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Messages - Robin S

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General Discussion / inane petition
« on: March 06, 2014, 03:36:23 PM »
I just got an email from asking me to sign this petition about painting a postbox gold for Lizzy Yarnold who won a gold medal in Sochi. I replied asking them if they could please restrict their emails to petitions about things that actually matter.

Here's the exchange of emails:

I was dismayed this morning to receive an email from you asking me to sign a petition to paint a postbox gold for someone who won a medal at the olympics. Is this really worth sending an email out about? Presumably a decision was made by your team that this was important enough to send out an email to members.

I'd appreciate it if you could stick to sending emails about stuff that actually matters. Of all the things wrong with the world, this isn't even on the scale. does great work in promoting causes fighting injustice that has real significant effects on people's lives, so please don't put people off by bothering them with such insignificant things.

Dear Robin,

Thank you for contacting the Help Center and for taking the time to share your thoughts on this. We really appreciate it. Occasionally, when a promising campaign starts to gain momentum, we will offer additional support to the petition creator to help move it forward. In this case, we helped the campaign in question by sending out an action alert to all users who may be interested in this based on previous petitions that they have signed.

If the action alert is not relevant to your interests, we definitely would like to hear about it. We also track any unsubscribes that may occur after an action alert is sent in order to help gauge its effectiveness and relevancy. These are both the best ways to let us know if we’re not directing you to campaigns that you might find personally relevant. Your feedback helps us improve the platform in the future.

Thank you for your helpful feedback. We always appreciate it!

Cycling / Wanted: Cargo Trailer
« on: March 02, 2014, 08:07:49 PM »
I'm looking for a second hand cargo trailer. I'll be using it for daily trips around Bristol carrying gardening tools so it needs to be something fairly sturdy.

If anyone has one they are looking to sell please reply to this post or PM me. Thanks.

Shop Local / Re: Shop Local Saturday timing for 2014
« on: December 15, 2013, 07:49:33 PM »
Thanks for your comments Sam. I see where you're coming from but I think the problem with doing it more often is that it would lose it's impact. At the moment we're planning to have a big campaign for Independents Day on 4th Jul and Shop Local Saturday again next December , but inbetween those we have some big ideas in the pipeline to keep promoting Shop Local all year round (on top of tweeting it to death) but will say more about that when plans are more solid.

For the moment I'll be starting to promote promote the Shop Local Challenge next week, encouraging people to try giving up supermarkets for a year. Will get more active on this after Christmas as it's probably a good one to do as a new year's resolution.
There's a page on the site about it here:

Definitely agree that Shop Local Saturday shouldn't be any later than the first weekend of Dec. Thought it might be good if we could pick a date towards the end of Nov that works for most places to have their lights switch on as in a lot of places these tend to be big events and could be used to promote Shop Local Saturday if it was the day before or a couple of days before.

I guess there are reasons why local councils have their lights switch ons when they do, which probably vary from one area to another. Hopefully if we start talking about it now, it will be enough notice to co-ordinate things.

Shop Local / Shop Local Saturday timing for 2014
« on: December 15, 2013, 05:27:24 PM »
In the run up to Shop Local Saturday 7th Dec we noticed that most towns had their Christmas lights switch on before then, some as early as the first week in November. So it got us thinking that maybe for next year it would be a good idea to have it a bit earlier and suggest that lights switch ons could coincide with it by being held the Friday before.

Would this be a good idea, or should we stick with the first weekend of Dec? Would love to hear your thoughts on this.

Shop Local / Welcome to the Shop Local forum
« on: November 20, 2013, 03:30:40 PM »
Welcome, this forum has been brought to you in association with

Cycling / "Cycling Swap with Me" in Bath hailed a success
« on: October 27, 2013, 09:16:39 AM »
From the First Bus website:

A Cycling Swap with Me event held by First in Bath to promote road safety with local cyclists and the company's bus drivers has been hailed as a big success.

Held on Saturday 5 October at the Odd Down Cycle Circuit off Chelwood Drive in Bath, the purpose of the event was to help cyclists and bus drivers to understand the safety concerns that each can have when sharing the roads.

The Cycling Swap with Me event was well attended by cyclists from Bath and the nearby areas as well as First bus drivers and staff. Also at the event was the Mayor of Bath, Malcom Lees, Odd Down councillor, Nigel Roberts, members of the Sulis Scorpions, a local young persons' cycling club who train regularly at the site, and representatives from Cycling Instructor who helped to run the activities.

For the exercises cyclists got to sit in the bus driver's seat and bus drivers were able to cycle past a stationary bus. Participants were also able to talk to each other about their experiences, share ideas and discuss the things they had learned about the best practises for safer journeys.

First also plans to roll out a number of other Cycling Swap Me events across the region in the future, which it is hoped will mean that many more bus drivers and local cyclists will be able to benefit from the invaluable insights that the 'Swap with Me' exercise can offer.

Aileen Brown, Membership Secretary for Bath Cycling Club, says, "Everyone involved felt that the event was very beneficial. Parents and children had the opportunity to learn how to overtake a stationary bus without disappearing from the driver's view and about the wider turning circle of larger vehicles as well as hazards, such as bus passengers emerging from in front of buses. It's only by giving both cyclists and drivers the opportunity to see the view from the other person's perspective that we learn to share the roads in safety."

"We hope to continue our road safety work with First and a number of projects are currently in the pipeline. This includes working with First and cyclists all over BANES to identify perceived accident spots so that a map can be drawn up for bus drivers to use as part of their continuing driver awareness training."

Natacha Tagholm, Regional Customer Services Manager, says, "The Cycling Swap with Me event was a big success and we have plans to run a number of similar events in the future. We were really pleased to see the amount of people who came along and, as one of the region's biggest transport providers, it was great to be able to connect with so many keen cyclists in this way. In particular we would like to thank the hard work of independent cycling trainer, Marc Taylor, and Paul Lowe from Cycling Instructor who did a fantastic job running the training events."

Cyclists who would like to register their interest in attending future sessions, should email their name and contact details to

Cycling / Cycle Caravan
« on: October 26, 2013, 12:53:19 PM »
Spotted this amusing bike trailer outside Roll for The Soul

[attachment deleted by admin]

Permaculture / Edible City The Movie
« on: June 15, 2013, 11:46:00 PM »
Edible City is a fun, fast-paced journey through the Local Good Food movement that's taking root in the San Francisco Bay Area, across the nation and around the world.

Introducing a diverse cast of extraordinary and eccentric characters who are challenging the paradigm of our broken food system, Edible City digs into their unique perspectives and transformative work, finding hopeful solutions to monumental problems.

Inspirational, down-to-earth and a little bit quirky, Edible City captures the spirit of a movement that's making real change and doing something truly revolutionary: growing the model for a healthy, sustainable local food system.

Watch it on Vimeo:

Cycling / World Naked Bike Ride in Bristol
« on: June 15, 2013, 10:39:28 PM »
Bristol World Naked Bike Ride 2013

Flickr Gallery:

Introduce Yourself / Re: Hi, I'm Angela
« on: June 10, 2013, 09:11:39 PM »
Welcome Angela, thanks for the introduction, hope you find the forum useful. If you have any questions just drop me a message :)

Cycling / Chainless hubless BMX
« on: May 20, 2013, 11:25:31 AM »

General Discussion / Documentary about the creation of the NHS
« on: May 15, 2013, 09:54:20 PM »
The NHS: A Difficult Beginning

Cycling / Why women don't cycle
« on: May 15, 2013, 02:41:06 PM »
From the Sustrans blog:

Yesterday you may have seen the conversation around a page on our website, which extracted material from a publication we produced as part of a Sustrans campaign back in 2009, to overcome some of the barriers our research uncovered as stopping women getting on their bikes.

Our research at the time showed that:

    only 4% of women were cycling more than once a week
    nearly 8 in 10 women never cycled, but
    43% of women had access to a bike

The wider background to this is that only 2% of journeys in the UK are by bike (compared with 27% in the Netherlands), and only a quarter of these are by women (compared to 55% of bike journeys in the Netherlands).

As a result we launched a Motion for Women petition because our survey revealed that:

    not feeling safe was the biggest concern women had about cycling (20%)
    other big concerns were age (17%) and lack of fitness (8%) followed by a range of other issues around appearance

We also asked women what they believed would enable many more women to cycle.

    67% of women said cycle lanes separated from traffic was the number one thing that will get more women cycling over other options which included:
    33% wanted clearly defined cycle lanes shared with buses
    21% wanted enforced 20 mph speed limits or less
    16% wanted bike training to be available where they live

We therefore launched a petition calling for the creation of a safer environment for cycling – the wording is below:

"We, the undersigned, want to be able to choose to cycle much more. To do this we need to feel safe when we cycle.

"We demand that governments prioritise the creation of environments that encourage and support cycling, specifically this must include cycle paths separated from traffic, as a way of enabling many more women to travel by bike.”

Over 9,000 signatures were handed to the then Secretary of State for Transport in a meeting at the House of Commons.

Of course safety is the number one concern, but when we work in schools with children, we see a massive drop off in girls cycling as they move onto secondary school.  One of their key concerns is how they look, and how boys will perceive them if they arrive at school sweaty and dishevelled.  Any of you who remember being a tweenie will remember the agony of self-consciousness that girls experience at this crucial time.  My own daughter worries about exactly these things – she’s eleven, cycles to school, but is moving to ‘big school’ in September and is painfully aware of how boys see her.

That’s why we began working on beauty and the bike, initially with the Body Shop, latterly with Lush, integrating looking good on a bike with all the health benefits, seeking to give girls the confidence to cycle to school in the face of a culture that doesn’t inspire this kind of independence.  If we don’t tackle the barriers we are presented with, we will never achieve the very high levels of cycling by girls and women we see in the Netherlands.

When we ran the Bike Belles campaign I vividly remember receiving an e-mail from a man who told me that we were being misogynistic by focusing on things as superficial and peripheral as looking good on a bike.  His view was that all women needed was a bike and the right attitude.  I don’t think he’s right – the evidence is that this is a more complex picture.

We need women to help us solve it, and we need to address all the barriers, however frivolous they may seem. To the women and girls, like my daughter, to whom perception by others is a genuine anxiety helping her overcome this rather than telling her it doesn’t matter is far more likely to change her heart and therefore her mind.

Today we’re leading a conversation on Twitter with the hashtag #womencycling, so if you have an account make sure you take part.

General Discussion / Bill Oddie's BankWatch
« on: May 14, 2013, 08:44:54 PM »
Bill Oddie's BankWatch

General Discussion / This is water - A short film about perception
« on: May 14, 2013, 12:32:21 PM »

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