When September ends

The death of twitter and the migration to Mastodon is a good thing — as long as we don’t make it Mastodon’s Eternal September. There was a time in the early internet when it was available only inside large organisations — universities especially. Users of Usenet — the original (or […]

Politicians need to own their choices for our street space 2

The transport and streetscape proposals coming from Bristol’s councils and councillors reveal their priorities and choices. So why are they so reluctant to take ownership of them? Bristol is once again making the news for the poor quality of the cycling and walking infrastructure that it’s building and proposing. First […]

Elvis has left the collective consciousness

Of all the depressing, startling, and often eccentric soundbites that scrolled past during budget day afternoon, the one that really stood out for me was the chancellor boasting that he is spending £2 million to create a Beatles museum in Liverpool. Boomers warping the national demographics is a helluva drug […]

We must all shield vulnerable older people from this novel threat: delete their facebooks

Before SARS-CoV-2, there were already several coronaviruses that infected humans. They circulated in the population giving us colds. What’s so different about the novel coronavirus that makes it cause potentially deadly Covid-19 instead of a cold? There are a few hypotheses being explored, but the frontrunner is the idea that […]

Buses on the Fishponds Road pass a city council "Clean Air For Bristol" poster asking motorists to switch off their engines when stationary.

Fishponds Road Revival

At the end of March last year I needed a new chain and cassette, so one morning I took my bicycle to Bools at the opposite end of Fishponds Road to us. It was a week or two into first lockdown, when all our (social) media, conversations and heads were […]

Nobody lives in remote places

In Cycling in Middle England, Mark mentioned that the transport minister responded to a question about policy outside of major cities by waffling about remote places where distances are impractical for cycling. If we’re not living in big cities, apparently we’re living in remote places. Except of course, by definition, nobody lives there. […]

Waterloo to Greenwich Quietways

I’ve not been keeping up with the consultations so much, but I found 5 minutes over lunch to glance at this and scribble the first things that came to mind… Andrew Gilligan said that things would be "done properly, or not at all." Unfortunately, while some aspects of this […]

Why are you still using URL shorteners?

Part of my job includes looking after social media. That means I can’t hide from the torrent of advice from Social Media Experts. It seems one of the standard lines is still “use bitly on twitter”. I’ve developed an excessive perhaps slightly irrational rage with that one.* It came up again at the […]

Alarming facts

A year ago I flagged something in feedly for a brief sarcastic comment, and never got around to it. Now that I’m having a clear out… “It is alarming that a fifth of people killed or seriously injured on our roads in 2011 were involved in a collision where at […]

On Bill Hamilton

Flicking through a 10 year old notebook, one of those ones made from paper and everything, deciding whether to keep these things cluttering up the place or not. Friday 16 January 2004: Martin Birch reports that he met Bill one day in the department of zoology, and apologised for forgetting […]

Ten baby names to watch out for in 2014

Way back when I worked in academic publishing, assessing newly submitted papers and finding suitable people to peer review them, I encountered hundreds of weird and wonderful names every day. And kept a list of which most amused. Which never got published because, well, it would be mean. But… the […]

On the road haulage lobby

The road haulage lobby briefly grabbed a bit of attention last month when they blamed the victims killed by their industry: But really, the history of their practices is worth looking at. Mick Hamer (yes, this Mick Hamer) in Wheels Within Wheels reviews how the road freight industry has […]

Travel to work in Stevenage

Given that Stevenage seems to be the exemplar du jour of the UK’s unique culture, wedded to the motorcar and impossible to persuade to use a bicycle — a representative sample of the English attitude and environment, and definitely not just a self-selected population of suburbanites in an anomalistic mid-20th […]