Thirty Mile Thursdays to Mells

mells.jpg-10This Thursday, it’s Mells via the two tunnels and Radstock. Mostly cycle route there, but back over the top for variety. Around 25 miles last time I looked. Tea in Mells, a beautiful churchyard with historic grave of a famous war poet,  and should we want to delay, we can visit an exceptional ancient pub at Tuckers Grave on the way back. Everyone is welcome as these are easy non speedy rides (with the occasional unavoidable hill which you can walk up). We aren’t in it for the distance or the speed! Lycra and other fancy stuff is completely unnecessary (I cycle in Cords as you know), but you will need a bike in good order, with a decent range of gears, but please, not a mountain bike! 9.30 prompt from Kingsmead Square, on 4th February.

At the moment our gender ratio is approx one third women, two thirds men. Lets get it 50:50


The role for surfacing in rural areas

This post rings very true. If a route has a utility function then it absolutely must be the highest quality it possibly can. In the UK we seem to think that “urbanisation” is a curse while we watch nature from the inside of a car. If we want people to get out of their cars, then the routes must be high quality and useable all year round and cater for everyone in society.

As Easy As Riding A Bike

Every time I write something like this, or tweet something like this,

… I tend to get replies or responses that fall into the following categories –

  • ‘I like mud, mud is fun to cycle on, smooth paths are boring’
  • ‘you can’t possibly be arguing that all paths in rural areas should be covered in asphalt’
  • ‘not everyone rides road bikes – some of us ride mountain bikes’

I think I covered most of these objections in that previous (long-ish) post, but it’s probably worth clarifying here exactly what types of routes should be surfaced properly, and which ones shouldn’t be, because I obviously don’t think all rural paths should have a smooth tarmac surface, and I also think people should have fun places to ride mountain bikes…

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Towpath work due to start end of February.

How this will work based on what happened with Devizes
1) The towpath will have a bitmac (tarmac) smooth surface laid down (6 week process).
2) Then they have to wait for a dry warm spell.
3) Local residents who opposed the towpath upgrade will complain about how bad it looks and how it enables speeding cyclists as they did in Devizes ( )
4) Around May the final surface will be applied, at which point everyone should calm down. The final Devizes surface really only allows slow cycling. It’s a gravel finish.
5) Finally the towpath will be useable whatever the weather.


As a cyclist, l have pretty much given up using the towpath link into Bath at the moment.

A month of rain has turned the canal-side approach path from Grosvenor Bridge into a quagmire and the towpath itself looks like a miniature (and repeating) Lake District.

kennet and avon canal After rain the towpath is quite an obstacle course for cyclists and pedestrians.

IMG_6113 The pathway up to the canal

It’s my understanding work will start on improving things at the end of February/beginning of March – but no definite date has yet been fixed.

The contractors who will do the job are – apparently -specialist river engineers who regularly do a lot of towpath and river bank work for the Canal & River Trust.

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Crowded cycleways lead to new urban design approach

The Netherlands are looking beyond segregated infrastructure and the problems that arise when too many people are cycling!


It was in the news again: Dutch cycleways are getting overcrowded. It was not the first time this made headlines. I have shown you “bicycle traffic jams” before. In 2014 there was one in Utrecht that became famous and already in 2012 you could see one in Wageningen. But this phenomenon is not just mentioned in news items, the Dutch road safety board SWOV recently published the results of their investigation of how busy cycleways really are. They confirm: half of the investigated cycleways are getting too busy during morning rush hour. Of course Dutch experts have already picked this up, trying to find a solution. That seems very simple: there should be more space for cycling. But how do you give cycling more space in an already full urban space? One answer could be: design the city in a completely different way.

Traffic jam in Nachtegaalstraat The 2014 bicycle traffic jam…

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Ecology of cycling – the cyclist you design

If you build it right children will come and cycle on it.


A quick note from me this week, proclaiming that “you get the cyclist who you have designed for”. A depiction of that thought process came out of my head this week (below) … let me know if it’s replicating (visual) thoughts that you have seen elsewhere. I’d be interested to hear. Please share it onwards. It’s important I believe, that we talk about cycling in context and that we talk about it creatively too. That should mean that we ought to ‘create’, shift and shape the context and creatively describe and explain the context too.

There are indicators (type of cyclist, type of cycling, type of cycles…) that correlate with cycle modal share and available infrastructure.

Observations that could be made about the ‘ecology of cycling’ are these:

The more predominant the upright/vertical position of the cyclist is in the prevailing cycling constituency, the stronger is a cycling ‘culture’ and…

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30 Mile Thursdays- the almost flat ride

9e1181dc-0899-4bbc-961e-648ff62d8f33Everyone is welcome on our weekly rides, leaving Kingsmead Square each Thursday at 09:30. The emphasis is firmly on fun, and definitely not on fast! So leave your lycra behind and join us for a sociable and relaxed ride through some of the most beautiful scenery in the area. This Thursday’s ride is almost flat and then downhill once we have climbed out of St Catherine’s valley, but lots of us will be walking and talking our way up that one! Tea and most probably cake in Marshfield. Back via Doynton, Upton Cheney and the cycle path. Home by around 2 p.m.

How BaNES calms traffic and discourages cycling

BaNES has recently announced consultation “Alterations to Existing 20mph Restrictions” on the installation of speed tables on the following roads to reduce the speeding along them:

  • Englishcombe Lane, Bath
  • Weston Road/Weston Lane/Weston Park, Bath
  • St Ladoc Road, Keynsham
  • Orchard Way, Peasedown St John

CycleBath has raised a formal objection to the designs as they encourage close passing or encourage drivers to move into the path of oncoming cyclists. I recognise that speed calming is necessary and we do not object to the installation of speed tables, however they need changing slightly.

In this article I want to examine what the council is proposing and why the use of  Department For Transport LTN 2/08 Cycle Infrastructure Design document is inadequate and why BaNES should switch to using Transport for London’s Streets Toolkit. This  contains a paradigm shift in cycle infrastructure design that prioritises pedestrian and cyclist safety over the convenience of drivers.

Cycling in London is recognised as a mass transport. When Bath can demonstrate year on year 15% of traffic on Dorchester Street is cycling then BaNES really should be doing the same.

Continue reading How BaNES calms traffic and discourages cycling

The message is clear in the UK – if you’re a cyclist, your life does not matter.

It’s not often a document sums up the problem people have trying to just be be a person cycling to and from work/school in this country but this must ring true for so many of us that just want to have a bike as part of our lives.

Share this with your  MP, Police Chief, Councillors, and Council Highways departments.

Key quotes:

The message is clear in the UK – if you’re a cyclist, your life does not matter. Your safety does not matter. You do not have a right to get from A to B safely. And if a driver uses their car against you in a manner which is careless or dangerous, the police will find a way of ‘explaining away’ their actions, rather than tackling that driver. Oh, and course they’ll ask if you were wearing high-vis, as if that mattered in broad daylight with an aggressive driver trying to intimidate you.

Is the police entirely to blame for this? Of course not: primarily it is the fault of successive governments to make active travel more attractive by building infrastructure which prioritises active travel and provides a safe environment. But the police do play a very important role and they have failed entirely to take vulnerable road users seriously.

Link to the pdf and transcript is below:

Continue reading The message is clear in the UK – if you’re a cyclist, your life does not matter.

New threat to London Road Cycle Path

I have taken Bryn’s rather good email about the situation and put it here. Over 1500 people fought to have a segregated cycle lane in place, now the council want to create a shared space solution creating conflict between people walking and cycling along London Road.

Nigel Sherwin, Dick Daniels, Bryn Jones and myself have been fighting a rear guard action for months trying to get information out of the council.


The Council have now proposed changes (see Executive Forward Plan Reference E2820) which we feel will be detrimental to  encouraging cycling and could force cyclists onto the narrowest 3 lane section of the road near the Cleveland place Junction. The foreword plan doesn’t attach the plans in the appendices, which does not seem very open form of consultation.  One has to either visit the One Stop Shop or ask for an E mail copy from the officer noted on E2820, but these are shown below along with the details in Bryn Jones’s E mail to concerned cyclists.  One major problem has been the Council’s failure to put up loading notices in the 2 loading bays thus allowing 24hour unrestricted parking since June, to detriment of both traders and residents, but this failure should not be a reason for penalising those wishing to cycle. – Nigel Sherwin

Bryn’s Email

Please act soon to object to new proposals to reduce the off-road cycle lane on the south side of London Road leading to the Cleveland Place junction!

(Last date for responses is  15th January !!)

Prior to 2004 when parking bays were first introduced the cycle lane was unrestricted.

In 2014 the ‘Gateway’ scheme proposed removing the lane completely.

In our campaign to prevent removal 1500 people signed a petition to keep the cycle path.

Eventually a compromise was agreed with BaNES whereby the lane would be retained and slightly extended in return for extra parking elsewhere and limited loading periods of 15 minutes.

Please write/email to: making sure you copy to:

Louise Fradd <>, Andy Coles <>, “Anthony Clarke (Cllr)” <>

citing A4 London Road Redevelopment Works- Executive Forward Plan Reference E2820

Please ask for:

1) Retention of the cycle lane as a designated cycle path.

2) No parking allowed in the bays between 7am and 9am Mon-Sat.

3) Removal of pedestrian side clutter that forces people to walk into the path of cyclists.

4) Clearer demarcation of the cycle path and the footpath.

If you wish, please also make use of some or all of the information and relevant points below.

Best wishes and Happy New Year

Bryn Jones

Chair Transition Larkhall

 A4 London Road Redevelopment Works- Executive Forward Plan Reference E2820 Example Complaint letter:

I wish to object to the proposals to make the cycle path into a dual use path and to the proposal that there should be either parking and/or loading in the two bays at Walcot Terrace 24 hours a day, as set out on drawing number MPLONPRE/TRO/4. The reasons for objection are as follows:

  1. The completed Gateway Project work identifies one path for cyclists and one for pedestrians, although this is currently far from being adequately marked. The proposed design for  “Dual Use” is likely to cause conflict between pedestrians and cyclists; increasing the likelihood of accidents between them.
  2. The design of the two traffic sign posts forces pedestrians into the cycle path,  made worse by an advertising A board often under one of the signs.
  3. The original proposals (as approved ‘Gateway scheme’, Ackerman drawing AIS060/02/01 rev.03) restricted the times of the two loading bays, keeping them  clear of vehicles in morning and evening peak hours for people to cycle. Under the current proposals vehicles can use both these bays at any time thus forcing cyclists into the path of pedestrians.
  4. Vehicles parked in the bays will dissuade some cyclists from using the pavement level cycle lane, making them travel instead on this heavily trafficked London Road at its narrowest part near to a very busy junction, with dangerous  HGVs. Others will use the cycle lane but will have to cycle around the parked vehicle on the main pavement as there is no safe alternative.
  5. The proposals contradict agreed Council policy in Getting Around Bath Transport Strategy: ‘That cycling be promoted through better cycling routes with appropriate infrastructure where needed, building a cycling culture for people of all abilities’. Policy GABP5 (see also GABP1, GABA7, GABAA8 & GABA9and section 3.6)
  6. The new proposals in E2820 are likely to adversely impact on safety for both cyclists and pedestrians and would normally be subject to an independent Safety Audit. It is not clear whether this has been done for the works completed in 2015. Please inform me when the safety audit will be done, or, if it has been ruled out, the reason for this decision.
  7. Air pollution problem on London Road has long exceeded WHO and EU limits. As the council has stated that the current 2.6% cycling level, if increased to 8% would reduce congestion by 16%. Why prioritise four parking/loading spaces over the health and well being of travellers and residents by making it harder to cycle?
  8. Can you give assurances that at no point in the future will the police prosecute cyclists for pavement cycling on this section?


Details of the proposed changes are shown below:


Parking bay issues are as follows:

  • One parking bay to be unlimited residents parking 7pm-7am.
  • One parking bay will allow loading for up to one hour; the other for half an hour anytime 7am to 7pm . (The parking bay, with the 1hour restriction, is also the one at the narrowest section of the pavement.)

Screen Shot 2015-12-18 at 13.11.36

The on pavement cycle path is being replaced by a shared pavement:

Screen Shot 2015-12-18 at 13.12.06

There are also traffic signs which force pedestrians into the cycle lane:

The  current design does not designate the cycle path clearly to pedestrians and cyclists.

30 Mile Thursdays hits the Big City

4.4-the-first-ride-looking-back-towards-owen-square-1983--1440080969This Thursday 7th January it’s the big city! We’ll be cycling down the cycle path to Bristol to explore the docks and have lunch in a lovely cycling cafe. We’ll also check out some of Mayor George Ferguson’s new cycle routes and see how we are missing out in Bath.  It is a sort of circular route as we’ll cycle in and out of Bristol by different cycle routes. A journey of discovery. Back about 2.30-3:00.  Leaves as usual from Kingsmead Square at 09.30.

Everyone is welcome, so long as you have a working bicycle and a pair of legs. As you probably know by now, we don’t do fast, we just do fun!

Working, Living, Cycling, and campaigning for better cycle infrastructure in Bath, UK


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