City cyclist Jemma Smith was knocked off her bike in Corstorphine at 7 o’clock this morning, only two days after taking part in the cycling safety protest, Pedal on Parliament, at the weekend.
Half a mile into her daily morning commute to the city centre, riding her bike which was only a month old, she was thrown up into the air by a car. As a result she has been to hospital to be treated for concussion and damage to ligaments in both knees. Twenty-five year old Jemma who works as an analyst at Standard Life and commutes into the city centre, was passing the junction where the Scotmid store sits at the end of Drumbrae Avenue when the accident occurred.
Jemma became aware of a silver car ahead of her waiting to join the flow of traffic on the main road from the street on her left from quite a distance away. “The driver was indicating to go the same way as I was. Nine times out of ten drivers see you in time and stop. But today the weather was pretty horrible, so perhaps she could not see just as well, but she just kept on coming at me and just as I passed the junction she accelerated and hit me with the front driver’s side of the car.”
“I was in a primary position about a metre away from the pavement and wearing high vis gear and using lights so I thought I could be seen.”
“I am not 100% sure what happened then. The next thing I knew the impact of the car had pushed me sideways. I had anticipated the crash by then, and had stamped on my pedals, so I went up in the air with my bike attached. I flew through the air for about fifteen metres and then I landed on my head slid down to my shoulder and skidded along the road for a bit. I realised that I was in a very dangerous place in a very busy road. I saw the sky and my first instinct was to get away out of the traffic.”
“I was pretty shaken up and another motorist put me in their car to wait for the police. The lady who hit me with her car was pretty upset. I am a driver too and have had road accidents, and know it is very traumatic hitting something never mind a person, and of course it all could have been a lot worse.”
This accident will have financial consequences for Jemma who said:- “I commute every day. I just sold my old bike at the weekend too so I have nothing to fall back on until I get my bike fixed! Although I will not be able to use a bike for a little while anyway, and will have to rely on buses until my knees are okay again for cycling. I have damaged my helmet which is actually cleaved in two. There will also be repairs needed to the bike, and my jacket was ruined.”
Jemma concluded:-” I was astounded that according to the police officer who attended the accident, there is at least one incident like this in the city every day. To think that only a day or two ago I was at the start of Pedal on Parliament on my bike trying to highlight the need for increased road safety! It was a very well organised day. We were at the very start and it was an amazing sight to turn round and see all the cyclists behind us at The Meadows.”
The motorist has not been charged according to Lothian and Borders Police.
Pedal on Parliament took place on Saturday when almost 3,000 cyclists converged on Holyrood to highlight the need for safer streets for our cyclists. The photo of Jemma was of course taken a short time ago when she got her new bike. The cycle is now back at the shop for repairs.
Pedal on Parliament took place on Saturday 28 April on a day that combined sombre moments with an air of celebration. After a minute’s silence, observed by the crowd of more than 2,500 strong according to Lothian and Borders Police, a mass ringing of bike bells, horns and cheers marked the start of the ride from the Meadows to Holyrood. The ride passed without incident, with the police closing a number of junctions temporarily to keep the ride together in a safe manner. The ride was notable for the large number of families and children among the throng, including kids on balance bikes, with stabilisers, in child seats, tagalongs and pedalling under their own steam.
Once at Holyrood the petition was presented to MSPs Jim Eadie for the SNP, Sarah Boyack for Labour and Alison Johnstone for the Greens, as well as Councillor Gordon McKenzie for the Lib Dems in front of the assembled mass of cyclists. Also addressing the crowd were Lynne McNicoll, whose stepson was killed on Edinburgh’s roads earlier this year, prompting her to set up the Andrew Cyclist Foundation with her husband; and Mark Beaumont, the round the world cyclist and adventurer who rode the route with a handmade banner calling for a Cycle Friendly Scotland.
Participants decorated their bikes, and themselves, for the fun event, which saw children paddling and swimming in the pools
afterwards at Holyrood, as the spring sunshine seemed to make an appearance especially for the ride.
The event proved exceeded the wildest expectations of the organisers, and Dave Brennan, part of the grass roots Pedal on Parliament campaign said:- ‘Originally we’d hoped that 300 cyclists might show up – in the end, ten times that number cared enough to come out on the day. We’re overwhelmed by the response and it just shows the depth of feeling there is in this country, especially among families. There is clearly still a long way to go but today has shown our politicians that Scots want Scotland to be a cycle-friendly nation. Now it’s up to them to act on the proposals we’ve set out in our manifesto’.
Watch out for the bus lane cameras in Edinburgh, which have so far caught around 5,000 motorists according to The Scotsman.
The last of Joe Caplin’s drawings have gone up over the weekend. They can be found at the following locations:
- 20 Cowgate (At the very top of the Cowgate)
- Under George IV Bridge
- Guthrie Street
- Robertson’s Close
- Top of Holyrood Road
- Intersection to Viewcraig Gardens & Holyrood Road
We love them! What do you think?
Edinburgh businesses hit by the tram project have claimed back rates of around £5m according to The Daily Record. Businesses in Princes Street and at the West End say their businesses have been affected.
Three more days of campaigning before the city goes to the polls. Have you had a visit from your prospective councillor yet? You can find out all about the candidates on our Council Elections page with a link to the individual profiles and copies of the manifestos where we have been able to get them.
by Ryan McNeely
Marvel’s Avengers Assemble
Or, you know, The Avengers.
Loki has come to Earth to subjugate all of humanity. All that stands in his way is an untested experiment: the Avengers Initiative. Captain America, Iron Man, Thor and Hulk, along with Black Widow and Hawkeye, must join forces in order to defeat Loki’s extraterrestrial army and save the planet. There’s just one problem. None of them seem to play well with others. Ass-kicking, and a surprising amount of comedy, ensues.
So, is it as good as we all hoped it would be? Let me come back to that one.
With Cabin In The Woods and now this, 2012 is looking like the year when the rest of the world catches on to what geeks like me have been saying for fifteen years: everything Joss Whedon touches to gold. There are elements in this film that track back through all his earlier work, as if his entire career has been gearing up to this monster of a movie. Of course the most obvious one is the ensemble cast. Every one of his shows has featured a team at its heart, be it Buffy and her Scooby Gang or the staff of Angel Investigations, but the best comparison is to the crew of Serenity from the tragically short-lived Firefly in terms of the conflicts and mistrust that occurred between the characters.
That is a key element in Avengers Assemble: remember that, aside from the SHIELD agents, none of these heroes have any experience of working in a group. When they are brought together by Nick Fury and his operatives, there is a real sense of the personality clashes. Of course that is something that Marvel has been building up through the Cinematic Universe since Iron Man. The fact that these characters are all known entities helps that no end. This movie could have been made without the previous flicks, but it wouldn’t be nearly as successful. The backstory is a shorthand that allows Joss to bring in the superheroes without wasting a whole first act on telling us who they are and what they can do.
This in turn means that the new or lesser-known characters – particularly Clint ‘Hawkeye’ Barton and Maria Hill of SHIELD – get a chance for some initial development. And of course it’s always great to see Agent ‘SuperPhil’ Coulson and Black Widow again, which brings me to another key component of Whedon’s work: the bad-ass female fighter. To the roster of Buffy, Faith, River and Echo you can now add Natasha Romanoff. She got to kick some ass when she first showed up in Iron Man 2, but this takes her to a whole other level. Black Widow more than holds her own alongside the God of Thunder and a giant green rage monster.
Speaking of giant green rage monsters, Mark Ruffalo is great in his first gig as Bruce Banner and Hulk. Yes, he actually plays Hulk too. For the first time, the big guy was created via motion capture with Ruffalo acting the part on the set alongside his compadres. This means that he is a more realistic (ha!) presence within the scene, particularly when it comes to interaction with his teammates. Hulk is also the source of a lot of the bigger laughs in the movie, but not in a forced way. I was at the 11am screening which was sold out2, and of course Robert Downey Jr. is quipping left and right to great effect but when Jolly Green made his joke the place was in uproar.
No, I’m not going to tell you what it was. No spoilers here today. It was also really fun to see Banner and Stark bonding over science like the two nerds they are, all the baggage of being a billionaire playboy and a monster momentarily forgotten. Because that’s what Avengers Assemble is really about; this group of individuals being motivated by an outside threat into becoming a team and working together to save the Earth.
I think what I liked most about the script is that everyone is given their time to shine. Every single character gets that hero moment. If you look past all the sharp dialogue and pop-culture references and the strong female characters that have typified Whedon’s work, the one big thing that he excels it is the way he can marshal a big group and make them all unique individuals. This film has got eleven key roles in it and not one of them feels short-changed. They are all fully-defined people, not just ciphers there to say the words and take up space in the shot. Of course the writer and director is only one side of that equation. You need the actors too. There are no bum notes among the cast.
As I’ve said before, most of the actors have appeared as these characters already which is not only a benefit to us as viewers, but also to them. They’ve already lived with these characters and got to know them, making the performances all the more believable. As good as everyone is, there are always one or two that deserve to be singled out. For my money those are RDJ, Chris Evans and Tom Hiddleston as Loki from among the Marvel vets. Over the span of now three movies we’ve seen so much change in Tony Stark, from arrogant playboy to prisoner, to driven man on a mission (and that was just the first flick!) then in Iron Man 2 he was tortured by his impending death – at least until a little nudge from Fury and his old man – which manifested as something between ennui and nihilism, but he was still the one-man-band, despite his brief tag-team moment with Rhodey. Now here he has to learn to be a part of something larger than himself, to work alongside his intellectual equal and his physical superiors; basically, to take orders.
Evans’ Captain America is a man out of time. Everyone he ever knew, loved or fought beside is dead and he now has to try and make a life for himself in this strange new world. He is just as much of an alien as Thor or Loki, but at least they can go back if they want to. His scenes with Clark Gregg as SuperPhil were among my favourites in the whole film. The look of bemusement on Cap’s face as Coulson went full fanboy was just priceless. As for Hiddleston, in his hands Loki is a slighted child, pissed at big brother and wanting to make a name for himself. Yes, he wants to rule Earth and make humanity his bitch, but he believes that the world will be better under his yoke. He does evil deeds, but he is not truly evil in and of himself.
Let’s talk about the 3D for a second for a bit, shall we? I know some of you are all “3D sucks! It’s just a fad!” and I can appreciate your argument, but I respectfully disagree. Modern 3D represents a sea change in the way films will be made and seen in the years to come and it’s time we all got used to that. When it’s done right it can be remarkable, but to be done right the film has to be shot in the format. I am not a huge fan of post-conversion. Avengers Assemble is a post-conversion movie and while the quality of the work is much improved from even as recently as Clash Of The Titans (for example) it is not yet up to the standard of natively-shot 3D. Instead of a fully immersive image, we get something that resembles those greetings cards you used to make in school where you cut a shape out of wrapping paper with a repeating pattern and built it up in layers: the total picture has depth to it, but each layer within that picture is still a flat image.
I am not anti-3D, but even though this is the best post-conversion movie I’ve been to you will not miss out by seeing Avengers Assemble in a standard 2D screening. The IMAX, however, is absolutely glorious. Norn Irn’s own Seamus McGarvey has done an excellent job with the cinematography, and the score by Hollywood legend Alan Silvestri is just right. Both accomplish their goals without drawing too much attention to themselves, which is as it should be. Just like with every other aspect of the film, there is no showboating for the sake of it. Avengers Assemble is a true team effort.
So, is it as good as we all hoped it would be? Damn right it is.
Don’t get me started on Firefly, or this column is in real danger of glossing over Avengers Assemble altogether and turning into a rant. And yes, I’ve given up trying to fight over the name.
Even though it’s Avengers Assemble, I was a little surprised by how full the cinema was that early in the day. I had to reign myself in from screaming “Do none of you people have jobs?” when my toes were stood on for the fourth time by some idjit trying to get past me.
Ryan McNeely’s film reviews can be read here on his own site
According to the many who tweeted about it, the Pedal on Parliament event attracted around 3,000 cyclists from all over. This was three times as many as the organisers expected. At the same time, 10,000 cyclist rode in London and a similar event took place in Rome in a bid to encourage governments to take steps which ensure safer streets for cyclists.
Were you there? What did you think about it? Do you have any photos for us?
Our Photo today by Neil Davidson
Here is our Storify resume of the event….
For most people, chocolate and marshmallows will conjure up the image of a yummy dessert, but to Cathy Cassidy they’re ingredients for a fantastic book series. ’The Chocolate Box Girls,’ will grow to include five volumes. Two are currently on the shelves and the third is due to published on 7 June 2012.
With sixteen books to her name, Cathy has created a number of additional characters and storylines outside of the beloved stepsisters featured in the Chocolate Box series. The endless queue that trailed around Waterstones yesterday only highlighted the loyalty of her devoted fan base.
The 50-year-old author has been writing since the age of 8, when she created her first picture book for her younger brother. In later years she was the agony aunt for ‘Shout,’ magazine and fiction editor for ‘Jackie.’
Despite her success and passion for writing, she never specifically decided to write children’s books. “After years of writing short stories and working as a journalist in the teen market, when I started writing books they happened to be teen and pre-teen books, it’s just the natural voice for me.”
In addition to her love of writing, Cathy says she’s “addicted to daydreaming and inventing stories,” which makes her job the perfect profession. She says, “it doesn’t even feel like work in a way.”
While Cathy feels no author or book has specifically inspired her, she is grateful to a couple of her colleagues. “Jacqueline Wilson opened the market up and made it possible to write that real-life, coming of age genre, which I’m very grateful for. I’m grateful, as well, for J.K. Rowling for making it so cool for kids to read.”
Cathy may not write about the wizarding word that made J.K. Rowling a household name, but she does have her own magical world inhabited by her own cast of characters. “I like to write about feelings and emotions, about kids in real life situations, growing up and coming across different problems and trying to solve them.”
She does all of this fabulous writing, at home, in her garden. She, her husband, and her two teenage children live in a cottage in the Galloway Hills. “I’ve got a very pretty writing shed and it’s all full of my favourite things.” With her laptop in tow, Cathy says realistically, she can write anywhere, but in a perfect world, “I like there to be peace and quiet because that lets me make room for the daydreaming, make room for the story really.”
As the daydreaming carries on and Cathy’s books continue to fill shelves, mothers have begun to ask if they can expect their own series from the ‘Chocolate Box Girls,’ creator. “At the moment probably not and that’s because I’m so content really. I love the voice and the market that I write for at the moment, it’s perfect. But you never know what might happen, never say never.”
But there are things Cathy hopes will happen. “TV producers please contact me now!” she replied when asked if she would consider a film or TV series. In addition to her own desire to make movie (or television) magic, she says her readers have been asking for a film or television version of the books as well. “I got one classic e-mail from two girls who have already chosen their dresses for the premiere, for the red carpet.”
While the ‘Chocolate Box Girls,’ are not yet gracing big or small screens, they are gracing new pages. The third instalment in the series will be released at the beginning of June and “Summer’s Dream,” will be Cathy’s favourite book yet. “My particular favourite is always the newest book. Whenever a book turns up on a books shelf, as a real life proper book, and other people can read it as well, to me that’s the point when it suddenly becomes real. I always, even after 8 years, get a big kick out of that.”
Cathy’s friendly demeanour and enthusiasm for her characters and fans suggest that really, she gets a kick out the whole process. From start to finish she loves what she does, and that adoration has brought readers back, time and again.
Find out more about Cathy Cassidy’s past, present and future in this exclusive Edinburgh Reporter interview:
It’s Magic: Edinburgh International Magic Festival director and acclaimed magic circle magician Kevin McMahon launched the Magic Festival 2012 with a butterfly theme.
The festival runs from 29th June to 6th July 2012 and was launched at Lothian Buses central depot in Edinburgh’s Annandale Street garage. www.magicfest.co.uk
Fri 29 June 2.30pm & 7.00pm
The Royal Lyceum Theatre
2.30pm (Preview) • All tickets £10
7pm • £20/£16 adults, £16/£12 conc, £10 child
Duration: 2hr 30mins with interval
Voyageurs Egarés– an unavoidable trip into an imaginaryworld
Jérôme Helfenstein, Claude Brun
Sat 30 June 2.30pm
The Royal Lyceum Theatre• £15 adults/ £12 conc/ £10 child
Sat 30 June 7.00pm
The Royal Scots Club • £50 per person • Discounts available for groups 10+
Duration: approx 3hr 30mins
Over 18’s only
One-off Magic School Workshop • £15
Sat 30 June – Sun 1 July
10.00am OR 1.30pm
5-Day Magic School • £75
Mon 2 July – Fri 6 July
10.00am OR 1.30pm
Duration: approx 2hr 30min
Sandeman House Ages 7-10
Street Magic Master Class
Sun 1 July – Mon 2 July 11.30am
The Scottish Storytelling Centre (the Bothy) • £35
Duration: approx 5hr 30min
Javier Jarquin “CARD NINJA: ReDeal”
Sun 1 July 7.00pm
The Scottish Storytelling Centre • £12/£10 conc/£5 child
£30 family ticket available (2 adults and 2 children)
Colin McLeod “Sheer Luck?”
Sat 30 June 12.00pm
The Scottish Storytelling Centre • £12/£10 conc/£5 child
War of the Wizards Under 18’s
Sun 1 July 11.00am (Duration: 60mins)
Open War of the Wizards
Sun 1 July 2.00pm (Duration: 90mins)
The Scottish Storytelling Centre • £5/£3 conc
Matthew J Dowden “Magic of the Movies”
Sat 30 June – Sun 1 July 5.00pm
Tue 3 July – Fri 6 July 7.00pm
The Scottish Storytelling Centre • £10/£8 conc/£5 child
£25 family ticket available (2 adults and 2 children)
Bruce Glen “The Gentleman Magician”
Sat 30 June – Fri 6 July (except Mon 2 July) 8.30pm
The Scottish Storytelling Centre • £10/£8 conc/£5 child
£25 family ticket available (2 adults and 2 children)
John Archer “Forget about the Tricks”
Wed 4 July – Thu 5 July 7.30pm
Traverse Bar Café • £12/ £10 conc
Colin McLeod, Kevin McMahon, Gavin Oattes
Thu 5 July 8.30pm
Voodoo Rooms • £12/ £10 conc
Over 18’s only
Lewis Barlow “As Close As You Can”
Sat 30 June – Fri 6 July 7.00pm
The Vault • £10/£8 conc/£5 child
Michael Neto “UPCLOSE”
Sat 30 June – Fri 6 July 8.30pm
The Vault • £10/£8 conc/£5 child
Four Nations Magic-Off
Fri 6 July 10.00pm
Traverse Bar Café • £15/ £12 conc
Duration: till late!
Over 18’s only
POP Scotland – Green message – Bob Dylan – Cocktails – Learning how to make a film
Today at 2pm cyclists will set off from The Meadows to cycle to Holyrood and highlight the need for Parliament to make Scotland a cycle friendly nation. Pedal on Parliament has gained traction over the last few weeks and about 1,000 or more cyclists are expected to take part.
An election candidate in west Edinburgh has set a unique polling day puzzle for people in his area.
Green candidate, Gavin Corbett, who is widely-tipped to take one of the three council seats in Fountainbridge / Craiglockhart, has planted 9 stones the length and breadth of his area. Each of the stones has a letter on it which go together to make an important message. Once people have found all nine letters, using clues, and worked out the message they can contact the Green campaign team no later than noon on Wednesday 2 May. The clues are available as pdf on www.edinburghgreens.org.uk/site/local-teams/fc/ or phone 07847 504011 for a copy.
“One of the big worries about these local elections is voter turnout. This is especially so with the Tories, SNP and Lib Dems colluding to ban posters on lamposts in Edinburgh, one of the main visible ways in which people know an election is on. Low turnout is bad for candidates of all parties.
“So I wanted to think of ways of adding a bit of spark alongside the bread and butter work of canvassing and leafleting. The area in which I am standing and have lived for 20 years has so many fantastic assets: the canal, Harrison Park, Craiglockhart woods, the Water of Leith and some real landmark buildings as well. So, as well as being a bit of fun it is a way of showcasing the area at its best. And if it ends up with a few more people taking an interest in the election then even better!”
We have a comprehensive list of all candidates for the council elections next week here with individual profiles for each one.
Hard Rain: Whole Earth? is taking place at the Royal Botanics from WED 14 MAR — SUN 1 JULY 2012 in the Fossil Courtyard
- Hard Rain: Whole Earth? is a new, expanded version of the original challenging photographic essay about the state of our planet, inspired by Bob Dylan’s evocative lyric. It includes a section on the amazing solutions being pursued across the globe and here in Scotland. Visit the Tibetan tent and leave your thoughts on what needs to be done by Governments worldwide. The exhibition is premiering at the Botanics in the lead up to the Rio Convention. Free. Generously supported by the People’s Postcode Lottery and the Scottish Government
Espionage, one of the top nightclub, bar and event venues in the heart of Edinburgh’s city centre, is shaking things up this spring with the launch of its new cocktail menu! Also, in what’s believed to be a Scottish first – one of Espionage’s talented mixologists has created a very special ‘Scottish Mojito’, containing the nation’s much loved Irn Bru, which is perfectly shaken (and not stirred – just as 007 likes it!) – with Brugal rum, lime juice, sugar and fresh mint!
It’s the perfect fusion of this highly popular Latino drink with a twist and taste of Scotland added in for good measure. And all for only £5.50 (or £3.95 for those with a Keykard*, the venue’s discount card).
Nick Callaghan, Espionage’s manager said: “We’ve just launched our new cocktail list and our local clientele as well as the tourists absolutely love our Scottish Mojito and the other new cocktails we’ve added. These include our Passionberry Fizz, Bramble, a Very Long Island Ice Tea and the Spicy Italian Cooler. Do come in and try them! And if you have our KeyKard, our cocktails are only £3.95, seven days a week from 7pm until 3am, which is when we’re open.
“And if you’re looking to learn more about making your own cocktails, get yourself onto our Cocktail Masterclass course which we run regularly for £19.95 per person. You’ll get an interactive demonstration from one of our talented mixologists, make (and drink) two cocktails plus a shooter and receive a keepsake to take home. And we’re sure you’ll have an absolute ball whilst you learn something new!”
Today between 11- 12.30pm
‘Making a Low Budget Feature Film – the Payoffs and Pitfalls’
Would you like to make the leap into feature film production? Get along to a panel discussion that will offer practical tips and insider knowledge to help you make it happen.
Chaired by Ros Davis – Film Commissioner, Marketing Edinburgh Film Focus
Al Clarke – Producer, Wellington Films (Crying with Laughter, London to Brighton)
Mia Bays – Production Executive and Marketing Consultant for Microwave (Film London and the BBC’s innovative micro-budget feature fund)
John Maclean – Bafta winner of Best Short Film 2012
Allan Niblo – Vertigo/ NFTS (Producer and Co-Founder of Vertigo)
Event will include a screening of John Maclean’s Bafta award winning short ‘Pitch Black Heist’, starring Michael Fassbender and Liam Cunningham
For FREE tickets please contact Filmhouse Box Office on 0131 228 2688 or email email@example.com
Mohammed Al Attar’s short lunchtime play is a strong and sometimes shocking start to the Traverse Theatre’s new A Play, A Pie and a Pint season. Given the overall title One Day in Spring, and curated by leading Scottish playwright David Greig, the season explores new work from the Arab world reflecting the tumultuous recent events that continue to shape the region.
Could You Please Look Into the Camera takes us straight into the heart of Syrian detention centres, as film-maker Noura asks three former detainees to describe their experiences there. The harrowing stories of beatings, electric shocks and humiliation are difficult to listen to, yet as the tales are told, troubling ethical and moral questions emerge, ones that are sometimes at odds with the film-maker’s own strongly held views.
Al Attar’s pithy play blazes with anger, yet also manages to raise itself above the specifics of Syrian oppression to deal with more general questions of resistance, acceptance and the need for human contact.
Director Catrin Evans delivers a taught production that takes over one side of the Traverse bar. Alia Alzougbi convincingly charts Noura’s increasing questioning of her own beliefs, and her three interviewees – played by Umar Ahmed, Lucy Hollis and Gerry McLaughlin – give strong, sharply differentiated performances.
Could You Please Look Into the Camera continues until Saturday 28 April, and the One Day in Spring season, which includes six plays from throughout the Arab world, continues at the Traverse Theatre until 2 June.
For more details, visit www.traverse.co.uk.
More talk about cycling….
Pedal on Parliament will take place this weekend when a flash cycle will highlight the need for measures to allow safer cycling on our streets. Cycling is now being talked about by most politicians. Council hopeful John Knox is trying to cycle all the streets in Liberton/Gilmerton Ward today on a bike bedecked by election posters. If you see him send us a photo! Our photo today shows the January protest outside St Andrew’s House when the message was delivered to Transport Minister, Keith Brown, that he needed to do more for cyclists and others wanting to travel ‘actively’.
The Edinburgh Reporter is a cyclist, both weekday and weekends, both in an effort to get around more easily, more cheaply and of course with a view to keeping fit, and so this is a topic close to our hearts.
There are certainly still some black spots on our city’s streets where potholes can prove to be dangerous obstacles, and other road users, cyclists and those driving four wheeled vehicles, are not always polite, or forgiving of the slower road user on two wheels. But the benefits of getting around while enjoying some fresh air and exercise largely outweigh these factors, and we love using the cycle paths to get around town.
We talked to some weel-kent Edinburgh residents about their own cycling experiences in the city:-
Andrew Burns, the Labour Group leader on the City of Edinburgh Council, explained how he uses his bike:-
“I’ve been a keen cycle-tourer for all of my adult life, and have undertaken numerous routes over the last 30 years. I’ve completed three John O’Groats to Lands End tours; one Los Angeles to New York tour and even an extensive tour inside China, from Chengdu to Hong Kong! More locally, this September will be my 10th consecutive year of completing (hopefully!) the annual Glasgow-Edinburgh ‘Pedal for Scotland’ event.
I do enjoy cycling! And, here in Edinburgh, I use my bike to cycle to work every morning, Monday through to Friday, a round trip of about 4 miles. I do also, occasionally, use the bike at weekends to get from my flat to our allotment, a round trip of about 3 miles.
My favourite place to cycle in the Capital has to be the section of the canal I use every morning, from Harrison Park along to the Leamington Lift Bridge. It has the most marvellous mix of ancient and modern, near-rural and urban, busy and tranquil all within a mere mile-long stretch. I never tire of that section of my daily journey, and on my return-leg there are even now ‘canal tow-path, solar-lights’ to help guide me when it’s dark!
As for cycling in Edinburgh generally, I’m very proud of the progress that’s been made, specifically across the last two periods of different Council Administrations, and really do think the city is now close to a ‘tipping-point’. If Edinburgh Labour are in administration after the election on 3rd May, we’ll be certain to build on the good work of the last 9 years to make sure that more and more people make a positive choice to cycle on a daily basis. The all-round benefits are huge, in so many ways.”
Mark Lazarowicz, MP for Edinburgh North and Leith, said:-”I use my bike quite a lot in Edinburgh, although not so much in the winter or if the weather’s bad, I have to admit! I’m fortunate that North Edinburgh and Leith has a good network of cycle routes, and often cycling is the quickest way between meetings.
I have my own bike in London which I use occasionally.
I know there are a lot of cyclists in my constituency – indeed, I had an email on a cycling issue from a constituent a few minutes before speaking to you! She was asking about cycling generally but did specifically mention the need for better North-South routes across the city. She has a good point there – places like Picardy Place are particularly dangerous for cyclists, and indeed all traffic.”
Journalist Rob Edwards is the Environment Editor for The Herald. He is also someone who is regularly seen using his bike around the city, when he is not pinned to his seat writing.
David Miller, Environment Correspondent for the BBC, is an avid cyclist mainly for commuting purposes, having invested in a new folding bike only last year to make his journey to the BBC offices in either Edinburgh or Glasgow both easier and quicker.
David said:-”My bike has advantages and disadvantages, but mainly I use it to get to Haymarket, then I fold it up and get onto the train, if I am going to Glasgow. My regular route goes through Inverleith Park which is lovely. That is the best bit of my day! There I am cycling with the allotments on one side and the Castle on the other, and people out exercising their dogs in the park.
“If I am staying in Edinburgh then part of my route includes the city centre, and the cycle lane at the Rodney Street junction is a very difficult one to negotiate. The bike lane often has parked cars in it, and you have to judge it so that you get into the bike box before the traffic moves off, but it is not easy as it’s uphill there! So my route through the city centre in Edinburgh is not the easiest one.
“In the recent cycling debate in Parliament someone commented that cyclists need to know that they are protected by more than just a line of paint, and I think that is a useful phrase. Sometimes the bike lane is not the best or safest place to be, especially if there are cars parked there, and it would be good to be a bit better separated as road users. It is sometimes easier at busy places like the Picardy Place roundabout to wimp out and cross as a pedestrian. You have to be really confident if you are cycling on the road there.
“I also have a brilliant bike ride from Queen Street Station to Pacific Quay in Glasgow along the Broomielaw. At peak times I can cycle up the bike path to Haymarket and then take the train to Glasgow and have a lovely cycle along the river, which is better and quicker than taking a car.”
Lothians MSP, Alison Johnstone, is an avid cyclist too. She said:-”I use my bike for both commuting (not daily, I’m a bus and walking fan too!) and for fun. My favourite cycle way is alongside the Water of Leith.
“My regular route into town is along the Canal, then on to the Meadows, a popular route for many cyclists. Links between the canal and Gilmore Place could be improved. The cycle lane in Gilmore Place is meaningless as it’s largely covered by parked cars, particularly as it nears the busy King’s Theatre junction. This is a problem for most cycle lanes in the city.”
What do you think? Are you a cyclist? Give us your views!
We told you earlier this week about Edinburgh businesswoman, Bonnie Lawson-Brown, and the new shopping app she has just devised. We just had to find out more about her, after hearing her exciting news.
Who are you, and where did you come from?
I am Bonnie Lawson-Brown. I moved to Edinburgh from Germany and I have been a forces wife for 16 yrs.
What is the business book you recommend that everyone should read?
Richard Branson: Losing my Virginity. It offers a wealth of knowledge and advice as well as a ‘laugh out loud\ read.
What do you think your business strengths and weaknesses are?
I enjoy interacting with people very much. I can mix on all levels and I don’t get intimidated easily! <y weakness could be my love of talking (a little too much at times…..).
What was the defining moment on your career path that has got you where you are now?
It was realising that I could build my own business by offering a brand new service not already offered or used whilst walking along Princes Street. On a busy weekday I recognised the potential for Silver IMP in my very own eureka moment! After moving to Edinburgh I decided that I am not ever leaving. I then wondered how would I be able to achieve this, and decided it would be by setting up and starting my own business.
How do you spend your spare time?
I love to explore the beautiful city of Edinburgh, taking in all the architecture and the coffee shops. I also find that costume books and dramas are my favourite ways to relax.
Do you think you achieve a good work/life balance?
Yes, I leave the weekends, especially Sundays, free to take a walk along Edinburgh’s beautiful beaches with my boys and my pooch.
What makes Edinburgh the best location for you to live and/or work?
I find Edinburgh to be a beautiful inspiration, and also it is an empowering feeling to be in the ‘hub’ of things here.
What is your special area of Edinburgh, or special place in Edinburgh and why?
Princes Street gardens to take time out for coffee and lunch before and after meetings, and Portbello beach for the people, pooches and the chippy!
Do you have a business mentor?
I have some very good people supporting me just now. My family and friends of course but also my husband, my rock. My support from the Business Gateway and Edinburgh Chamber’s high growth business advisor, David Chisholm, has been exemplary.
My PR lady Clare Graham at Advantage PR was heaven sent! She is a miracle, and a hard worker who achieves what she sets out to do!
I now find that I have a wealth of business advice, support and a wonderful never-ending list of contacts.
Who are your business heroes?
The people who founded the high street cosmetics store, Lush, and many other self-made business-minded successful entrepreneurs
What are your business goals for the next year?
I want to grow awareness and gain exposure for Silver IMP, to learn as I go and meet other like-minded people. I hope to encourage people to shop and explore in the city, and make it easier and more fun to do so by the use of the Silver IMP app, but I also want to give retailers the chance to make contact with customers ‘out of store’.
Describe your typical day for us.
I wake up drink my coffee, check my emails and catch up the social media sites I use. My son begins School at 9.am .Then it’s onto the bus and into the city to have meetings about Silver Imp, or attend my part time job at Marks and Spencer.
Best job advice you ever received?
Treat others as you would wish to be treated.
Your plan of attack for the next 12 months?
To establish Silver IMP as a reputable and respectful, fun and innovative company to do business with.