Thursday 12 May 2016

Glasgow, A Cycling City!?


Yep, drugs.

That's the only answer I could come up with that could explain a link I was forwarded today. The writer of the article must have been on some pretty powerful recreational drugs.

At first the article made me laugh, but the article was not trying to be funny. Oh no. In fact this website was trying to list...


Great, what's funny about that. Surely it will be a list consisting of quite a few cities from the Netherlands, and Denmark, probably with a few other notable European cities, perhaps Seville, or Berlin. Maybe the odd US city. Perhaps, at an absolute push it might mention London, who at this very moment is taking baby steps, but important baby steps, towards building a segregated network.

It definitely wouldn't include Glasgow. No it wouldn't. Really!!

It did.

In at number 14, one place behind Amsterdam and one place above Berlin, nestled the Dear Green Place...Glasgow.

Wow. Perhaps I've been riding in the wrong parts of Glasgow. Perhaps I've just missed the good bits. Ok, there is teeny, weeny wee green shoots appearing here and there, but they are teeny weeny. Perhaps it mentions the South West cycle route.......OK, by European standards its a bit...meh....but you know...

No. Here is the wee bit on Glasgow.
Glasgow is home to the breathtaking Red Tunnel that leads from Finnieston to Hydro. The tunnel is car-free and offers an exhilarating ascent and descent. Glasgow has more than 300 kilometers of cycle ways as well as a flat traffic-free route that runs from the city, through the quintessential Scottish countryside to the canal side town of Kirkintilloch.
All of Glasgow’s must see sites, including the Gallery of Modern Art, the Riverside Museum, the Tall Ship and the Lighthouse, are easily accessible by bike and within five minutes of a Nextbike station. (Nextbike is the city’s bike-share program.)

Wait a minute!!! A 'breathtaking Red Tunnel'?! 300km of cycle infrastructure? And a canal path? That's what gets you to number 14? Oh I suppose they mention the Nextbike hire scheme...ok, that's a good thing, but that certainly doesn't make Glasgow a cycle friendly city!

So that Red Tunnel...What exactly is it?

Yes, it's a red tunnel with some green and red paint in it, Cyclists are supposed to keep to the green and pedestrians are supposed to keep to the red. It has a few sharp bends in it, it goes up and down and....well, it is a million miles away from breathtaking! That is unless it is the occasional smell of urine that is taking your breath away.

Seriously this is not a good looking structure. It was built because the Exhibition Centre (and other more recent buildings) couldn't be built next to the train station. There is a ruddy huge road in the way!

I actually searched the internet to see if I could find any pictures of the outside of it. I couldn't. Not surprising when you look at the Google Streetview picture of it....

Breathtaking? Hmm.

But this is a minor issue. The biggest issue is the 300km of cycle infrastructure that Glasgow is supposed to have. Let me state this very, very clearly....

Glasgow does not have 300km of cycle infrastructure!!!!!!!

I'm not going to go into detail here, GlasgowCycleMan hits the nail on the head with his analysis, We currently have (its increased a bit) about 4km of segregated cycle route. We have about 70km of off road leisure (some commuting) routes. So we effectively have 74km of any type of reasonable route.

The rest is made up of paint on the roads (20.6km), shared use, like the fabulous red bridge ( of which the vast majority is absolutely pants, 40km of what is called calmed/low traffic routes (40km) which are actually just....umm, err...roads that are a bit quieter.

Oh, and lets not forget the bus corridors. 83km of that. That is, roads that have some bus lanes. We can use those. We have to share them with buses of problems there...ahem.... when there aren't any buses, sure they can be good. They can be reasonable. when there isn't a bus in it, and when the lane is within its enforced times, which it often isn't, oh and where the bus lane is continuous, which it almost never is.

This bit is important..... The whole of the bus corridor is counted as cycle network. I cycle down a bus corridor sometimes on Maryhill Road. Lots of Maryhill Road has no bus lanes on it. That doesn't matter. It all counts in Glasgow City Council's network. Some of Maryhill Road does have bus lanes, lots doesn't. It all counts.

So, dear article writer. I strongly suspect that you haven't ever set foot in Glasgow and, as I suggest at the start of the article, that you are on some really spacey drugs. Perhaps Glaswegian cyclists could do with those drugs and we would all be cycling in Unicorn Bike

......What, you want to read the article in question? Well read

Friday 6 May 2016

Sticks and Stones

Its the week leading up to Pedal on Parliament. Its always a busy week with e-mails flying back and forth between the organisers. At about 10:55pm on the 20th April, whilst I wasn't sending any e-mails, I was keeping an eye on them on my smart-phone whilst doing the ironing. That's pretty standard for me at that time of night on a 'school night'. In fact at this precise moment in time I was having a Twitter conversation with Ross Greer and making my mind up about voting Green in the Scottish elections.


I hear a noise, definitely an unusual noise. I look into the hall and I see one of the cats mulling about. I look around for a moment and then assume it was just the cat knocking into something. I carry on as before.

The next morning I get up, and head downstairs. I open the curtains and, in passing, notice a mark on the front window. It looks like bird poop, so I think nothing of it. I get ready to go to work and off I go.

Later in the afternoon I get a text from my wife.

When you get a chance can you look at the CCTV for today. Not sure if someone has tried to throw a brick at our front window.

Eek! will do!

She'd spotted the marks on the window, and had taken a closer look. She also noticed a large rock in the garden.

I get home and look, and sure enough, there is a mark on the window, that exactly matches the marks on the rock lying in our garden. I quickly fire up the computer and log in to our CCTV system. There it was. At 22:55 pm I see someone running into our garden and throwing a brick at the window, before scarpering off.

Horrible, but fortunately no lasting serious done, apart from a few permanent scratches on the window...Double glazing is difficult to break apparently. Thankfully.

I called the police. When they came and looked at the footage, they agreed that it looked targeted. The suspect clearly hid his face as he ran into the garden. He targeted us, despite us having CCTV cameras.

Anyway a few days passed, as did a successful #POP2016, and life was heading back to normal (it takes a few days after each POP for that to happen!).

Then on the 25th April at about 10:20pm, when I was in the kitchen doing pretty much the same thing as I was on the 20th.....I hear a strange crunching sound. This time I head straight for the front window. As soon as I look out I can see strange reflections of light from the ground next to the back of our car. It looked very much like glass. I rush outside to see that the rear window of our car had been smashed and a large rock was sat inside our car.

They'd come back.

Once again CCTV caught the act.

Here is the CCTV footage from the two incidents.

The police were called again. Once again they agreed, that this was targeted and that it was likely something to do with my cycle campaigning. They went around the neighbours, no-one saw anything unfortunately. After some further discussions they suggested that I could share the footage. So I have.

I've been called names, I've been shot at, I've been threatened with arrest (completely inappropriately I might add!), I've been spat at, I've had death threats.

The last 10 (almost 11) years have certainly been interesting. All, because I took up cycling and, goodness me.... I dared to stand up for myself and not accept that things just happen. I'm not alone in doing this, I'm just particularly well known for doing this.

I am not anonymous and it is unfortunately very easy to find my address online. There's nothing I can do about that.

So, someone has decided to take direct action. Well, I say direct, by that I mean against my property and not me personally. They have thrown a couple of large stones. Perhaps they were also behind the tacks that were left at the end of my path previously.

What they expect to gain from this? I don't know.

I haven't received any demands, or any messages. They might be a driver I've filmed, a driver I've reported, someone who doesn't like POP, someone who wants the Bears Way cycle lane ripped out, a cyclist who doesn't like what I do......etc....

I just don't know.

What's pretty clear is that this is aimed at me and is 99% certain to be something to do with my cycling, helmet camera use or campaigning. I don't do anything else controversial and neither does the rest of my family!

So if anyone out there knows what this is about, please let me know. You can leave a message below (anonymously if you prefer). If you know who is doing this, either let me know or the police know via 101. Do you recognise the clothes the stone thrower (looks like slight to medium build) is wearing?

From the videos it can be deduced that the person (persons) is/are wearing:

Video 1: a cap, a puffer jacket with what looks like lighter patches on the shoulders, pale coloured shorts, a darker zip top under the puffer, possibly a watch or a strap on their left hand, and some trainers with distinctive bands on them as you can see in the video (anyone know the make?)

Video 2: Same build, cap which has a slightly darker visor (possibly the same cap as before), and possibly a motif on the front...otherwise difficult to see.

Were you in Torrance on either of these nights and did you see anything suspicious? Have you seen anyone boast about doing something like this online? Or have you heard anything about it in the pub?

Anything you can do to help would be appreciated.

As for cycle campaigning...well....there is still lots to do.....