Utility Cycling

Commuting, Day rides, Audax, Incidents, etc.
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TrevA
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Utility Cycling

Postby TrevA » 30 Jul 2019, 12:32pm

I live in a small market town, population approx. 10,000 residents. The whole town is about 3 miles across and is mostly flat, though there is a substantial hill just to the south of the centre. The main residential areas are east and west of the centre. The centre of the town is a nightmare for parking. There’s not much on street parking and 3 car parks catering for about 120 cars in total, but these are almost always full all day long, with people cruising around the main car park waiting for a space.

There is little cycling infrastructure, mainly shared paths but there are a few quiet routes as alternative to the main road running through the town. There’s not much through traffic as there’s a bypass running down the western and southern sides of the town. However, levels of cycling in the town are very low. I live a mile from the centre and either walk or cycle in if I need to go into the centre. Mine is usually the only bike in the covered bike rack in the main shopping precinct, when I ride in. I hardly ever drive in due to the problem of finding somewhere to park, and it’s just as quick to cycle.

So how do you go about encouraging more people to cycle? Do people on here do utility cycling? What’s it like where you are?

flat tyre
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Re: Utility Cycling

Postby flat tyre » 30 Jul 2019, 2:39pm

Sounds very similar to the town I live in. We have formed a cycling and walking group to work with the Town Development committee to help encourage cycling by improving existing routes, planning new routes, improved cycle parking etc. It's a slow process though!

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Cugel
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Re: Utility Cycling

Postby Cugel » 30 Jul 2019, 4:12pm

TrevA wrote:I live in a small market town, population approx. 10,000 residents. The whole town is about 3 miles across and is mostly flat, though there is a substantial hill just to the south of the centre. The main residential areas are east and west of the centre. The centre of the town is a nightmare for parking. There’s not much on street parking and 3 car parks catering for about 120 cars in total, but these are almost always full all day long, with people cruising around the main car park waiting for a space.

There is little cycling infrastructure, mainly shared paths but there are a few quiet routes as alternative to the main road running through the town. There’s not much through traffic as there’s a bypass running down the western and southern sides of the town. However, levels of cycling in the town are very low. I live a mile from the centre and either walk or cycle in if I need to go into the centre. Mine is usually the only bike in the covered bike rack in the main shopping precinct, when I ride in. I hardly ever drive in due to the problem of finding somewhere to park, and it’s just as quick to cycle.

So how do you go about encouraging more people to cycle? Do people on here do utility cycling? What’s it like where you are?


People adore their cars. Why is that? Many reasons, a number of which aren't "reasonable" in any way to do with their utility as transport. Reason is pushed out the window by primitive and often unpleasant emotions.

Cars are addictive, as they're manufactured and sold today. The addictive aspects have to do with the stimulation of human pleasure centres via an award of great power - power supplied by the car as amplifier of macho or other aggressive modes that offer the successful perpetrator: an endorphin glow; a power-rush; a lookitme-the-powerful-one pose; some other form of emotional satisfaction in "bettering" others.

So, one move we might make (as a polity) would be to legislate against these addictive but highly damaging aspects of the car, as we did with fags and heroin. Make it illegal to do car-aggression in public places, just as smoking now is. Make the addictive & dangerous car-stuff less addictive & dangerous, by restricting engine power/acceleration, top speed (to say 25mph) and emissions (make them electric). Get serious about policing, prosecuting & punishing those who do death & maiming to others with their car. Charge lots&lots for using public spaces as a car-repository. Ban the advertising of cars as thrusting weapons of power and aggression, driven very badly by svelte poseurs to impress others, especially others of the opposite gender.

In short, make the car a fundamentally utilitarian mode of transport instead of Mr Toad's wet dream. Demand will drop. Those seeking a macho-amplifier will make do with a Pinarello Dogma or similar, with which they can be a nuisance but not a lethal maiming loon gassing (with like-minded loons) whole cities.

Cugel

mattheus
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Re: Utility Cycling

Postby mattheus » 30 Jul 2019, 4:17pm

Cugel wrote:Ban the advertising of cars as thrusting weapons of power and aggression, driven very badly by svelte poseurs to impress others, especially others of the opposite gender.


Can you suggest some wording for legislation to achieve this?

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[XAP]Bob
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Re: Utility Cycling

Postby [XAP]Bob » 30 Jul 2019, 4:18pm

mattheus wrote:
Cugel wrote:Ban the advertising of cars as thrusting weapons of power and aggression, driven very badly by svelte poseurs to impress others, especially others of the opposite gender.


Can you suggest some wording for legislation to achieve this?



See tobacco advertisements as an example.

We don't see any any more, and the packs are appropriately adorned with the images of the consequences.
A shortcut has to be a challenge, otherwise it would just be the way. No situation is so dire that panic cannot make it worse.
There are two kinds of people in this world: those can extrapolate from incomplete data.

Bmblbzzz
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Re: Utility Cycling

Postby Bmblbzzz » 30 Jul 2019, 4:57pm

Legislation could be, perhaps, framed on the basis of the existing advertising codes. They might not go far enough for some but they've certainly altered the way cars are advertised over the decades: compare today's adverts to those from the 70s and 80s before the codes came in. Of course, there are some who regret the passing of the "bonnet babes". There always are some.

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al_yrpal
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Re: Utility Cycling

Postby al_yrpal » 30 Jul 2019, 5:15pm

Ban car advertising and ITV will collapse. No more Corrie, no Love Island! :shock: 'Civilisation' will come to an end....

Al
Touring on a bicycle is a great way to explore and appreciate the countryside and towns you pass through. CTC gone but not forgotten!

reohn2
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Re: Utility Cycling

Postby reohn2 » 30 Jul 2019, 5:21pm

al_yrpal wrote:Ban car advertising and ITV will collapse. No more Corrie, no Love Island! :shock: 'Civilisation' will come to an end....

Al

Well that's one good thing then :)
-----------------------------------------------------------
I cycle therefore I am.

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TrevA
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Re: Utility Cycling

Postby TrevA » 30 Jul 2019, 10:05pm

One of the problems is that there’s no time limit on the main car park. You can park there all day for free. I’ve heard that people will drive in, park up and then catch the train or bus to the main towns/city locally. This blocks the car park space for the day. The smaller car parks, which only have capacity for 15 cars each, 30 in total, are limited to2 hours free parking. I don’t know why they don’t do this for the main 80 space car park.

But given that the parking situation is so bad, it is so much easier to cycle in and as it’s mostly flat, it’s an easy cycle. I just can’t understand why cycling is not more popular.

There are currently another 1000 houses being built on the north side of the town, with no extra infrastructure. Things are only going to get worse.

Barks
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Re: Utility Cycling

Postby Barks » 30 Jul 2019, 11:08pm

If my town, around 15000 population, is anything to go by, then free or very cheap parking is seen by local shops as ESSENTIAL to their prosperity. Any hint of restrictions or reductions on parking or general access for cars is met by howls of ‘the end of the world is nigh’ whereas there appears to be a wealth of evidence that making small town centres car free or even pedestrianised can lead to increases in the footfall for these small town high streets. With a predominantly flat terrain east, west and south, increased use of walking and cycling would be very achievable but so many people will not see beyond the default of getting into their car to ‘pop into town’ or drop kids off at school. Traffic congestion and pollution is constantly mentioned in local news yet not a single town or district councillor will do anything that might rile the almighty Local Chamber of Commerce. These councillors are very quick to agree that cycling and walking are very good things but will not go beyond platitudes and support anything that might actually enable non car use as the default mode of travel; does anybody have any practical suggestions on how they might be encouraged to consider alternative strategies?

brynpoeth
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Re: Utility Cycling

Postby brynpoeth » 31 Jul 2019, 5:54am

A small town of 10-15 000 is one thing, a busy city of 100 000 (Bath, Oxfraud), is quite another
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Wanlock Dod
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Re: Utility Cycling

Postby Wanlock Dod » 31 Jul 2019, 6:45am

Barks wrote:If my town, around 15000 population, is anything to go by, then free or very cheap parking is seen by local shops as ESSENTIAL to their prosperity. Any hint of restrictions or reductions on parking or general access for cars is met by howls of ‘the end of the world is nigh’ whereas there appears to be a wealth of evidence that making small town centres car free or even pedestrianised can lead to increases in the footfall for these small town high streets. With a predominantly flat terrain east, west and south, increased use of walking and cycling would be very achievable but so many people will not see beyond the default of getting into their car to ‘pop into town’ or drop kids off at school. Traffic congestion and pollution is constantly mentioned in local news yet not a single town or district councillor will do anything that might rile the almighty Local Chamber of Commerce. These councillors are very quick to agree that cycling and walking are very good things but will not go beyond platitudes and support anything that might actually enable non car use as the default mode of travel; does anybody have any practical suggestions on how they might be encouraged to consider alternative strategies?

Whilst the views held about the importance of free parking might not have any basis in fact they are certainly widespread. The fact that better facilities for walking and cycling improves the prosperity of local shops matters not, it is a deeply held view akin to the widespread belief in the effectiveness of cycle helmets. This is essentially why however nice the restraint of motoring promoted by Cugel might be it will not gain sufficiently widespread support to make any real progress for some decades to come. However much I might believe that anybody who can afford to own and run a car, paying for insurance, excise duty, servicing, and fuel can also afford to pay a couple of quid to park it progress on that issue will also be painfully slow.
Some of the barriers that I notice to reaching towns are crossing bypasses safely and conveniently and the density of traffic on the main routes into towns. Making getting into our towns by bike as safe, easy, and convenient as it is to drive at least for those that live within an easily cycled distance (perhaps up to 5 km) would provide a realistic alternative for some, but it probably needs to be presented as increasing capacity not only on the roads but for parking too. Only when more people see cycling into the town as convenient and practical will it be possible to change peoples views on the importance of cars.

Oldjohnw
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Re: Utility Cycling

Postby Oldjohnw » 31 Jul 2019, 8:36am

My small town (12,000) closed one side of the High St to parking and pedestrianises it. The outcry was unbelieveable. Through pressure, shop side parking was reinstated. Unsurprisingly, reintroducing about ten parking spaces made no difference to the health of the declining high street trade. Many other nettles need to be grasped but there is no will to so do.
John

Cycling and recycling

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Cugel
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Re: Utility Cycling

Postby Cugel » 31 Jul 2019, 9:47am

Wanlock Dod wrote:Whilst the views held about the importance of free parking might not have any basis in fact they are certainly widespread. The fact that better facilities for walking and cycling improves the prosperity of local shops matters not, it is a deeply held view akin to the widespread belief in the effectiveness of cycle helmets. This is essentially why however nice the restraint of motoring promoted by Cugel might be it will not gain sufficiently widespread support to make any real progress for some decades to come. However much I might believe that anybody who can afford to own and run a car, paying for insurance, excise duty, servicing, and fuel can also afford to pay a couple of quid to park it progress on that issue will also be painfully slow.
Some of the barriers that I notice to reaching towns are crossing bypasses safely and conveniently and the density of traffic on the main routes into towns. Making getting into our towns by bike as safe, easy, and convenient as it is to drive at least for those that live within an easily cycled distance (perhaps up to 5 km) would provide a realistic alternative for some, but it probably needs to be presented as increasing capacity not only on the roads but for parking too. Only when more people see cycling into the town as convenient and practical will it be possible to change peoples views on the importance of cars.


Major social or cultural changes (like almost all other kinds of changes in highly complex "systems") tend to be sudden, often following a long slow change of one or more of their constituent conditions. This is a feature of Chaos (the formal version described by math and physics). There's a slow change in some critical factor(s) of a "system" of connected phenomena that suddenly causes a major change, often through a chaotic state until a new "strange attractor" is found where all the factors involved once more stabilise but in a new inter-relationship or "system".

It looks like the many factors involved in the rise and establishment of carmageddon are all in a state of change. More cars, more pollution, more congestion, more publicity about the ill effect such as the contribution to climate change and early deaths. So, although it might look like a state of carmageddon-remains, it's entirely possible that the changes in the contributory condition will trigger a sudden change to another and different stable "system" of personal transportation.

Of course, that other condition might be a new version of carmageddon. Or it might be a "system" of personal transport that's at least far less polluting and dangerous, with walking and cycling prevalent, for all sorts of reasons. One reason might be cost-stability - the change from everyone being able to afford a car (or thinking they can) to them realising they can only afford a bike. (Which then accelerates changes in other conditions, such as loss of car-addiction, preference for being healthy & fit, etc.).

****
One contributory factor might be the extent of belief in whether alternatives to carmageddon are possible or not. Just you changing to believing in an early or imminent alternative might be the butterfly's wing-beat that causes the move from the car-mad strange attractor to the bike-mad one. :-)

Cugel

mattheus
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Re: Utility Cycling

Postby mattheus » 31 Jul 2019, 10:01am

reohn2 wrote:
al_yrpal wrote:Ban car advertising and ITV will collapse. No more Corrie, no Love Island! :shock: 'Civilisation' will come to an end....

Al

Well that's one good thing then :)

heh!

I can't see it ever happening, but I agree that a blanket ban would be nice.

(Le Tour coverage would need some different sponsored slots - I'm not sure I want any *more* zwift adverts ... )