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Walking, jogging, running and finally getting to ride a bike

Category: Public/Communities

Date: 24.04.2015

Time: 10:01

I'm not describing the stages of a child here, I'm describing the stages of a parent with a child on a bike.

When they are little you get to walk along beside them while they ride a trike or push along on a walking bike, then they get a bigger bike and they get a bit faster and you find yourself almost jogging to keep up. Then there is that slightly frustrating stage when they aren't quite fast enough for you to be on your own bike but you find yourself almost running to keep up with them.

I now have the absolute joy that my own poor neglected bike can finally come out again as my son has managed to get up enough speed for us to cycle together.

We are extremely lucky to live in a place where school, shops and friends are all within easy walking or cycling distance and for the most part on safe footpaths and cycle paths. I'm reliably informed by my 8 year old that walking is the most boring thing on the planet ever ever ever....but suggest going on his scooter or even better getting out the bikes and all thoughts of the car and it's comfy seats rapidly disappear. 

His discovery that he could get a badge first at Beavers and now in Cubs for bike riding has increased his enthusiasm even more, so he's practising his basic bike maintenance and making a poster about road safety on a bike so that he can add a cyclist badge to the collection on his uniform sleeve. 

We don't go on any epic bike rides, but our bikes make trips around town more interesting and now it's my car that feels neglected - but I think that's the better and cheaper option.

Jill is PECT’s Environmental Education Co-ordinator, and she has written on the topic of cycling to tie in with this year’s Peterborough Green Festival, which will be held on 23-31 May 2015.



Seeing what Peterborough has to offer

Category: Public/Communities

Date: 22.04.2015

Time: 17:06

Having a real interest in sustainability, I’ve always found looking for events and groups an up-hill challenge in previous places I’ve lived (which resulted in me starting my own). However, in moving to Peterborough late last year, I feel I have arrived home. There is so much going on in the aspiring UK’s Environment Capital, I am now struggling to find the time to do it all!

First on the agenda after the move was to get an allotment, which was secured within the month and is now under development. The other plot holders are all really nice and, now the weather is warming up, are beginning to become more like friends than simply acquaintances, all offering their help and advice on the season ahead.

Since the move, I have also become more involved personally in what the city has to offer. Having been to both the Green Backyard and the Olive Branch Community Garden I am taken aback by the community spirit to keep and care for its green spaces. I am slowly becoming a regular with the Handmade in Peterborough group, continuing my love of all things craft and making new friends along the way.

My love of crafts has also landed me a role as a teacher for Greeniversity, which is a great initiative I was already looking into before I had started working with PECT. Next on my agenda is the Willow Weaving courses, which I have looked at a number of times, but feel I should get on a level playing field with my time before taking on anything new.

The start of 2015 brought with it many changes, one of which was starting as an intern for PECT, pulling together a community project proposal. This was a new challenge for me, never having worked in the environmental or fundraising sector before; but being able to use my sustainable outlook and let it grow has been a new experience I am thoroughly enjoying. I have met with a number of local people and have engaged in many interesting conversations about all aspects of sustainability; just bringing the topic to their attention and starting conversations flowing has got them thinking about what they could do differently.

Shortly after I started with PECT, I was asked if I would be willing to take on another role, helping out with the Green Festival. This has again been a great opportunity, helping to promote such a brilliant event and getting to see a wider scope of what a brilliant organisation is doing to make the world a greener place.

So now the weather is warming up, why not get out there and see what your local area has to offer; whether it is the Green Festival events happening near you, a Greeniversity class, or just mingling with your local community to see what you can do to contribute to a greener, cleaner, healthier Peterborough.

Danette is PECT’s Fundraising Intern, and she has written on the topic of green community events to tie in with this year’s Peterborough Green Festival, which will be held on 23-31 May 2015.



My life-affirming cycling experience (or the day I got knocked off my bike!)

Category: Public/Communities

Date: 17.04.2015

Time: 11:35

Rather a dramatic headline maybe, but I can honestly say that the day I was hit by a car left me feeling slightly euphoric. It also changed the way I approached cycling.

I don’t like driving and haven’t got a car so my bike is my lifeline for getting around the city. I’m a confident cyclist and, admittedly, had been rather lax with my safety in the past. I never used to wear a helmet, the lights on my bike were pitifully weak, and I let my break pads wear down to a slither! 

Anyway, it was midday on New Year’s Day and I was cycling home from yoga. I passed a junction and moments later was unceremoniously knocked off my bike by a car pulling out who had simply not seen me. It all happened in bit of a haze – I couldn’t believe that I’d been hit. I also couldn’t believe that I hadn’t been hurt. My bike basket was a write-off but miraculously, I came out of it with just a few bruises to my ankle. When the car stopped and the driver got out and I stood up, I don’t know who was more in shock, him or me.

Despite this little hiccup, cycling is incredibly important to me. I love the freedom of being outdoors on my bike, knowing that I am getting some daily exercise and beating the traffic jams. It’s very satisfying to scoot along the cycle route next to Bourges Boulevard and pass the sometimes motionless traffic. Now the weather has become warmer, it’s nice just to go out on the bike and get some fresh air.

The upshot of it all is I am now wearing my helmet and have ramped up the lights when I cycle at night, and I would recommend that all other cyclists take a look at their safety to see what they too can improve. So, if you see someone on a bike, carrying a yoga mat and lit up like a Christmas tree, then give them a wide berth as you overtake. You might even want to smile and wave at them – you never know, they may just smile back! 

Kari-Ann is PECT’s Fundraising Manager, and she has written on the topic of cycling to tie in with this year’s Peterborough Green Festival, which will be held on 23-31 May 2015 and is based upon the theme of sustainable transport.



Going Wild Food Foraging with Greeniversity and The Green Backyard!

Category: Public/Communities

Date: 16.04.2015

Time: 15:19

Ruth Campbell from Idea1, the organisation that unites individuals, creative entrepreneurs and businesses to provide an opportunity to share ideas and knowledge, talks about her recent experience taking part in a Wild Food Foraging session.

On Sunday 12th April, I visited the lovely Green Backyard (GBY) and took part in their Wild Food Forage course, in partnership with Greeniversity. Greeniversity is running a series of skill sharing courses at The Green Backyard and you can find out more at www.greeniversity.org.uk.

What a lovely environment in which to hold a workshop! The Green Backyard is welcoming; full of energy and the sun was finally out! The description of the workshop was ‘Learn how to identify wild food that is available in springtime with David Radley. Get advice on foraging within the law. Try foraged foods that you probably haven’t eaten before. Bring something towards a shared lunch and we’ll add some foraged items.

The day started off with a brief introduction over tea and some ‘how to’ foraging books. David Radley, who is based at Nene Park Trust and runs regular foraging walks there too, took us around The Green Backyard and identified various different, wild leaves, weeds and plants that we could eat, also explaining which ones to avoid! He even encouraged us to eat his findings, including stinging nettles! I was reluctant at first, I didn’t want my tongue to swell up from a sting but David showed us how to pick and fold the nettle properly without getting stung. Surprisingly it actually tasted quite nice!

Once we had walked around The Green Backyard, where we really did discover food in every crevice of the land, we were given a basket, handmade by GBY out of willow, and were encouraged to go and pick some wild food for our lunch. Everyone scampered off to forage, this really put our new found knowledge to the test. I chose a mixture of lambs lettuce, marigolds, rapeseed flowers, fennel flowers and even dock leaves.

Once collected it was a lovely surprise to hear that we would be eating some homemade soup (handmade by one of GBY’s volunteers) made out of some of the foraged food from the previous day's workshop. Everyone brought food to share to accompany his or hers foraged finds, (lots of cake) sharing food and generating interesting conversation over lunch. I think we all felt a sense of accomplishment after foraging for our own lunch! David cooked up some of the foraged items and gave us some nettle tea to try.

After our lunch we then walked around the city, the Embankment and the Cathedral grounds to show how we can apply what we have learnt to find our own food within the city centre. I’m sure everyone that attended the class now has their eyes peeled for plants David recommended, and I know I definitely do.

It truly was a fantastic and informative day - a whole new skill learnt - one that I can share with friends. The Green Backyard and its volunteers were hugely welcoming and David jam-packed the session full of useful information. I would recommend this class to my friends and family any day. Who knew there was so much wild food you could find in your own backyard and around the city!

You can watch an interview about the foraging class here. Please don't eat anything grown wild without expert identification first.