Happy New Year!
I celebrated it rather modestly this year with copious amounts of red wine, Scene It and some Indian snacks. At midnight, we trooped out onto the streets of Pontcanna to wish everyone a happy new year, but there was not a soul to be seen. I thought it was rather sad. My mum is full of stories from the North East about warm gatherings, and strangers coming in from off the street to join in on the merriment. But down South, there was not even a squeak of collaborative joy.
Onto Cathedral Road, armed with a bottle of champagne and our best singing voices we attempted to sing Auld Lang Syne. When I woke up the next morning with a fuzzy head and as memories began to dribble back down into consciousness, I decided to make one of my new years resolutions to learn the words of this famous song.
Other New Year’s Resolutions:
2. To get a proper job by the end of the year.
3. To spend more time cooking.
4. To keep running at least twice a week.
5. To go on holiday somewhere exciting.
6. To move out.
7. To stop writing blog posts in an effort to put off work.
It is the day before the last day of the year; second to last; last but one. This Christmas holiday has flown by in a blink of Love Actually, Home Alone, The Holiday, The Grinch and every Christmas film you can dream of.
I had such good intentions when we first broke up from CJS. I had a week’s work experience with the Western Mail, plans for an hour of shorthand each day. I wanted to finish two of my features before Santa fell down my chimney and even, start revising all about fluffy subjects such as council tax.
This hasn’t quite happened. Luckily, there is a New Year’s Resolution that awaits me just around the corner, sure to be broken, soon after…
This week, journalists from all over the world have joined forces for the UN Climate Summit in Copenhagen. On Monday, over 56 newspapers across the world ran identical front-page editorials calling for action. Hopes of a deal remain high in Copenhagen as the talks open, but whether delegates from the 192 countries represented can agree on how to cut green house gases, as easily as the newspapers decided on a headline, remains to be seen.
Bicycles are everywhere in Copenhagen and they have become an iconic part of the capital of Denmark; 37% of Copenhagen’s inhabitants cycle to work, and to get to and from the Climate Change Conference, world leaders and journalists alike have been encouraged to ‘go local’ and use the free bike scheme. As well as being environmentally friendly, it is considered chic.
Copenhagen, and other European cities, such as Paris and Barcelona, have had a bicycle hire scheme running for some time and at the end of September, Cardiff joined these cities with its own, OYBike.
“OYBike has been operating ‘under the radar’ in London for some years, ahead of its time in many ways. It’s robust; and tried and tested” said Carlton Reid, Editor of BikeBiz in a carefully chosen 140 character quote.
Launched on 22 September as part of the Walking and Cycling Conference, the Cardiff Smart Bike scheme, run by OYBike and sponsored by Cardiff County Council and the Welsh Assembly Government, hopes to encourage people in Cardiff to get out and about the Welsh capital in a sustainable way.
Joining Reading, Farnborough and London – the OYBike system allows you to hire and return a bicycle via your mobile phone. There are 70 recognisable bicycles that are available from 10 pick up locations across the Cardiff and they can be dropped off at any of the battery powered rental stations after a quick jaunt.
The map below shows the 10 pick-up locations of the OYBikes in Cardiff:
Councillor Delme Bowen, Executive member for Traffic and Transportation said, “Cycling is a brilliant way to get around Cardiff. We have a number of good routes in the city, and I am confident that this scheme will prove to be very popular.”
Since its inception in September, 213 people have hired an OYBike. Far from being chic, not many people have seen, or even heard of the these two-wheeled delights.
One blustery, rainy Sunday afternoon in Cardiff, I thought it would be a good idea to try them out. I failed at the first hurdle. Being a thoroughly prepared journalist, I hadn’t done my research properly. You have to sign up online first.
Off I trudged home with wet trousers and frizzy hair to get involved. At least I managed to take a lovely photo of the clunky yellow and green bicycles, adorned with practical basket beauties so I could spot them easily the next time.
OYBikes at City Hall, Cardiff
- To hire an OYBike you have to fill out a registration form online and then choose a subscription. For £18 a year, or £5 a week you can use the OYBikes and not worry about thieves stealing your ride. Apparently, they don’t appeal to the light fingered friend.
- Head back into Cardiff and hire one out.
- Switch on the rental unit
- Select “Rent a bike”
- Call the number displayed on the screen
- Press the lock number of the bike you want to hire and cycle away.
- Remember the first 30 minutes are FREE!
- To return the bikes, press the “return bike” button, plug the cable back in and confirm the bike is secure.
It's not rocket science, it's a rental unit
Jenny Randerson, Liberal Democrat Assembly Member hopes the scheme is a success, “I think the scheme is great. Although the Cardiff scheme is a small one so far, there is scope to develop it into something really big. I see them as an important part of Cardiff’s designation as a sustainable travel city.”
Cardiff County Council and the Welsh Assembly Government hope that this starter scheme will encourage more people to take up cycling in the city and therefore, cut down on unnecessary journeys in the car.
Jane Lorimer, Deputy Director of Sustrans Cymru said, “Evidence from other schemes shows that schemes like this can be very useful in giving non-regular cyclists their first taste of being on two wheels, which then leads to them cycling more regularly.”
Once the dark, wet and wintry nights have passed and the scheme has been further developed to include more locations and more bikes, locals will become more aware of this sustainable method of transport.
As world leaders sit down to discuss the future of our world in Copenhagen, let us learn from the city of bicycles and make OYBikes an iconic part of Cardiff. We will soon see what else we can learn from Copenhagen.
“When I see an adult on a bicycle, I do not despair for the future of the human race” – H.G.Wells
On yer bike then..
The message is clear Cardiff: “On yer bike.”
Vodpod videos no longer available.
- Join my Facebook group and share your stories and comments about the OYBike.
- If you are new to cycling, a good place to start is by visiting The UK’s National Cyclists’ Organisation
- Make sure you get a helmet before hiring out an OYBike, and a bigger bag to put it in.
- Share your routes and find some new ones.
- If you don’t fancy hiring a bike over the winter, another great way of travelling sustainably in Cardiff is car sharing. Helen Glaberson mentions this on her blog.
- But if you still want to drive, try not to do this.
About 3 weeks ago I set myself the task of trying to find a freegan for an article I wanted to write. They are curious beings. I have searched high and low for one to write on.
Twitter brought me back one freegan. But he lives in London, not quite Cardiff – where are these food finders? I can’t find them!
I got quite interested in freeganism when I started writing an article for alt:Cardiff. I even entertained the idea of donning a hoodie and raiding a supermarket bin, much to my mother’s chagrin. But I got slightly scared. I was offered no protection from my boyfriend who quite simply turned his nose up at the idea, not wishing to stumble through an orange dumpster dirtying his Superdry trainers – so, naturally, being the free-thinking woman I am, I bottled it.
Remember that article I wrote about the benefits of Facebook for journalists over Twitter. At the time, I couldn’t really see how Facebook could help me – but it did.
It found me a freegan and I get to have a chat with her after Christmas. Now, where shall I take her, a coffee shop or round the back of a supermarket?
I am writing an article on Goldie Lookin Chain this week, and as I can’t use all of the quotes I thought I would post them up here. They make for an entertaining read on a Monday morning.
In his own words, Eggsy from GLC:
Are you going to be playing any new material?
Yeah, loads of new stuff which will be out next year plus a load of stuff from the original albums, return of the red eye and don’t blame the chain. Sexual
Are any of the proceeds of the tour going towards Shelter Cymru?
I don’t know they put us in a bus and made us get drunk. So far Graham has been sick on his own thighs twice. I might get him to donate his gusset to charity. Tasty.
Are you excited about playing in Cardiff?
Cardiff is going to rock. We should know all the words by the time we get there and we know where all the Burger Kings are located. I think my dad is coming to the gig too. Well safe.
Why are you not playing Newport on this tour?
I don’t know. We should have a gig at Graham’s house. We could all get naked and have an orgy in his garage afterwards. And he could cook chips for the fans.
I would like a bike. I have decided. I would like to be able to get up in the morning and cycle to university with the wind in my hair, and the dirt up my leggings.
People who ride bikes always look so smug, not only are they fit and healthy they are not polluting the environment.
I would like to parade around, wobbling in the skinny red line freaking out cautious drivers.
This is my thought for the day.
And then this – today, Lord Mandelson declared war on the Murdoch empire. He accused him of trying to import a right wing style of journalism, resembling that of Fox News.
Mandelson made it clear that profit alone should not be the drive for British broadcasting and journalism.
It’s not all about money, Rupert.