Cars still top priority
Despite many announcements by Governments over the years that walking and cycling are to be encouraged when planning new buildings and roads, it is apparent that travellers who do not rely on the internal combustion engine, or other external power sources, are still regarded as a low priority.
Recent meetings of the Charnwood Cycle Consultative Group have heard complaints about a lack of consultation on the traffic lights at the Alan Moss Road/Derby Road junction (together with the removal of the cycle lane at that point) and no action has being taken to correct safety issues identified at the site meeting of 19/11/2008 for the A6/A46 Roundabout, in particular the A6 northbound exit being too narrow. (Work has now started on correcting this).
Campaign member Michael Forrest has experienced other problems. Here are some extracts from some of his recent letters to the authorities.
“What is very evident is that all the modern cyclepaths are lumpy and very rough, characterised by discontinuities and short wavelength undulations, while the Kegworth stretch (apart from the newly built bit at the Hathern end) is notably smooth and comfortable, despite the ravages of 75 years and nearby tree roots.
The Hathern to Loughborough stretch, taken at any speed, is frame-breaking, wheel buckling and bone-jarring. If I use the road, it is a ten minute trip: on the cyclepath it takes twice as long, as these jolts and undulations are great absorbers of the miniscule power available to cyclists.
How odd that cars with advanced suspensions and excessive power are provided with billiard table surfaces, while bicycles are condemned to surfaces more suitable for full-suspension mountain bikes.
Have highway engineers forgotten how to create smooth surfaces? Or have the workforce lost the skills? Or does no-one care?
Is this the way to encourage motorists to use bicycles for many short journeys? Or is it a ploy of the road lobby to make cycling as unpleasant as possible?
I shall only mention in passing the crossings where private drives are given priority, while cyclists and pedestrians on the public highway are signed to give way: of these same crossings where the drop may be reduced to less than an inch, but there is an abrupt angular change sufficient to unseat the unwary, rather than the self-evident sinusoidal change of level to minimise the abrupt jolt.
Could we not try to emulate some of our more enlightened continental neighbours and produce a cyclepath system all would delight in using? For after all, even a luxury cyclepath system will cost degrees of magnitude less than everlastingly building yet more roads, modifying others, sitting in traffic jams, killing more of our fellow men.”
Bike Week Events in Loughborough and District
Seagrave Village Bike ride Tuesday 16th June 6:30pm to 9:30pm (approx.)
A small village community bike ride to Walton on the Wolds pub & back, via unclassified roads with some trail sections. Suitable for beginners and family groups. This has taken place for the last 6 years, numbers taking part usually around 20 (approx distance 7 miles total).
Starts at the Old Post Office corner, 1 CHURCH STREET SEAGRAVE LE12 7LT
Email email@example.com or phone 01509 813387
Loughborough Bike Ride Wednesday 17th June 6:00pm to 9:00pm (approx.)
A short easy paced ride out to Beaumanor Hall in Woodhouse and then on to Barrow upon Soar for a pub stop before returning to Loughborough. Please bring lights.
Starts at 6pm at Brown's Lane Leisure centre car park.
Email LoughboroughRide@ldcuc.org.uk phone 01509 261068
Barrow upon Soar Bike Rides Wednesday 17th June 5:45pm to 8:30pm (approx.)
Barrow upon Soar Parish Council & Community Association are promoting these rides. Registration from 5.45pm with 10,7,4 and 1 mile rides providing for all abilities.
Starts at rear of Humphrey Perkins High School, Cotes Road, Barrow upon Soar, LE12 8JP
Website www.barrowpc.org.uk Email firstname.lastname@example.org or phone 01509 416016
Family Ride across Garendon Park 21st June 5:00pm to 6:45pm (approx.)
This is a short ride (5 miles) aimed at those of all ages who do not normally cycle very much and families with children of Primary School age. The ride is almost entirely on traffic free cycle paths and follows Sustrans route 6 between Loughborough and Shepshed (where riders can take a break at Shepshed Dynamo Football Club).
Starts from Morrison's Car Park, Gorse Covert, Maxwell Drive, Loughborough LE11 4RZ
Website www.ldcuc.org.uk Email email@example.com phone 01509211468
Cyclenation/CTC Spring Conference 2009
Cycling as a solution
10:00 – 17.00 Saturday 30th May Friends Meeting House, 6 Mount Street, Manchester M2 5NS
Conference Registration is £20 (includes delegate pack, refreshments and lunch).
A wide range of workshops will help provide both new & experienced cycle campaigners with the skills to get more done locally and nationally. Including sessions on: fundraising, cycling policy, getting more out of the media , making the business case for cycling, working with the local community and how to get local business on board.
Details and booking at www.gmcc.org.uk/conference.
Did you know that?
From Michael Forrest.
The prototype Sturmey-Archer 3 speed was made in the Rolls-Royce factory at Manchester, where Archer was a foreman in the heat treatment shop. It was produced as a “foreigner”, unknown to Henry Royce, who would have sacked him on the spot.
Picnic in the Park – 16 May
This event is to take place again but on a reduced scale and we understand without any provision of electricity, which will mean most of the music should be acoustic rather than amplified.
We will be attending again and hope to see you there. If anyone would be able to assist with our “stand” please contact John Catt.
Letter to the Editor from John Buckland
Thanks for the interesting March issue of Pedal Power. I have some suggestions concerning improved cycle parking at the station.
Currently there is no lighting under the bike shed roof. It does help to have lighting to see what you are doing in the dark. When it rains water floods the area where the bikes are parked. Because there are no drains provided you have to go paddling to remove your bike!
When the bike shed gets full, the space between bikes is not enough to get along side your bike and unlock your padlock. Squeezing between bikes can cause your trousers to get marked, which is very annoying when wearing good clothes.
You can appreciate that the above 'features' of the current bike shed do not encourage wider use by people who would like to cycle to the station. I hope these 'features' will be eliminated in the plans.
I hope the above are the sort of comments you are looking for, and will be of use to Anthony Kay and yourself. Individual lockers sound an excellent idea, as there used to be many years ago. Sheffield stands must be placed on a level surface otherwise a bike has the tendency to slide along so the pedal has to be used to stop the bike's movement.
A comment on shared use cycle/pedestrian paths - I hate them! You never know when a pedestrian is going to wander in front of you, and if you ring your bell to warn them of your approach from behind, some people object! These paths do not allow cyclists to relax and enjoy the ride.
Download a British Waterways Cycling Permit
Before cycling on some towpaths owned by British Waterways, you will usually need to obtain a free cycle permit. This includes most canals. More details are available at www.waterscape.com/things-to-do/cycling/permit.
You can download a British Waterways permit as a PDF file. By accepting this cycle permit, you are agreeing to follow the Waterways Code, and to cycle only on those stretches of tow-path classified as open to cyclists.
Bikes and trains in the Netherlands
Based on an article in CTCNewsnet
In early April, MPs and peers spent two days as guests of NedRailways, the operators of both the Merseyrail and Northern Rail franchises, on a tour of the cycle-rail interchanges of the Netherlands. The tour was filmed by Carlton Reid of Quickrelease.tv and you can see the video at http://www.vimeo.com/4381805 or look at the photos from the trip.
The contrast in attitudes couldn't be greater. In the event of a crash between a car and cyclist, the car driver is assumed to be guilty, since if there were bikes around they are expected to slow right down or stop. The only way of avoiding prosecution is if the car is stopped and the cyclist runs into it (subject to the car not having stopped immediately in front of the cyclist).