Monday, 24 October 2011

Cycle Infrastructure

There was an interesting discussion on twitter about what is required to do to improve the lot of cyclists.

Sometimes 140 characters is not enough to express an opinion, so here goes with nearly unlimited characters !!

The problem is lack of infrastructure, a car culture that makes cycling scary, and police that don't appear to think cyclists are a priority. No cautions, for parking in cycle lanes, no cautions for stopping in advanced stop areas, no interest when difficult junctions are pointed out, just my experiences.

As a councillor I have never been asked about cycling provision. I was elected in 1992. I have been asked about car congestion, about speeding traffic, cars parking on the pavement, lack of parking spaces, untaxed cars, all familiar issues for a local councillor. 

As I try and get my colleagues to look at, and a number of other green issues, they look blankly. No mentioning it to them, what is the problem, just pandering a crazy minority. We need to generate a critical mass, a number of people that can't be ignored. In someways I am not helpful, I already cycle, I have learnt to use lots of lights not to cycling in gutter to give myself space to keep away from the potholes, what about new cyclists, what makes them safe and not give up after one day ? Do we provide things for cyclists like me or do we provide for non cyclists, is that more car free zones ?

The vision is to link up all the urban areas in Bath and North east Somerset with car free paths, can it be done. Why not? I just need a little help.

Thursday, 20 October 2011

Why long lorries are not good

Sometimes it appears that the government, of what ever complexion is influenced too much by interest groups. This is one case in point. Maybe a small voice maybe heard, below is my attempt to be heard via Bath and North east Somerset coouncil The council expresses concern that the Department for Transport is pressing ahead with a ten-year trial of longer lorries, despite acknowledging the potential danger to vulnerable road users and the impact on road infrastructure, in heritage cities such as Bath.     During its first year, the trial could see 1,800 of the larger vehicles on the roads of the UK.   The Council asks    The leader of the council to write to the secretary of state for transport expressing this councils concerns.  Asks the council's officers to look at the effect of these lorries on the roads through Bath, with a view to mitigating any risks, such as lorries getting stranded, and damage to Bath's vaults.

Sunday, 4 September 2011


Went Cycling with my son, out on a relaxed ride 63.286 miles and out for 5 hours 37 minutes and 6 seconds !!

Lots of nice places visited. Lots of jelly babies eaten. Not too many issues with car drivers either

Monday, 29 August 2011

Philosophical Question

If dog owners have to pick up their dog mess why don't horse owners ?

Saturday, 13 August 2011


Sometimes the problem with targets are when you make them, now can cycle from Home to Bitton and back at an Average of 18 mph (18.1 mph in fact)

Wednesday, 3 August 2011

Should you treat teenagers as adults ?

I had an interesting experience today, going along the cycle path, quite quickly, I came across 3 teenagers on bikes. One pulled out unexpected, but something I had anticipated (this is an occupational hazard along the path), my fault as I hadn't rung the bell. I slowed down and they move away to let me pass, and as they had been kind I said "Thank You" and sprinted off.

Upon seeing them again later on I got a lot of abuse, I suspect because they had interpreted my comments as being sarcastic. I felt I had been genuine, as they had moved out of the way. This got me thinking for the rest of the ride, what would I do in a similar situation ?

With hind sight I will treat the next set of teenagers as adults, as this is I believe the right way. Maybe  next time don't wear sunglasses, as I am told eye contact is always best !

Sunday, 31 July 2011

Sunday ramblings

Had a good cycle ride Saturday, got well into South Gloucs, hope to go over the bridge to Chepstow shortly. Problem was I got lost several times, and to get between A and B had to use A and B roads. However, what a difference between S. Gloucs and Bath and North East Somerset, there was often stretches of cycle lane along the main road segregated off by white lines, so even though traffic was thundering past I felt relatively safe. It got me thinking where in Bath and North East Somerset does this sort of segregation exist ? Along the A4 you can cycle along the pavement between Saltford and Keynsham, but after that I am stuck, maybe anyone else has a view.

It can be quite boring going on about cycling, but I believe that we have a big issue with peak oil coming up, and the level of obesity that exists. Working in a hospital laboratory, we don't need any more tests, especially for self inflicted diseases such as diabetes. There is a link, and yes I was wearing a helmet !

Sunday, 24 July 2011

Promoting Cycling little things matter.

I had posted earlier the question and answer I put to the cabinet about grit bins, and frankly I am really disappointed. There is nothing done for cyclists in the winter, the result of this course of action is cyclists will be forced to use roads that are narrowed due to ice or snow, making it more dangerous for them and more inconvenient for motorists. Of course the other alternative is that use their cars !

The answer about path wardens is irrelevant there are few houses near the path for anyone to be a warden.

Why worry about this ? The Bristol Bath cycle path is the super highway into Bath. Cycling in the winter along the path there are difficult patches, the worst being the run down to the gate. If we are ever going to see a modal shift then encouraging alternative routes, especially those that are car free, matter. There is an over reliance on the car, its contribution to of car travel to global warming is problematic.

We need a few carrots to help the change, what would have been the cost of the grit bin, plus grit ? less than £1000 ? sometimes it is not about the big things, a lot of little things add up.

Grit for cycling

Last winter the cycle path Between Bath and Bristol was impassable due to the ice at the end of the path into Bath. The cycle path is a well used commuter link into Bath. Major transport routes into Bath are gritted, this route has nothing. The steepness of the path means it becomes impassable.

Would the executive member arrange for a grit bin to be installed before the winter at the entrance to the path?

Answer from: Councillor Roger Symonds
The Bristol - Bath Railway Path is recognised as a valuable route for commuters and leisure users. Under the current arrangements grit bins are only provided on the public highway. The Bristol Bath Railway path is not an adopted highway and also fails to meet the gradient criteria to qualify for a grit bin.
During the coming winter Path Wardens will be provided with a small quantity of salt in a bagged form. This will enable the path to be salted during severe weather. Criteria for grit bins is included in the Winter Maintenance Plan previously considered by the Overview and Scrutiny Panel for Safer and Stronger Communities. This Plan will be the subject to further consideration and a decision by the Cabinet before the onset of winter.

Sunday, 17 July 2011

Cycling statement to council July 2011

I appreciate that a number of members of the council may not feel that cycling is an important subject. Why do I feel that this is wrong ? It is about Exercise, about global warming , enjoying the countryside, it isn't just about lycra

The council has been Doing things well; two tunnels, 5 Arches, Bristol Bath cycle way

However there aspects of Safety - such as non compliance with advanced stop at junctions, parking in the cycle lanes. Asking the police about prosecutions, shows this isn't a high priority. There were none in Avon and Somerset. 

There needs to be a change of attitude, amongst all of the public bodies. 

Speaking with officers directly involved they are committed, but is the corporate council ? We need to deliver, there are small things we do quickly.  Grit bins on the cycle path, linking the Bristol/Bath cycle path to the two tunnels and to the tow path to Bradford upon Avon, cutting back vegetation that narrows the paths. 

There many routes in North East Somerset, need to link the two tunnels to Radstock, links down the A4 to Keynsham, works at Farringdon Gurney.

There are longer term issues, What do we need to do to encourage cycling is to create separate space, safety and worries about car drivers being a major obstacle to cyclists. 

It is difficult to mention cycling without mentioning Pedestrians, there are inconsiderate cyclists, but they are the minority. Proving safe spaces for cyclists means less excuses for those that don't look out for pedestrians.

When we as a council deliver then we can say that Bath and North East Somerset is a better place to live.

Is it just footfall that drive economic activity

Having heard a usual speech by the business community that the only thing important is getting more people into Bath, doesn't matter how they they stay or alternative have they anything to do here when they arrive, just get lots of people in. It is interesting to look at what drive economic activity ?

There are interesting questions ?

Is Bath different to other cities, are there more independent shops ?
Can you find them as a tourist ? For that matter can you find them as a resident ?
What is the footfall in Bath now and what was it in the past ?
What is the rate of return for tourists ?

Interesting looking at, the council owned web site, cycling is one option.

Bath Adventure Tours provides tailor made activity days with a difference. The activities you choose are entirely up to you, whether you want an action packed climbing trip or an afternoon canoeing our team will go that extra mil

Not sure I can take my bike on either of these !

Walking doesn't mention the Cotswold way

Might be interesting to come back to this topic later, meanwhile going to try and get some of these questions answered.

Sunday, 10 July 2011

Cycling - Bristol to Bath

Trying to increase stamina. Was pleased to break my own record on the urban bike from Bristol to Bath 46 minutes 21 seconds. 17 mph average. Trying to move on to 100 miles per week.

Tuesday, 24 May 2011

Cycling - back to practice

With a bit of time off for the elections, back to the routine runs, managed 16.9 mile a hour average on cycle path feeling happy

Friday, 25 March 2011

New post

been wondering what to do with the blog for a while. Thinking is I will use it to record random thoughts.

Started in earnest on the bike again, now have the panniers, so LEJOG is a reality, maybe next may is a possibility.