Sustrans Route 7 - you have been warned!

Specific board for this popular undertaking.
The Mechanic
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Re: Sustrans Route 7 - you have been warned!

Postby The Mechanic » 18 Feb 2013, 11:14am

Mick F wrote:
The Mechanic wrote:A small matter of one of the worst winters in the UK for a number of years - 2010/11. We had snow continuously for nearly 3 months.
That's it?
That made the difference?
A lone cyclist stayed at our place last year and he'd collected four punctures in the 16 miles from Drumochter.
One bad winter, and that's it? :shock:

Tell you what, I'll give it go later this year. I need a ride.


You obviously don't believe anything anyone else says so please go ahead and try it for yourself. Having lived for some years in Scotland I am surprised you are not familiar with the state of the roads following even a moderate period of cold/snow/severe frost type weather. Add that to a totally unmaintained cycle route and you soon get to a state of unridability.

PS Some of the roads in Aberdeenshire are currently dangerous for cycling due to weather damage.
Cancer changes your outlook on life. Change yours before it changes you.

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Mick F
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Re: Sustrans Route 7 - you have been warned!

Postby Mick F » 18 Feb 2013, 2:07pm

Hang on a sec!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
I never said I didn't believe anything! :evil:
Please don't think that a comment/question/retort is an argument or disagreement.

I said I was surprised that the condition had deteriorated, coz when I saw it last - May 2010 - is was just the same as it had been for years before that. I'm surprised that only one winter has tipped the balance.
Mick F. Cornwall

Mark1978
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Re: Sustrans Route 7 - you have been warned!

Postby Mark1978 » 18 Feb 2013, 2:53pm

Most off road routes have a terrible surface. Strange that for the sections which have been tarmacced they seem perfectly fine all the time. And yet the gravel sections need constant attention, masses of mud, big rocks, badly rutted. It seems obvious to me just tarmac all of it then you don't have to worry, makes it a good route for all types of bike (and for pedestrians) and everyone is happy.

The Mechanic
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Re: Sustrans Route 7 - you have been warned!

Postby The Mechanic » 18 Feb 2013, 4:29pm

Mick F wrote:Hang on a sec!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
I never said I didn't believe anything! :evil:
Please don't think that a comment/question/retort is an argument or disagreement.

I said I was surprised that the condition had deteriorated, coz when I saw it last - May 2010 - is was just the same as it had been for years before that. I'm surprised that only one winter has tipped the balance.


Apologies but when you say you will go and have a look for yourself it could be interpreted that you don't believe what others are telling you.
Cancer changes your outlook on life. Change yours before it changes you.

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Mick F
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Re: Sustrans Route 7 - you have been warned!

Postby Mick F » 18 Feb 2013, 5:07pm

Ok. :D

I'd like to look for myself coz if what is said is true - and I have no doubt about what is said - I'd like a look-see. Dunno if I can get up there this year, but it sounds a good idea.

The OP was saying about Drumochter to Newtonmore. As I have said, much of that length is on real tarmac roads. The cycle track bits are short sections.
http://www.bikeroutetoaster.com/Course. ... rse=360729

Which bit between Drumochter and Newtonmore is bad?
Mick F. Cornwall

nnc283
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Re: Sustrans Route 7 - you have been warned!

Postby nnc283 » 18 Feb 2013, 7:22pm

The reply I received from Sustrans does admit that there have been far more complaints about NCN route 7 in 2012 than ever before, which they found "surprising" in view of the improvements that have been carried out to the route recently.

It seems pretty obvious to me though that there's no point in laying down new surfacing if basic maintenance is being neglected.

Yes, a hard winter up here can, and does, cause a lot of damage.

What is really annoying is right alongside one of the roughest sections of the route we have a brand new billiard table smooth dual carriageway. The cost of clearing the debris/vegetation from the cycle tracks and making good the surface where necessary would cost a tiny fraction of what has been spent on the main road.

TonyR
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Re: Sustrans Route 7 - you have been warned!

Postby TonyR » 18 Feb 2013, 7:30pm

nnc283 wrote:The reply I received from Sustrans does admit that there have been far more complaints about NCN route 7 in 2012 than ever before, which they found "surprising" in view of the improvements that have been carried out to the route recently.

It seems pretty obvious to me though that there's no point in laying down new surfacing if basic maintenance is being neglected.

Yes, a hard winter up here can, and does, cause a lot of damage.

What is really annoying is right alongside one of the roughest sections of the route we have a brand new billiard table smooth dual carriageway. The cost of clearing the debris/vegetation from the cycle tracks and making good the surface where necessary would cost a tiny fraction of what has been spent on the main road.


A few photos would help put some substance to how bad it is for those that live in the warm south.

bogmyrtle
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Re: Sustrans Route 7 - you have been warned!

Postby bogmyrtle » 18 Feb 2013, 8:09pm

Was perhaps the current damage done when the duel carriageway work was being carried out? The path was certainly closed then. With the whole of the A9 scheduled to be duelled between 2017 and 2025, I guess upgrading the cycle path wont be a priority.
A bike does more miles to the banana than a Porsche.

donnieban
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Re: Sustrans Route 7 - you have been warned!

Postby donnieban » 18 Feb 2013, 11:05pm

Simply put - Potholes are formed by water penetration through the blacktop surface of the road/ highway through cracks generated by traffic. When the temperature drops, the penetrating water freezes, subsequently expands and causes the running surface to shatter. When the ice melts, it leaves a void below the road surface, which caves in under the stress of vehicles and eventually forms a pothole.
Snow and ice are the worst weather conditions for exacerbating existing road defects, due to the repetition of the freeze-thaw process.

The impact of 2 extreme (back to back) Scottish winters in 2009 & 2010 created further misery on Scotland's roads & footpaths for both motorists and cyclists alike.

Scotland Transerv, as Trunk road Maintenance Authority don't appear to have any shame given the NCN 7 issue is known to them:

http://www.inverness-courier.co.uk/Feat ... 102012.htm

This neglect appears to extend between Dalwhinnie and Calvine. - The Scottish Route Development page at http://www.sustrans.org.uk states: “The path does have some surface issues, but is easily passable along its whole length with a mountain bike or hybrid".

I haven't ridden this section, but the news article seems to suggest that poor engineering has led to drainage gravel being scoured onto the newly laid (2011) black top - not ideal for skinny tyres.

http://www.transportscotland.gov.uk/fil ... _2011_.pdf

Cycling by Design 2010 (Revision 1, June 2011)

10 Construction and Maintenance

10.1 Introduction

Construction and maintenance are important aspects of any cycle facility. The quality of
surfaces and edge details are particularly important to cyclists, who are more vulnerable to
minor defects and poor construction than other road users. It is therefore important to
ensure that construction details and materials for the cycle facility are appropriate and that a
suitable maintenance regime is established.
Designers should ensure that the the materials and level of construction specified for cycle
facilities are appropriate for purpose and that over specification does not lead to needlessly
expensive facilities. However, the specification used should seek to ensure the least
amount of future maintenance required as possible.


10.2.2 Surface Condition
The surface of a cycle facility should have an even profile, be free of major defects and
conform to the Specification for Highway Works. Where necessary, defects should be
rectified in accordance with the maintenance requirements.

Complaints should focus on the referenced obligations that the Contractor appears to be defaulting on.

donnieban

Mark1978
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Re: Sustrans Route 7 - you have been warned!

Postby Mark1978 » 19 Feb 2013, 11:51am

donnieban wrote:Designers should ensure that the the materials and level of construction specified for cycle
facilities are appropriate for purpose and that over specification does not lead to needlessly
expensive facilities. However, the specification used should seek to ensure the least
amount of future maintenance required as possible.


These two are most often at odds. They go for a cheap unsealed surface such that any significant rain and it gets washed away and badly rutted. But then do little / no maintenance on it! If that was the case with the roads there would be outcry!

thirdcrank
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Re: Sustrans Route 7 - you have been warned!

Postby thirdcrank » 19 Feb 2013, 3:19pm

To be fair to Sustrans, the idea that the National Lottery money they received (£50M IIRC) for the NCN around the Millennium would act as a catalyst for a huge growth in cycling infrastructure fitted in with the political message about traffic reduction and all that jazz at that time. How were they to know it was all so much twaddle? With hindsight we know that rather than it being any form of catalyst, it was just used as the highway authorities' excuse for doing nothing worthwhile for cyclists on the road network more generally. When they realised that central govt had no genuine interest in promoting cycling, they largely abandoned the Sustrans stuff as well. That's how we end up with a reported mess like this.

geocycle
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Re: Sustrans Route 7 - you have been warned!

Postby geocycle » 19 Feb 2013, 3:52pm

None of this surprises me. Our road network is appalling relative to large parts of Europe. Try touring the mountain roads of northern Spain (another indebted country) and compare with those in Scotland or northern England for example. This is partly due to to two very severe winters in the UK but mainly the government's attempts to cut the deficit by reducing spending. Councils are increasingly impoverished and very unlikely to commit unallocated funds to maintain cycle routes. Like all charities Sustrans are likely feeling the financial squeeze and at the same time government spending on maintenance and infrastructure is reducing.

donnieban
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Re: Sustrans Route 7 - you have been warned!

Postby donnieban » 19 Feb 2013, 6:33pm

I don't think that as a cycling body we can honestly have any expectation that our cycle network can be funded or maintained given the dire neglect to be seen on our roads. Pecking order wise, cyclists are at the end of most investment queues.

All tax payers have a right to expect that the constant blood letting from Road fund and fuel taxation will lead to real investment in our roads. Time to smell the coffee, that money isn't going into infrastructure.

A belligerent attitude and general reluctance to share road space with cyclists is perhaps indicative of the daily frustration that most motorists now endure. Hardly surprising given the epidemic of potholes, chipped windscreens, burst tyres, suspension damage & rising insurance costs that motorists face on roads that are no longer fit for purpose.

Rant over, but there are two sides to every fence.

donnieban

thirdcrank
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Re: Sustrans Route 7 - you have been warned!

Postby thirdcrank » 19 Feb 2013, 6:55pm

donnieban wrote: ... Rant over, but there are two sides to every fence.


This is what it looks like from over here, on my side of this one.

There's always been a general road network (largely financed out of general taxation in modern times, BTW) which cyclists are entitled to use like everybody else. With the increase in motor traffic and the desire to use the motor vehicle for long distance travel, special roads were built to cater for that demand. Although we call them motorways, the law calls them "special roads" and cyclists among others may not use them. Once upon a time. there was a belief that building these special roads would reduce the traffic on the general road network. :lol: In the event, traffic increased everywhere and the general roads became increasingly hostile. Promoting cycling is seen as a "good thing" even though cyclists themselves are often seen as delinquents. Providing for cyclists off the road network seemed like a jolly good idea at the time. Part A = getting cyclists off the road = was particularly appealing. Part B = decent provision for cycling, was always going to be the toughie.

Lip service rules. OK.

irc
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Re: Sustrans Route 7 - you have been warned!

Postby irc » 19 Feb 2013, 7:19pm

thirdcrank wrote:
donnieban wrote: Once upon a time. there was a belief that building these special roads would reduce the traffic on the general road network. :lol: In the event, traffic increased everywhere and the general roads became increasingly hostile.


Actually there is a beneficial effect from motorways and other new roads. The old A9 for example is pleasant to cycle on because they built the new A9. The old A74 between Gretna and Lanarkshire is great for cycling because the M74 was built.

Locally within the Glasgow area Paisley Rd and Edinburgh Rd flow pretty freely because the M8 is directly parallel. Maryhill Rd on the other hand is at a near standstill much of the day because it doesn't benefit from any post 19th century new roads taking through traffic away.

The biggest problem with the motorway network is that it isn't finished (no complete motorway link between Glasgow and Edinburgh for example) and there has been far less built on a per capita basis than elsewhere.