Author Topic: Journeys with no safe bike option  (Read 2538 times)

TimC

  • Old blerk sometimes onabike.
Re: Journeys with no safe bike option
« Reply #25 on: 06 April, 2021, 10:47:10 am »
When I first lived in London I wold often cycle down to see my parents in Southend after work, cycling back the next morning, using the A127 and A12. The volume and speed/aggression of traffic on them both now renders them unrideable and the most direct alternative, the A13, is also now, in effect, a motorway.

There are other options - looping north, through Stock, or going south of the river to Gravesend and taking the ferry across to Tilbury -  but both add considerable distance and neither are particularly enjoyable.

So, the only time I cycle to my parents' house now is when I call in after the Fridays' ride down to Southend.

Blimey. I was at school in Brentwood from the mid 60s to early 70s (pre-M25), and used to ride my bike all over the area. There's no way I'd have ridden on the A12 or 127 then - outside town at least (even the Brentwood bypass didn't exist when I started). Most of the local A and B roads were far smaller then than they are now, and I'm not sure they were safer to ride. It would be interesting to see if there are any statistics. At weekends I used to visit my Nan in Goodmayes, usually by bus (Greenline 721!), and I think the journey then was slower than it would be now.

Re: Journeys with no safe bike option
« Reply #26 on: 06 April, 2021, 10:53:52 am »
In the 70s, I lived in Carshalton and most non-winter school holidays, I'd cycle up to stay with my cousins near Chesham; roughly a 60km ride which included sections of A40 (past Northolt, ISTR) and occasionally via Heathrow to do some plane-spotting (I'd ride the perimeter road).
I recall riding sections of the South Circular and crossed the Thames at Kew Bridge.
I'd turn off the A40 at Denham and take the A413 to Chalfont St Peter, then hit the lanes to Latimer.

 :o

How much of that is survivable on a bike now, I wonder?

Re: Journeys with no safe bike option
« Reply #27 on: 06 April, 2021, 11:42:24 am »
In the 70s, I lived in Carshalton and most non-winter school holidays, I'd cycle up to stay with my cousins near Chesham; roughly a 60km ride which included sections of A40 (past Northolt, ISTR) and occasionally via Heathrow to do some plane-spotting (I'd ride the perimeter road).
I recall riding sections of the South Circular and crossed the Thames at Kew Bridge.
I'd turn off the A40 at Denham and take the A413 to Chalfont St Peter, then hit the lanes to Latimer.

 :o

How much of that is survivable on a bike now, I wonder?
I think the a40 has shared use path on the westbound side by Northolt airfield,  but it does not reach the Denham roundabout so a detour through Uxbridge would be required the a413 would be most unpleasant by going via gears cross is only slightly further.

Eddington  100miles

Re: Journeys with no safe bike option
« Reply #28 on: 06 April, 2021, 11:52:26 am »
In the 70s, I lived in Carshalton and most non-winter school holidays, I'd cycle up to stay with my cousins near Chesham; roughly a 60km ride which included sections of A40 (past Northolt, ISTR) and occasionally via Heathrow to do some plane-spotting (I'd ride the perimeter road).
I recall riding sections of the South Circular and crossed the Thames at Kew Bridge.
I'd turn off the A40 at Denham and take the A413 to Chalfont St Peter, then hit the lanes to Latimer.

 :o

How much of that is survivable on a bike now, I wonder?
I think the a40 has shared use path on the westbound side by Northolt airfield,  but it does not reach the Denham roundabout so a detour through Uxbridge would be required the a413 would be most unpleasant by going via gears cross is only slightly further.
Interestingly I didn't have an issue with the A40/A413 multiplex section between Tatling End and the Denham Roundabout when I was there (2019). Sunday Lunchtime, I found it quiet enough for everybody to pass me in the next lane.

I followed the A4020 Uxbridge Road into Central London, rather than going near that section of the A40.

ian

  • not a woman, not an american, not a vampire
Re: Journeys with no safe bike option
« Reply #29 on: 06 April, 2021, 12:14:43 pm »
In the 70s, I lived in Carshalton and most non-winter school holidays, I'd cycle up to stay with my cousins near Chesham; roughly a 60km ride which included sections of A40 (past Northolt, ISTR) and occasionally via Heathrow to do some plane-spotting (I'd ride the perimeter road).
I recall riding sections of the South Circular and crossed the Thames at Kew Bridge.
I'd turn off the A40 at Denham and take the A413 to Chalfont St Peter, then hit the lanes to Latimer.

 :o

How much of that is survivable on a bike now, I wonder?

Most of the South Squarecular is clogged to the point of motionless these days, though requires a high tolerance for breathing fumes (quite often dope). Generally preferable (if that's the word) to being winged by cars doing 50 or 60 mph.

As mentioned, I don't really do the A22 any more, narrow and blessed with an atrocious standard of driving (I used to do it, but a few years back, an abortive overtake by a large lorry dissuaded me from doing it again). There's a back-route from here but it's the usual series of narrow, often over-parked, aggressive rat runs and the other alternative involves a locally infamous 25% hill that's unpleasant enough in a car and after that it's a fairly busy main road. There's a long back route that is OK in summer if you want a ride, but nothing close to being practical.

I doubt this is atypical and answers the question as to why no one views cycling as a viable transport alternative.
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fboab

  • It's a fecking serious business, riding a bike
Re: Journeys with no safe bike option
« Reply #30 on: 06 April, 2021, 01:19:27 pm »
...Guisborough to Middlesbrough. Impossible to do without using the Middlesbrough Road A171 Dual Carriageway, unless you use the dead-end NCN 168, and then carry your bike across several stiles and a railway line; British cycling infrastructure, at its finest...

On the Guisborough-Middlesbrough question (I'm from St. Ockton, or I was) that looks deadly - a boy-racer's wet dream of a dual-carriageway ring-road, with death-trap roundabouts for everyone else.  As for Stainmore, I mused some time ago about the possibilty of re-opening the railway across as a cycle path.  Then I thought about the valleys where there used to be viaducts, like the magnificent Belah.  It's more than a two-pipe dream but a nice way to while away a few moments, if you love maps as much as you love bikes.  But Middlesbtough's more of a nightmare, I fear.  Take care, Chris.

I used to cycle the Guis Road and Stokesley Road regularly as a kid (even when the bypass wasn't there for Guis) but I do remember when I called it a day cycling as a teenager was due to the increasing number of tippers on the A172. It's odd how we never batted an eye in the 80's - perhaps we were just less fearful.  I certainly go the long way round when I am home now if I head out in either of those directions.

Cyclist on Streetview
It was my commute. I was happy to do it before 7 am but coming home started giving me full-on panic attacks. One time I called Mr Smith for rescue from a layby, less than 2 miles from home. :facepalm: We tandemed it late at night with good lights and one of us eyes closed muttering a mantra.
The road was closed at least once a month when we lived there following incidents with drivers being fecking idiots.
TSS is not Total Sex Score, Chris!

Kim

  • Timelord
Re: Journeys with no safe bike option
« Reply #31 on: 06 April, 2021, 01:20:24 pm »
There was less traffic in the 80s.

It was narrower too.
Careful, Kim. Your sarcasm's showing...

Re: Journeys with no safe bike option
« Reply #32 on: 06 April, 2021, 03:03:20 pm »
South from Bracknell to either Bagshot or Camberley. Either the A322 dual carriageway and the Swinley Bottom junction that takes out one of the two lanes or the A3095 dual / single carriageway including past Broadmoor which has a particularly uncomfortable NSL hill which in one direction is single lane and double white lines. The alternative is a bike that copes on sand and the off-road route through Swinley Forest.

Re: Journeys with no safe bike option
« Reply #33 on: 06 April, 2021, 11:01:14 pm »
There was less traffic in the 80s. Quite a lot less, but because it's grown gradually we're not so aware of the difference. Though it was probably a bit worse driven, on average, back then.
In the 80s, people were saying exactly the same thing, but comparing then with the 50s. Except the bit about driving standards - I'm inclined to agree, especially with the effects of lockdown, when drivers nearly got overwhelmed by pedestrians and cyclists on some roads.

When I first lived in London I wold often cycle down to see my parents in Southend after work, cycling back the next morning, using the A127 and A12. The volume and speed/aggression of traffic on them both now renders them unrideable and the most direct alternative, the A13, is also now, in effect, a motorway.
I started work in north Hertfordshire in 1981. On a number of occasions, I rode to and from my parents home in east Cheshire. It was a nice run - to Bedford, then up the A6 to Derby and through Ashbourne to Leek. I did it again a few years later, and they'd plonked stretches of unpleasant dual carriageway on what had been one of the more winding, pleasant arterial roads. They'd also messed up on central Leicester. They'd pedestrianised the old A6 and put in an inner ring road that was very unattractive to cyclists. There were cycle routes signposted "city centre", but they'd made the elementary, schoolboy mistake of forgetting that what goes in must come out, so there was absolutely no help whatsoever on how to get back out of the city centre to anywhere else, such as Loughborough or Market Harborough, and I just got lost in both directions. Signs to Wigston or Birstall would have been some help to locals, though not to me, but they didn't even have those. I also had to walk part of a long-distance ride, which didn't impress me at all, because they'd forgotten to provide for cyclists who wanted to go somewhere across town, instead of just stopping at the central shops.

They'd also plonked the A50 on top of another stretch of A6. There's a cycle path, but it was very confusing and I had to get a local to help. I was able to point out the concrete base where the construction work had flattened the Little Chef that I'd used as a regular refuelling stop ::-)

Re: Journeys with no safe bike option
« Reply #34 on: 06 April, 2021, 11:07:02 pm »
Norwich to Gt Yarmouth. Very circuitous to do without using the A47 Acle Straight. Essentially a death sentence on a bike.

Guisborough to Middlesbrough. Impossible to do without using the Middlesbrough Road A171 Dual Carriageway, unless you use the dead-end NCN 168, and then carry your bike across several stiles and a railway line; British cycling infrastructure, at its finest.

Crossing the Pennines on a Latitude connecting (roughly) Darlington and Shap. Yes, you can do it on some pretty gnarly lanes/tracks, but the default option is the A66, which has zero facility for anything other than motor traffic. To quote a friend from another place, "Stainmore has been crossed by humans for millennia, and now you can only do it in a fucking car". It's a Roman road - there should totally be a non-motorised option. In fact, if I were PM (quite unlikely, TBF), I'd make sure all known Roman Roads had non-motorised access.

That sounds like something I'd say ;D

We were chatting about the Guis-Boro options at the weekend when I whipped the gang up the climb out of Wilton. You'd have to be pretty keen to go that way, and even then it dumps you out in Eston, with Grangetown to fight your way through to get to Boro town centre. And as you say, the old railway is a frustrating mess - it wouldn't take a lot of work to link it up, then you'd be out onto Gypsy Lane. With the level crossing there closed to cars, it's nearly a LTN.

Re: Journeys with no safe bike option
« Reply #35 on: 06 April, 2021, 11:14:55 pm »
As for Stainmore, I mused some time ago about the possibilty of re-opening the railway across as a cycle path.  Then I thought about the valleys where there used to be viaducts, like the magnificent Belah.  It's more than a two-pipe dream but a nice way to while away a few moments, if you love maps as much as you love bikes.  But Middlesbtough's more of a nightmare, I fear.  Take care, Chris.

I tried to ride the Stainmore railway a couple of years ago back from Tan Hill. I'll try to dig out my ride, I added loads of photos, and the bigger issue than the bridges (the one over the Greta is still there and that's the big one, there are enough lanes between South Stainmore and where the line has been preserved into Kirkby Stephen to link it up) is how the land was parcelled off - as you get closer to Bowes, the holdings get smaller, and I gave up after hoying my bike over an eight-foot fence only half a mile from the previous fence. You'd need to negotiate with umpteen different farmers to cross their land.

Still, it's a campaign that needs to be started, if only I knew where to start. At least we have a slogan!

ETA: https://strava.app.link/MWK6jCjiffb

jiberjaber

  • ... Fancy Pants \o/ ...
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Re: Journeys with no safe bike option
« Reply #36 on: 07 April, 2021, 05:02:19 am »
Norwich to Gt Yarmouth. Very circuitous to do without using the A47 Acle Straight. Essentially a death sentence on a bike.

Guisborough to Middlesbrough. Impossible to do without using the Middlesbrough Road A171 Dual Carriageway, unless you use the dead-end NCN 168, and then carry your bike across several stiles and a railway line; British cycling infrastructure, at its finest.

Crossing the Pennines on a Latitude connecting (roughly) Darlington and Shap. Yes, you can do it on some pretty gnarly lanes/tracks, but the default option is the A66, which has zero facility for anything other than motor traffic. To quote a friend from another place, "Stainmore has been crossed by humans for millennia, and now you can only do it in a fucking car". It's a Roman road - there should totally be a non-motorised option. In fact, if I were PM (quite unlikely, TBF), I'd make sure all known Roman Roads had non-motorised access.

That sounds like something I'd say ;D

We were chatting about the Guis-Boro options at the weekend when I whipped the gang up the climb out of Wilton. You'd have to be pretty keen to go that way, and even then it dumps you out in Eston, with Grangetown to fight your way through to get to Boro town centre. And as you say, the old railway is a frustrating mess - it wouldn't take a lot of work to link it up, then you'd be out onto Gypsy Lane. With the level crossing there closed to cars, it's nearly a LTN.

I remember when it wasn't, our road was a proper rat run through to Nunthorpe!
Regards,

Joergen

Re: Journeys with no safe bike option
« Reply #37 on: 07 April, 2021, 07:29:55 am »
I should add that a muddy, unmade Sustrans path is not a good bike option either.  It may have been more acceptable pre-Armstrong, when road racing bikes were very niche, but not now.  If you can't ride it on 23mm tyres, it's not a bike path.
And Darkness and Decay and the Coronavirus held illimitable dominion over all.

Re: Journeys with no safe bike option
« Reply #38 on: 07 April, 2021, 08:36:49 am »
Maybe that's another benefit of the 2012 Olympics, that local authorities have slowly caught on that not everyone has a mountain bike. Though some have still not noticed ::-)

Cudzoziemiec

  • Eating all the pies and drinking all the tea.
Re: Journeys with no safe bike option
« Reply #39 on: 07 April, 2021, 08:57:06 am »
Surely in the 70s and 80s it was all race bikes (or pretend race). It was that or your great-uncle's sit up and beg Raleigh three speed (great transport round town, mind).
Riding a bike through a city is like navigating the collective neural pathways of a vast global mind.

Cudzoziemiec

  • Eating all the pies and drinking all the tea.
Re: Journeys with no safe bike option
« Reply #40 on: 07 April, 2021, 08:58:17 am »
There was less traffic in the 80s. Quite a lot less, but because it's grown gradually we're not so aware of the difference. Though it was probably a bit worse driven, on average, back then.
In the 80s, people were saying exactly the same thing, but comparing then with the 50s. Except the bit about driving standards - I'm inclined to agree, especially with the effects of lockdown, when drivers nearly got overwhelmed by pedestrians and cyclists on some roads.
And in the 50s I'm sure they were looking back to pre-war days.
Riding a bike through a city is like navigating the collective neural pathways of a vast global mind.

ian

  • not a woman, not an american, not a vampire
Re: Journeys with no safe bike option
« Reply #41 on: 07 April, 2021, 09:48:16 am »
Surely in the 70s and 80s it was all race bikes (or pretend race). It was that or your great-uncle's sit up and beg Raleigh three speed (great transport round town, mind).

In the 90s, at least, I was bouncing across the many cobbles of Edinburgh on a second-hand Raleigh Arena replete with vestigial mudguards and suicide levers. From the patina of rust, I'd hazard it had been around for the while before it came into my possession. Had its tyres slashed by the mad GP upstairs. Justice was subsequently served. Long story.
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Re: Journeys with no safe bike option
« Reply #42 on: 07 April, 2021, 01:04:36 pm »
When I first lived in London I wold often cycle down to see my parents in Southend after work, cycling back the next morning, using the A127 and A12. The volume and speed/aggression of traffic on them both now renders them unrideable and the most direct alternative, the A13, is also now, in effect, a motorway.

There are other options - looping north, through Stock, or going south of the river to Gravesend and taking the ferry across to Tilbury -  but both add considerable distance and neither are particularly enjoyable.

So, the only time I cycle to my parents' house now is when I call in after the Fridays' ride down to Southend.

I've done the A127 before, it is one of the first main roads with a dedicated cycle lane alongside it.  Not ridden it in years though so not sure how much still exists.   My great grandfather helped build it after being wounded in WW1.


As for the A13, I've done the Southend<->Dartford section many times, but using the old A13 route that is just south of it.   Nice and fine.    Not sure though the options of London<->Dartford crossing as I've never had to do that (although a quick google suggests that the A1306 may be ok?)

Re: Journeys with no safe bike option
« Reply #43 on: 07 April, 2021, 01:20:42 pm »
Surely in the 70s and 80s it was all race bikes (or pretend race). It was that or your great-uncle's sit up and beg Raleigh three speed (great transport round town, mind).
No cycle farcilities back then, though.
And Darkness and Decay and the Coronavirus held illimitable dominion over all.

Re: Journeys with no safe bike option
« Reply #44 on: 07 April, 2021, 09:32:56 pm »
Exactly. Building of bike routes on any scale coincided roughly, though whether causally I'm not sure, with the mountain-bike boom, and the relevant authorities just assumed that everyone had a mountain bike and so could ride on rough paths easily.

Cudzoziemiec

  • Eating all the pies and drinking all the tea.
Re: Journeys with no safe bike option
« Reply #45 on: 07 April, 2021, 09:38:05 pm »
The first facilities I remember, in the 80s, weren't rough paths, they were totally useless little loops allowing you to use a few metres of pavement so you could turn right like a pedestrian, and similar pedestrian-type manoeuvres.
Riding a bike through a city is like navigating the collective neural pathways of a vast global mind.

Re: Journeys with no safe bike option
« Reply #46 on: 07 April, 2021, 09:49:14 pm »
The way we've (usually) built infrastructure in this country is to allow the definition of "infrastructure" to be negotiated down until there's almost nothing left. Hence mostly putting up signs or painting lines on whatever is already there.

The fact you need a mountain bike to ride a lot of it is largely coincidental.

arabella

  • no se porque yo no lo se
Re: Journeys with no safe bike option
« Reply #47 on: 08 April, 2021, 11:16:24 am »
Back in the late 80's/early 90's I used to cycle London-E Kent, mainly along Watling Street, thus chunks of the A2, particularly where there was an M2.
I've now started doing Gravesend-E Kent.  The A2 is no longer fun even where there is M2.  But it's the only option for crossing the Medway (unless someone knows something I don't).
In the dark, all views are the same.

Cudzoziemiec

  • Eating all the pies and drinking all the tea.
Re: Journeys with no safe bike option
« Reply #48 on: 08 April, 2021, 11:21:34 am »
River crossings are a big problem in many areas. Not just the estuaries where there's only a motorway or motorway-style bridge, but there are long stretches of rivers where there were obviously ferries in the past (you can tell from the way roads come down to the river on opposite banks, and sometimes from place names). Now all those ferries have closed, you can have to ride ten miles or so out of your way before getting to a bridge, which although it's bike legal will not always be bike friendly. For instance in the fifteen or so miles between Tewkesbury and Worcester there are only two crossings of the Severn, and one of those is the M50.
Riding a bike through a city is like navigating the collective neural pathways of a vast global mind.

ravenbait

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Re: Journeys with no safe bike option
« Reply #49 on: 08 April, 2021, 12:03:27 pm »
Stonehaven to Aberdeen requires a ludicrously tortuous route.

The A90 is another of those motorways-in-all-but-name roads.

Agreed. Major opportunity lost to make the A90 more cycle friendly when they brought in the AWPR.

There are remarkably few routes to get you sensibly to Aberdeen from south of the city once you get past Muchalls.

Sam
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