Archive for May, 2013

This year I have signed up to undertake two sponsored cycle rides.

On June 16th I will be riding the Trossachs Ton, a 100 mile ride, including the famous Duke’s Pass and Crow Road hills, in aid of Action Medical Research.

This charity specialises in researching diseases that affect children, as well as providing support for sick children across the UK.

Sponsorship will be gladly received by visiting http://www.action.org.uk/sponsor/philipward

 

On August 4th I will be riding the 2013 Graeme Obree Ayrshire Sportive, a 68 mile ride round Ayrshire with over 5000 feet of climbing including the Nick O’ The Balloch, in aid of Youth With A Mission, Stirling.

This is a Christian charity that work in the Stirling area involved in community development, including financial education, art clubs, youth work and partnering with other community based organisations.

Please sponsor me for this ride at https://mydonate.bt.com/fundraisers/philipward1

At my place of employment the majority of doors between and along the corridors can now be opened with the push of a button. This is a boon for those who are wheelchair bound, pushing a pushchair or catering trolley, or simply have their arms full.

However they are also a source of frustration, especially when encountering someone who hasn’t a clue. Just because a door can be opened with the button, does not mean that it must be opened with the button, or that this is the most efficient and sensible way of operating the door in all cases.

Many of these have only been installed this year. Previously there were a few push button doors along the more busy corridors. As you walk along some of the wider sections of corridor you will approach a set of three doors adjacent to each other. Two of the doors can only be opened manually and one has a push button. It amazes me the number of people who will be walking on one side of the corridor and will veer right over to the other side in order to push the button rather than simply pulling open the door that is in front of them. Sometimes they will even wait for several people to stream through the electrically opened door rather than using one of the manual ones.

Now many more doors are push button. It did not require replacing any doors, simply fitting the existing ones with a robot arm and screwing a couple of touch sensors to the wall that communicate wirelessly with the robot.

 

One of the touch sensitive door opening buttons.

One of the touch sensitive door opening buttons.

Notice the images on the button. A wheel chair and a pushchair. It should be obvious for whom the button is intended, but not to most people. Most physically fit and unencumbered people think that the button is for them. I have seen people approach the door, veer over to touch the button, then stand waiting as the door slowly opens in front of them. JUST PUSH THE STUPID DOOR!!!! The one nearest to my office opens really slowly. You can open it manually, but once the button is pushed and the motor engages it becomes too heavy to push. So to the helpful person who saw me approach the door and hit the button for me as he went past I say “No thank you”.

Apart from a couple of older doors that have “Please don’t open manually” signs on them (but have manual doors next to  them) all these doors can be opened manually, and it is usually far quicker to do so than to wait for the motor to do it for you.

So if you’re walking on two legs and have at least one hand free please don’t push the button. It wastes our electricity, your time, and your muscles which would benefit from the exercise of opening the door themselves rather than expecting a robot to do it for you. Have we got so used to machines doing our bidding that we can’t even open a door by ourselves?

It’s new, it’s shiny, it’s Stirling Cycle Hub.

Opened today at the front of Stirling Railway Station is a new facility that hopes to help get people cycling in the Stirling area. I popped in during lunch break and was greeted with a very warm welcome and an offer of cake. The staff there seemed to be passionate about cycling and we had good banter, including them mentioning that they’d seen a video of some guy singing down at Powis junction and then asking for an autograph when they realised it was me.

The place appears to be an information centre. There is a large leaflet rack containing information about local cycling routes, shops and even some Pedal on Parliament leaflets that they were given at the Scottish Bike Show. There is also a massive map of the area on the back wall in order to help you work out how to get to all the wonderful cycle routes in the area. They were very pleased to receive a Pedal on Parliament poster from me, especially as it was the first poster on their nice new cork board.

How popular it is and how much use it will be remains to be seen. If you want to keep up with them then you can follow @StirlCycleHub on twitter or stirlingcyclehub on facebook.

For those who are really keen, here’s the conversation I shared with them.