How far cycling has fallen in such a short timescale ...

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The utility cyclist
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How far cycling has fallen in such a short timescale ...

Postby The utility cyclist » 4 Mar 2018, 8:57pm

I'm up visiting the folks in Hull and to watch the rugby (mighty Hull FC beating Warrington in the bitter cold Friday :D ), Saturday decide to have a bimble around the museums as I rarely get a chance on my visits.
So I didn't even know we had a transport museum but there's a small section with cycles and lots of cycling ephemera from Hull and surrounding areas. (saw some fantastic grass cycling and velodrome cycling posters around the old Bouelvard Athletic club ground in the late 1800s)
Anyhow, I saw this table with respect to % of people cycling to work in 1989. This was the year I left Hull to joined the army so a bit of relevancy.
Hull had always being a popular place to cycle, was one of the places that had high cycling numbers long after it had gone out of favour as mass transport, there are a few reasons for this.

However looking at the figures I was really surprised by how high the actual % of people using a bike to cycle to work was, even given what I knew and had seen with my own eyes when cycling to college in the city centre for two years through the industrialised areas.
It also made me feel kind of sad at how far we have dropped off in less than 30 years, the national drop off was already huge but cycling numbers in Hull have gone off a cliff in that 29 years. :cry:
cycling numbers.jpg

thirdcrank
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Re: How far cycling has fallen in such a short timescale ...

Postby thirdcrank » 4 Mar 2018, 9:12pm

Yes. We used to have family friends in Hull and at certain times of the day cyclists were pretty much the only traffic on the road. "Critical mass" if ever there was. I've never experienced anything like it anywhere else, although I suspect Nottingham and some other cities must have been the same. The opening scene of Saturday Night and Sunday Morning which has been linked before gives a bit of a taste, but nothing remotely like the tides of cyclists on the streets of Hull.

Cyril Haearn
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Re: How far cycling has fallen in such a short timescale ...

Postby Cyril Haearn » 4 Mar 2018, 9:22pm

Fewer people had cars back then, had to cycle, poorer but happier and healthier?

car bus train cycle foot... other? I guess a few people used the Humber ferry, what else?

Hull was the City of Culture last year, what did that achieve or change?
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Re: How far cycling has fallen in such a short timescale ...

Postby Cyril Haearn » 4 Mar 2018, 9:26pm

The Arctic Corsair is well worth a visit
The guide had worked on a trawler
'Did you earn a lot?' I asked
'Yes, it was very well paid!'
He only did one tour mind, then he worked as a bricklayer :?
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Re: How far cycling has fallen in such a short timescale ...

Postby thirdcrank » 4 Mar 2018, 9:46pm

My experience of Hull was earlier than that analysed in the table in the OP and I'd say with some confidence that the cyclist figure was much higher.

The comparison I'd make was with Leeds, another industrial city, but where there was much less utility cycling. I cannot believe that levels of car ownership were much different between the two. In any case, that was the era when the expression "week end driver" was popular, because quite a lot of car owners only drove at weekends "for a spin." I think one of the big differences was that Leeds had comprehensive municipal public transport, including trams which ran until 1959. (Hull had trolley buses ie no tram tracks, but I don't think that made much difference.) It's hard to describe adequately the extent of public transport in Leeds before deregulation.

One result is that Leeds councillors tend to bleat about there being no tradition of cycling in Leeds, which might have been - sort of - true in the days of the Notional Cycling Strategy, but it's worn thin more recently.

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Re: How far cycling has fallen in such a short timescale ...

Postby PH » 4 Mar 2018, 10:19pm

Interesting figures but as with all statistics they only paint part of the picture, I'd also be interested to know the distances involved. I notice the high walking figures, which indicate a fair percentage of people lived close enough not to bother cycling. I wonder how many workplaces that's true of now. I live a 40 min walk from my workplace, far enough that I'll usually cycle, I think I'm the nearest of the thirty or so people I work with.

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The utility cyclist
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Re: How far cycling has fallen in such a short timescale ...

Postby The utility cyclist » 5 Mar 2018, 8:25am

Cyril Haearn wrote:Fewer people had cars back then, had to cycle, poorer but happier and healthier?

car bus train cycle foot... other? I guess a few people used the Humber ferry, what else?

Hull was the City of Culture last year, what did that achieve or change?

Ferry was gone before 1989 but aeroplane or ship could be others..
What did it achieve
Pride in the city.
Opened the eyes of many to new cultural experiences.
Highlight some of the existing interesting features and goings on and encouraged local people to go visit them
Brought in lots of new visitors
Created jobs
New projectts to make the city more attractive to tourists.

My main concerns are will it bring in much needed jobs on the scale needed . IMO no it won't.
Will iit change the crime and social problems that are currently v.high and seemingly out of control, nope.
Will it bring the education standard at schools up (currently shocking and well below national avg), no it won't.
Will the euphoria of being City of Culture wear off, probably but difficult to quantify.

Like elsewhere I think more cycling in the city for transport would help massively.

Driving in the city of Hull at peak times is absolutely awful,, ridiculously congested and takes an age to get anywhere. I haven't done this for a long time and even then it was only accidental as had being delayed coming up so had to cross the city at near peak.
4 miles could easily take you 25 minutes and from what I've been told even longer, one incident on a main road virtually brings the city to a standstill.

The city is very compact, it's about 7 miles from West boundary to East, it's absolutely dying for cycle infra on the main routes and through to the industrial areas. What there is is disjointed and absolutely shocking in standard, at most times it can be unpleasant to cycle even as an experienced cyclists, I'd hate to do it at rush hour.
Mater never goes on anything except local roads now but usually sticks to the footpaths alongside the main routes.

Not sure on current modal share for cycling but it was about 6-7% last time I looked.
But should/could be so much higher, and being flat as a pancake I

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Re: How far cycling has fallen in such a short timescale ...

Postby eileithyia » 5 Mar 2018, 8:28am

PH wrote:Interesting figures but as with all statistics they only paint part of the picture, I'd also be interested to know the distances involved. I notice the high walking figures, which indicate a fair percentage of people lived close enough not to bother cycling. I wonder how many workplaces that's true of now. I live a 40 min walk from my workplace, far enough that I'll usually cycle, I think I'm the nearest of the thirty or so people I work with.

Similar thoughts. Dad worked all his life at Cheylesmore / Coventry Rolls Royce, while still at his parents he lived maybe 3-4 miles away and cycled as did his dad to the same factory. Once married they bought one of the new houses on the southern outskirts but was still only 1.5 miles away. Even when he learnt to drive it was not sensible to drive to work and the trusty stead took him to work daily until the day he died (only exception was those mornings when it poured with rain and mum drove him in). Even in snow he could get to work by foot.
As time went on he noticed the lack of bikes, those who did cycle were his age or older.... all younger workers drove to work.... and of course people started to realise they could work further from home as they became more mobile with cars... so less chance of cycling or walking when weather inclement (as recently).
Part of the recent weather transport problems is due to the large number of people who work large distances from where they live... and have no option but to use cars..... and blindly ignore the don't travel advice.
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Re: How far cycling has fallen in such a short timescale ...

Postby Cyril Haearn » 5 Mar 2018, 8:34am

Positive thread alert in parts, +1
I guess Hull is flatter than Leeds and was/is a bit poorer
Do people still know who Philip Larkin was, is he popular?
He wrote about Hull: 'a cut price crowd, urban yet simple, dwelling where only salesman and relations come..'

I like Kingston-on-Hull, been there several times, the last visit:'Hull Thursday'
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Re: How far cycling has fallen in such a short timescale ...

Postby pwa » 5 Mar 2018, 8:36am

1989 was about the time I spent a year working as a postie in Bolton. The sorting office was big with lots of employees, but I was one of only two or three who came to work by bike. Cycling to work was not common.

Hull is and was fairly flat. Easier for cycling than most northern towns. Maybe that is part of why cycling to work was popular there. But why a decline since? Does it coincide with the loss of the fishing industry?

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Re: How far cycling has fallen in such a short timescale ...

Postby Wanlock Dod » 5 Mar 2018, 9:09am

That's pretty amazing, I would never have believed that nearly 25% of people in Scunny were cycling to work in those days. Although, I have to admit that I think it was only a couple of years after 1989 that I started to cycle the 12 miles to work in Scunny on a really cheap Falcon mountain bike that had been made down the road in Brigg and cost me my entire weeks wages. I seem to recall that the left hand crank fell off rather a lot, and I've even recollections of cycling with an adjustable spanner in my pocket to fix it. I don't recall ever using any of the gears, although it must have had 21 of them, but I do remember how much my knees ached and having to crawl up the stairs to get to bed.
Indeed, the first time I was ever called a "cyclist" I was chain smoking B&H in the KwikSave canteen when there was discussion of Chris Boardman's Olympic medal win and surely I would know about it. Actually I didn't give a stuff about the cycling at the time, but I was aware of all the fuss about the bike. Olympic champion to utility cyclists champion in just 25 years.
I'm really not sure that those were the days, but I can confirm that it seemed pretty easy to start cycling as a mode of transport in those days in that part of the world. Whilst Keadby Bridge still scares me witless, I don't recall any intimidation by cars in those days, and I certainly don't recall it being scary. On reflection, I think it must have been a different world...

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Re: How far cycling has fallen in such a short timescale ...

Postby De Sisti » 5 Mar 2018, 9:19am

Wanlock Dod wrote:That's pretty amazing, I would never have believed that nearly 25% of people in Scunny were cycling to work in those days. Although, I have to admit that I think it was only a couple of years after 1989 that I started to cycle the 12 miles to work in Scunny on a really cheap Falcon mountain bike that had been made down the road in Brigg and cost me my entire weeks wages. I seem to recall that the left hand crank fell off rather a lot, and I've even recollections of cycling with an adjustable spanner in my pocket to fix it. I don't recall ever using any of the gears, although it must have had 21 of them, but I do remember how much my knees ached and having to crawl up the stairs to get to bed.
Indeed, the first time I was ever called a "cyclist" I was chain smoking B&H in the KwikSave canteen when there was discussion of Chris Boardman's Olympic medal win and surely I would know about it. Actually I didn't give a stuff about the cycling at the time, but I was aware of all the fuss about the bike. Olympic champion to utility cyclists champion in just 25 years.
I'm really not sure that those were the days, but I can confirm that it seemed pretty easy to start cycling as a mode of transport in those days in that part of the world. Whilst Keadby Bridge still scares me witless, I don't recall any intimidation by cars in those days, and I certainly don't recall it being scary. On reflection, I think it must have been a different world...



Why didn't you just get the bike fixed properly; and why on earth didn't you even think of using the gears, or even enquire
what they were for? :roll:

For those of us not acquainted with your area tell us about Keadby Bridge.

Affordability of cars is within the means of more people, which could be one of the reasons why fewer people are prepare
to cycle to work. Also, many people don't necessarily work locally, so commuting distances may have increased to the point
that cycling would take too long.

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Re: How far cycling has fallen in such a short timescale ...

Postby thirdcrank » 5 Mar 2018, 9:34am

Keadby village must be one of the most isolated places on the planet compared with how near it is to some big places. I only know because one of my great aunts moved there when she remarried to a steelworker in Scunthorpe.

Here's some info about the bridge (which I have never been near on a bike.) Nor will I be going back, the lady in question died in her nineties a few years ago.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Keadby_Bridge

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Re: How far cycling has fallen in such a short timescale ...

Postby Wanlock Dod » 5 Mar 2018, 12:20pm

De Sisti wrote:Why didn't you just get the bike fixed properly; and why on earth didn't you even think of using the gears, or even enquire
what they were for? :roll:

I wasn't a cyclist, I was just a person using a bike to get to work. I was old enough that my mum couldn't tell me that it was too dangerous to cycle anymore, well she could tell me but she couldn't stop me. I don't recall it having any instructions to refer to once I'd forgotten what the chap in the shop had said although I'm sure I must have understood the principles of gears. These days I'm inclined to think that the sore knees were a sure sign of pushing far too high a gear.
Keadby bridge is just a tunnel of girders and it's one of those places where you are very aware that there is nowhere to retreat to if road conditions become too intimidating, I've no doubt that similar situations are not in short supply throughout the country. It was always a bit scary, but I never found the traffic as bad as I expected. I suppose that's the thing about having nearly 25% of people commuting by bike, motorists are used to seeing them and know how to behave around them, although the roads were a lot less full those days too.

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Re: How far cycling has fallen in such a short timescale ...

Postby Richard Fairhurst » 5 Mar 2018, 12:54pm

thirdcrank wrote:Keadby village must be one of the most isolated places on the planet compared with how near it is to some big places. I only know because one of my great aunts moved there when she remarried to a steelworker in Scunthorpe.

Here's some info about the bridge (which I have never been near on a bike.) Nor will I be going back, the lady in question died in her nineties a few years ago.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Keadby_Bridge


We moored on the canal above Keadby Lock a few years ago after an exhilarating (and at times terrifying) trip down the tidal Trent in our narrowboat. There really was nothing in Keadby at all - closed pubs and a power station. The only nearby pub was a mile down the road in Althorpe, and we needed a drink after that voyage - but even that's closed now.
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