King Alfred's Way

Cycle-touring, Expeditions, Adventures, Major cycle routes NOT LeJoG (see other special board)
Zulu Eleven
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Re: King Alfred's Way

Postby Zulu Eleven » 18 Jan 2020, 1:09pm

mjr wrote:
Zulu Eleven wrote:As a general rule there’s nothing on this route that would be be achievable on a gravel or cross bike, [...]

Given the latest update, should this have said "unachievable"? And never mind these modern gravel and cross things ;) - are they rideable on touring bikes and roadsters?

I see the Icknield Way and Peddars Way are labelled as potential future routes but I think they both already have accompanying cycle trails, at least the bits in East Anglia.

I'm a bit worried that CUK resources are going on gravel routes which would be more beneficial completing tarmac cycle-touring routes.


Apologies, yes, that should read unachievable.

There’s no doubt that many will have completed the ridgeway & similar routes on a touring bike, buts its clearly in Rough-Stuff-Fellowship territory, so I think it would be improper to ‘promote’ the route for such. As for ‘roadster’ I suggest the clue is in the name (why would you want to ride a road bike on an off-road route?)

As for the comment on resources - all cycling is good, and everything that gets more people out cycling in the countryside is beneficial. The positive influence on health & wellbeing of off-road cycling and connecting people with nature have been clearly demonstrated, as has the potential for rural tourism & the wider rural economy. The CUK off-road survey of 2016 has demonstrated there is clear demand amongst wider cycling community for these type of routes that help tackle existing challenges of poor connectivity in the rights of way network (that all too often has bridleways ending on unsafe, busy roads), and finally, I’m absolutely confident (from inside knowledge) that the entire pool of money spent by everyone involved in these routes, from CUK developing & promoting them, through to the entire annual spend by local authorities on maintaining the rights of way, and throwing in Natural England’s annual budget promoting and enhancing the two National Trails that are currently open for cycling (just two out of our fifteen National Trails) - would barely pay for a couple of hundred yards of tarmac path creation.

Rich_Clements
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Re: King Alfred's Way

Postby Rich_Clements » 18 Jan 2020, 6:24pm

My experience of the Great North Trail is that large portions are more suited to MTB's I rode a gravel bike on this occasion, I think zulu Eleven's description is spot on.
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mjr
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Re: King Alfred's Way

Postby mjr » 18 Jan 2020, 9:35pm

Zulu Eleven wrote:There’s no doubt that many will have completed the ridgeway & similar routes on a touring bike, buts its clearly in Rough-Stuff-Fellowship territory, so I think it would be improper to ‘promote’ the route for such. As for ‘roadster’ I suggest the clue is in the name (why would you want to ride a road bike on an off-road route?)

Roadsters are not road bikes and predate widespread tarmacking of roads and the CTC campaign for it, or indeed the CTC. They're OK to ride on well-beaten stone roads and gravel tracks, but irritatingly slow on bumpy gravel, thick grass or deep mud.

and finally, I’m absolutely confident (from inside knowledge) that the entire pool of money spent by everyone involved in these routes, from CUK developing & promoting them, through to the entire annual spend by local authorities on maintaining the rights of way, and throwing in Natural England’s annual budget promoting and enhancing the two National Trails that are currently open for cycling (just two out of our fifteen National Trails) - would barely pay for a couple of hundred yards of tarmac path creation.

So with The Ranty Highwayman IIRC saying tarmac paths cost about £1000/m, that would mean the entire National Trails budget and Local Authorities rights of way budgets total under £200k/year but that seems unlikely when Norfolk County Council alone has a walking rights of way capital budget of over £600k/year (but a zero cycling budget... Grrr!) and I forget what the maintenance budget is. So colour me confused!

And I thought Ridgeway, Icknield, Peddars, North Downs aka Pilgrims and South Downs Way were all already cycleable, which seems like more than two to me,so that's another way I seem unable to count!
MJR, mostly pedalling 3-speed roadsters. KL+West Norfolk BUG incl social easy rides http://www.klwnbug.co.uk
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Zulu Eleven
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Re: King Alfred's Way

Postby Zulu Eleven » 19 Jan 2020, 11:56am

I have no particular interest in a back and forth debate on this mjr, but suffice to say that your post is wrong on a number of points, and I’m entirely confident on my figures.

cycle tramp
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Re: King Alfred's Way

Postby cycle tramp » 19 Jan 2020, 4:27pm

Zulu Eleven wrote:I have no particular interest in a back and forth debate on this mjr, but suffice to say that your post is wrong on a number of points, and I’m entirely confident on my figures.


Although perhaps not entirely confident to have the decency to advise as to which points are in error or to allow the figures to be open to public scrutiny. As far as I was aware this is a public forum open to debate and not the Donald Trump show. The eyes of the world (or rather this particular part of the demographic) are watching, gentleman. Spport for cycling uk from some members may rest up on the next course of communication.

Carlton green
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Re: King Alfred's Way

Postby Carlton green » 20 Jan 2020, 8:31am

Zulu Eleven wrote:I have no particular interest in a back and forth debate on this mjr, but suffice to say that your post is wrong on a number of points, and I’m entirely confident on my figures.


I can appreciate that you might not want to get drawn into time consuming conversation, but I respectfully suggest that there are more tactful ways of saying so.

The work that cycling U.K. does is appreciated by many including me. Of course some of its effort will be spent on ways of cycling that don’t interest me but the organisation does have a wide membership base and aims to cater for such - all cycling is good for someone if not necessarily me. One might also say that encouraging off road riding brings in additional people into cycling and that that then increases membership numbers, in turn greater member numbers increases our public voice, etc., etc.

Gravel track and green lane cycling is something that I don’t do much of because typically my 1&1/4” / 32 mm rims can’t reliably enough take the knocks on them (I either have to ride relatively slowly and carefully or end up with a lot of wheel trueing to do, derailleur rear wheels are particularly susceptible to damage). However just slightly wider rims are OK and as lots of folk ride on 35 mm (1&3/8”) please do promote non tarmac but hard surface roads and tracks too.

As an aside many streets in the U.K. used to have cobbled roads rather than smooth tarmac so an old fashioned ‘roadster’ had to be built for rougher stuff than it is used for today. When I was a child some kids would use a hub geared bike bike to scramble through the woods, fun on their old roadsters.

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mjr
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Re: King Alfred's Way

Postby mjr » 20 Jan 2020, 9:24am

No need for a "time consuming conversation". I don't expect the budget details to be stated any time soon so just add the missing answers for how smooth these untarred roads are (I've never knowingly seen any "Rough Stuff Fellowship" riders so that's not useful info to me - some photos may be good - basically is it MTB/CX-only conditions?) and which of the other National Cycle Trail promoters are lying about theirs being rideable.
MJR, mostly pedalling 3-speed roadsters. KL+West Norfolk BUG incl social easy rides http://www.klwnbug.co.uk
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Zulu Eleven
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Re: King Alfred's Way

Postby Zulu Eleven » 20 Jan 2020, 10:44am

Happily provide examples (and apologies if I came across as a bit defensive)

Anything from this
6C3B6665-740F-4583-9007-8E8DFDFE5785.jpeg


Through
AAF17C28-6B80-4522-B0AA-34EF1802C9BF.jpeg


Bits of
81F01DD4-9263-4B3E-BCFE-B1F175DFCCDB.jpeg


Stretches of
DFDE4310-B846-4FDB-A3A5-5D372704799B.jpeg


And some
3F3FA5F1-6D26-4052-8DC1-C1917629E6DD.jpeg


And all interspersed with anything from field-edge bridleways to quiet roads (I’m confident we’ve got it down to just a couple of short stretches of what I’ll call ‘busier roads’ - plus a few urban paths and towpaths (spoilers) but for the avoidance of doubt, the balance is entirely towards the traffic free option even if it’s slow/hard going but passable).

Of course, The photos above in summer are not representative of what these routes would be like in winter months, nor would you expect them to be -seasons vary, crops change through the seasons and can really affect the condition of a field, nettles & bramble growth abounds at certain times of year, so seasonality is an issue. There is no pretence that any of this route should be presumed to be suitable or promoted for transport or utility cycling. What you will get however is genuine adventure and amazing landscapes, a sense of being at one with nature whilst travelling along some of the oldest roads in Europe, mixed in with a huge amount of history - everything from Neolithic burial mounds to Saxon hill forts, medieval Cistercian abbeys & WW2 anti invasion defences.
Last edited by Zulu Eleven on 20 Jan 2020, 11:47am, edited 1 time in total.

mattheus
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Re: King Alfred's Way

Postby mattheus » 20 Jan 2020, 11:34am

mjr wrote:

(I've never knowingly seen any "Rough Stuff Fellowship" riders so that's not useful info to me - some photos may be good - basically is it MTB/CX-only conditions?)


https://www.instagram.com/rsfarchive

A lovely resource. You'll enjoy it even if it doesn't answer your question :)

st599_uk
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Re: King Alfred's Way

Postby st599_uk » 20 Jan 2020, 11:35am

If CUK are going to create a guide to the route (or a website about the route), would it be possible to liaise with local hire companies and list firms which will hire out suitable bikes for parts or the whole of the route?

For example, would loan you a bike in location X and allow you to drop off in location Y. I'd like to do the route, but won't be buying a different bike for the trip.
A novice learning...
“the dreamers of the day are dangerous men, for they may act their dreams with open eyes, to make it possible.”

mattheus
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Re: King Alfred's Way

Postby mattheus » 20 Jan 2020, 11:42am

Zulu Eleven wrote:If it helps we’re being absolutely clear that the ‘off-road’ aspect of our work and focus of these routes is, like the Great North Trail, aimed at rough-stuff & MTB, both in the connections with rural tourism & reconnects people with nature of landscape. So predominantly this is on unsurfaced routes. As a general rule there’s nothing on this route that would be unachievable on a gravel or cross bike, though seasonal differences may well make an MTB the most viable option in places.


This seems crystal-clear to me, Mr Zulu!

Thanks for the info.

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mjr
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Re: King Alfred's Way

Postby mjr » 20 Jan 2020, 1:16pm

Thanks for the pictures of bits of the trail. I think a roadster would cope with all of those except the last one with deep sand. Looks similar to the bits of Ickneild Way Cycle Trail I've seen and better than much of the Peddars Way one (which gets ploughed fairly often by "green laner" 4x4 motorists).

mattheus wrote:https://www.instagram.com/rsfarchive

A lovely resource. You'll enjoy it even if it doesn't answer your question :)

Thanks. I see a few pictures, mostly of what look like regular touring bikes even with quite close-fitted mudguards, and then a "Log in to continue" box appears and doesn't allow further viewing.
MJR, mostly pedalling 3-speed roadsters. KL+West Norfolk BUG incl social easy rides http://www.klwnbug.co.uk
All the above is CC-By-SA and no other implied copyright license to Cycle magazine.

mattheus
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Re: King Alfred's Way

Postby mattheus » 20 Jan 2020, 1:34pm

Just register with Instagram - it won't kill you!

(although google images will probably bring up most of the pictures by one route or another).

Frankly, every self-respecting cyclist should at least *know* about the Rough Stuff Fellowship. ;P

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RickH
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Re: King Alfred's Way

Postby RickH » 20 Jan 2020, 1:43pm

mjr wrote:... I've never knowingly seen any "Rough Stuff Fellowship" riders so that's not useful info to me...

If they are like the local group I occasionally go out with they are almost all riding mountainbikes these days. A group of (mostly) old (mostly) guys on MTBs is what you are most likely to see, at least round here. If there's a solitary old guy on a drop bar bike without a helmet in the group then it's probably me out with them! :D

mattheus
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Re: King Alfred's Way

Postby mattheus » 20 Jan 2020, 1:52pm

If you google
wayfarer berwyn centenary rsf

… you will see a somewhat broader demographic (-: