Category Archives: Uncategorized

Towpath improvements latest.

Going to be a looooooong summer….


Plans to improve the condition of the towpath into Bath for pedestrians and cyclists look like taking a while to put into practice.

Kennet and Avon Canal towpath into Bath The Kennet and Avon Canal towpath into Bath

B&NES has obtained grant money to enable the Canal and River Trust to bring in contractors to upgrade the surface of this canalside route – which is getting more and more traffic.

Mud and huge puddles make conditions difficult for anyone trying to use this quick and London-Road-avoiding trip into town.

kennet and Avon canal towpath Is there room for walkers and cyclists?

It’s hoped a wider and level surface will also help keep cyclists and pedestrians more safely apart.

The Virtual Museum has heard work is due to start at the end of February – beginning of March – but is likely to be a long, drawn out process which will start at the George Inn end at Bathampton and work into the…

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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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Seeing differently: active travel revisited – changing the conversation

the magic jug

We were talking about this over supper the other night (a delicious meal all home grown and home cooked by our lovely neighbours).  We were mulling over why it is that a very aggressive and negative image of cycling seems to prevail in our home city (and elsewhere).  I was talking about cyclists and walkers, and our host expressed the view that part of the problem is the language we use.

We talk about cyclists.  We talk about walkers.  We talk about car drivers.  As if they were different species, or at the very least different people.

But of course, they’re not.  Most of us who cycle are also walkers, most are also car drivers, are also buggy pushers, are also runners (and may also at times be people with limited mobility).  And at each of those times we may be doing something different, but we are the same person.


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Main cycle route in a city expansion

In complete contrast to Radstock, this demonstrates how you think about developing good space for walking and cycling.


Cycling in the newest parts of cities and towns in The Netherlands is almost always very convenient. That is because these areas were designed with cycling in mind from the beginning. This goes further than just designing good streets, distances to amenities are also kept short. From a blank canvas everything in these expansions is built according to the latest views and standards about traffic and communities. These developments are designed as a total concept where every detail is part of a bigger plan. The latest expansion in ʼs-Hertogenbosch is no exception.

grootewielen01 At the entrance of the suburb a big sign welcomes you to get on-line and learn more of (particularly buying) the homes in the area. This is right next to the cycle route, motor traffic drives to the left and over the cycle route a bit further.

Since 2005 the suburb “Groote Wielen” has been under development in…

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