Go Active, Go Explore; Go St Andrews

On the 24th and 25th of April Go St Andrews held its launch event and tour of St Andrews University’s campus. Go St Andrews is a new hub for sustainable transport information in and around St Andrews. This initiative is a collaboration between Fife Council, Transport Scotland, Transition University of St Andrews, BID St Andrews, and partners. The website aims to deliver clear and concise information on all the sustainable transport options in and around St Andrews, aiming to build up a community of people who choose to take modes of transport that will decrease their carbon footprint.

On the 24th April representatives from Sustrans, Cycle Solutions, Cycling UK Scotland, Chariots of Hire, Cyclepath, E-Car, Liftshare, St Andrews Park Run, Transition University of St Andrews, St Andrews Space for Cycling and Cycle Fife came to Market Street to increase awareness of the different resources available to them across the town and gown. Due to high winds we had to shut up earlier than expected, however we were pleased by the encouraging amount of people who came to ask questions and give us suggestions of what they would like to see happen in St Andrews.

As a result of the launch of Go St Andrews we hope to see an increase in the number of people who are interested in taking different forms of transport to reduce their impact on the environment and those who are aware of the huge variety of options available to them in and around St Andrews. The website covers areas including walking, running, cycling, carshare, E – Car, buses, trains and fun ideas for local day trips. If you see something missing or would like a new tab opened please get in touch with your ideas.

A huge congratulations to the team at Transition St Andrews University and everyone else involved who have been working hard over the past couple of months to launch this fantastic new website. Go check it out now at http://www.gostandrews.org/.

If you have any questions about transport in and around St Andrews please do not hesitate to contact us.

Go Active, Go Explore; Go St Andrews.

F: facebook.com/gostandrews/

T: twitter.com/gostandrews

Bike to Work Breakfasts

We are delighted to announce that St Andrews’ University Bike to Work Breakfasts are running on a monthly basis! Open to all staff members and post graduate students, Bike to Work Breakfasts are run and supported by Transition St Andrews, CAPOD and the Environment Team, plus our wonderful student volunteers. The main aims of the breakfasts are to encourage people to bike to work but also to build stronger relationships and connections between the cyclists that commute to work by bike within the university. We seek to do this to help the University of St Andrews reduce its overall carbon footprint as we strive towards a sustainable university. From the 2015 Staff Travel Survey 8% of staff members at the University of St Andrews cycle to work, but we believe more can cycle!

Community provides the perfect opportunity for people to change behaviours and attitudes. By putting on Bike to Work Breakfasts we hope to see more people regularly cycling to work, to continue to support and encourage those who already choose to bike to work, to strengthen the cycling community and to help decrease the university’s overall travel carbon footprint.

Bike to Work Breakfasts don’t hold back when it comes to food. If you come along you’ll find yourself with a choice of hot and cold dishes ranging from delicious hot filled rolls to porridge, and from toast to multiple flavours of yoghurts (and sometimes pancakes)! We want to cater for everyone so if you have any dietary requirements or ideas of foods which we can make then please do get in touch!

Good food and conversation often provides the perfect opportunity for new and creative ideas to form, and we have enjoyed hearing the encouraging feedback that has been given and the mini brain storming sessions that have occurred during these mornings. If you are a staff member of the University of St Andrews or a postgraduate student you are warmly welcome to join us for our next Bike to Work Breakfast next Wednesday (12th of April) from 8.00am – 9.00am at the Chaplaincy building (Mansefield building) on Market Street. We promise good food and conversation!

If you want to find out more please email environment@st-andrews.ac.uk!

Crossing Scotland in an Electric Car: a How-to Guide

George King, from the University’s Environment Team, describes his experience of driving an electric car on a long distance journey. The Environment Team strive to improve the sustainability agenda across the University and St Andrews.

As an occasional driver (and one who doesn’t own a car) the prospect of driving an electric car is always exciting. Previous excursions with E-Car St Andrews have been limited to Fife to avoid the need for a re-charge. However this time I decided to venture further afield – heading west to Loch Lomond – with a group of friends in tow.

You can hire electric cars and vans across St Andrews, at affordable pay-as-you-go rates

You can hire electric cars and vans across St Andrews, at affordable pay-as-you-go rates

For those who have never set foot in an electric car (aka electric vehicles, or ‘EVs’ for short) there are a few things to consider:

  1. No jangling keys. Instead you use your membership card (credit card sized) as a key to open the car. Inside the EV there is a thicker plastic card key, which you need to insert before you press the ‘start/stop’ button. All silently of course.
  2. There are no gears. Unlike most cars in the UK, there is no need for a manual transmission and instead EVs behave like automatics. Put it into ‘Drive’ and you’re good to go.
  3. You can re-charge the vehicle in various places across Scotland and the UK. Coverage of charging points is surprisingly good and with Charge Your Car (CYC) covering 99% of them you’re sure to find somewhere to plug in. It is worth noting that charging is also free.
  4. Planning is key. As we found out planning your route is essential for longer journeys to ensure you reach a charging point in time to recharge the batteries.

For our journey we set off from St Andrews, picking up a friend in Anstruther on the way, and decided to take the slightly longer route via the Forth Road Bridge and Glasgow to put the car to the test.

We knew in advance that we couldn’t make it to our destination without charging but rather than planning charge stops beforehand, we  took the impromptu method – using the CYC app to locate a charging point, on the way.

Waiting for the last bit of charge

Almost there – just 20 more minutes for this charge in Bathgate

Once the range of the EV dropped to 15 miles the ‘range anxiety’ started to kick in, we decided it was time to look for a charger as soon as we could. After a brief navigation mishap (a pessimist may say ‘lost’) we found ourselves a vacant charger. Stopping at Bathgate for an hour, we were able leave the car to charge and use the time productively, shopping for our tea and weekend supplies while we waited.

Back on the road again, we soon arrived at our friend’s flat in Balloch, where we were staying for the weekend. It was then a matter of dropping the car off at a local point, 1 mile from the flat, to re-charge overnight.

Setting out bright and early the next morning we headed for the summit of Ben Lomond in the sunshine, struggling at first with the gradient and then, believe it or not, with the heat.

Enjoying the view from the summit of Ben Lomond

Enjoying the view from the summit of Ben Lomond

After lunch a-top the Ben, we completed the circuit route, managing a swim in Loch Lomond and a pint at a local pub before the day’s end.

On the bonnie banks of Loch Lomond

We found a lovely secluded beach on the shore of Loch Lomond

The next day we had to say our goodbyes and planned our route back to St Andrews in the EV. For the return journey, we decided to go a more direct route and to charge in two short 20 minute bursts – in Stirling and Kinross. Learning from our previous mistakes we found both charging points without difficulty, giving us a brief chance to explore the outskirts of Stirling and to grab a coffee on the banks of Loch Leven.

Over the whole weekend we travelled a total of 216 miles, charged 4 times (including one overnight charge) and spent around 8 hours on the road or charging.

Our round trip route. Google predicts this round trip would take almost 6 hours in a conventional car

Our round trip route. Google predicts this round trip would take almost 6 hours in a conventional car

Although it didn’t always go to plan (when we had one), the weekend was a success and the EV certainly made the trip even more memorable – all for the right reasons.

It won’t be long before we plan our next low carbon getaway; let’s just hope another heatwave decides to join us again next time.

Help St Andrews win best in Scotland – sign-up for the Scottish Journey Challenge today

sustrans-logo-2005Sustrans, the UK’s leading smarter travel charity, are challenging people across Scotland to commute by low-carbon means, during May 2016. Here in St Andrews we are already blazing a trail; the University is in 5th place. We can make that 1st place with your help.

You can download the app and sign up here for the challenge. Record all of your journeys (including during work) which used the following modes of transport and avoided driving a car alone:

  • Walking
  • Cycling
  • Public Transport
  • Lift sharing
  • Virtual meetings (such as using Skype for Business)
  • Working from home

Why take part?

There are several reasons you should take part:

  1. It’s fun!

You can compete with colleagues, other organisations across Scotland and yourself. There is an online leader board so you can compare key stats and track your progress and your colleagues’.

  1. Keeps you fighting fit

Last year’s bike to work breakfast was a great success

Active modes of travel (ones which incorporate physical exercise) help improve fitness and wellbeing. So far staff in St Andrews have burnt a whopping 7,307 calories

  1. Points mean prizes

By taking part in the challenge (a minimum of 1 journey per week) you could be in for a chance to win prizes. Plus walking, cycling and lift sharing are all guaranteed to save you pennies.

  1. Opportunity to enjoy the weather

Walking or cycling to work or between meetings at this time of year gives you the best opportunity to enjoy the sun. Make the most of it… while it lasts. You can also pat yourself on the back for avoiding carbon emissions – staff have saved 63kg CO2 already

Find out more about the challenge and sign up here on the Sustrans website