With The Lake District and The Yorkshire Dales on our doorstep - KDCS offers an exciting selection of cycle rides throughout the local area and beyond. There are social gatherings including slide shows, talks and supper evenings and members are kept up to date with cycling news and issues through this web site, emails and our Facebook pages. KDCS are an affiliated group of Cycling UK.

Monday, December 05, 2011

Should you be mountain biking right now?

Seen at http://sacredrides.com/ delete "mountain" from the above if you wish

Gamma multifunction LED headtorch from Alpkit

The dark winter nights, have prompted me to write a review on a headtorch that I have been using for a couple of years now. The Gamma from Alpkit, is a Multifunction LED headtorch which has proved to be an excellent bit of kit, the price is a very reasonable £12.50 that belies its quality and performance, the cost includes free postage as well as Duracell batteries. http://www.alpkit.com/gamma

The head unit contains three 5mm LEDs and one 1W Luxeon LED. The unit pivots so that you can direct your light during use. The multi function lighting modes are controlled from a single multi operation button (SMOB). This orange SMOB gives access to two lighting modes each with multiple settings:
1W LED Mode - This is the large central LED, it provides the brightest light, in this mode the button toggles between 4 settings; High > Low > Strobe > Off.
5mm LED Mode - This mode toggles between the three 5mm LEDs and has 5 settings; White LED > Green LED > Red LED > Red LED (Strobe) > Off.
Why do you need different colours?
The different colours on the Gamma are for a few different uses, the main white beam lets you see loads, but to save on battery power the 5mm white LED will let you do most tasks in the dark. The solid Red 5mm LED is great to stop you losing your night vision, the Green LED is great for looking at the map while walking along and highlighting the contours, where the red one makes them disappear. The flashing red lights are great for saving on battery life, for use in an emergency or to scare the kids with a story about monsters and their one flashing red eye.
Bonus Backlight LED -  
In addition to the two modes of the head unit,  it also has a red LED light fitted onto the  battery pack which is fitted with 3 light settings; On > Strobe > Off. A button on the side of the battery compartment cycles between these settings and operates independently from the button on the head unit.
Helmet Mounting a Gamma Headtorch - 

With the elastic straps supplied I have found it was possible to mount it to a cycle helmet, rather than using this as the main light for cycling at night, it proved ideal for lighting any mechanical issues at arise. Normally at night the main lights are mounted on the bike and need to be removed to see anything needing attention on the bike. It also serves well as a emergency reserve light in case of lighting problems. The red light on the battery pack, when helmet mounted is a useful addition for overall rear lighting. I have now added to my lights and so have a helmet and bar mounted light, but still ensure that I have the Gamma headtorch in my back pack for emergencies, it is also invaluable when getting back to parked cars in the dark and changing and loading.

Conclusion – Excellent performance, and superb value for money -highly recommended.
For more information, links to tests and more reviews of the Gamma headtorch go to - KDCS Tested + Reviewed - http://kdcs-tested.blogspot.com/2011/12/gamma-multifunction-led-headtorch-from.html
Many thanks to Alpkit for allowing the use of their photo's in this review.

Monday, October 31, 2011

Mountain Bike Rides

This summer, Bill Jackson started a simple programme of mountain bike rides. KDCS has had occasional mountain bike rides in the rides list, and also at times a few members have got together for a mountain bike ride. Bill wanted to open these up on a more regular basis, so everybody would know where and when they would start. The rides are every week; they start from a different point on Thursday, (Link to Mountain Bike ride list). From November they start at 10am, we try to find a morning coffee stop, but this is not always possible, we sometimes manage to find a lunch stop. On the last ride we had lunch in some style at The Shap Wells Hotel, but mostly sandwiches are taken for lunch. The route is decided by discussion before the ride, come a bit earlier and bring your map and ideas for that perfect ride, normally between 15 and 25 miles. These rides take place regardless of weather conditions, if no one else turns up, just go, and do your own route.
Photo - At the cairn on top of Crag Hill, Birkbeck Fells Common, Neil, Bill and Mark on the Tebay-Shap-Borrowdale ride, Mike took the photo.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Report from Arnside to Grange cycle path (ATOG) meeting in Arnside, 12 August

A meeting was held at Laura Lee’s Coffee shop in Arnside on Friday 12 August. This was held to start preparations for a formal launch of ATOG later in the year. Present were Stuart Reid, Adrian Waddingham, Andrew Judson, Sue Cox, Catherine Wandzel and Richard Wandzel. Geoff Kirkham had given apologies.

Subjects discussed were:
  • The ATOG constitution which Adrian has compiled. The current draft is attached. This covers voluntary donations and subscriptions, Members and Supporters. The need to set up a bank account.
  • The Constitution should cover the need to establish officers and utilise skills available from Supporters. We hope the list of Supporters will include local politicians, representative of local bodies and anyone who can bring support to ATOG, but without necessarily being actively involved.
  • Richard and Catherine Wandzel have kindly offered to be the initial ATOG representative for the Grange area. Richard will obtain for us the details of the Grange County Councillor and other important contacts in Grange. Adrian will make contact with the MP Tim Farron and leading Councillors inviting support.
  • We will plan launch meetings in both Arnside and Grange, probably in September to sign up initial Members and to approve the Constitution. Meetings will be held at a convenient time, either at the weekend or on evenings. Adrian will draft publicity posters for these meetings in due course. Richard will check available dates at Grange Town Hall.
  • A website is probably needed, and we may also set up a Facebook page for to encourage ideas and discussion from supporters. Richard and Catherine will consider this further.
  • The new Coastal Communities Fund (launched by Government this month) may be a source of grants. Adrian will pursue his contacts with Sustrans (the cycling charity) who could be a major sponsor?
  • Stuart will establish the initial prospective list of members from his contact list as some people had not had responses when they offered support.
Future open meetings will possibly be advertised in “Grange Now” and the “Arnside Broadsheet”. To join the ATOG email list, email ATOG2011@talktalk.net.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Appeal for volunteers | Thursday 29 September | Helvellyn 'Fell Care Day'

We've just had this from the nice folk at Flora of the Fells...
Contact Sue Manson on 01539 733187 (Monday to Thursday) if you'd like to join in!

“The Flora of the Fells Project has been raising awareness of the special qualities of Cumbria’s upland landscapes for the last nine years through festival events, education work and publications.

This year we are running two high profile autumn ‘Fell Care Days’ at Helvellyn and Ennerdale and we are now looking for volunteers to help with the Helvellyn Fell Care Day on Thursday 29 September.

The aims of the Fell Care Days are to highlight the huge role volunteering plays in conserving and managing the fells through a day of practical conservation activities involving lots of different volunteer groups and raising awareness about the benefits which the uplands provide for us all.

Volunteers from Friends of the Lake District, schools, colleges, LDNPA, Fix the Fells, Mosaic groups, businesses and individuals will be taking part and we’ll have an activity that members of the public can join in on the day. United Utilities are key partners in the day.

The themes for the Helvellyn Fell Care Day are land management for water quality and woods. The day will also celebrate 2011 as the European Year of Volunteering, International Year of Forests and the 60th Birthday of the Lake District National Park.

So….we are looking for Volunteers to help us in the following ways at:
Helvellyn Thursday 29 September
(‘Hub’ based at Swirls car park, east shore of Thirlmere. Volunteer work parties start at 9.30am, activities finish by 5.30pm latest)

Volunteering opportunities:
1. Setting up and manning of the hub and refreshments at Swirls car park from 8am
2. Greeting and signing in of volunteers from 8.45am
3. Awareness raising and membership recruitment at Swirls ‘hub’
4. Footpath repair work & brash clearance in Swirls Wood
5. Drain clearance on high fells with Fix the Fells – 3 routes from 4 to 6 hrs each
6. Litter clearance high fells – Swirral & Striding Edge – very fit people only with a head for heights
7. Clearance of helicopter bags from Helvellyn Gill – strong, fit people needed
8. Litter clearance – Thirlmere lakeshore
9. Tree work – tree tube straightening – need to be mobile, very rough, steep terrain
10. Tree work – cutting conifer regeneration – rough terrain
11. Helping with school groups rebuilding of a red squirrel hide
12. Red squirrel survey work – on potentially steep terrain
13. Running bird and bat box building with school groups & members of the public
14. Rebuilding of a sheepfold on high fell – for experienced, fit wallers – 50 minute steep walk in.
15. Helping shepherd a guided walk about land management for water quality
16. Clearing up the marquee & hub at the end of the day
17. Creating a short video diary of the day – preferably using own camcorder
18. Creating a photo diary of the day with the different conservation activities
19. Taking time lapse photos of the rebuilding of the sheepfold
20. Cake baking for the volunteer refreshments – need to be delivered to FLD Murley Moss office by Wednesday 28 September.

Variety of Volunteer skills required:
· Reasonable fitness & mobility
· Experienced, fit drystone wallers
· Super fit volunteers for work at high level on steep slopes
· People with video and editing skills or keen to have a go
· People who enjoy meeting people and awareness raising
· 1st aiders
· People with experience of leading practical conservation tasks as well as participating

Equipment we would like to borrow:
· 3 large kettles
Once we have a team of volunteers I will arrange a briefing session for the activity leaders in the week of 19 September.
If you are interested in helping us with any of these activities please do get in touch – volunteers will be absolutely key in making the day happen.

Kind regards
Sue Manson
direct line 01539 733187
Flora of the Fells Events and Communications Officer
(Please note I work 4 days, usual Monday to Thursday)

Tuesday, August 09, 2011

Taking the ATOG campaign to the next stage

ATOG, the campaign group set up to get an Arnside to Grange Cycle & Footpath alongside the viaduct, is pressing on with the campaign - to be ready when the chance next comes up for the path to be installed during future maintenance work. There is a possibility that the new Coastal Communities Fund might be helpful in the raising the money for the work. They are holding a meeting on Friday 12 August to discuss the options and have sent out the following invitation to supporters of the scheme:

‘It is time to make ATOG more formal, and we are working on a constitution and seeking members and supporters. Adrian Waddingham, Geoff Kirkham and Stuart Reid are working on a constitution and are meeting in Arnside at 10am on Friday 12 August at Laura Lee's Cafe. You are welcome to come along. We expect to have further meetings around the bank holiday in late August. You can also express interest and introduce other supporters on ATOG2011@talktalk.net

Wednesday, June 01, 2011

Cycle Maintenance and Cycle Training in June and July

Bike Maintenance Training
Do you know anyone who might be interested in learning some basic bike maintenance skills? SLACC are running some courses again this year in Staveley.

Women's Basic Cycle Maintenance Sat 2 July 11-2 at the Pavilion in Staveley.
Mixed Basic Cycle Maintenance Sat 20 July 11-2 at the Pavilion in Staveley.

To book please send a cheque for £17 to 'South Lakes Action on Climate Change Towards Transition' c/o Ruth Jennings, Sunny Orchard Farm, Kentmere Rd, Staveley, LA8 9JF.
Contact info@staveley-gti.co.uk or 07851 719444 for more information.

Cycle Training for Adults
...because it's never too late to learn. SLACC are offering free training sessions for adults with fully qualified Bikeability trainers. Bikeability is 'cycling proficiency for the 21st century'. Do you know any individuals or groups who would benefit from these free sessions? Please encourage them to sign up!
  • Thinking of taking up cycling but not sure about it?
  • Enjoy the cycle paths but not the roads?
  • Have a bike but would like to brush up on your riding skills?
Sign up for free cycle training sessions with friendly professional Cyclewise trainers at Kendal Leisure Centre. Afternoon and evening sessions available to suit you. (Level 1 or 2/ 3.)
Thursdays 16th, 23rd, 30th June and 7th July 2011.
Contact Ruth Jennings on 07851 719444 or info@staveley-gti.co.uk for information and to book a place.

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Workplace Cycle Challenge 2011 - Help!

We've had this message from Liz Ashburn, Transport Group Coordinator of SLACC:

The lead up to the Workplace Cycle Challenge is well under way, with the new website about to go live early next week, and the job list lengthening. So a Transport Group meeting will take place on Tuesday 31 May at 7.30pm in the Intro Bar at the Brewery to check on progress and see how things are shaping up.

It would be great if as many people as possible could make it, or if not possible, please let Sonny know in advance if you are able to help in the last push to sign up as many participants as possible. We have leaflets and posters to distribute. This year the challenge runs from 13 June to 22 July and there are prizes for greatest total mileage for team of up to 5 people, greatest number of trips for a team of up to 5 people, greatest number of trips by a new or returning cyclist and several other group prizes.

Please contact Sonny if you can help in any way.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Update on Arnside–Grange cycleway/footpath

ATOG have sent us a link to an article in the North West Evening Mail which looks hopeful that there may be a route across the viaduct at some point in the future...

Click here to read all about it!

Friday, March 18, 2011

Survey results in on Arnside viaduct

We've had the following update from Stuart at ATOG (the campaign for the Arnside to Grange cycle/footpath):

’The results of County Councillor Ian Stewart’s survey are in and out of 800 sent out and 464 replies, 371 were in favour of the proposal for a cycle/footpath alongside the viaduct and 93 were against. In addition there were 48 in favour from Arnside School.

Ian says that the next step is to get this included in the Cumbria Local Transport Plan, and then to try and overcome the obstacles which have been pointed out.

Then someone will have to come up with a design that works, and then we need to see how it could be funded.

We are still waiting for a Sustrans to let us know whether Network Rail have come up with a price for the work.

Thanks to all who were able to respond to the survey.’

Since then, the Gazette have picked the story up. You can read their report here.

Monday, March 07, 2011

Update on Arnside–Grange cycleway/footpath from ATOG

Counciller Stewart's questionnaire has started to arrive in Arnside and we only have until 11 March to reply.

The introduction to the survey says that if there is sufficient support in favour of creating this access then Councillor Stewart will seek to have the project included in the Local Transport Plan 3 (2011-2026). The first step will be to have a feasibility study to look at the technical and safety issues. This project would sit alongside many other projects all needing funding, so there would be no guarantee that it would become a reality any time soon, particularly in view of the current harsh financial climate.

The document then lists 3 positive and 4 negative points that Councillor Stewart has heard so far.

It will make Arnside less of a 'bottleneck' during the busy season.
It will link in with potential Arnside station improvements.
It would be a useful short-cut over the estuary, forming part of the proposed coastal trail route.

It is not wanted by Arnside residents.
It would spoil the look of the viaduct.
It will be of no benefit to Arnside because walkers and cyclists don't spend money in the shops.
Arnside gets full already and can't cope with more visitors, and there is nowhere for people to park.

There is a Yes/No reply slip with comments enclosed with the letter.

Sadly, the survey is not available on line but the councillor says that he looks forward to hearing from us by Friday 11 March.

If you live in Arnside, you can use the following freepost address:
Freepost, Area Support Team, County Council Offices, Kendal, Cumbria, LA9 4RQ.

If you do not live in Arnside, you cannot use this address but you could still send your comments to the councillor c/o the County Council offices (marked 'urgent' or with 'Arnside to Grange cycleway' because of the 11 March deadline).

Sustrans are still waiting to hear from Network Rail what the cost of the work would be so that they consider raising funding.

Please encourage anyone you know who will be getting the survey to respond positively to the proposal for the cycleway.

Wednesday, February 02, 2011

KDCS has its say on proposed spending cuts

CHAIRMAN ANDREW JUDSON WRITES... Liz Ashburn and I have composed the following contribution to Cumbria County Council's consultation on the proposed spending cuts, stressing the importance of maintaining the county's Public Rights of Way:

As Chairman of Kendal and District Cycle Scene (KDCS) I am responding on behalf of members to the proposed spending cuts which may directly affect cyclists. KDCS considers that the network of Public Rights of Way(PROW) throughout Cumbria is a resource which needs to be safeguarded and maintained at all costs, for the following reasons:
  1. Tourism is worth £1.14 billion annually and provides around 21,000 jobs in Cumbria. Cumbria is major attraction for resident and visiting cyclists, who generate substantial income and employment for the county. Cycling, whether on or off-road is increasingly popular as a daily mode of travel, as well as for sport and leisure activity. There are numerous annual cycling events which take place within our area. Cumbria County Council’s Annual Traffic count shows a 52.3% increase in cycle usage from 2007 to 2010 in the Kendal District alone. Cafes, restaurants, pubs, B&Bs, cycle, outdoor clothing and independent food shops all benefit from the trade provided by cyclists. The PROW network will only continue to contribute to tourism success and cycling if users find it attractive, accessible well signposted and well maintained.
  2. The benefits of maintaining PROW in good order for residents and visitors are essential in encouraging the well-being, good health and independence of young and old. There are quantifiable spin-offs because the service helps to tackle such issues as obesity, mental ill-health and improved general well-being, whilst making a positive contribution to sustainable transport and carbon reduction. So financial support from the County Council for PROW helps to fulfil a wide range of Council policy objectives, and at modest cost when compared with the cost of maintaining the highways network. This consultation does not propose, or invite comment on reductions in the comparatively large budget for the roads in Cumbria. In view of the cuts proposed for the PROW network and other cuts to vital children’s and vulnerable adults’ services, this omission seems illogical.
  3. The PROW service represents good value for money because it draws in monies and assistance from cycling organisations such as Sustrans and CTC. The work of CCC staff is enhanced by the benefits of time and labour given freely by the numerous volunteers involved.

Andrew Judson
Chairman – KDCS

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Update on Riverside Route/New Road, Kendal


I am often asked about progress (or lack of it) on the section of the Riverside Route along New Road, so in the light of the consultation process currently being run by SLDC on the proposals for the common land used for parking I thought an update was due.

Some time ago Cumbria CC asked Capita to assess the effect on the traffic of closing the inside lane of New Road between Gooseholme footbridge and Miller Bridge. The conclusion of this study was that this would increase traffic congestion slightly, and so Cumbria CC decided that this should not happen, and the cycle route should be located off the highway and run through the proposed open space to be established by SLDC on the area of common land used for parking.

SLDC's proposals for the common land do not include a cycle route, since they consider that this would be best provided on the nearside lane of the highway which is little used by traffic now that Miller Bridge is now narrowed to one lane. Also the legal position of common land is such that a cycle route cannot be located there. SLDC are very keen for the Riverside Route to be completed across this area, and have asked Cumbria CC to reconsider the decision not to use part of the inside lane of the highway for the route. I have had a recent discussion with Mark Brierley (Cumbria CC Cycle Development Officer), who considers that if a decision to locate the route on the inside lane was made, this could not be constructed until the car parking on the common land ceased, as cars enter and leave the parking area most of the way along the nearside of the inside lane.

So it is important that the New Road scheme goes ahead as soon as possible. I have also spoken to Graham Vincent (SLDC Councillor promoting the New Road scheme) and Clare Feaney-Johnson (my Cumbria CC Councillor) who are both very pro Riverside Route and the wider cycle network and appreciate our support.

So... if we are to influence this process the two most useful things that KDCSers can do are;

1. To respond to SLDC's consultation (click here) by pointing out that the absence of a cycle route is noted, and that linking up the recently constructed section of the Riverside Route with the existing cycle route past Waterside should be a high priority and that this section should be located on the underused inside lane of the highway. I will be responding to this as KDCS spokesperson.

2. Email or write to their County councillor in their own words (find your Councillor) to point out
a. That the inside lane is used very infrequently, mostly by cars entering and leaving the illegal parking area on common land.
b. The present situation is unsafe as pedestrians walk in the highway between Gooseholme Bridge and the pelican crossing because there is no footpath along New Road. Frequently people with buggies and pushchairs are forced to use the highway as there is no space between parked cars to get to the pelican crossing.
c. The traffic lanes on New Road are relatively wide, and if they were narrowed to the same dimension as the two lanes in Kirkland then space on the nearside could be created for a cycle route.
d. A high priority should be given to establishing both a footpath and cycle route along New Road to join up the presently fragmented
Riverside Route, address safety issues and fulfill Cumbria CC policies for transport, health and wellbeing and carbon reduction.

I apologise for the length of this update; if you are still reading this I am very grateful! It may seem that nothing is happening, but things are moving behind the scenes, and can be influenced if we can make it clear to our elected representatives that there is widespread support for these measures among the people who elect them.