Pedal Press Summer 2005





All articles welcome for inclusion in next issue of Pedal Press to be sent in MS Word by email or disc to the Editor


There's movement in the city!

Twenty eight cranes are towering over the city at the moment with probably more to come. There is a three storey car park being buried under Chavasse Park (with cycle parking I’m told!). Just part of a 42.5 acre regeneration project being implemented by the Duke of Westminster’s company Grosvenor. Well they made a good job of Mayfair!

The City Council are also busy implementing the CCMS or to you and me the City Centre Management Strategy. This is one of the “Integrated Solutions highlighted in the Local Transport Plan and has the following objectives”...read on at www.liverpool.gov.uk

The burgers of the city are also looking at its Air Quality, obviously a lot better since the introduction of the Clean Air Acts of 1956 and 1968. But this is still a major urban air quality issue with traffic-related emissions of nitrogen oxides, carbon monoxide, particulates and volatile organic compounds (VOCs).

The draft version of the Provisional Second Local Transport Plan for Merseyside, to cover the period 2006 - 2011, has been completed you can still submit comments until the autumn. The aims and objectives are:

“The LTP seeks to improve conditions in all areas of transport in a way that supports the economic, social and environmental regeneration of Merseyside”

The Cycling Campaign has been involved on your behalf in dialogue, meetings and presentations on all the above to ensure that the voice of the cyclist is listened to and where we can to advise, support and guide both the design and the implementation of these and other projects.

The City of Liverpool has a Cycling Strategy document and we are keen to work with council officers in the interpretation of its content.

Interaction with all members regarding any good, bad or poor cycle facilities or highways management issues is always welcome in the editors postbag!

The Liverpool Cycle Forum meets four times a year to discuss cycling and other related issues in the city. The forum is made up of Council Officers, Elected Members, both local and national cycling organisations, the Emergency Services, local business and anyone interested in cycling. If you feel you can or would like to come along to these meetings please let me know.

This is the ‘Merseyside’ Cycling Campaign so we are also represented on the Forums in Knowsley, Wirral St.Helens and Sefton.

Don Thompson

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The Fragile Cyclist: Ride to work, work to ride

I have a stressful job, and this time of year is the most stressful period of all. But each morning I have thirty-five minutes of almost perfect peace before work and each evening I have a thirty-five minute wind-down which eases the stress out of my hair. I ride along the riverbank, where I witness nature’s ebb and flow and the seasons passing.

I am lucky to live where I do, so that the riverbank is my route. But to be honest, it’s hardly luck. When I relocated to this town I researched my new home carefully. In Winter it’s not so good as I must ride through the city, but right now it’s Summer and I shall cherish it.

Please forgive me if I enthuse. But to see and hear a huge flock of dunlin skimming over the mudflats and to see the cerulean sky reflected in the receding waters, just because I am travelling home from work, makes me feel utterly privileged. I see goldfinch and heron, blue, great and long-tailed tits, wheatear and an occasional grebe. And I see fishermen and dog-walkers, young lovers, old friends, boys having fun on skateboards and all manner of people just having a little time to think. River traffic, men at work, cargo ships heading up toward the docks on the other side, tugs scurrying back and forth, the ferry, and harbourmasters working the marina lock and guiding small yachts in and out all thrill me. Sometimes I arrive at work so happy that my colleagues think I’ve had a bang on the head.

In other circumstances I might be asked: “whatever you’re on, can I have some?” but I ride a bike, so this doesn’t happen. If there’s one thing I seem incapable of understanding it is the reluctance of people to get close to the world they live in, to see it and savour it first hand instead of from within a metal cocoon.

Cycling isn’t the only way to savour this wonder. There is a community of people each day on the riverside path who have their own way of doing it. But cycling is the best way by far to fit it into a busy work schedule, without any significant cost, and to get some exercise in the process.

So if you don’t do it already, try riding to work. And if you really love someone a lot, try to persuade them to do it too.

Maxine Cain

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Muesli Eater writes from Liverpool:

Liverpool Vision

In the last Pedal Press Derek Gould called on council leaders to urgently consider a “visionary strategy shift which lies within the realm of the possible.”

Actually they have. As far back as 1998 City Council leaders approved a Cycling Strategy which would mean that by 2012 12% of journeys would be made by bicycle - up from 1.5% of journeys at the time.

This, they told us, was an “affordable and achievable strategy”.

In their City Health Plan, produced around the same time, they told a similar story.

We are now going to be dished up with another mass of paper - an Air Quality Action Plan, which may suggest that supporting cycling could be a good thing.

There’s no shortage of visionary strategies, just a shortage of people who have actually read them!

New Cycle Routes

Advisory Cycle Lanes have now appeared on Banks Rd (Garston) & Netherfield Rd & Breck Rd in Everton. These are all 1.5 metres wide, with one in Banks Rd 2 metres wide.

Route signing has appeared at Farnworth St & Boaler St ( Kensington) with Advanced Stop Lines (in a fetching buff colour) at Sheil Rd.

These routes form part of the proposed cycle route network in Liverpool. Many of the proposed routes will link up in the city centre. This is proving difficult because the officers have lost the plan approved by the Council.

Cycle Show

Many thanks to the people who turned up to help at the Cycle Show. You will get your reward in heaven, as well as the privilege of being entered on my little list of volunteers….

Rhinos’ Corner

The latest must- have fashion accessory for the regenerating provincial city has to be the Rhino Barrier. These are the chunky red & white plastic barriers which have replaced ye olde cones for protecting roadworks. We have lots of them here and they are the “leather backed” adrenaline junkies’ dream. They have virtually brought motor traffic to a halt. This means that the bicycle yet again has the opportunity to display its genetic superiority over other means of transport.

It’s hard not to feel superior (in a Lycra Nazi sort of way) as you whiz past lines of stationary traffic, thighs flashing provocatively in the sunlight, while drivers fume in their tin boxes.

There are some exciting Rhino-clad junctions too. My favourite is the Adelphi, where you can duel with bewildered motorists who refuse to believe the signs warning them it’s a bad place to be.

I shall miss them when they’re gone.

Loopline Clean up

Thanks to the enthusiastic workers who came along on the 21st May to Walton Park . From here we cleared the TPT towards Knotty Ash. Ken and team from SUSTRANS followed along collecting the bin bags filled with litter, bottles etc plus other larger pieces of household debris! Thank you to Sainsbury’s (Prescot Road) who provided lunch with refreshments. The next ‘Clean Up’ will be on the 1st October at Halewood Triangle from 11.00- 3.00. Gloves, lunch and refreshments will be provided for the workers!

Richard Hebden

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Clean Accessible Transport for Community Health (CATCH)

“The CATCH project, which includes partners from different EU Member States, has adopted an innovative and multi-disciplinary approach to reducing air pollution in Liverpool, driving forward and demonstrating both technological solutions, such as the provision of clean buses, and large-scale behavioural-change programmes.

The success of the project has been constantly evaluated through advanced pollution-monitoring techniques and, uniquely for a project of this kind, the impact on community health has been evaluated using a Health Impact Assessment methodology. Related schemes have been implemented in Romania (Suceava) and Italy (Potenza) and the results will be used for best practice guidance throughout Europe”.

The ‘final’ event for this project was a two day conference at the St. Georges Hall which the Campaign attended. Dr. Lyn Sloman of ‘Cycle England’ asked ‘How far will you go for a fitter Body?’ suggesting that people look at the 100kms cycle paths on their doorstep. She spoke of the ‘soft approaches’ to promoting bike use employing more psychological investment than engineering i.e. travel plans, travel awareness etc. Greg McDougall from Darlington Council reported on the successful outcomes of the SMART project. Francesca Racioppi working at the World Health Organisation cited the WHO report from 2002 suggesting that ‘Transport’ is an important part of the jigsaw puzzle to promoting World Health. Sarah Dewar from Travelwise in Liverpool outlined the initiatives being developed in the city with Travel Plans being developed with both the business and educational institutions. Research into the travel habits of a South Liverpool community have resulted in participants receiving personal travel plans to help them both save money and be healthier. An excellent overview of this 3 year EU financed project, but, will it be as City Director Tom McCabe spoke about…... ‘Acronyms To Action’?

Don Thompson

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The Mersey Way

This footpath runs from Garston to Hale along the bank of the River Mersey and gives the only direct access to the river within Liverpool from a natural bank rather than a concrete wall. However, over the last few years parts of the path have been washed away pushing the shoreline right up to the old Speke airport fence.

There are now exciting things happening in this area of Garston / Speke as the old airport site is being transformed into a business park. This has enabled a sizeable piece of land to be set aside between it and the river, designated The Speke Garston Coastal Reserve.

This coastal reserve starts from Blackburn Street / Brunswick Street with pedestrian entrance at the former and a car park at the latter and extends up to Speke Hall where there will be a further pedestrian entrance. There is now substantial fencing in place at the various entrances to stop 4 x 4 vehicles gaining access. Along the business park side of the site water margins have been created to encourage wildlife. It is already a haven for skylarks and other types of birds.

Within the site will be a new Liverpool Sailing club, to replace the one burnt down several years ago. This work is due to start this year.

Whilst it is possible to cycle along the Mersey Way it is difficult as there are several flights of steps along its length. Discussions are ongoing about cycle parking at the Garston end of the reserve and also within the sailing club site.

The site is open for anyone to inspect the ongoing work, the best access being from Blackburn Street.

I am representing the cycle campaign at the stakeholder meetings so if any member has any views on this development please let me know.

Emails to
The Ed.will be forwarded

Lawrence Fletcher

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The Road to Morocco

Gatwick was always a point of departure to be avoided. On this occasion the peer pressure of a fine group of friends prevailed and I used the train to meander down to our flight to the mother of mountain biking trips.

Agadir has been extensively rebuilt since the earthquake of 1960, but we were soon away and up into the Ante-Atlas mountains. The first night in Ait-Baha was followed by a moderate road ride in warm February sunshine, towards Tiznit. The brown rolling landscape with its stunted, shrivelled trees and dried out waddies melded into the distant, jagged High Atlas peaks.

The Berbers were friendly, children running out from their mud and stone houses to greet us, some trying to shake hands, others playfully looking to push us off! We paused at a roadside cafe, to drink 'Berber whiskey' (tea): most places are alcohol-free. The local languages are Berber, French, some English.

Back on the road, some children on rusted bikes rode alongside for a mile or so. On an uphill section, one stayed with us for a couple of hundred yards and said, panting and astonished, 'mais, vous n'etes pas fatiguee..?'

On an off road section we stopped for lunch, watched a herd of goats climbing the surrounding trees, seeking fruit. They scattered at the sound of gunfire and on our descent we found the hunters at the site of their victim, a wild boar.

From Tiznit we climbed 3,500 feet to eventually arrive just below the Col de Cordus, a magnificent Kasbah with spectacular views of chiaroscuro in the far, lowering mountains. Some of us tried the pool, with high pitched objections to the temperature of water at these altitudes. The bar here held beer and we were able to dehydrate until tiredness overcame us early.

The bikes of Wildcat Tours (www.wildcat-adventures.co.uk) were pretty well maintained though next morning we put some more air in our tires for the stiff climb at the start of the day, over the pass, rocketing down some, then over the undulating plateau. We entered a small village with its thronging crowds of traditionally attired man standing, talking, the cyclists adding the latest gossip.

We pulled in at a tiny, ramshackle cafe, one of our number missing: we decided to wait for him to catch up. Milky coffees emerged. We drank gently, settled up and moved to leave. I clumsily overturned a glass cup which broke, splintering into shards of glass. At the sound, a Berber emerged from the crowd, presumably to see if there was trouble, an unsheathed, long knife glinting in his hand. I hastily pulled out a coin to repay the cafe owner. He grinned, frowned at the one pound coin, unrecognising, handed it back to me. We moved on.

We found the lost member in the next village. Donald had been ahead and had tried to telephone us. The local people had been supportive and helpful and he thanked them. No knives here...

Our guardians in the two four wheel drives shadowed us with water, biscuits. A hard off road climb took us to our lunch stop and Hammid and Lassa prepared the usual Berber lunch of healthy vegetables, small amounts of cooked fish or meats, nuts, cheese, dried fruits and bread.

There followed a dusty route through an ancient, near-neolithic Jewish / Berber / Christian town. We walked around. Nothing served to distinguish between these various peoples who clearly were able to defy the differences of our times. Certainly our lycra-clad forms were easily differentiated as alien, though the greetings were a warm 'Bonjour'.

On the road there were many ancient mopeds, cycles, old trucks, dilapidated pick-ups. Everyone drove or rode in the middle of the road, pulling aside at the last minute.

Tafrout was our next stop. We stayed three nights, explored the market with its vibrant colour, rich with animals, fish, spices and sad, imported plastic toys. Next day was an off road delight with a dizzying descent, but the following held different thrills.

The weather shifted and torrential rain lashed the roof through the night. Our plans were changed as the proposed off road (and on road!) routes became unrideable. Instead we toured the dirt tracks of a steep sided canyon in the 4 wheel drives, the valley floor lush under palm trees. We walked the route through isolated, barely accessible villages, paused to admire the variety of plants and birdlife.

Next day, clouds still bunched up amongst the peaks with their jagged spires fleetingly visible through the white-grey tufts. The air was chill and this final ride back to Ait-Baha took us high into the Ante-Atlas. The clouds blackened during a 20 mile descent along a giddying canyon wall. We were stung by icy, driving rain which numbed our clenched fingers and sent new, muddied waters through the erstwhile dried river beds, cascading across the road and down to the valley floor, 2000 feet below. The scene below and around us seemed to become greener before our eyes.

The kilometer stones counted down to Ait-Baha, and we were unsure whether we were overjoyed or dismayed to finish. We decommissioned our bikes, slept well on some illicit Stork beer, drove back to Agadir next morning. A day at the beach before our flight contrasted with the subsistence life style we had seen that week. And Gatwick to Liverpool by train on a Sunday provided plenty of time indeed to reflect and write this piece!

Derek Gould

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Sefton Section

Cycling Budget

The budget for cycling-specific projects for 2005/06 is £45,000. This is less than 10% of the equivalent figure in 2003/04, which was approx. £0.5 million. Much of the 2003/04 funding was from the New Opportunities Fund and it would appear that cycling projects rely very heavily for funding on these other non-council funding streams -it appears that funding for cycling in Sefton is something of a Lottery!

Cycling Action Plan

Judging an organisation by the amount of money it spends is not always a guide to whether it is delivering. If the Cycling Action Plan can be delivered (from whatever source of funding) then it should be welcomed. I have sought confirmation from the council that the Action Plan will be delivered but have, as yet, had no response. Indeed it is not even clear that it has been adopted by the Council. Hopefully this will be clear by the time of the next…

Cycle Forum

The next Sefton Cycle Forum is on Wednesday 13th July at the Eco Centre in Southport. The grandly named Eco Centre is opposite Pleasureland and is a sustainably constructed Park and Ride terminal building complete with its own wind turbine (which may be turning somewhat faster whilst the forum is on!)

Path-n-Pedal

And whilst we’re in Southport I was pleased to read that there is an organisation that appear to be active in promoting walking and cycling in Southport and the surrounding area. The group is “Path-n-Pedal Pressure Group (N.W.)” whose stated aim is to ‘improve the environment for the benefit of all footpath and cycleway users’. Membership is apparently free and they can be contacted at: Box 17, 96 Bath Street, Southport, Merseyside, PR9 0DJ.

Diary Dates

Bananas

The Bike Time show heads to Sefton on Sunday 24th July with a new ride starting at Maghull Station and then an old favourite (if you’ve been before) starting at Ainsdale Station on Sunday 21st August. And, whether you’ve been before or not, you’re equally welcome.

Burgers

A Merseyside Cycling Campaign barbeque is to be held on Saturday 16th July from 3pm onwards (see separate invitation) - all MCC members are invited but please let me know that you’re coming and then I can arrange the food which is ‘free’ (which means you’ve already paid for it!). The Merseyside Fire Brigade have, of course, already been invited!

And finally, where would we be without:

Switch Watch

The latest word is that the Thornton relief road from Switch Island to Thornton may not go ahead for the foreseeable future - the funding being required for transport infrastructure in Liverpool which, in case anyone didn’t know, is to be European Capital of Culture in 2008.

For more information on any of the above or if there’s something I should know about please phone me on 0151 932 1643 or email me on peter_roome@bigfoot.com

Peter Roome

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Wirral Group News

Wirral News Cyclists are benefiting as a result of changes in Hoylake prior to the Golf Tournament in 2006. The narrow footpath alongside the railway line between Greenbank Road in West Kirby and the new Park and Ride at Hoylake Station has been made wider and also resurfaced. This now provides an excellent off-road route between West Kirby and Hoylake and also a link from the end of the Wirral Way in West Kirby to North Parade and Hoylake Promenade.
The improvements to the Wirral Way between Thurstaston and West Kirby are now complete, also the new Saughall Massey by-pass, which includes provision for cyclists is now open.

At the recent Cycle Forum meeting MCC and CTC representatives requested a mechanism be put in place to enable cycling groups to be consulted at the planning stage of Highways schemes. This is to be included on the next agenda. As a result, we were pleased to attend a consultation meeting, where we were shown plans for proposed changes at Arrowe Park. The roundabout, which is very busy at peak times, is to be replaced with traffic lights, in order to improve traffic flow. The scheme includes on road cycle lanes and toucan crossings.

Good News re the Aldi lorries… Wirral Council is issuing a Traffic Regulation Order which will ban HGV’s from using parts of Barnston Road, Thornton Common Road and Neston Road. This means that lorries will have to find an alternative route from the new distribution centre near Neston, rather than using the narrow roads in Barnston and Thornton Hough.

The Wirral Bikeathon took place on June 12th, starting from Arrowe Park. Money raised provides funds towards Leukaemia research. Over 1,100 took part: grateful thanks to those of you who assisted with marshalling.

New Sustrans Liaison Ranger for route 56 - we welcome David Bates to this post and thank Barry Davis for all the work he has done in the past.

Wirral Cycle Training Programme - Help train and encourage the next generation of cyclists by becoming an Instructor. Learn about - Risk assessments, How to do a bike check , Child Protection awareness, The theory of safe cycling, How to ride on road with groups.An enhanced CRB check will be required if instructing children.
If you would like to find out more contact Steve Corlett, Road Safety Officer Cycling - Tel. 606 2187 email stephencorlett@wirral.gov.uk

The survey work for the new Wirral Cycle Map is almost complete. We look forward to it being available very soon. The publication of the map should increase awareness of the existence and location of Cycle Routes, particularly those that are away from the main roads and which are often little used because cyclists are unaware of their existence. Distribution through libraries should encourage the fragile cyclist (as championed by Maxine Cain in the previous issue of Pedal Press) to try the off road routes which are now available.

Apologies to anyone who had difficulty in accessing the Wirral Cycling Campaign web site, www.wirralcycling.org.uk. As luck would have it, I had technical problems the week after the last edition of Pedal Press was distributed.

Sonia Oldershaw

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St Helens and Knowsley News

There is no news from these areas in this edition. If you have any news for the next edition please send it to PedalPress

What Does the English Regions Cycling Development Team have to say about the performance of St Helens Council?
Find out at http://www.nationalcyclingstrategy.org.uk/assets/go_2004/North_West/sthelens.pdf

What Does the English Regions Cycling Development Team have to say about the performance of Knowsley Council?
Find out at http://www.nationalcyclingstrategy.org.uk/assets/go_2004/North_West/knowsley.pdf

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Pavement parking and the law….

This information has come from the LCC Highways Management Team:

It is an offence (Highways Act 1835, Section 72) to cycle on the pavement unless it is a dedicated cycle track. This should also confirm the level of fine, in the region of £500.

Where there are waiting restrictions (single or double yellow lines) they extend from the back of footway to the centre of the carriageway. Many motorists seem to think they only apply to the side of the actual carriageway. So where there are yellow lines then the Parking Attendants can issue a penalty charge notice for parking on the footway. There are circumstances where parking on the footway is permitted but this must be supported by a Traffic Regulation Order and signed and lined accordingly. We have a recent example in Rathbone Rd. In circumstance where vehicles are parked on the footway and there are no parking restrictions (or an order to allow them to actually park there) such parking could constitute and obstruction of the highway (an offence under Section 137 of the Highways Act 1980 - I think). With obstruction the police can take action whereas our Parking Attendants cannot. The police do still employ their own Traffic Wardens & do issue fixed penalty notices for parking on the footway where it causes an obstruction (Many police officers seem to be unaware of this ...).

LCC do not have a tow away policy as yet. This may happen but it is at least a year away as the set up costs and organisation of such a 'service' are quite extensive and parking is still in its early days in terms of sorting the whole decriminalisation process out.

Moving offences, such as actually driving along the footway, are clearly matters for the police to enforce. Current legislation (possibly set to change with the Traffic Management Bill) does not permit Parking Attendants to enforce moving offences.

Although police resources may be stretched it does not exclude them from doing what is their duty and enforcing these regulations.

ED. Comments and letters will be welcome for the next PP.

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Cycle Training on Merseyside

It is now widely understood that in order to get more people cycling regularly Cycle Training is a good thing. Cycle lanes and Sheffield stands may help, but to make a real committed cyclist, you need training to show the best techniques for riding in traffic. This training should start in primary school but is helpful for anyone of any age.

Recently, with the noble exception of Sefton Council, very little, good quality cycle training has been taking place in Merseyside. What there has been has relied heavily on volunteers and was held on school playgrounds. Real training takes place onroad, where hazards are more easily understood. The CTC and the national Road Safety Bodies have now launched National Standards for both Child and Adult Cycle Training. These set out a framework of 3 levels of cycle training and give examples of good and best practice for each. To meet these standards, trainers have to be trained, insured, police checked, regularly monitored and tested.

To their credit, the 5 Merseyside Authorities have recognised the problem, and together have commissioned a report to look at a sensible way forward. One possibility being looked at is to use Local Transport Plan (LTP) money to fund a Merseyside-wide agency to deliver the training. It may take a while to be established but things are now beginning to happen.

But already St Helens and Wirral have appointed Road Safety Cycling Officers to start delivering training and all the 5 authorities have sent staff on instructor training courses. Liverpool City Council has agreed to use outside funding (the CATCH project) to deliver a package of cycle training this summer. This funding will in part be used to support school training to the new standards, but as well, it is intended to offer training to families, health patients, health groups and businesses undertaking travel plans. So, if you live in Liverpool, there is a very good chance you can get free cycle training in your area.

More training leads to more people cycling, more often and further.
More cyclists leads to safer cycling.
And safer cycling means a cleaner, quieter and more beautiful environment.

So support Cycle Training.

For more Information contact:
Neil Kay (Cycling Solutions) on 0151 727 4584

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Bike Bitz- for sales, wants and swaps

For Sale

TREK 930 SINGLE TRACK MOUNTAIN BIKE WITH FRONT SUSPENSION and twist grip gears. Bought a few years ago for £650 but hardly used. Will sell for £300 or offers invited. To fit person about 5'2". Includes lots of extras e.g. adjustable head stem, front and rear mudguards, rear rack, saddle bag with puncture kit, rear LED light, bottle rack and strapless toe grips.

VITUS 992 ovoid frame aluminium racing bike with Campaign bits. Original price approx £1400, we bought for £700 second hand and will sell for £350 or offers invited. To fit person about 5'2". Includes lots of extras: Lock, bottle cage, rear LED light, saddle bag with puncture kit, strapless toe grips.

GIANT OCR COMPACT ROAD BIKE. Bought 2/3 years ago for £700 but hardly used, will sell for £350 or offers invited. To fit someone around 5'6" to 5'7" tall. Includes lots of extras: Adjustable head set, lock, toe grips with straps, front and rear LED lights, saddle bag with puncture kit, multi tool, bottle cage, Blackburn mini pump. These are all in excellent condition (as all hardly used!) and if any one is interested then ring us Karen & Mark on 01782 513012. We live in Biddulph, Staffordshire but if anyone is seriously interested, but cannot get to Biddulph, or would not be able to transport the bikes back, we could possibly arrange something.

For all ads please contact seller direct not me! The PP is only the messenger.

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All articles welcome for inclusion in next issue of Pedal Press to be sent in MS Word by email or disc to the Editor

© Merseyside Cycling Campaign 2005