Wednesday, 23 March 2011

Useful Information?

I have accumulated a range of information links relating to cycling in Leicestershire and beyond. I decided it might be useful to share what I have got with the wider world. I have created a "Useful Information" page on the blog, you will see a tab to click under the banner picture. I am sure you folks out there have a lot more you can contribute, so suggestions please.
I thought maybe we could tie this in with Free Your Bike cards that we collect at events so that we can email on. Its not much use on paper without the links.

Friday, 18 March 2011

Deepest Leicestershire

I took a trip out along route 50 in Leicestershire the other day. Never heard of it? neither had I. Well in actual fact until last summer it was reginal route 77 which has now been resigned as National Route 50 by John Woodward a volunteer ranger in the neighbouring Leicester group. Apparently some 233 signs were involved - you can read more about it "The Movement" newsletter from Sustrans. From the little bit I cycled John has done an excellent job.

The Route starts at Willoughby Waterleys (love that name) south of Leicester at its junction with Route 6. From here the routes heads south through some lovely country lanes and one day will deliver you to Maidenhead!
The reason for the outing was to meet up with a prospective volunteer who lives in Stoney Stanton. Rory James from Leicester was also there as Route 50 (or rather part of it) is a logical extension to his patch.

We only had time to cycle a few miles down as far Walcote as darkness was setting in. A quick temporary repair of a sign at Walcot and then we were on our way back. Another time I want to try and get out a bit further (towards Rugby) and explore. Patrick Davis (Sustrans Area Manager) has asked if I will check out a couple of bits of the proposed Route 53. All a little bit out of our patch, but its nice to get out and see a new area.

Tuesday, 15 March 2011

Liaison Ranger Conference - Bristol March 2011

I attended the Bristol Liaison Ranger Conference at Bristol last weekend. The format of the weekend was an afternoon ride on the Friday followed by presentations and workshops the following day. There was a total of about 70 Liaison Rangers there (another 70 were at the Liverpool conference the previous week). Overall an enjoyable and useful weekend and despite funding issues (see below) the weekend was very upbeat.

I can give some more detail when we meet, but here are a few snippets for now:

Sustrans and volunteering in numbers ...
There was lots of recognition and thanks for the huge contribution made by an army of volunteers. In numbers ...
2704 Rangers, (3239 total volunteers) across 210 Groups
25% female; 11% age 26-40; 32% 41-55; 33% 42-64 and 23% active
average volunteer gives 4-5 hours / month
13000+ miles of NCN, 57% of population within a mile of the network

Volunteer Roles
Work has been done to more formally define roles other than the traditional "Ranger" role. The Liaison Ranger is now called a Group Coordinator and roles have been defined for signing champions; publicity; media; workday organiser; ride and walk leader; fundraising. Along with this the recruitment and induction process has been overhauled.
We should think which of these roles we might want to establish more formally in our group.

Sustrans Funding
Sustrans continues to get central funding from Scotland and Wales, but the central funding from England which came through (the now defunct) Cycling England has ceased. The government has given some interim funding for 2011, but going forward Sustrans will need to negotiate with (120!) local authorities.

Other Groups
There was a slot where other groups gave a 60 second update on their successes in 2010. What was apparent was the diversity of what groups focus on and get involved in e.g: Dr Bike; public bike rides; local campaigning; route maintenance (some quite heavy work); route development; ecology. This was borne out by chats with other people - the groups reflect the local issues and the interests of people in them.

Other Snippets
- Sustrans now has some limited capacity to do ride leader training
- they seem keen for groups to get involved in local planning issues that impact local cycle facilities (I went to a workshop on this)

Wednesday, 9 March 2011

Hooray - Leicester Cycle Maps are on their way

Hi everybody

Had a email today from Josh Wilce at LCC to say that the NW Leicestershire Cycle Map (now called Coalville area) is at the printers is should be available by the end of March. You may remember that Keith and I were involved in the development of this map. The map is one of a range of 6 maps which also includes reissued Hinckley and Bosworth and Loughborough maps. There are also new maps covering Market Harborough and Melton Mowbray. And, wait for it ... a Leicester Map (shock horror).

I have seen a PDF of the Coalville Map, but I have not seen any of the others - I am also not sure on the availability of the others, but I believe they were all to be issued at the same time as part of their "Choose How You Move" campaign. I have asked Josh for a stock of the Coalville Maps and a handful of each of the others. If we are going to do a Skyride stall again then we can stock up for that nearer the time.

I am guessing that I won't have these in time for our meeting on 3rd April, but hopefully they will be available soon afterwards. I will keep you posted.


Thursday, 3 March 2011

Would you be Bonkers for Conkers?

A new event for East Midlands Rangers and their families is planned for September 2011 at the Conkers site.
Les Sims,Liason Ranger for Derby with Alan,Ben and myself along with other enthusiatic Rangers from the Derby and Erewash Ranger groups are organizing a Ranger Event (In fact a camp) at Conkers during September 2011. The event is now firmly in our diaries and will take place from Thursday 7th September to Tuesday 13th September. Camping is available at the site mentioned in the proposal but Rangers (and families) are welcome to join us for odd days or rides. This will primarily be a social get together for Midland Rangers to discuss matters Sustrans, cycling and anything else that comes to mind.

I have cut and pasted a copy of the proposed programme of events FYI:

Thursday 8th Free rides using leaflets. Evening ride led by Burton/Swadlincote Rangers to a local hostelry, preferably off-road for the return journey.

Friday 9th: More arrivals (weekenders).More free rides.Evening - Social gathering in private room at the Navigation Inn. It is "Steak Night" (£3.99) with entertainment!

Saturday 10th: Short ride to Hicks Lodge Cycle Centre for mountain biking.Two longer guided rides. One to Bosworth Battle Field and the Battlefield Heritage Railway at Shackerstone. Led by West Leicestershire Rangers .One to Melbourne/Calke Abbey/Staunton Harold, led by Derby Rangers.
Evening - Pop Concert at The Pokey Hole which is, I understand the Conkers Amphitheatre. The performers are T-Rex supported by The Small Fakers, and tickets are £20. Advisable to book in advance via Conkers (Tel: 01283 760265).

Sunday 11th: Short ride to Hicks Lodge Cycle Centre for mountain biking.Guided ride to National Memorial Arboretum at Alrewas and Fradley Junction (Canal).Guided ride to Melbourne for Arts Festival.Weekenders leave for home.

Monday 12th: Guided ride to Abbots Bromley for Ancient Horn Dance.Further guided evening ride finishing at the Navigation Inn for another meal and a pint.

Tuesday 13th: Those still standing leave for home.

One of the main objectives of the camp is to test and refine route maps, planned and designed by Rangers, to pass on a legacy to the Conkers site/National Forest Cycling centre . These will be turned into leaflets and maps for the public to use. The Nation Forest company is interested in covering the cost of designing and printing these. You have perhaps noted that West Leics Rangers are to lead a ride so I hope you will be to support us in doing this.

If you are interested in camping then please contact the Campsite at Conkers yourself to book how ever many nights you wish to stay. Please mention the fact you are a Sustrans Ranger as if we have enough campers they will try to put us all together in one part of the site.

Please put the dates in your diary for now. ask Alan, Ben or myself for more details when you next see us or of course via this blog,telephone or email.
Thanks for reading this far!

Going Bonkers at Conkers September 2011