The 8 Greenest Cities In The UK

Posted by on Feb 1, 2014 in Bicycle, Bikes, biking, Cycling, Environment | 0 comments

If you are preparing to either purchase your first home or move to a new location, you undoubtedly have a list of priorities for your home that include great schools, fantastic job opportunities and a safe neighborhood. Hopefully, a city’s green rating is also on the short list when it comes to choosing the best place for you and your family to reside. After all, a city that fails to have a green outlook fails to plan for the future. Thankfully, many cities in the United Kingdom, aware of environmental issues, are taking measures to preserve the environment for generations to come.

Are you ready for our list of eight cities that are doing it right?

Newcastle

While this city’s roots date back to the Roman era, their green initiatives are certainly not behind the times. Since 1995, Newcastle has been the host of an annual Green Festival, celebrating the protection of natural resources. The city does not limit its green activities to a festival; rather, in their 2012 Newcastle City Deal, they established a goal to become a low carbon Pioneer City, reducing carbon output by 34% by the year 2020. Newcastle’s plans include the installation of hundreds of charging points for electric cars, and they are well on their way to becoming the electric car capital of the country. The city’s “green” and “blue” gym initiatives are creative ways to help people stay fit while interacting with the local environment. This is truly a city of the future.

Leicester

It is no accident that Leicester makes our list. After all, it was officially named Britain’s first “Environment City.” Leicester’s environmental fame does not end there; the city was one of only twelve local projects from around the world chosen to be honored at the international Earth Summit in 1992. The city features a labyrinth of walking and bicycle paths, some of which go through its award-winning park featuring an abundance of wildlife. The city’s football club boasts an organically-fertilized field, and the recycling program is top-notch. Leicester’s crowning glory is the Eco House, which features a home with the most environmentally-friendly technology, a large organic garden and a store that sells environmentally-friendly merchandise.

Brighton and Hove

This beautiful seaside city offers a park within a minute’s walk from anywhere in the city. Six of these parks (one being a former gravel pit) boast the coveted green flag award, demonstrating the community’s dedication to reclaiming wasted locations for the environment. Additionally, the city is actively pursuing status with the United Nations as a Biosphere Reserve. This lofty goal sets Brighton and Hove apart as one of the leading green cities, not just in the UK, but around the world. The city is divided into charming villages and presents a beautiful place to call home as well as an excellent green travel destination.

Bristol

With a 4.7% growth in the green economy for the year 2012 and ambitious goals toward becoming a low-carbon community, Bristol won the European Green Capital Award for the year 2015. Of course, Bristol is no newcomer to the green scene. Its annual Big Green Week attracted green ideas, art, entertainment and 50,000 visitors from around the UK in 2013. The green aspect of Bristol’s business sector is seeing significant growth, and the city has made great strides toward finding sustainable transportation solutions. All these add up to make Bristol a truly green UK city.

London

The capital city makes the list in spite of its massive population. The reason lies in the great strides London has made to become more environmentally friendly, strategies that include improving the large city’s air quality, greening the city with parks, and dealing with waste more effectively. Many of the strategies stem from the mayor’s 2009 goal of making London one of the greenest cities in the world. From transportation emissions to building energy usage, London has set out to tackle some huge problems, and she is doing a fantastic job.

Leeds

This city is on board with the Green Deal program and has become the largest partner in the deal, negotiating £100 million to fund energy saving remodeling in homes and businesses across the city. Additionally, the city has established 90,000 plus green jobs and a commitment to continue transitioning to a low carbon economy.

Cardiff

Cardiff’s What Matters 2010:2020 focuses on key goals for the city during that 10-year period. The primary concern is the health of the people of Cardiff, and second is a safe and clean environment. Cardiff is putting its feet to the ground with initiatives and has a website boasting at least twenty different campaigns to keep the city green. These campaigns range from dog cleanup to fly-tipping prevention.

Edinburgh

Scotland’s beautiful green city of Edinburgh makes the list thanks to its progressive 2020 goals. The city plans to reduce carbon emissions by 40%, depend on renewable energy for 40% of its energy needs and promote low-carbon transportation city-wide. Its lofty goals have promoted sustainable housing standards, an increased focus on public transportation and stricter standards for waste and recycling.

Your new town’s commitment to green inititives can make a huge difference in lifestyle. Is there a recycling program? How about an environmentally-friendly public transportation system? Are there renewable energy options? All of these affect quality of life.

Siemans developed a Green City Index that tracks environmental performance, research projects, specific eco-friendly buildings (and more) for cities around the world. It is a tool that can help you decide where to look for your next home.

After all, when green considerations are included on your list of prerequisites, you are planning for the future — and not only for this generation, but for those who follow.

Featured images:

Chris Turberville-Tully, a board member and writer for ESA-ServicedApartments.co.uk, enjoys traveling around the world. Thus far, Chris has traveled to eighty countries enjoying the sites, sounds and smells of other cultures, tasty cuisine and stunning views. Follow Chris on Google+.

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Ten Of The Best Cycling Apps

Posted by on Jan 22, 2014 in biking, Cycling | 0 comments

App

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There is an app for just about everything these days and cycling is no exception. The humble bicycle has got increasingly high-tech – you can now monitor your fitness levels, plan your route, repair your bike and much more, using just your phone (and a variety of apps).

Whether you’re a serious athlete, a bicycle commuter or just someone who likes to get some fresh air on two wheels every now and then, there is an app to suit your cycling needs.

1.       Strava

Strava is one of the most popular cycling apps around and it’s not hard to see why. The app allows you to analyse each ride in detail by logging your location, speed and elevation. Strava can then transform this data into weekly and monthly graphs monitoring your progress.

However, it’s much more than just an app that spurts out statistics each week.  The main selling point of Strava is the competitive and/or social side (depending on how you look at it). The app has divided the globe into bite-sized chunks, which become timed sections you can compete on. Every time you cycle through one of these sections, Strava logs your time and you can see where you rank in the league tables. This allows you to compete with friends, or just other cyclists in your area.

2.       Size My Bike

It can be tricky to make sure you’re buying the right size bike for your body shape. This simple app solves this problem by taking 6 body measurements, which are used to calculate the exact size bike which would be the perfect fit for you.

Not only will this give you a more comfortable riding experience, but it improves your performance and helps to prevent injury.

3.       Garmin Fit

This popular training app is perfect for running or cycling – so great news if you love both! Using wireless fitness sensors, the app monitors your performance, whilst also tracking your location through your phone’s GPS.

Plus, it has a built-in music feature – great for keeping you motivated during a long ride.

4.       Bike Doctor

There is nothing more irritating that getting midway through a ride and discovering an ominous creaking, squeaking or hissing, which means you have a problem. This is where Bike Doctor comes in handy: downloading this app is like having a portable bike mechanic.

Currently, at just over 15,000 downloads, this increasingly popular app offers step-by-step repair guides to common problems. Whether you have a road, mountain, or hybrid bike, this app will have an answer to your problem.

5.       Bike Hub

This app is great if you’re looking for inspiration. It’s full of route ideas and it’s also perfect for exploring new areas, as all the routes are marked with popular tourist destinations, as well as bike shops, just in case something goes wrong.

This is an app suitable for any cyclist – there are routes for all abilities and the easy-to-use design encourages you to explore on two wheels.

6.       Fill That Hole

Pot holes are more than just an annoyance for cyclists – they can be very dangerous. This app helps you to combat this problem by reporting any potholes that you see on the roads.

Simply fill in the detail as of the pothole, take a photo and then the app submits this information to the appropriate authorities. You’ll help to improve the roads, one pothole at a time.

7.       Map My Ride

This app is perfect for planning a cycling adventure. You can choose from over 120 million routes across the world, or customise the routes to create your own. Once you’ve planed your route, you can share this with friends if you want to recommend a particularly good ride, or plan a journey together.

There are lots of other handy features like a Nutrition Tracking Calculator – just what you need to make sure you are getting the right nutrition for your ride.

8.       Bike Brain

If you’ve got bikes on the brain, then this might be for you. This app is packed with features including GPS mapping, in-app picture uploads and training mode features. Plus, the app archives all of our routes, so that you can keep track of your adventures.

Also, the app optimises your phone battery life to ensure your phone doesn’t die midway through a journey.

9.       Coach My Ride

Designed with the help of cycle coach Lionel Reynaud who says ‘The Philosophy of CoachMyRide is to help time-crunched riders to improve their performance and to help beginners to enjoy their rides.’

The app gives you structured training and more than 99 workouts with something for all abilities.

10.   Live Rider

LiveRider is one of the most high-tech cycling apps available at the moment. In reality, it’s more like a piece of kit than an app. This ‘bike computer’ app comes with components to attach to your bike’s back wheel which allows you accurately monitor your progress.

As you ride, the device collects data which is synced with your phone. As the app allows you analyse your performance in minute detail, it’s perfect for a hard-core cycling enthusiast.

 Whether you want to get fit on two wheels, set unbeatable times, fix your bike or just explore the world, there is an app to help you do it. Have I missed any of your favourite apps? Or have you tried any of these apps yourself? Share your thoughts below. 

Featured images:

Gavin Harvey is a fitness instructor and cycling enthusiast. He loves to try out new gadgets and as a result, his phone is full-to-bursting with fitness apps.

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Best Bike Trails Near Dallas

Posted by on Nov 9, 2013 in Bikes, biking, Cycling | 0 comments

Bike Trail

Even in the middle of one of America’s most bustling metropolitan areas you can still find ways to get outside and enjoy the great outdoors without traveling too far. The Dallas-Fort Worth(DFW) area is home to many trails for biking; you just need to know where to find them. Whether you’ve been biking for years or you are thinking about purchasing your first bike, you will be able to find something that you can enjoy. Here are some of our favorites:

L.B. Houston Nature Trail

This trail can be found in Irving. It is only five miles long so if you are just starting out as a biker, this is a great place to see how you do on a trail. It also doesn’t have any big rises or drops which is another thing that makes it perfect for the beginner and gives a great view of the Trinity River.  

Trinity River

Riding the Trinity River this way offers something a little bit different than your ordinary bike trail. Perfect for those who prefer to ride in a group, you can take your bike and ride the Trinity Railway Express westbound train to Fort Worth. You’ll join members of the Greater Dallas Bicyclists. There is more than 20 miles of trail next to the River, the group has lunch and then comes back on the 2 p.m. train. The only cost is your $10 day train pass. Discounts are offered for people 65 and older and students.

Arbor Hills Nature Center

Located in Plano, this is by far one of the best bike trails for the Dallas biking enthusiast. It is a 200-acre park and has a variety of trails for hikers and walkers and paved paths for bike riders and strollers. In addition to a variety of paths, this park also showcases some of the area’s best natural sites including a lot of trees that you don’t get to see too often in the heart of the city.

White Rock Creek Trail/White Rock Lake.

This area is one of the most popular bike riding areas. Riding along the lake will give you access to local wildlife including great blue herons, ducks, pelicans and turtles. There are different paths you can take to ride different lengths. One trail measures 7.5 miles one-way and if you add the loop around the lake, you can add an additional 10 miles to your ride.

Rowlett Creek Preserve

This area is great for mountain biking enthusiasts. Whether you are a beginner or an expert, if you prefer mountain biking, head to this area. Trails are mapped out to easily determine the difficulty of each trail. In addition to a variety of trails, this is another great area to take in some wildlife scenery.

 Windhaven Hill, The Colony

If you are a biker who is looking to get some interval training, you’ll want to check out this area. This is the home to the steepest hills in Dallas. You will be in the company of the area’s more advanced bikers and there is a nine-mile look that provides an excellent workout with a big push at the end on the area’s steepest hill. 

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License: Creative Commons image source

  

License: Image author owned 

Chas Carrier is a cash home buyer and real estate expert who buys and sells homes throughout the DFW metroplex with We Buy Ugly Houses Dallas.

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