Get those shorts out and get on your bike!

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Cambridge workers are being urged to take part in a Cycle Challenge. We are being pitted against The Other Place. We’ve beaten Oxford in the Boat Race and University Challenge already this year, so here’s the next trial of fortitude!

It works like this: you sign up at your place of work, then encourage your colleagues to do the same, then log your journeys (all of them, not just the commuting ones). The campaign aims to get more new cyclists doing short journeys of just 10 minutes (1 or 2 miles for most people).

The list of Cambridge organizations that has already signed up is impressive and I am pleased to say it includes the City and County Councils as well as both universities.

Read all about it here.

Meet the police at the Queen Edith’s School Fête

The Queen Edith County Primary School (Godwin Way) is holding its summer fete this Saturday, 22nd May. These events are great for their teas and hot dogs as well as other fête fun such as bouncy castles, assaults courses, music-making and games. There’s a car boot sale too, so a chance to pick up a bargain.

This year the community police team will be there from about 12.30, advising on crime prevention, so look out for them if you have any issues to discuss.The fête itself starts at 1 p.m. and I understand there are barbecue lunches on sale so it’s a good idea to get there early! More information from the School PSFA.

Fashion comes in cycles

Ride for JoyDid you know that only one in four women and girls in the UK ever cycles? I was staggered by this statistic, which came out of research carried out by Sustrans last year. It resulted in a 9,000 petition to the Minister for Transport asking for safer cycle routes.

The Cambridge Cycling Campaign (of which I am a member) is working on encouraging more women and girls to take up cycling as an everyday way of getting about.

They are putting on two events:

On Wednesday 10th March they will be showing the film ‘Beauty and the Beast — why British girls don’t cycle’.

‘Ride for Joy’ is a big fashion cycling event on Saturday 20th March. That’s NOT an oxymoron. The idea is to wear your ordinary clothes, but still be as stylish as you please. We’ll be riding around the centre of town, meeting  at Lammas Land at 2 p.m. and fetching up at Parkers Piece for a speaker later. For the latest news, see the Cambridge Cycling Campaign website. b

Wonderful Wednesdays: two seats for the price of one!

Love Cambridge LOVE CAMBRIDGE, the city centre partnership, has teamed up with Cambridge Nespapers, Park & Ride and Stagecoach to launch ‘Wonderful Wednesdays’, a great deal to encourage people to visit Cambridge for shopping, culture, entertainment or just to enjoy our fine city.

Wonderful Wednesdays runs all through March and offers two Park & Ride bus fares for the price of one every Wednesday afternoon in March, on production of a voucher.

To download the vital voucher, visit Love Cambridge, phone them on 01223 457179, or email [email protected]

Enjoying the fruits of their labours

pineapple2.jpgDiana Manasseh, a pineapple grower from Ghana, was in Cambridge today telling us all about fair trade pineapple and mango farming and the tangible differences that the fair trade premium makes to the farmers and their families. It was fascinating to hear how the shopping choices we make in Cambridge affects the people who grow and harvest the crops.

Ghana is a poor country, and its challenges include a lack of basic amenities such as access to water and electricity, as well as health care and education. Fair trade offers producers a guaranteed price for their goods, and the money goes back into the community. Several of us listening were amazed at the sheer number of projects that have come about through the fair trade premium. I am probably missing some out, but for example, at Bomarts it has paid for: boreholes to provide clean drinking water, a toilet block, refurbished medical centres, a maternity wing at a clinic, school meals to encourage the children to stay at school longer (Cambridge’s newest restauranteur Jamie Oliver would surely approve!) and nursery equipment for the smaller children.

Bomart starts harvesting pineapples in March and mangos in May. Fair trade pineapples can be found on the shelves of four major supermarkets: Asda, Sainsbury’s, Tesco and Morrisons. My pineapples will taste all the sweeter now that I’ve glimpsed something of the lives of the people who grow them.

Diana’s a Fair Trade Certification Officer at Bomarts Farms and is here on a tour. It’s her first trip to the UK, and she said she was enjoying it, though it is her first experience of snow. She was speaking today at Emmanuel United Reformed Church in Trumpington Street Cambridge, at the invitation of the Cambridge Fairtrade Steering Group.

There was also an exhibition on 30 years of Traidcraft — I didn’t realize it had been around that long. When I first came across fair trade as a university student in 1980, there was only WDM tea and Campaign coffee, which you had to be . . . errr . . . committed to drink, if you know what I mean.

Nowadays the Traidcraft catalogue is a veritable cornucopia of goods, from tea and coffee (VERY nice, I start the day with two cups of their Indian Ocean) to chocolate, wine, cards and giftwrap, clothes, even holidays! And that’s just one fair trade supplier. I use www.ethicalsuperstore.com to find more sorts of product. My current problem is that although I have lots of fair trade clothes, they are nearly all summery and it’s too cold to wear them without something warmer on top. A shopping trip must be in order . . .

Diana is repeating her talk tomorrow night at King’s College, and on Thursday at Bourn Village Hall.

Education, Education … the crisis ahead in Cambridgeshire and nationally

SchoolchildrenThe South Cambridgeshire Liberal Democrats are holding an open meeting on education at St John’ Church, Hills Road, on 18th February.

 Speakers

 Cllr Peter Downes, Liberal Democrat spokesperson on education on Cambridgeshire County Council (former Head of Hinchingbrooke School and President of the Secondary Heads Association)

Cllr Sebastian Kindersley, Cambridgeshire County Councillor and Liberal Democrat Prospective Parliamentary Candidate for South Cambridgeshire

Come and hear the Lib Dem point of view and have your say!

7 p.m., The Wilkinson Room, St John the Evangelist Church, Hills Road, Cambridge CB2 8RN (opposite Homerton College, buses 1, 4, 7 and lots more)

Drinks and snacks available. No ticketing, just come!

Education meeting poster

 

Fair trade at Mill Road Winter Fair

Fair trade market stallThis Saturday is the eagerly anticipated Mill Road Winter Fair, an eclectic mixture of exciting events and chic commerce, from ale tasting to Yamuna body rolling! See the Fair’s website for details: http://www.mill-road.com/winterfair.aspx

Cambridge Fair Trade City, a coming-together of fair trade merchants and campaigners like me, has a market stall in Ditchburn Gardens and will be displaying goods from Abantu – arts and crafts from all over the world that you can purchase knowing you will be helping people while not hurting the planet, and Traidcraft. We hope to have some samples of fair trade goodies for people to try out.  Here’s a photo of our fair trade stall in Cambridge’s central market during Fair Trade Fortnight this year.

Hope to see you there!