Devon County Council is saying a big thank you to everyone who supported Devon’s Car Free Day event on Tuesday 22 September. The day was organised as part of the TravelWise campaign and supports the International Car Free Day.
The fun and creative element raised the awareness of this annual event; however everyone who took part in the day by leaving their car at home deserves recognition for doing their bit to reduce carbon emissions and make a difference to our environment.
Sponsored prizes were on offer for:
The best team effort was won by Environment Agency staff Dave Brogden, Jon Pitt, Richard Tugwell and Robert Harwood. The team pushed colleague Elaine Woodward in a recycled bath on wheels almost four miles to the Environment Agency Offices in Exminster.
The team were encouraged along the route by motorists blowing their horns and felt they had succeeded in raising awareness of car free day.
Their prize was a bicycle sponsored by Taylor Lewis which the bath pushers are going to raffle to raise money for Water Aid, the Environments Agency’s chosen charity.
Environment Agency Bath Push
The ‘best team’ runners-up were the Chinese Dragon walking bus from Hazeldown school, comprising 13 children aged between four and nine. Their prize will be a cycling fun afternoon provided by Devon County Council’s Cycle Devon campaign.
(Hazeldown Chinese dragon)
The Most Creative category was won by Tim Pestridge of Exminster who used a collapsible canoe and a fold up bicycle on his journey to a meeting in Exeter.
Tim’s prize of a bicycle was sponsored by Sanctuary Shaftesbury.
(Tim Prestridge in boat)
The runner–up in the Most Creative category was Tom Saunders who ‘power-bocked’ from St. Thomas to Pynes Hill, Exeter. Tom, who works at South West Water, won a cycle computer and an Osprey back pack courtesy of Cycle Devon. Tom said “I have been power-bocking for about two years and it is exhilarating. You’re quite a long way up and travelling at quite a pace because your legs are much longer. It certainly attracts people’s attention.” Since Car Free Day, Tom has run to and from work on several occasions.
Tom’s radio interview: http://www.validinternational.org/docs/tom_interview.wav
Hannah Hawkins from Mid Devon was awarded a cycle computer for completing a five mile round trip from Nomansland to Witheridge on a penny farthing in support of the event. Hannah, a painter and decorator, is a real cycle enthusiast and even uses a special tricycle for work, carrying her brushes and paint on the back.
Exeter University used the day to celebrate the launch of over 100 new cycle parking spaces and improvements to the D bus service to the campus. A Dr Bike service and ‘How to…’ cycle maintenance sessions were also held.
All employees and businesses based on the Pynes Hill Business Park in Exeter were encouraged to take part in a commuter challenge in support of the day. Ten companies actively took part and Devon and Cornwall Constabulary staff based at Hawkins House were the winners with over half of their staff working on that day travelling sustainably. It was an excellent achievement given the location.
(Pynes Hill Commuter Challenge winners’ presentation)
Staff at Jacobs in Exeter were offered a free green travellers breakfast. Two members of staff write of their regular cycle commute.
John Fewings said “I cycle in from Bovey Tracey to Exeter three days a week. It is only 17 miles each way but the route is fairly tortuous, I have to go over Haldon Hill whichever way I go. I sometimes wonder why I do it, particularly when I am slogging up a hill or I am getting battered by the wind and rain. However,I often see deer and buzzards, and some mornings, when there is a mist in the woods and it is really quiet, it is absolutely fantastic. Another bonus, since I restarted cycling regularly two years ago I feel a lot fitter and I have lost over a stone and a half.
Mike Baker said this of his Honiton to Exeter cycle commute:
“I bought myself a new bike about 3 years ago but had only anticipated the very occasional ride to work – I thought Honiton to Exeter return by bike on a regular basis would be a bit too much, even though I had cycled a lot in the very distant past.
Nevertheless, last year, once the weather warmed up and the days had got longer, I left a change of clothes at the office the day before and set off one morning on my bike bound for my days work in Exeter about 19 miles away, really not quite sure how long it would take.
I was pleasantly surprised to find that the journey only took me just over an hour, only 15 or 20 minutes longer than my cycle/train/walk alternative. And after a quick shower and change of clothes I felt fresh and ready for work – and quite smug about my achievement.
Since then, from March to October, I have cycled in 2 or 3 times a week, providing the weather is not too nasty. As a result I am now considerably fitter than previously and have reduced my weight by about 10%, and the ride in now seems as routine as commuting by any other means.”
Teachers and pupils from schools across the county were invited by Devon County Council to leave cars at home and take photographs of their journey to school.
Hazeldown Primary School in Teignmouth won £100 worth of book tokens for their entries into the photography competition.
The Hazeldown school photographs included eight year old Gina Bell dressed as a parcel delivering herself to school, Daniel Cooper (7) being pushed up a hill on a sack truck by his mum, Sakara (9) and Allana Foote (4) on a customised scooter and the walking bus of 13 children dressed as a Chinese dragon. Natalie Padley, Deputy Headteacher said “We had a fantastic day and it was lovely to see so many children taking part and coming to school in such avariety of interesting ways"
Black Torrington C of E Primary School was runner up in the photography competition. Headteacher Celia Luff, challenged the 23 pupils at the school to travel in a different or inventive way and had children arriving on roller skates, mountain boards, skateboards, bikes, scooters, piggy back, three legged witha friend, walking sideways, ina line doing up and over with a ball where it took them 1/2 an hour to travel a few hundred yard. The pupils received recycled pencil cases, rulers and pencils as their prize.