## Tuesday, 26 June 2012

### £15m Is Good, Isn't It?

It was announced by the Department for Transport that £15m was being allocated to improve 'Cycle Accident Hotspots' in England, outside the capital.

First, let me congratulate the Times  and their Cities Safe for Cycling campaign on this success. This £15m is in addition to the £15m already allocated in London. This shows that sustained pressure can make politicians sit up and take notice and importantly find money where previously there was none.

I'm worried for two reasons though. First, and probably most obviously, I am worried that this is creating a two tier Britain. There are areas where funding is coming from central government and being spent on cycling, namely England, and especially London. There are those areas where little is being spent at all. Scotland being one of them. Don't get me wrong I do not begrudge the money being released by the DfT. In fact I think this is excellent news. However, I am concerned by the lack of movement here in Scotland. Each time we talk to the Scottish Government we get the same reply. We have already spent X amount, we have already budgeted X amount.....we are already doing a good job.

No you aren't.

Despite the obvious appetite for change as we demonstrated at Pedal on Parliament, the fact that the Scottish Governments own manifesto promises of 10% of cycling by 2020 and their manifesto commitments to a low carbon economy, we have yet to hear anything positive from them with regards to cycle infrastructure funding. Certainly nothing new.

Does this bode well for our possible future as an independent nation?

However, the Scotland/England divide is not all that concerns me about this announcement. It is the very nature of the announcement that concerns me, the fact that the money is going to be spent on hotspot junctions.

Junctions are by their very nature a place of conflict. Road users need to cross paths and do so in a manner that keeps everyone as safe a possible. It is absolutely correct that something needs to be done to make them safer. However, will making junctions safer in isolation get more cyclists out on their bikes? My concern is that this effort, whilst well intentioned, misses the whole point, a point that Pedal on Parliament made at our recent joint seminar at Holyrood. Cycle infrastructure needs to be Funded, Designed and Connected.

Firstly, £15m spent outside of London will become surprisingly thin, very quickly. This sort of funding would be tip of the iceberg in Scotland, never mind England. I am sure that the design itself will be fine. However, what about connection?

Great, make junctions safer, but will people actually feel safe cycling up to and between the junctions? Will this lead to a Fully Connected Network of Safe Cycling Routes? I am worried that having spent £15m on making junction oasis, that there will be a 'what's next' moment.

Great, we have some safe junctions now, but why aren't there suddenly loads of kids cycling to school? Maybe that £15m was a waste of money....

Joined up networks, need joined up thinking. They need stable, ongoing and more significant funding. They need to be designed to integrate, to actually take people from where they are, to where they want to go.

I really hope I am wrong in this. I hope I am just being a doom sayer, but I'm concerned that bits of money spent on bits of infrastructure will take us right back to square one.

We made the junctions safer for these blood cyclists.....so why don't they bloody use it.

## Monday, 25 June 2012

### Dragon's Teeth

It was pouring of rain, absolutely teeming it down as I looked out the window early on Saturday morning. There were flood warnings on the Met Office's web site. Oh, and there was a bit of wind about. What a great day to be getting up at 6am to ride 97 miles in a hilly sportive! Despite all of this, I dragged on my cycling gear, grabbed a quick breakfast, got my bike in the car and set off for The Dragon's Teeth Sportive in Kinross. I had to do it anyway as I was trying to raise money for real heroes.

To be honest, the weather was the least of my concerns. The ruddy great hills that I was to cycle over were much more concerning. This was especially the case as I hadn't ridden more than 12 miles in one go since August last year. OK, it wasn't as bad as it sounded, as that 12 miles was repeated each day both ways, 5 days a week. My commute was my training. However, not having trained any significant endurance or hills into my legs for 10 months was certainly a concern.

Hmmm.

On arrival at Kinross I was pleasantly surprised. It wasn't raining! Mind you the rain wasn't far away. So I quickly unloaded the car of all my cycling paraphernalia and decided on an outfit. Shorts (trousers would just soak up the rain), jersey, arm warmers, jacket, shoes, oh and waterproof overshoes. Of course, when I say waterproof, what I mean is waterproof at the front and completely open at the back. Yes the zips were busted on both overshoes. I did try and buy new ones in the days leading up to the sportive, but the shops just had summer gear in. Don't they know this is Scotland!?! I was pleased to see at least one rider with overshoes in the same disrepair as mine. We joked about the fact that the wet would only be coming from the front, due to our high velocity. Hmmm.

Off we started. About 50 of us all together, one of the benefits of a small field. It did worry me though that I would quickly fall out the back! I needn't have worried though as the speed built quite slowly and you do always get a boost being part of a pack. I really love riding in a peloton. Whizzing along in a group with 20 odd other cyclists is great fun. Mind you, with the rain having started the lack of mudguards meant I didn't have to bring as much water as usual. I just drank the spray! Did I mention the rain had started?

Then we hit the first hills. It hurt a bit of course. It always does. In fact I often find that first hill unusually hard. I suppose it's because you haven't fully warmed up yet, but the hill soon sorts that out! Having got the first hill out of the way, and still having some cyclists in my sights, I settled down and started enjoying the ride.

What I found, and I have noticed this before is that I'm actually above average at hill climbing. I tend to pass more than pass me. I don't think this means I am fitter though. I do have quite strong legs and I think I am quite good at churning my way up a hill. In fact I don't feel comfortable taking it as slow as some others do. However, I don't always keep the speed up as well on the flats and the hills get progressively harder as I get to the second, third, forth.....hill.

It was climbing up one of the earlier hills that I started looking at the other riders bikes. I was interested to note some of the small gears (large rear cassettes) that people had on their bikes. Did they know something I didn't?

I got to the first feed stop feeling pretty good, especially after the very fast descent into Dunning. I was in a bit of pain, however that was related to my front wheel kicking up a bolder into my shin, and nothing to do with the climb itself. It passed. The bun (a nice large bun with nice thick pink icing on!) and water was very much appreciate at the stop and I was soon on my merry way, looking forward to the next challenge. 'Have fun! ', said the chap at the feed station.

What the chap at the feed station had failed to mention was that now was not a good time to be filling your water bottles up and making your bike over a kilo heavier. Damn that feed station man! He would have known I was about to face..... THE DRAGON.

It all started gently enough. Coming out of Dunning the road began to rise. I understand that the only way out of Dunning is up, so it wasn't entirely unexpected. However, I  turned a corner, I looked ahead and thought.....OH F*&K! I'm not heading up there am I? Eek! Ahead of me was what looked like a wall. A road that got steeper, then further along got a bit steeper, and then got a bit steeper again. In the distance I could see a rider nearing the top of what looked the steepest bit. I couldn't quite work out if he was going forwards or going backwards.

 It never looks as steep on Google maps...
Oh dear.

There was nothing for it, so I buckled down and hit the first steeper bit. Very soon I was in my granny gear (34 x 25). That is when the panic set in. Umm, I have nowhere else to go here...I've ran out of gears! So what could I do. Stop? Go back to the feed station and tell the feed station man that I was defeated. Not a chance! The embarrassment! So I kept on going.

Hummff!

That was me on the second steeper part. It is now that I did start wondering, how slow can I go without falling off? 5mph at this point if I remember correctly. My thighs were starting to burn now.

Crunch!!

I was creeping on to the third steep bit now. Now would be a good time for a mechanical failure. Bang would go the chain and 'Damn! I'm just going to have to pull out now....'. Alas, there was no mechanical failure.

3mph. That seemed to be just about my limit before I would fall off. I just had to keep grinding at that. Must. Not. Stop....

It is of course at this point on the road, that  the mad man who decided to put a road in such a silly place decided to put in a bend, just to hide that last but not least, steepest section.  I bet he was laughing in his grave at that very moment. The problem was, I was at my stall speed, I had no gears left and I was damned if I was going to give up now. My only option at that point was to get out of the saddle. My legs were burning so much I was starting to choke on the smoke..... I battled up the last incredibly steep stretch.....

Phew! Made it! Umm, well, not entirely. The road builder had one more joke up his sleeve. Rather than put the really steep section at the top of the hill, he put it at the bottom, so there was plenty more climbing to do. To be fair it was significantly less steep than the 25% section that I had just trundled over (before anyone argues, it says 25% on the organisers web page!), but the fact that my legs now had a 25% section in them meant that 10% sections felt like 25% sections.

In the space of that 3.3km climb I went from feeling pretty good, to having legs like lead. I just wasn't prepared for The Dragon. Mind you, I didn't stop and that in itself felt like an achievement. There was a slight problem though....I still had another 55+ miles to ride! It was at this point I decided that the short route would be my saviour. Only 30 miles to go then. Just a shame there where still a few sizeable hills in that 30 miles....

The rest of the ride was all about getting to the end. I just had to make sure at the split point that I took the short route direction, and not the long one. Just stay alert until the split point and you'll be fine...

Eventually I came to Glenfarg, and I knew I had to be close to the split. There were a couple of cyclists ahead of me which was reassuring, as this meant I was going the right way. As I approached the junction I caught up with the other cyclists who were speaking to the marshal posted there..

Cyclist: Are you sure it's not left we need to go?
Marshal: No it's definitely right.
Cyclist: I thought the split was down there (point to the left)
Marshal: no, the split is further down there (Pointing to the right).

So we all head off to the right. The other two cyclists pulled away from me slowly as they were just a wee bit faster (OK, a good bit faster). About 10 minutes later I noticed that they were both stopped. I pulled over. It was here that they pointed out the problem. The road we were on was about to become the M9 motorway.

Oh dear.

Luckily one of the cyclists knew the area and directed us to a road that took us back towards Kinross. One cyclists went on to join the last section of the long ride while myself and another cyclist headed back towards Kinross. We wondered how many cyclists who didn't know the area were heading off in random directions!

My legs were...on their last legs by this point. Luckily the other cyclist kindly took my under his wing, or more accurately behind his back wheel and dragged me home. On arriving back at Kinross....Yeah!! Paul the organiser instantly apologised. Apparently about 15 cyclists had been misdirected before the marshal realised the mistake. Opps! We all took it in good humour though as everyone I met agreed that it had been a hard, but very enjoyable day on the road, and all were ready for the roll and sausage (or bacon or sandwich), soup and tea (or coffee) served back at HQ.

Had I slain the Dragon....? Not quite. Had it got the better of me? Again, not quite. It feels like I have some unfinished business that can only be resolved by a rerun....

WHAT? I'm considering doing it again!?!

Yes, if I can get permission from her that must be obeyed I'd like to take on the Dragon again. This time I'd be prepared. This time it might be nice weather (to be fair it only rained for the first hour or so) and this time I might even train before the ride.

Thanks to the organisers for such an enjoyable day and introducing me to a sportive that I am sure will grow into a classic over the next few years. Thanks even to the marshal who have me a great excuse for not cycling the whole 97 miles, and thanks EVEN to the road designer who was crazy enough to awaken a Dragon......

## Tuesday, 19 June 2012

### Glasgow's Great, Say the Council

Glasgow was recently voted one of Britain’s five most cycle friendly cities – and the only place in Scotland to make the top 20.
That kind of accolade is always welcome – and reflects the strength of the city’s cycling community and culture, not just its infrastructure.

Thus starts the article written by Councillor Jim Coleman on the STV Local News website. What a shame he was actually quoting research (not votes) which I and many others have already discredited.

Glasgow has done well in the research because very few people cycle and the statistics were based on numbers, not rates! You don't have many cycling accidents when very few people cycle!

I couldn't help raise a giggle when he suggested that it reflects Glasgow's...infrastructure! There is very, VERY little of that, certainly of any quality in Glasgow. Just look at the picture in the STV article. Note where the bus stops and where the bus shelter is.

Oh, here comes my bus...I'll just run out and catch it....

What I would love to know from Councillor Coleman is, how much money from the council's own transport budget was spent on cycling over the last financial year and how much does he intend to spend over the coming year? Yes I know they have spent some other people's money, but have they spent any of their own? Does Glasgow really take cycling seriously as a form of transport? If your from Glasgow, let me know your thoughts here or on twitter (#glasgowcycling)

For comparison, read what Edinburgh council has to say on the subject.They are spending 5% of their OWN transport budget on cycling. Now that is progress.

I wonder, is Glasgow willing to commit the same percentage of transport funding as Edinburgh? Perhaps then they might actually be in with a shout of being in the top 20 cycling cities in the UK. Trust me, they aren't at the moment!

I also wonder...I'm about to start organising an Infrastructure Tour running from East Dunbartonshire into Glasgow. Would Councillor Coleman and other councillors be interested in seeing what it is like on Glasgow's roads form themselves?

## Tuesday, 12 June 2012

### A Further Inconvinient (Cycling) Truth

My previous post has, according to my google statistics thingymygig been quite a popular read. I'm not surprised as the statistics made for depressing reading. There were a couple of proviso's of course, in that I don't have figures for cycling modal share in Strathclyde, I've made an educated guess. I also don't know how cycling rates have changed over time, or what the circumstances were for the accidents in the report. However, at face value it suggests that things are not great for cyclists in Strathclyde.

It was, though pointed out to me via Facebook, that individually cycling is incredibly safe. This is true. In 2009 statistics for the whole of Scotland were produced that showed that you can expect 0.57 deaths for every million kilometres that you cycle. That's a lot of cycling. I probably cycle about 5000 miles a year (a smidgen over 8000 kilometres.) Therefore I would be expected to die after having cycled for about 219 years. I've only cycled commuted for about 7 years so far, so I've a way to go yet.

There is no doubt that individually the risk is very small.

However, at the moment I am looking only at my personal risk. I am not the only cyclist out on the streets. The numbers may be small, but there are other cyclists on the roads of Scotland. So if, for illustration purposes we have 100 cyclists in Scotland who were all cycling similar distances to me (admittedly I do cycle an above average amount). How long would it take for one of those cyclists to be killed?

Just over 2 years..... statistically speaking.

Individually our risks are low, but with increasing numbers of cyclists, comes increasing deaths.

Ok, so this calculation is a little simplistic. There is research that suggests that with increasing numbers of cyclists on the roads comes reduced individual risk, however, it still remains shockingly high. I'm sure I know more than 100 cyclists through my campaigning work and my cycling. The thought that statistically one of them will be killed cycling over the next 2 years is shocking.

What about drivers though, what is their risk? In 2009 it was about 0.07 deaths per million kilometres. It's about 8 time better (I think this ratio may be worse in Strathclyde). So knowing 100 drivers, one of them is likely, statistically, to get killed every 10 years.

That's a big difference. Do we need to accept this?

Looking a the Netherlands, in 2009 there were 0.02 deaths per million kilometres. That figure, amazingly is not the car occupant figure, but the cyclists figure. You are safer cycling in the Netherlands than you are driving in the Scotland.

If I knew 100 cyclists in the Netherlands one of them is likely to get killed in 35 years. Much better!

So what is so different in the Netherlands compared to here. Yes there are more cyclists (more because of infrastucture?). That is certainly part of the answer. There are slight differences in the law as well. However, the most striking difference is the infrastructure. Cyclists are properly catered for and protected.

It seems quite clear if politicians, local and national are serious about getting more people cycling with all the many social, health, environmental and economic benefits that come from that, that soft measures aren't enough.  Asking drivers to be nicer to us hasn't made much difference so far. They must be willing to accept that to not only encourage more people to cycling, but to also reduce their risk of injury and death, that they need to invest in decent cycle infrastructure.

The time has come for our politicians to make the move, wasting time talking will only result in more needless deaths.

## Thursday, 7 June 2012

### An Inconvenient 'Cycling' Truth

Earlier on today, Strathclyde Police released their 2011/2012 annual statistical report. This lists crimes and incidents over the Strathclyde area over the past year. Being a cyclist I of course went straight to the statistics on road traffic incidents. It's split in various different ways, but two tables jumped out at me.

I've simplified the tables to leave only the percentage changes from the mean (over 5 years) and the percentage change since the previous year

TOTAL KILLED/                               % change from                        % change from
SERIOUSLY INJURED                      5 year Mean                            previous year
Drivers                                                    -48.8                                         -33.9
Passengers                                              -42.6                                         -26.5
Motorcyclists                                          -22.0                                          -8.0
Pedal Cyclists                                           18.3                                          21.3
Pedestrians                                              -17.9                                          2.4

TOTAL SLIGHTLY INJURED           % change from                        % change from

5 year Mean                            previous year
Drivers                                                      -12.5                                         1.7
Passengers                                                -17.1                                        -4.8
Motorcyclists                                             -6.1                                           26.4
Pedal Cyclists                                             5.7                                          -8.7
Pedestrians                                               -15.5                                          5.7

You'll notice that I've highlighted two rows, the cyclists and pedestrian rows. Looking at the bottom table first (slightly injured), motorcyclists have had a bad year with a big increase in slight injuries. However, compared to the 5 year average there is a drop. Similarly, though to a smaller degree pedestrians have had a bad year, but again 5 year statistics are better. This year cyclists have had a good year with regards to slight injuries, but concerningly that bucks the trend when we look at the 5 year statistics.

In summary, looking at slight injuries, when it comes to driving a car things are getting safer. It's a little less obvious if you aren't in a car.

The shocking statistics though are in the first table. Totals killed and seriously injured (KSI). If you are motorised you are safer this year. If you are walking, you aren't safer this year, but overall getting better. If you are on a bike though, it's getting a whole lot worse!

In the same year where 33.9% less drivers are being seriously injured or killed (this is of course a good thing) 21.3% more cyclists are getting killed or seriously injured.

57 cyclists were seriously injured or killed in Strathclyde last year.

What could explain this? Could it be that there are more cyclists on the road? Compared to the 5 year mean are there 18.3% more cyclists on the road? Perhaps. However, there are suggestions that safety is supposed to come in numbers. It certainly would be interesting to see how these changes compare to cycling rates in Strathclyde over the last year and compared to the last 5. If anyone has those figures let me know.

What is most worrying though is when you look at the actual numbers. In 2011/2012 154 drivers (108 passengers) were KSI. Over  the same time period 57 cyclists were KSI. When you remember that in Strathclyde the modal share of cycling is perhaps 1% and the modal share of driving is about 50%. That brings the figures into focus. Of course modal share isn't the best way to look at the statistics. It would be better to correct the figures with distances driven and cycled or perhaps the time spent on the roads. However, I don't have those figures. (Again if you do....) What is worrying is that these corrections are likely to make the statistics worse. I'd love someone to tell me I am wrong. (The police data is here)

So the despite what many other campaigns tell us, cycling, at least in Strathclyde does not appear to be particularly safe. You are very much more likely to be killed cycling than you are driving. Yes cycling in numbers might help, but when dealing with a situation like this, Strathclyde need much more than the soft measures many other campaigns think will change things for the better.

We need to make cycling safer if we don't want more cyclists killed or seriously injured on our roads. We need to implement the POP manifesto now. We need funding and we need infrastructure that actually makes cycling safer.

We NEED to make Scotland a cycle friendly nation.

## Wednesday, 6 June 2012

Cycling into work earlier today I was struck with the queues of traffic that I passed. Unusually they weren't in my direction but were heading the other way (they were in my direction on the way home!). It turns out that an off ramp from the Clyde Tunnel is closed which is causing utter mayhem.

Being on my bike, I avoided the mayhem of course!

It got me thinking.

I often hear people complaining about roadworks and how much disruption it is causing. It's taking me ages to get to work in the morning! Generally though the driver will see light at the end of the tunnel....Och, it'll all be worth it in the end I suppose. In a couple of weeks it'll be finished and things will be better...

Does it ever finish though?  Is there ever, truly an end to the roadworks?

My memory for such things is a little hasy, as roadworks don't have a huge effect on my journey to and from work, but I'm sure I remember over the last year or so:

• previous works to the tunnel on a number of occasions (each holding things up for weeks on an end)
• road works on the approach roads again taking a long time
• road works in Bearsden causing chaos
• road works on the M8, which although not on my commute has knock on effects everywhere in Glasgow
....and so on.

Just today a new set of roadworks started on a road leading to a road I commute on that will last two weeks. That will cause further chaos.

It would appear that there is nothing as certain as death, taxes and roadworks. It will never end.

Is there anything that can be done to reduce the amount of repair work needed? I suppose we could move the whole of Scotland to a warmer climate, where rain and freezing temperatures wouldn't help to break the road up, but we'd miss the rain! What would we complain about....oh aye, cyclists!

There is something that we could do. Yes it would costs a little to do it, but it wouldn't just reduced the repair costs of our roads, it would improve the nations health, make us significantly greener, help local and national business and make our streets a more people friendly place.

What is this miraculous cure?!

Cycle infrastructure.

Build the infrastructure that is so badly needed and not only will it do all of the things above, it will also take a lot of weight off our roads. Being a physicist by trade I love equations (actually I'm no big fan of equations, I suspect I'm in the wrong job!) and it has been calculated that road damage is related to axle weight. To be a little more accurate:

Road damage $\propto \!\,$ (axle weight)4

Eh?

Put simply, if you double the weight of your car, you increase the damage on the road by 16 times! So even if you are carrying a little extra weight around your midrift, swapping a car for a bike significantly reduces the damage you inflict on the road.

So whilst spending money on cycle infrastructure might seem expensive (not compared to a mile of motorway it isn't!) in the medium to long term it saves us money in so many ways. There are health benefits, environmental benefits and economic benefits. Add to that list the reduction in road repair bills and you'd be mad not to invest in cycle infrastructure.......

Wouldn't you?!?!

## Sunday, 3 June 2012

### Cycling for Heroes

Yes, I've done sportives in the past, and I've even ridden further than I will ride on the Dragon's Teeth Sportive, but this sportive has hills. Lots of hills. 10 hills to be exact. These aren't your wee tiddly hills, oh no, each one is a hard hill to cycle up.

 Hmmm. Not too many flat bits....

So what preparation have I done for this...hmmm. I do cycle to work every day, but working all day, having a family with 3 young kids, oh and organising major cycling demonstrations, I've not really done anything else...yet.I've not cycled more than 12 miles in one go. Oh and  I must do at least one big hill before the day!

Anyway, that's enough about me. I'm also doing it for a very good cause. We might not all agree with the wars that our country is involved in. I'm certainly no fan. However, one thing that is certain, the heroes that fight in them and risk their lives every day and suffer because of them need our support. Please give all that you can here.

Thanks!

## Friday, 1 June 2012

### Glasgow's Fab for Cycling: It's Official!

It's official. I've done it. I never thought it would happen in my lifetime, but it would appear that my campaigning has achieved something quite amazing.

OK, I'll admit I am not the only person campaigning for this. I'll accept that there might have been some others doing some stuff, but no...this is pretty much my achievement. I'm pretty sure about that.

What have I achieved? It would seem that Glasgow is now a wonderful place to cycle. Yes indeedy!

Proof? You want proof!?! I'll give you proof! Look at this table and you will see it's true:

The 10 most cycle-friendly towns are listed below:
Town/cityRanking
Plymouth1
Norwich2
Bristol3
St Helens4
Huddersfield5=
Glasgow5=
Dudley7
Ipswich8=
Cardiff8=
Walsall10

Glasgow is the 5th most cycle friendly city in the UK. Oh and don't worry, there weren't just 10 randomly picked cities in the survey. It had 60 cities. In fact it probably had more than 60. This was apparently the 60 best. 60 best, and Glasgow is in joint 5th place! Edinburgh is 25th, City of London is 50th and Cambridge is 60th. Imagine Glasgow is 55 places above Cambridge when it comes to being a cycle friendly. Who'd have thunked it!

At this stage I should like to point out that I didn't just make this table up so I could claim some glory. Oh, no... It was in fact produced by some people who know a thing or two about numbers. Bankers. Virgin Money bankers to be precise. The link to the press release is here if you don't believe me!

So it must be true then.

The ranking was apparently based on bike thefts, cycling accidents, serious injuries and deaths, cycle routes, and the availability of specialist cycle shops and repairs. Being numbers bods, they must have done some fancy calculation to produce the table, and of course they corrected the data for population as well. Sorted!

So I live in a cycling nirvana!

And yet.... I can't help feeling that all is not well. Mmmmmmm. Time for some investigation.

Research conducted in April 2012 by Virgin Money researchers using council police data for thefts, cycle accidents and KSI (killed or seriously injured) rates. Number of specialist bike shops calculated using search tool on TheCyclingExperts.co.uk. Number of cycle routes taken from Cycle-Route.com
Good. So they do provide some details of how they arrived at the results. First let's look at the cycle route website. Is the site describing Sustrans Routes or routes with specific high quality infrastructure? Is it an expert organisation that decides what constitutes a route? Umm, errr, no. It is a site where members of that site, where anyone can join, submit a route. Any route, be it on a path, a road, through someone's garden shed or 20ft under the Clyde. So it is a measure of....folk on the internet adding routes to a route finder site. Okey dokey.

Things look up though as the tool for cycling shops seems reasonable. Yep, put in my postcode and it finds the normal suspects. That's good. Being bankers I'm sure they added all those numbers up correctly.....

Now for the other metrics. Well, I suppose the police are as good a source as any. Ok, there will be discrepancies, variations in reporting, different methods of storing the data, etc. However, it's reasonable to go to the police for an informative survey. It will certainly give a ball park feel for the number of incidents, bike thefts etc.

So it would seem that the biggest issue is the cycle routes issue. I suppose that's not too serious. It is only one of the indicators and perhaps if lots of people are entering routes, then its an indicator of cycling popularity among internet surfing type people.....sort of.

It still just doesn't smell right, though. Yes I can understand Bristol being there, it is known to be a cycling city, but Cambridge and London languishing at or near the bottom, and Edinburgh a city which I personally know is miles better for cycling than Glasgow, being well below Glasgow on this survey?! I've just been at a meeting with the Scottish Transport minister where we discussed how much better Edinburgh is than Glasgow! So what is going on?

Aha! Being from a scientific background my magical scientific powers I can see just one wee final fundamental flaw.

The number of cyclists.

How many cyclists are there in each city? Have they actually taken that into account? It's not mentioned anywhere. So it would seem that the statistics used to determine the the most friendly cycle cities hasn't actually taken into account the fact that only about 26 people cycle in Glasgow and ever so slightly more cycle in Cambridge. OK, perhaps that's a slight exaggeration, but there is a huge difference between the number of cyclists in different cities and equally importantly the kilometres cycled on average in each city. Anyone who knows anything about numbers of statistics would know that surely? In a city with 26 cyclists your KSI rates will be pretty low, won't they?

Remember this research comes to you from a bank.  Does this encourage me to bank with Virgin Money? I'd run/cycle a mile from them!(assuming that they would understand that a mile is slightly further away than a foot?)

So it would seem that Glasgow isn't quite the nirvana that it first appeared to be. In fact considering how few people actually cycle here and the effect that must have on the numbers of bike thefts etc makes me concerned that Glasgow didn't come in first place in the survey. That's not good.

Oh well...I haven't personally achieved a campaigning victory in Glasgow then. To be fair, I blame all those other incompetent campaigners undoing all the fabulous work that I do...... ;-)