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Frank Hovis

Cycle Tracks - How Is Your Council Doing?

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Cycling is one thing I greatly miss from my childhood, when the roads were far emptier and the hills less steep (I'm not imagining that, I've moved), there are serious efforts down here in Cornwall to get cycle tracks in place and joining up so they become usable from your door; rather than having to drive there.

There was a big one at Hayle recently, and huge plan at Bodmin including closing a main road in for nine months is just about underway.

I would love to be able to cycle between towns for days out and that looks like it will happen, but for all their efforts it's going to take many years. I hope I can still cycle then.

Is this happening nationally or should I be giving Cornwall Council even more credit?

I wouldn't consider cycling on the majority of roads in Cornwall, in the main they are narrow, have high hedges, are twisty and fast. I applaud those few who do but will leave them to it.

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Edinburgh is lucky that most of the old rail lines are now cycle/walking paths. So if you don't mind going around the way it's possible to get many places "off road".

The council's efforts elsewhere are laughable though. Wee bits of orange bitumen dotted here and there.

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Cycling is one thing I greatly miss from my childhood, when the roads were far emptier and the hills less steep (I'm not imagining that, I've moved), there are serious efforts down here in Cornwall to get cycle tracks in place and joining up so they become usable from your door; rather than having to drive there.

There was a big one at Hayle recently, and huge plan at Bodmin including closing a main road in for nine months is just about underway.

I would love to be able to cycle between towns for days out and that looks like it will happen, but for all their efforts it's going to take many years. I hope I can still cycle then.

Is this happening nationally or should I be giving Cornwall Council even more credit?

I wouldn't consider cycling on the majority of roads in Cornwall, in the main they are narrow, have high hedges, are twisty and fast. I applaud those few who do but will leave them to it.

The Leeds/Bradford 'cycle superhighway' has been in progress for years and looks about finished now. I only see a the tail end working in Bradford but I'm not sure I'd call it a superhighway. Parked cars (and a curb so not easy to join the main traffic flow to go around them), doddering pedestrians and dodgy junction crossings, I'd rather stick to the road in places.

There's also one on the way out of Halifax along the dual carriageway/bypass, so far I've seen a) a cyclist hopping off into the main carriageway and veering half way across in front of me so he can overtake another cyclist. B) an old guy not bothering to use it and doing 10mph in the middle of the inside lane instead. Those are the only times I've seen it in use/should have been in use.

Nice in theory though. I'd love to see more like the ones in Fuerteventura where they are set way away from the roads, they looked lovely :) Sadly we don't have the space generally.

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I'm accepting that it's a gradual process and that if you didn't have these isolated stretches then you'd have nothing to join up. There is a big push down here to make Bodmin the centre of a cycle network and then you start joining other towns onto that network.

In a way it's an odd choice as it's up high and hardly a must see place, but it is at the end of one of the two big cycle trails and it may lift the place up a bit.

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Whenever I get the bus from Geneva to Tignes and pass Annecy I am so jealous of the off road cycle path that runs for about 40 miles.

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The problem is with most cycle tracks is pedestrians. You can't do 20mph on them like you can on the road as you get pedestrians and family's on them doing 4mph and meandering about and councils/non cyclists think dual use is fine so its unlikely to change. If a pedestrian on a cycle path isn't a problem I may try doing 20mph through the local pedestrian zone.

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Although if any of you are ever in jockland there's a great 24 mile track from Callander to Killin. Most of it off road and some of it on Queen Victoria's old railway line up Glenogle. Goes past Rob Roy's grave and the falls of Dochart.

Stunning.

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How is going round my way, Berkshire. In one word; BADLY.

I cycle regularly and the cycle provision in most parts of the UK is pathetic. If that wasn't bad enough the UK is lumbered with SUSTRANS as if that was a solution. Their cycle paths can be awful and their routes are often illogical. To experience how it should be done you need to visit the Netherlands (or almost any of the other northern European countries).

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The problem is with most cycle tracks is pedestrians. You can't do 20mph on them like you can on the road as you get pedestrians and family's on them doing 4mph and meandering about and councils/non cyclists think dual use is fine so its unlikely to change. If a pedestrian on a cycle path isn't a problem I may try doing 20mph through the local pedestrian zone.

***** with dogs that don't control them are the biggest issue.

When it comes to people it's best just to rattle on your bell well ahead.

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Even though we have miles of cycle tracks on converted railway lines in the Isle of Wight, some dedicated MAMILs insist on riding on the narrow main roads here. What's that all about?

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Even though we have miles of cycle tracks on converted railway lines in the Isle of Wight, some dedicated MAMILs insist on riding on the narrow main roads here. What's that all about?

Because the cycle paths are often 'recreational' whereas if you want to get somewhere you need to use a road.

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The problem is with most cycle tracks is pedestrians. You can't do 20mph on them like you can on the road as you get pedestrians and family's on them doing 4mph and meandering about and councils/non cyclists think dual use is fine so its unlikely to change. If a pedestrian on a cycle path isn't a problem I may try doing 20mph through the local pedestrian zone.

Why not dual use? Cyclists do 15 mph and meander about on the roads and car drivers just have to put up with it. Dual use tracks are asking the same of cyclists and suddenly that's wrong.

Excuse me, I can no longer cycle following the stroke. It's just sour grapes. ?

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Recently returned to cycling, after not doing it for 40 years. So far, just find myself cycling around industrial estates, early morning weekend. Not scenic, but very little traffic. Now have an, as yet unused rack, to go further a field. There's plenty of places not far away, where we currently drive to, then walk. Not sure about cycling these, due to the number of walkers, dogs etc, described above.

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I'm accepting that it's a gradual process and that if you didn't have these isolated stretches then you'd have nothing to join up. There is a big push down here to make Bodmin the centre of a cycle network and then you start joining other towns onto that network.

In a way it's an odd choice as it's up high and hardly a must see place, but it is at the end of one of the two big cycle trails and it may lift the place up a bit.

I wouldn't call Bodmin an odd choice for recreational cycling. It's the heart of a moor with lots of open country, and last time I was there on a bike I seem to recollect a jolly decent lunch at the Jamaica Inn.

The problem is with most cycle tracks is pedestrians. You can't do 20mph on them like you can on the road as you get pedestrians and family's on them doing 4mph and meandering about and councils/non cyclists think dual use is fine so its unlikely to change. If a pedestrian on a cycle path isn't a problem I may try doing 20mph through the local pedestrian zone.

That's a problem in the sense that it can slow you right down. There are bigger problems with many designated cycle paths in this country: they are statistically more dangerous than cycling on road, and many are extremely hazardous, with problems like nonexistent lines of sight to things that might cross your path - such as cars, people, kids, dogs emerging from their house and hidden by a hedge. There's one near here that crosses a whole bunch of slip roads from angles where the drivers won't be looking: I cycled that once, but found myself getting off and walking (or running) past some of those intersections, and since then stick to the dual carriageway.

There are occasional designated cycle paths that are indeed a pleasure. Around here, Plymouth to Tavistock is one I actually use, and makes a much nicer ride than the main road (except for the scary stretch between Yelverton and Horrabridge). But it wouldn't be much use for a daily commute, it simply takes too long. Bit like Bath-Bristol, where I would occasionally relax on the sustrans route but used the A4 for commuting: the timings were 35 minutes on the A4 vs 100 minutes on sustrans.

And in answer to Frank's question, that Plymouth-Tavistock route is one that has been quite significantly improved in recent years. Our council is doing something, too.

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***** with dogs that don't control them are the biggest issue.

When it comes to people it's best just to rattle on your bell well ahead.

Why not show them your bell end? It doesn't frighten children, but it worries parents. :wacko:

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...if you know where they are trailways where the old railway lines used to be before Beeching saw their demise, make great cycle paths, some go on for miles linking towns and villages together, no other traffic and often not near to roads, great for waking on also...... ;)

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Why not show them your bell end? It doesn't frighten children, but it worries parents. :wacko:

I'm already on some sort of register for these types of antics !!

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If I lived there I would go the miserable pig route and become carless. Sensible people.

If you zoom in on the map, the number of off-road routes is astounding. I suppose the topography does make it a bit easier than here, but still...

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If you zoom in on the map, the number of off-road routes is astounding. I suppose the topography does make it a bit easier than here, but still...

Don't the Dutch have some law that says 11% of the transport budget must go on cycling? Meanwhile the UK spends about £2pa per capita on cycling. You get what you pay for (and cycle infrastructure is very cheap if your planners and politicians can be bothered).

Link for £2 figure:

http://www.theguardian.com/politics/2014/jul/18/cycling-road-safety-taxpayer-transport-select-committee

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Don't the Dutch have some law that says 11% of the transport budget must go on cycling? Meanwhile the UK spends about £2pa per capita on cycling. You get what you pay for (and cycle infrastructure is very cheap if your planners and politicians can be bothered).

Link for £2 figure:

http://www.theguardian.com/politics/2014/jul/18/cycling-road-safety-taxpayer-transport-select-committee

I may not be up-to-date, but ...

It's worse than that. Budgets for cycle provision have to be spent, causing councils to do some strange and counterproductive things. Like painting cycle lanes - whether on road or pavement - that run for about 20 metres to nowhere useful, and may be shared with things like car parking, bus stops, or other such street furniture. Or just end at the point of maximum hazard where the road narrows or there's a junction with poor sight lines or somesuch.

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Calderdale Council have tarmacked the canal towpath for part of the route between Brighouse and the Calder Valley towns of Sowerby Bridge, Mythomroyd, Hebden Bridge and Tomorden. It's about 14 miles or so for the total journey and very popular with the cyclists. Job well done!

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I may not be up-to-date, but ...

It's worse than that. Budgets for cycle provision have to be spent, causing councils to do some strange and counterproductive things. Like painting cycle lanes - whether on road or pavement - that run for about 20 metres to nowhere useful, and may be shared with things like car parking, bus stops, or other such street furniture. Or just end at the point of maximum hazard where the road narrows or there's a junction with poor sight lines or somesuch.

Aha. It's time for Cycle Facility of the Month: http://wcc.crankfoot.xyz/facility-of-the-month/

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