Author Topic: The most terrifying road you've ever cycled on  (Read 15219 times)

The most terrifying road you've ever cycled on
« on: October 18, 2008, 04:58:46 pm »
The A40 Westway.  In the dark.  On a Brompton.  Thank <IYFD> for flashing lights and reflective courier bags.

Eventually I decided to use the hard shoulder instead, and ended up running over a discarded scaffold pole at about 25mph, as well as the usual detritus (I have Marathon Pluses, ha ha).  Even the expansion joints on the ramps have wheel-eating slots.

Amazingly, the TfL site suggests it's legal, and there are no "no cycling" signs.

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Re: The most terrifying road you've ever cycled on
« Reply #1 on: October 18, 2008, 05:19:26 pm »
For me, easily the A303 and A36 intersection. The A303 sweeps pass Stonehedge - along with lorries, white vans and cars...All these vehicles thundering pass you, really have to watch the drafts/washes else get sucked into the maw that is the A303.

Frere

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Re: The most terrifying road you've ever cycled on
« Reply #2 on: October 18, 2008, 05:22:16 pm »
A40 Gloucester at 5 pm on a winter Saturday, on an audax.  Just a really bad idea.

Re: The most terrifying road you've ever cycled on
« Reply #3 on: October 18, 2008, 05:23:16 pm »
The A66 between Brough and Appleby, I wasn't on it for long but it was far too long.

Wowbagger

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Re: The most terrifying road you've ever cycled on
« Reply #4 on: October 18, 2008, 05:39:29 pm »
A strong candidate is the A49 between the A417 and the B4361. It is narrow and extremely busy. Fortunately we were only meant to be on it for about 500m. We just got off and pushed the tandem on the wide grass verge. With hindsight, I should have just held the primary position and all would have been well (I think).

Another is M5 junction 25, A38 heading East. We were heading for North Curry and had completely failed to find the canal towpath about 1km to the north.

Possibly the worst was trying to take the A575 (3rd exit) from the A572, which coincides with J13 of the M60. However, this is eminently avoidable if you use this footpath across a golf course. We were heading for Walkden.

All of these were on our LEJOG last year.
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dasmoth

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Re: The most terrifying road you've ever cycled on
« Reply #5 on: October 18, 2008, 05:44:45 pm »
I'd second the A36, although the bit around the end of the dual carriageway just south of Salisbury can be pretty bad too (so long as the traffic is actually moving).

Fortunately never needed to ride far on it, though.
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border-rider

Re: The most terrifying road you've ever cycled on
« Reply #6 on: October 18, 2008, 05:47:06 pm »
A strong candidate is the A49 between the A417 and the B4361

The A49 is OK

I once rode it from Northwich to almost Ross on Wye.  Not an ideal choice, but I was in a hurry.

Like the A40, it probably depends when you are on it. My ride was on a weekday afternoon in the summer.  I suspect it's a lot nastier in rush hour.

Wowbagger

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Re: The most terrifying road you've ever cycled on
« Reply #7 on: October 18, 2008, 05:52:21 pm »
I think much of the perceived terror of any road is how fast the cyclist is moving.

We used the A49 in two or three places on LEJoG and heading north into Hereford was no problem: we were doing about 20 mph all the way so it flew by and very few vehicles overtook us.

That junction near Swinton was a bastard as we had to cycle a fully laden tandem up a hill when the main flow of traffic was lorries turning left across us to join the motorway. I couldn't change lane, so eventually we got off and rode on the pavement for about 300 yards.
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Re: The most terrifying road you've ever cycled on
« Reply #8 on: October 18, 2008, 05:59:53 pm »
The A66 between Brough and Appleby, I wasn't on it for long but it was far too long.

I once rode from Bowes to Penrith, before they made it a dual carriageway over Stainmore.  I wouldn't do it again, but it wasn't that bad.  I even caught up another cyclist at Stainmore Summit.

The worst road I can think of is the A174/Parkway south of Middlesbrough (it's OK to ride after Eston) .  I first had to negotiate the A19-A174 junction at about 3pm on a Friday, and to avoid being crushed at the side I was going around the roundabout at +25mph and being overtaken by traffic at both sides, and when I got onto the road itself, the pace and volume of the traffic was so intense that I had to escape to the side of the carriageway.  This wasn't the soft option it seemed, since there was no hard shoulder as such, merely a gutter which was so full of glass, bottles and abandoned bits of corsamobiles that I slowed to less than 5mph.  I was tempted to climb up the embankment to get out of there, even though the junction was only a couple of hundred yards away.

redshift

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Re: The most terrifying road you've ever cycled on
« Reply #9 on: October 18, 2008, 06:01:41 pm »
The A66 between Brough and Appleby, I wasn't on it for long but it was far too long.

Seconded.  I did some of that back in June, and wasn't really happy until I'd passed all the way through Appleby (it was the week of the horse fair) and was on the road to Penrith.
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Re: The most terrifying road you've ever cycled on
« Reply #10 on: October 18, 2008, 06:03:43 pm »
I think much of the perceived terror of any road is how fast the cyclist is moving.


Yes. Riding fast makes a road seem much better in traffic. The A49 is a pussycat.

A36, yes, quite nasty.
A303, very very nasty in daytime. I've done it in rain, I got off at the next chance which didn't need a big detour.
A66 is another nasty.
A40 west of Gloucester at 5pm, very bad also.

I've done all of those and others that are just as bad.

But my worst was the A720 Edinburgh by pass when it was legal to cycle on there.
Easily the worst of any road I've cycled on. It's been illegal to cycle on for around a decade now. I bet that the no cycling law is better enforced than the flouted speed limit and poor and dangerous (allthough very normal) driving, which are actualy what make this road so dangerous to cycle on.*


*It had very low usage by cyclists but about 5 cyclists a year died on that road, so I heard/read somewhere.

hellymedic

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Re: The most terrifying road you've ever cycled on
« Reply #11 on: October 18, 2008, 06:04:56 pm »
The psychopath in the Clyde Tunnel. No CCTV when I did it, poor sightlines, no easy escape, no way of summoning help if needed, prospect of assault/robbery in the Hole...

Re: The most terrifying road you've ever cycled on
« Reply #12 on: October 18, 2008, 06:16:53 pm »
A19 between Middlebrough and Thirsk at 5.00pm . Only on it for a mile , but that was far far too long.

Biggsy

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Re: The most terrifying road you've ever cycled on
« Reply #13 on: October 18, 2008, 07:55:20 pm »
What happened to the M41 in London?  Is that now part of the A40?

I accidentally got onto it once when it was definitely motorway status.  The only terror I experienced was the thought of getting stopped by the rozzers.
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Re: The most terrifying road you've ever cycled on
« Reply #14 on: October 18, 2008, 08:03:57 pm »
The A40(M) was downgraded to the A40.  The M41 is now part of the A3220, the little link road between the A40 and the Holland Park roundabout, and was only ever half a mile long.  I did them both last night  ;D

The reason is simply that TfL took over control of it, and TfL aren't allowed to control motorways, so they dropped the (M) and changed the blue signs for green ones.

Pathetic Motorways: A40(M) Westway

Pathetic Motorways: M41
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Re: The most terrifying road you've ever cycled on
« Reply #15 on: October 18, 2008, 08:10:19 pm »
SH1 from Wellsford to Brynderwyn, North Island NZ and I3 from Chancellorville to Wilderness WV.

Never been that terrified on a road over here.

LEE

Re: The most terrifying road you've ever cycled on
« Reply #16 on: October 18, 2008, 08:58:12 pm »
A30 from Lands End to Oakhampton and A74 towards Gretna (on same LEJoG journey).

They are both motorways in all but classification except they don't have a wide hard shoulder like a motorway.  Truly scary couple of days riding inches from traffic doing >70mph hoping that the drivers aren't messing with their car stereos.

Zipperhead

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Re: The most terrifying road you've ever cycled on
« Reply #17 on: October 18, 2008, 09:15:43 pm »
A30 from Lands End to Oakhampton ans A74 towards Gretna (on same LEJoG journey).

I'd agree with the A74. The most scared I've ever been on a road in this country.

I've been scared on some nice quiet roads in France, but that wasn't because of the drivers but because of the 500 foot sheer drops the other side of a little low wall - a wall which had gaps in places so that you could enjoy the view even more.
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Re: The most terrifying road you've ever cycled on
« Reply #18 on: October 18, 2008, 09:42:09 pm »
A30 from Lands End to Oakhampton ans A74 towards Gretna (on same LEJoG journey).

They are both motorways in all but classification except they don't have a wide hard shoulder like a motorway.  Truly scary couple of days riding inches from traffic doing >70mph hoping that the drivers aren't messing with their car stereos.
+1 for the A74.  I hit some nasty debris while crossing the girder bridge on the hard shoulder; I expected it to tangle in the rotating machinery of the Windcheetah.  I'd hoped that a 7am start from Carlisle would avoid the worst of the traffic, but all the northbound 18-wheelers had the same idea.

On LEJoG, I did as little of the A30 as possible, so I peeled off onto 'the old road' at Hayle.  Even Penzance to Hayle was scary enough.
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Re: The most terrifying road you've ever cycled on
« Reply #19 on: October 18, 2008, 09:49:24 pm »
I'm happy to ride any road.  I have done many of the above, and will quite happily ride a busy dual carriageway if it's the shortest route.

However, the A130 between the A13 and A127 is the only one I won't ride.

I rode it once, in order to investigate the cycle path that is alongside the middle section ::-)  (Yes, the only way to the cycle path is to ride the 70mph dual carriageway at either end).

clarion

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Re: The most terrifying road you've ever cycled on
« Reply #20 on: October 18, 2008, 10:01:59 pm »
A1 at Wetherby.  No question.  Even the urban motorway under Leeds didn't come close.
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Re: The most terrifying road you've ever cycled on
« Reply #21 on: October 18, 2008, 10:06:43 pm »
One was the main road (whatever it was) from Edinburgh to the Forth Road Bridge in 1986 or so. The other was the motorway to Barcelona airport in 1998. especially the bot where another motorway joined from the left and we had to 'filter' across.

By contrast the A303, as featured briefly on one of Shawn Shaw's rides, was always a stationary jam through which cyclists could weave unhindered by anyone except those on motorbikes.

Re: The most terrifying road you've ever cycled on
« Reply #22 on: October 18, 2008, 10:10:02 pm »
A1 at Wetherby.  No question.  Even the urban motorway under Leeds didn't come close.

Actually you remind me of the right turn off the A1 featured on one of Toothgrinder's recent permanents. And of similar fear-inducing capacity, the right at roundabout on the A1 to Gonerby Moor services.

chris

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Re: The most terrifying road you've ever cycled on
« Reply #23 on: October 18, 2008, 10:14:47 pm »
Actually you remind me of the right turn off the A1 featured on one of Toothgrinder's recent permanents.

I quite enjoyed that bit. I don't ride the little lane between Ecton and Billing any more that would have been on the route if we hadn't stopped for tea in Moulton. The reason? Last time I rode this bit of road I got hit by half a brick thrown over the hedge from the travellers camp site.

Re: The most terrifying road you've ever cycled on
« Reply #24 on: October 18, 2008, 10:27:12 pm »
The A74 would be my choice now. Or maybe the A13.
The A1 isn't all that bad, as horrible roads go.The bit around Middlesborough is pretty nasty though.