street is our job, Tesco warn rioters http://t.co/qUKBdwJ - too true, eh @loafonline?

RT @wwwfoecouk: UK wildlife gets welcome boosthttp://t.co/4mTiO8w -but strong policies still needed to protect naturehttp://t.co/0zdqu3J

RT @birminghammail: Don't forget - you can support Birmingham Markets by signing our online petition http://t.co/pQMqxTo #SaveBhamMarkets

This is what the "Big City Plan" said about the Wholesale Markets:http://t.co/ESfhMD9 - we were concerned then! #SaveBhamMarkets

RT @loafonline: Battle of the bullring - vid of traders up in arms about council's latest decision. #SaveBhamMarketshttp://t.co/8V0rA20

Nice photo from Cropredy festival where our volunteers were running lockups & doing phone charging to raise funds:http://t.co/1hqE6FI

RT @wwwfoecouk: Check out the preview of our 40th anniversary conference over on the New Internationalist blog http://t.co/NXkUXhh

RT @wwwfoecouk: CAP on Countryfile last night - we need changes to funding so farmers grow #food & protect env too:http://t.co/BH4agNt