Richard Fairhurst wrote:The roads up the east of the river are not remotely National Cycle Network standard. Traffic on the Walton-Stapenhill road is too heavy and too fast. That's not to say that it's a bad cycling road - I'm sure it is for confident cyclists like you. But the NCN design standards are fussier about traffic levels and speeds, because it's intended to appeal to less confident riders. There is no single objective "best".
You missed out the short section of the A513
That section will change as the development on the old Drakelow power station site continues. There are opportunities there to provide space for cyclists. I expect the council want to do something as the development is rather cut off from the rest of the town by the railway.
I don't believe anyone was born a "confident" cyclist. It's about experience and you can't gain experience in anything by not doing it. So the very best that the NCN can ever achieve is to effectively trap inexperienced cyclists onto a linear cycling ghetto. We'll leave aside the issue of how the inexperienced cyclists get to NCN path in the first place unless they're part of the tiny percentage of the population who have one running virtually past their door.
As for their standards, have you ever been in Barton-under-Needwood when the children are being dropped off or picked up from school? It's chaos, utter chaos. Cars going every which way driven by hassled and highly distracted parents. That's a massively more dangerous situation to cycle in than a moderately trafficked road. Yes it passes their standards? A few years ago I came across a cyclist who was clearly struggling. We stopped for a chat and he told me that he'd just got back to cycling after being very seriously injured some months before when he was basically flattened by a Range Rover (driver illegally on his mobile phone). And where did this collision occur? Not on a busy road but on NCN54 Abnall's Lane just west of Lichfield. Actually I remember back in the mid 90s when the county council got interested in developing cycle routes so they came and talked to us (CTC). There were two of them both of whom would probably fall under the category of inexperienced cyclists. The told us that they'd cycled up Abnall's Lane and thought it was so dangerous that they'd got off and walked! We thought that was a serious over-reaction even given that it's a well-known rat run. It's so odd then to see that a well-know rat run which the county highways department regarded (rightly or wrongly) as too dangerous to cycle on meets NCN standards.
Richard Fairhurst wrote:(That isn't to say that NCN 54 between Alrewas and Burton is a satisfactory route - it isn't, and ideally it would be rerouted along a resurfaced canal towpath IMO.)
I thought so too. Perhaps the attitude of British Waterways had something to do with that. If it were being built now I think the CRT would be very supportive assuming the money could be found for the resurfacing work. When I used to ride with the club we'd sometimes take the towpath from Alrewas over the weirs then put our bikes over the style and push them up to by the church. We then used to ride past the big house and up onto the B road. I'm not sure we were really allowed to do that but no-one ever shouted at us so I don't think minded really.