More cycling

A Case Study

In 2018/2019 the Glasgow School of Art (GSA) was awarded Smarter Choices, Smarter Places funding in order to launch a far-reaching campaign of activities meant to stimulate active travel across the institution. The programme targeted primarily GSA staff members and students but welcomed the wider Garnethill community as well. The project was delivered by John Thorne, GSA’s Sustainability manager, and Georgi Gushlekov, GSA’s Campus Cycling officer funded by Cycling Scotland. Additionally, the Glasgow Bike Hive workshop, Police Scotland, Cycling Law and Bike for Good contributed for the delivery of specific events throughout the project.

In September 2018 the Glasgow School of Art welcomed its first Cycling Officer, Georgi Gushlekov who was funded by Cycling Scotland. His task for the next 9 months was to stimulate cycling activity and facilitate overall an active travel mode shift. Alongside with GSA’s Sustainability Manager, John Thorne, a chain of events was identified as a way to encourage cycling and walking throughout the academic year. GSA was awarded Smarter Choices, Smarter Places funding in November 2018, which saw the beginning of a number of different activities:

• Travel information stalls
• Cycle Led rides + Lunch (in association with Bike for Good)
• Lock Amnesties
• Led Walks (in association with Green Hollows)
• “How to fix it?” workshops (in association with Glasgow Bike Hive)
• Free bicycle repair sessions (in association with Glasgow Bike Hive)
• Security advice and registry (in association with Police Scotland)
• Cycle Law talk (in association with Cycle Law Scotland)
• Smoothie Bikes sessions (in association with Bike for Good)
• Open Call art competition (in association with Cycling Scotland)

This collaborative approach was used as each partner was able to provide specialist knowledge and experience regarding different aspects of active travel. They also offered a network of contacts that was not only used for engagement but will also act as a viable contact list for future campaigns. The combination of those events targeted not only GSA staff and students but also the larger Garnethill community as well. The following case study focuses on the performance and development of the “How to Fix it?” and free maintenance workshops.

During the 2018/2019 academic year GSA hosted three “How to fix it” workshops and seven free bike maintenance workshops. The events aimed at providing basic bicycle maintenance knowledge which could be applied via “bare bones” tools in case of problems such as: tube puncture, chain displacement and simple brake maintenance while on the other hand providing free repair for more complex problems that require a certified mechanic. Both events started off slow with the first session of “How to fix it” attracting only 3 participants, while the free repair sessions servicing 10 bikes. However, the combination of an expanding cycling email list and Facebook group, as well as online marketing and poster distribution greatly benefited the events’ popularity. The last “How to fix it” workshop attracted 12 participants, while on average the serviced bikes during a free repair workshop rose to 18. On his own a mechanic from the Bike Hive can cope with 9 to 12 bicycles during our 3 hour slots but as a result of our Cycling Officer obtaining the Silver Velotech qualification and assisting during them, that numbers was boosted.

Our Cycling Officer noted attendance for each event as well as collected data via bike counts that he undertook twice per month. We also conducted a university-wide travel survey which includes reference to the modal split in GSA when it comes to transport, projected cyclist numbers and related information. In addition, this information can be compared to the national cordon count in order to evaluate changes to levels of cycling across Greater Glasgow. Preliminary data suggests that attendance to cycling-related events will grow as well as overall cyclist numbers.

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