The worst place in the UK for cycling?

General cycling advice ( NOT technical ! )
nez
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Re: The worst place in the UK for cycling?

Postby nez » 2 Oct 2019, 10:17am

mjr wrote:
drossall wrote:

So what about the places that are least accessible by bike or, conversely, where cyclists are trapped forever?


Top of the list has to be Coggeshall, the tiny town that forgot cycling. Because of the dangerous A120 it's inaccessible from Marks Tey and Colchester (look on cycle streets for the hilariously tortuous route) while the only safe-ish route from Braintree is a 10 mile detour to the north. Of course the Beserker faction of cycling can try the cycle path at the side of the A12, which appears not to have been maintained since the 1950s and is full of the detritus ejected from speeding cars and lorries. I would suggest solid tyres and ear defenders. Then you have to find your way under the railway line.

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Re: The worst place in the UK for cycling?

Postby mjr » 2 Oct 2019, 12:37pm

nez wrote:Top of the list has to be Coggeshall, the tiny town that forgot cycling. Because of the dangerous A120 it's inaccessible from Marks Tey and Colchester (look on cycle streets for the hilariously tortuous route) while the only safe-ish route from Braintree is a 10 mile detour to the north.

I don't know what cycle streets is going, but cycle.travel reckons Braintree is 8.6 miles (via Coggeshall Hamlet and Crissing) instead of about 6 by car, which I think makes it a 2.6 mile detour.

The route to Colchester is poor (10.7 miles of backroads instead of 7.7 miles if the A120 had a cycleway) and the A120 is a typical annoyingly rubbish UK road: a wide carriageway in a wide highway corridor with a narrow overgrown footway and no cycleway.

Of course the Beserker faction of cycling can try the cycle path at the side of the A12, which appears not to have been maintained since the 1950s and is full of the detritus ejected from speeding cars and lorries. I would suggest solid tyres and ear defenders. Then you have to find your way under the railway line.

The A12 cycle path doesn't really help either, being too far south off the desire line to Colchester (13 miles was the shortest sane route I found).

I'm sure someone can do worse with a small town. Cambourne and Bar Hill have both already been nominated and I think deserve extra points for being within cycling distance of cycling capital Cambridge - if only a sane cycle route had been provided!
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drossall
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Re: The worst place in the UK for cycling?

Postby drossall » 2 Oct 2019, 2:33pm

mjr wrote:Be fair. Thetford is over 30miles from Norwich and basically connected by quietish lanes south of Wymondham...

I agree with that. It was rather my point. This arose for me in riding from North Herts to north of Norwich. It's a good route all the way except for Elveden-Mildenhall. Cambridgeshire have even built routes out from Cambridge, including a way under the A14 just north of the city. But Norwich seems to me cut off by that missing two miles (next point).

Also, the policy-violating disconnection of Elveden-Mildenhall without a cycleway is a disgrace but adds 2 miles of fairly straight B road as the detour, not a long wandering one. That distance is obnoxious for short journeys but a bigger problem for touring is that the parallel route reached by the detour is sand and gravel, which is tedious.

I'd bow to local knowledge, but I'm not sure which road you mean. I thought the A1065 via Brandon, which I used, was pretty unpleasant. Then I hit the gravel, as you say, around Santon, which was pretty difficult on narrower tyres.

Even though coming from further away meant that avoiding the Mildenhall area would be possible, I couldn't see any alternative (and fairly direct) roads for miles either side.

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Re: The worst place in the UK for cycling?

Postby mjr » 2 Oct 2019, 3:53pm

drossall wrote:
mjr wrote:Also, the policy-violating disconnection of Elveden-Mildenhall without a cycleway is a disgrace but adds 2 miles of fairly straight B road as the detour, not a long wandering one. That distance is obnoxious for short journeys but a bigger problem for touring is that the parallel route reached by the detour is sand and gravel, which is tedious.

I'd bow to local knowledge, but I'm not sure which road you mean. I thought the A1065 via Brandon, which I used, was pretty unpleasant. Then I hit the gravel, as you say, around Santon, which was pretty difficult on narrower tyres.

Local knowledge, but I ride there rarely, maybe a few times a year at most, passing through.

I'd exit Mildenhall on Thetford Road, continue straight over the A1065 (which I agree is pretty unpleasant - pretty deadly for motorists too, in fact) and then a 600m bridleway at the end to the B1112, turn south on that for 2 miles (the detour) to reach Icklingham, turn left onto and then off of the A road onto a gravel bridleway (Seven Tree Road, part of the Icknield Way Cycle Trail) which meets the (mostly gravel) Thetford Cycle Loop route south of Elveden which can be reached by turning left onto the B1106. There's at least 5 miles of gravel on that route, though.

I think it may be possible to cut out about 2 miles of gravel but I'm less certain of it: continue straight ahead across the Thetford Cycle Loop and I think it comes out on a service road parallel to the A11 south side which looks unobstructed on satellite photos and maps but is not marked as a right of way. Street view predates the dual carriageway. This would be an improvement if it works, as it's only 2 miles longer than if they'd built the 1½ mile of missing route between the B1112 and the farm bridge west of the war memorial in that wide near-empty verge. :mad:

That service road actually forks and one leg connects to Icklingham. If someone could get it opened for cycles, it looks a fairly simple connection at both ends. The northern fork connects to the B1112 just outside Eriswell, which would be nice to have but wouldn't actually make the route from Mildenhall shorter. If only there was some sort of department managing highways with the will to get these routes opened up... :twisted:
drossall wrote:Even though coming from further away meant that avoiding the Mildenhall area would be possible, I couldn't see any alternative (and fairly direct) roads for miles either side.

Yes, Thetford Forest and Stanta means that the obvious alternative is a long way south: National 51 (more or less) to Bury St Eds, National 13 to Harling Road, then Attleborough and Wymondham to pick up the Blue route.
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drossall
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Re: The worst place in the UK for cycling?

Postby drossall » 2 Oct 2019, 4:21pm

Nearly as big a diversion as we've taken from the original topic of this thread...

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Re: The worst place in the UK for cycling?

Postby mjr » 2 Oct 2019, 5:43pm

drossall wrote:Nearly as big a diversion as we've taken from the original topic of this thread...

On that note, we should probably nominate Mildenhall as one of the worst places. All routes out except west are immediately rubbish and the ones west go a bit rubbish before they get to Ely or Cambridge.
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pete75
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Re: The worst place in the UK for cycling?

Postby pete75 » 2 Oct 2019, 6:40pm

mjr wrote:Also, the policy-violating disconnection of Elveden-Mildenhall without a cycleway is a disgrace but adds 2 miles of fairly straight B road as the detour, not a long wandering one. That distance is obnoxious for short journeys but a bigger problem for touring is that the parallel route reached by the detour is sand and gravel, which is tedious.

Disconnection? I've ridden from Mildenhall to Thetford and back a couple of times when I've been at the Rally. Went via Elvedon on the A11. It may be a dual carriageway but cycling isn't banned. Easy road to cycle on too with a permanent backwind from the constant stream of overtaking vehicles.
I could see your point if cycling wasn't allowed on the A11 but it is so where's the problem?

There's a choice of several pleasant back road routes from Mildenhall to Bury and a largely off road route to Prickwillow.
I wouldn't call MIldenhall a bad place for cycling and have had more than a few good rides out from the Rally.
Last edited by pete75 on 2 Oct 2019, 6:45pm, edited 2 times in total.

drossall
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Re: The worst place in the UK for cycling?

Postby drossall » 2 Oct 2019, 6:44pm

That's interesting. I just assumed that it would be so unpleasant as to be best avoided. But so is the alternative, so next time...

pete75
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Re: The worst place in the UK for cycling?

Postby pete75 » 2 Oct 2019, 6:46pm

drossall wrote:That's interesting. I just assumed that it would be so unpleasant as to be best avoided. But so is the alternative, so next time...


It's no less pleasant than the Brandon-Mildenhall road.

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Re: The worst place in the UK for cycling?

Postby drossall » 2 Oct 2019, 7:29pm

Haven ridden the latter, I believe you.

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Re: The worst place in the UK for cycling?

Postby Vorpal » 2 Oct 2019, 8:24pm

mjr wrote:
drossall wrote:Nearly as big a diversion as we've taken from the original topic of this thread...

On that note, we should probably nominate Mildenhall as one of the worst places. All routes out except west are immediately rubbish and the ones west go a bit rubbish before they get to Ely or Cambridge.

I think Mildenhall is alright. I used to cycle around there some and never really had any problems, though crossing the A11 is intimidating.
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mjr
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Re: The worst place in the UK for cycling?

Postby mjr » 2 Oct 2019, 9:36pm

pete75 wrote:
mjr wrote:Also, the policy-violating disconnection of Elveden-Mildenhall without a cycleway is a disgrace but adds 2 miles of fairly straight B road as the detour, not a long wandering one. That distance is obnoxious for short journeys but a bigger problem for touring is that the parallel route reached by the detour is sand and gravel, which is tedious.

Disconnection? I've ridden from Mildenhall to Thetford and back a couple of times when I've been at the Rally. Went via Elvedon on the A11. It may be a dual carriageway but cycling isn't banned. Easy road to cycle on too with a permanent backwind from the constant stream of overtaking vehicles.
I could see your point if cycling wasn't allowed on the A11 but it is so where's the problem?

Maybe you enjoy riding on a quasi-motorway but I don't, nor do I think many do, even among present cyclists. The dualled bits of A11 have had enough notorious deaths and serious injuries among the few cyclists using it to worry me (most famously Zak Carr), plus what I remember from my youth of cyclists hurt using the (marked!) crap cycle lane on the dualled A5, including one from my village.

Conversely, I will tolerate a few bits of 60mph S2W if it helps me get places, so the substandard A11 dualling with no service road or cycleways or even bridleways is a disconnection IMO.

There's a choice of several pleasant back road routes from Mildenhall to Bury and a largely off road route to Prickwillow.
I wouldn't call MIldenhall a bad place for cycling and have had more than a few good rides out from the Rally.

I would because I think I've not had a worse ride than the last one to the Rally via Lakenheath. The crossing to head towards Bury is a bad joke, waiting ages for gaps to dart across the A11, a wait that gets longer every year while the government fails to get a grip on motor traffic growth but they still won't build a bridge or signalise it. The route to Prickwillow is west and OK, but the route on to Ely is iffy and the one to Littleport is a disgraceful mess of broken tiles.

No, much improvement is needed to reconnect Mildenhall to civilisation.
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Re: The worst place in the UK for cycling?

Postby Vorpal » 3 Oct 2019, 9:12am

It is disgraceful that there is no direct & comfortable cycling route between Mildenhall & Thetford.

We discussed it at length in 2014 viewtopic.php?f=16&t=85233

and I gather things have not improved, which is a shame.
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brynpoeth
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Re: The worst place in the UK for cycling?

Postby brynpoeth » 3 Oct 2019, 9:17am

Where might be the worst place for cycling in Norge, or in Nederland?
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Re: The worst place in the UK for cycling?

Postby Vorpal » 3 Oct 2019, 9:34am

brynpoeth wrote:Where might be the worst place for cycling in Norge, or in Nederland?


In Norway, it's got to be between rural towns where there is only fast E road, no side path, and not much alternative.

like https://www.google.no/maps/@59.7486849, ... 12!8i6656'
or https://www.google.no/maps/@63.2260122, ... 312!8i6656

For long distances, there are often better alternatives, but for someone who lives in the area, or is going from one specific location to another, the alternatives are often either huge diversions, rough off-road trails, or both.

It's little different to similar A roads in the UK. Although, I think most drivers are more accomodating, the speed limit is a little lower (80 kph), and the average passing distance is greater, there are still a minority of of **** drivers who think it's a good idea to pass at 70 mph without moving over into the next lane. Norway are implementing more segregated infrastructure, but these sorts of areas still don't have priority.
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