Bramble bash & #Keep Palace Pedaling:


bramble bash 3


I just wanted to say a few quick words about the Transition Town, which is something Hayley and I have recently be come in volved with. It is a movement that was started in Kinsale in Cork, Ireland. From the people I have been mixing with I have discoved that it is primarrily about building resilience, and re localizing the economy.

The idea then spread to Totnes, and subsequently to over 400 communities worldwide. Crystal Palace where we live is one of the 15 recognised Transition Towns. But there are examples in Canada, Australia, New Zealand, the United States, Italy and Chile.

I’ve never actually taken the trouble to research in-depth online the history of the transition movement. Rather than tie myself in knots at the moment. I’ll just say what I’ve picked up from getting involved a bit. What transition seems to be to me is: It’s basically a loose association of people who live in the community who are willing to get together and give some of their time for free to community initiatives.

the tools come out at the Crystal Palace Bramble Bash

the tools come out at the Crystal Palace Bramble Bash

So, for example, the pictures above are of the Bramble Bash. That was an event the other week, where 40+ volunteers who lived near St John’s Church on Auckland Road, came out one Saturday and started hacking away at sapling trees that needed to be removed, clearing brambles and piling up rubbish that had been fly tipped in the church’s grounds. As I understand it in order to keep the church’s grounds maintained from now on, the church are going to give some of the space over two the community as community growing spaces for an initiative called Patchwork Farm.

This means that members of the local community who want to be involved will be able to grow their own food, keep some for themselves and then donate the surplus to the Crystal Palace food market, which is another ongoing and highly successful community project which takes place every Saturday at Haynes Lane, near the triangle. (Apologies if you’re not familiar with Crystal Palace terminology).

The thing I found most exhilarating about the Bramble Bash was that people who I had assumed were simply market sellers who set up stalls at the Crystal Palace food market on a purely commercial basis actually rocked up to help clear the grounds of the church. This had a hugely humanising effect, because the next time I was down at the food market. I actually recognise some of the traders who had been involved in the Bramble Bash. This made me feel instantly more positive about them as people, it’s amazing how involving yourself with something like this can immediately build trust and make you feel much more positive about the people around you.

Nice lade Moves large Tree.

Nice lade Moves large Tree.

The other nice thing about it is, for people mine and Hayley’s age, who don’t yet have children, it’s a great way to get to know other people in our community. I understand that once you start queueing outside the school gate. It’s easy to get to know your neighbours or people who live nearby. But if you are still a childless adult, you often feel like you want to get involved locally and give something back to the community and its nice to have an avenue where you can do this and your motives aren’t questioned.

Every month I go to something called Green drinks. This is another thing that is organised by the transition town and takes place in one of the local pubs. The grape and grain. To be honest, the best aspect of going to Green Drinks is that it’s a bit like being at university again. I don’t quite give the same time commitment. I used to give my drinking while I was at university, but it’s nice to know that there’s at least one night in the month where you can rock up at a pub unplanned and know that there’ll be plenty of friendly faces that you can chat to.

I first got involved because at a London Cycle Campaign protests I met Angus, another Crystal Palace local. He mentioned the cargo bike project, which was happening in Crystal Palace. And suggested that I might be able to help him with the maintenance of these bikes. I duly agreed that that would be an interesting and fun thing to do, and the next thing I knew I was at Green drinks. Before long, an idea struck me about how I might be able to help “increase resilience” and create more community engagement. I suggested that I personally would really benefit from having company while I worked on my own road bike. I tend to do most of the work on my road bike and while my customers are riding on Wine Rides, I’m the person who offers mechanical support. I’ve never worked as a bike mechanic, but I do know how to fix most things, or a least a generally know how to get a bike moving again. I knew that I would definitely benefit from speaking to other people who know more than me. So I decided what I would do is donate the use of my maintenance stand and tools for a couple of Saturdays at the Crystal Palace food market. Hence, #keepPalacePeddling was born.


Dorian attends to horrifically maintained road bike (owned by Alex Baines-Buffery)

#keepPalacePeddling at Haynes Lane is an event where, a couple of local people such as myself and Dorian in the pictures lend our tools and experience to other members of the community for free. The basic idea is that we get our jollies by helping other people get their bikes moving again. There’s nothing more frustrating than the thought of a bike propping up the inside wall of a shed when it could be out on the road saving people money which they can spend in the local community. We also get to meet other nerdy bike people who are happy to stand around on a crisp Saturday morning with a coffee in hand discussing the highs and lows of bicycle ownership in London.

Everything discussed in the post above is an open event. Everyone is welcome at any of these events. If you’d like to get involved then just follow the links which I’ve helpfully posted below. You be able to find more information about these projects and who to speak to if you are interested in contributing yourself.

latex gloves = man who knows what he's doing.

latex gloves = man who knows what he’s doing.



It transpires that someone who knows better than me, has called the figures that I plucked off Wikipedia into question.  I will trust that Joe Duggan, knows were to source reliable statistics on the transition movement. At some point, I will learn how to make this site auto update. Oh and some acceleration graphs of the growth of the movement,  how good would that be? Oh NERDGASM!

Until then people: Trust that Transition Towns is a fast growing movement.

As of September 2013, on this site, there are:

1130 initiatives registered
462 Official initiatives
654 Muller initiatives

In 43 countries”And that’s not taking into account that a lot don’t bother registering or becoming official.




If you’d like some help with your bike, and want to avoid disappointment, then please book a time slot on the workstand here:

Or you’re welcome to rock up at random, and if you have a problem we can fix without the workstand, you can borrow our tools anyway.


Other things mentioned above:
Transition town:

The Grape and Grain:

Crystal Palace Green Drinks:

Patchwork farm:

Bramble Bash:

Crystal palace food Market:


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