post by – Steven McCulley Founder & Owner of LIOS Bikes
Five years ago I was blown up by an IED in Afghanistan.
After setting up LIOS Bikes Ltd whilst in rehabilitation, ‘Road to Victory’ was very kindly produced by Hogarth Worldwide and charts the build up to the LIOS Nano carbon folding bike winning the MR PORTER Nocturne London Folding Bike Race on 4 Jun 16…almost five years on to the day I was injured!
Please check out the short video and spread it as much as possible…
The SMPL team add: What a positive message and good luck to you and the team!
The runs are organised by volunteers in green spaces and have had almost 933,000 runners take part in the last two years.
However Stoke Gifford Parish Council in Bristol went against the “founding principles” of Parkrun and decided to charge the Little Stoke event to use their park.
This will end that particular Parkrun from taking place and chief operating officer for Parkrun, Tom Williams, said: “Parkrun has had unprecedented success in engaging the least active and encouraging them to exercise regularly.
“Imposing a charge at one event is something that contradicts our founding principles and would set a precedent that threatens our future.”
“It is clear that a per-event or per-runner charge simply would not be sustainable and would threaten our free-to-participate ethos.
“By agreeing to a charge in relation to use of the land at Little Stoke Park we would be establishing a precedent that would put the future of parkrun at risk.”
Following the wide discussion surrounding the topic we approached the Parkruns in Surrey and North East Hampshire for their take on the topic.
The Cranleigh Parkrun is at Knowle Park and was started in October 2014 by local business owner Martin Bamford.
Mr Bamford said the organisers and parish council recognised the need for free events and therefore there’s would remain so.
“Forcing local parkrun groups to pay goes against the free to participate principle of parkrun events.
“I feel very sorry for all of the volunteers and runners at Little Gifford parkrun, who will have devoted countless hours to establishing and hosting this community event.
“It feels very short-sighted on the part of the parish council, at a time when the national faces a massive public health challenge around obesity and inactivity.
“Here at Cranleigh parkrun, we have an excellent relationship with our landowners, Cranleigh Parish Council and the Knowle Park Initiative, which both recognise the importance of the free-to-participate principle behind parkrun events.
“Since we started Cranleigh parkrun, we have hosted 81 free events with more than 3,800 runs covering 19,280km, from 1,040 different runners.
“We look forward to a long and happy future for Cranleigh parkrun, and welcome anyone who wants to join us on a Saturday morning for a free, timed 5km run around beautiful parkrun.”
Alice Holt Forest
The Alice Holt Park run, just outside Farnham, hope the Little Stoke Parkrun would only be cancelled temporarily and they would find another location.
Paula Patterson, event director at Alice Holt, said there is no risk of their event stopping any time soon.
“Parkrun will not pay to use the parks so if Surrey parks decided to do this then that would be the end of any Parkrun in that park.
“Alice Holt Parkrun takes place on Forestry Commission land and, as such, is not affected by any decision made by parish/town/borough/county councils.
“As far as we are aware there are no plans by the Forestry Commission to charge us to use the land we run on but if they did then we would have to cease or find an alternative venue.”
The Alice Holt parkrunners pay for their parking while they are at the site which supports the upkeep on the Hampshire forest.
Run organiser at Rushmoor, Martin Sterio, said their were no future plans to charge for the event held at the army training ground in Farnborough.
“We have been going for a year and half and there are some people who have made the most incredible improvements.
“It is great for people who want to get into running but like myself are not part of a running club.
“You can run or wobble and at Rushmoor we had 227 people last weekend of all ages. You can run with your dog or push your child in a pram, it doesn’t matter, it is for eveyone.
“This business in Somerset is a really churlish move and a bit foolish by this council, especially with how big parkrun is in the country and across the world.”
Mr Nield, who is about to start training for a marathon, said its also an opportunity for people to appreciate their green spaces too.
Organisers at Frimley Lodge parkrun would not comment on the news from Bristol however they reassured Get Surrey that there were no plans for charges to be introduced at their events.
Liz Read from Aldershot takes part in the Frimley Lodge event every week and thinks the actions of the parish council in Little Gifford are “disgusting”.
“Parkrun is a community event free to everyone and it encourages people to try and be active in a safe and friendly environment.
“on of the key beliefs of Parkrun is that it will always be free to all.
“I have done 58 Parkruns now and if Frimley had to stop it would ruin my Saturdays and I would miss the social side.”
Woking Borough Council confirmed there were no plans to charge Parkrun to use Woking Park, which many runners will be relieved to hear.
The organisers of the Woking Parkrun would not comment on the actions of Stoke Gifford council but a Parkrun spokesman said: “None of our other 850 worldwide events is under threat, and this is the first time in 12 years we’ve had a council suggest a charge.
“We have events on local authority managed land in addition to sites managed by the Forestry Commission, National trust, Woodland Trust, many runs are in country parks, nature reserves, on sandy beaches etc and our volunteers work closely with them through the set-up process and going forward to ensure the events work for everyone.”
There are currently no plans to bring in charges at the Guildford Parkrun in Stoke Park.
The organisers could not comment on the events but reiterated Parkrun’s general statement that no charges would be brought to the event.
Graham Evans MP, and chair of the All Party Parliamentary Group for Running, said: “Parkruns provide an invaluable way of utilising public spaces and getting the whole community involved – young and old – in physical activity, which we all know is massively important for our health and wellbeing.
“I am a huge fan of parkrun and regularly take part with my family – the children love it, and my wife and I love being out in the fresh air using our beautiful parks and countryside with them.
“I sincerely hope that a solution will be found to enable Little Stoke parkrun to continue.”
There are currently no plans to bring in charges at the Reigate Parkrun in Priory Park.
I am probably going to shock you by saying this but I don’t like sunshine – or rather – my eyes don’t like it. What I mean is – given the choice between wandering around outdoors in bright sunshine and sitting quietly indoors you will usually find me indoors.
Bright sunshine is one of the things which plays havoc with my Photophobia (or the sensitivity of my eyes to bright lights).
In order to combat this I wear transition lenses (what used to be known as “reactolites”). These can take some time to revert to their normal clear appearance when I go into a dark space. This means that I may appear to be breaking the interview “rule” of not wearing sunglasses. Sorry but – given the choice between breaking some “rule” dreamt up by someone who probably had 20/20 vision (and no sensitivity to lights of any kind) and arriving at your office even more blinded and disoriented by the sun than I do even with my glasses on (not forgetting the accomanying eyeache and the headache) – the “rule” goes out of the window.
There is something which you can do to make my life a little easier – make sure your Reception area is moderately lit. There is nothing worse than having to go from bright sunshine to either a Reception area which would make a brilliant place if you desired to interrogate me using bright lights, or, a Reception Area where I almost have to feel my way to the Reception Desk.
In extreme circumstances bright sunshine can cause me to go on what I call “Shutdown”. This means that – instead of you seeing the nearest thing to a “normal” person I can be – you may find ourself looking at someone who has definitely got a serious sight problem and who doesn’t mind you knowing about it. When that happens I just want to hide myself away.
So, maybe next time someone comes to a job interview or a meeting at your offices who is apparently wearing sunglasses you might not think they are being rude to you – they are trying to show you their best side under the circumstances. If you are unsure – just ask.
Ability, what is it and therefore what is disability? This question was posed to me during a training run this morning. I was trudging through the town centre and saw an empty large car with a blue badge displayed, double parked, engine left running in the zigzag markings of a pelican crossing with the driver drawing cash at the adjacent ATM. He was middle aged and had a shuffling walk.
My immediate impression was of how selfish his behaviour was. Blocking half the carriageway, putting crossing users at risk and committing another offence, that of quitting. And I was a bit shocked that a disabled person should be so selfish. But then selfishness is not mutually exclusive to disability is it? But then the old boy needed his cash and was a bit wobbly walking.
The very next impression I had was of a couple, like me out running. They were travelling at least one and a half times faster than I was. They were in their thirties and holding a conversation as they ran. IN SIGN LANGUAGE!
So in comparison here was a guy utterly able to run at speed and sign with his partner causing no problems and making no demands on us or others safety. Brilliantly able.
What an example for others who have their own trails to run and mountains to climb. I want to be able, like the signing runners and not disabled like the driver. It’s my choice. And it’s your choice too.
Mobility Scooters or Invalid carriages are a common sight on our roads, pavements and in our shopping centres. But are they safe? There are around 400,000 currently on our streets a growth of 33% since the early 2000’s. We have got over the hysteria of 2003 and 2012 where motorised scooters or invalid carriages, as the law knows them, were demonised through a few high profile events. These were generally where older folk made serious errors such as driving them onto a motorway. But at present the danger to others by invalid carriage users has been assimilated into our daily lives. In fact recent work by the Department for Economy, Science and Transport and the National Assembly for Wales confirms that they of significant benefit to disabled people and goes even further suggesting amendments to the regulations to make them more available to younger folk.
The currently problem of invalid carriages is one of visibility – do you see them? The question is particularly appropriate as we approach the end of British Summer Time on Sunday 25th October 2015. Whether on the pavement, on the road or merely crossing the street at low speed (0-8mph) there are significant dangers to the users because they do not have to show front and rear position indicators (side lights) and there is no MOT required.
From our own recent field study of invalid carriages used in London and the South of England very few users are aware of the dangers and what simple steps can be taken to make the user safer. However whilst 84% of users complain that motorists and cyclists ignore them, drive too close and “bully” them. (89% complain that pedestrians get in the way and that many shopping isles are too narrow) only some 10% of carriage users wear a high visibility clothing item when they use their vehicles. This one change to wearing a high-vis vest would, we argue, ensure that scooter users feel safer because other road users would see them earlier and be able to react sooner. This would be a useful step forward and we would ask the DoT to consider making this move mandatory following a wider survey.
It is also the case that of the 10% of users who wear high visibility clothing when on their mobility scooter over 70% of these do so because they have been involved in an accident or near miss with a vehicle. It would be an interesting subject for further research to examine the times, dates and weather conditions of such events.
Other useful safety changes would be for current invalid carriages to be fitted, like bicycles with reflectors and with reflected chevrons on the rear surface of the vehicle.
The study of mobility scooter safety will become simpler as from 2015 the police service will record incidents including invalid carriages.
Meanwhile if you know a mobility scooter user don’t wait for wider research to prove our study you can buy a high visibility safety vest from around £5 and help them be safer in our community.