Cycling Eutopia ?

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reohn2
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Re: Cycling Eutopia ?

Postby reohn2 » 15 Oct 2014, 7:27pm

I long bemoaned the fact that our canals and rivers should/could have cycling facilities second to non running along side them.
But in a backward country such as the one we live in there'll be any number of reasons local and national government can't be bothered to build them.The Leeds and Liverpool canal from Wigan to Liverpool would make a beautiful leisure ride for cyclists as it is it's a rutted hotch potch for the most part and a soggy mess for the rest.

The Canal and Rivers trust has been working on a stretch of towpath at New Springs near Wigan and has managed to make the towpath worse than it was already :? Numerous Emails to the relevant dept has met with series of 'can't do better' replies,they're useless :twisted: :twisted: :twisted:
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iviehoff
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Re: Cycling Eutopia ?

Postby iviehoff » 16 Oct 2014, 8:41am

Evidence on what encourages/discourages cycling, including evidence of the effect of hilliness and poor weather, is covered in these two papers. Mark Wardman is Britain's national academic guru on transport demand factors.

Estimation of the determinants of bicycle mode share for the journey to work using census data,
John Parkin, Mark Wardman & Matthew Page
available at eprints.whiterose.ac.uk/4043/2/Parkin_paper_with_cover_secure.pdf

Factors influencing the propensity to cycle to work
Mark Wardman, Miles Tight & Matthew Page
available at http://eprints.whiterose.ac.uk/2448/

Bicycler
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Re: Cycling Eutopia ?

Postby Bicycler » 16 Oct 2014, 10:54am

I'm in two minds about canal towpaths as cycle routes. I have used them quite a bit in the past and I think they often make good leisure routes and I'm no great fan of some of the terrible surfaces found in some parts of the network. However, I'm always a bit worried where a section is "upgraded" to tarmac and promoted as a cycle route across towns where there may also be a lot of pedestrians. Towpaths do not tend to be very wide, particularly when you consider that a safe distance has to be left between path and water. The width of tarmac is often too narrow to create an effective shared use path. If such paths were built elsewhere we would be berating Sustrans for creating inadequate paths which seem almost designed to create conflict between users. This general unsuitability for large amounts of cycle traffic combined with other factors such as proximity to the water, low bridges, steps, wet cobbled surfaces and the meandering routes of the watercourses themselves does not convince me that they should have a large role to play in the future of commuter cycling routes. It really is a second best alternative to actually sorting out cycle facilities on the road network to allow cyclists to get across town safely and conveniently.

As for railways, that's a cracking idea. Seeing as so many have had the number of tracks reduced I think there would be space on quite a few for an adjacent cycle path. I don't think we're anywhere near to exhausting the potential of routes along disused lines yet either

Postboxer
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Re: Cycling Eutopia ?

Postby Postboxer » 16 Oct 2014, 11:29am

Maybe steal some width from the canals themselves where possible, or use both sides? The other problem is the paths are made tight up next to the water, even when there is space further away from it and means people fishing have nowhere to go where they aren't in the way of traffic.

Bicycler
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Re: Cycling Eutopia ?

Postby Bicycler » 16 Oct 2014, 1:09pm

Generally the extent of the land owned as part of the navigation won't extend much beyond the water on the non-towpath side so options there would be limited. As would access and we don't really want to be hacking holes in lovely 250 year old bridges to be able to access the other side of the canal

There's some merit to taking some of the space from the canal itself. In some places the sides have been allowed to become overly shallow and are of little use to boaters. A couple of problems spring to mind. Firstly the cost as this would require a fair amount of work and as we all know these cycle paths tend to be done on the cheap. Why bother with expensive engineering solutions when "share with care" and "cyclists dismount" will suffice :roll: It doesn't solve the problem where there are bridges and locks or other such narrowings of the towpath. It might not generate as much space as we might think either. You'd need to leave space for two full size boats to pass (the definition of full size depends on the canal in question and can be quite wide on the "broad" canals) and this may be in addition to moorings. Unfortunately many of the places with the most boat movements and moorings are likely to be the places where we might also wish to have the towpath widened.

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Mick F
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Re: Cycling Eutopia ?

Postby Mick F » 16 Oct 2014, 7:24pm

Copenhagen is one of the best places in the world to be a cyclist
This is the opening sentence in the linked article.
I never read any further.

I don't agree with this statement whatsoever.
Mick F. Cornwall

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mjr
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Re: Cycling Eutopia ?

Postby mjr » 16 Oct 2014, 8:03pm

Mick F wrote:I don't agree with this statement whatsoever.

Why not? Ever ridden there?

On the canal towpath widths: I guess that's more of a problem for canals than rivers. Rivers fluctuate enough to deter most people from building too close unless they build some fairly significant barrier next to the river. It's still unlikely to have many roads into it and the cycleway can still have space for a low-junction route.
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Mick F
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Re: Cycling Eutopia ?

Postby Mick F » 16 Oct 2014, 8:12pm

Yep.
Ridden there, and Amsterdam, and Antwerp.

Cycling Utopia is a place where there is scenery, hills, sweeping countryside, vales and valleys, quite lanes, mountains and hills, smooth roads, cafes and pubs, castles and farms and draughty barns ........

Not a busy European city.
Mick F. Cornwall

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mjr
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Re: Cycling Eutopia ?

Postby mjr » 16 Oct 2014, 8:29pm

Oh I think it'd be awfully dull if there were no cities to look at. I quite enjoyed riding in Cambridge today but I'm not sure I'd want to do it every day. ;-)
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Mick F
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Re: Cycling Eutopia ?

Postby Mick F » 16 Oct 2014, 8:45pm

Yes, in 2010 I enjoyed riding right through Manchester city centre from the Cheshire border right up through Bury and beyond .... and back again a few days later. In fact I reckon it was one of the more enjoyable rides I've done, but I wouldn't say I would want to do it often, and I wouldn't say it was anywhere near Utopia.

Even if they had installed a wide, smooth, quiet cycle track all the way, it still wouldn't be Cycling Utopia.
Mick F. Cornwall

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Re: Cycling Eutopia ?

Postby Merry_Wanderer » 17 Oct 2014, 9:49am

I'd like a rule which gave 1 mile of cycle track (on-road or separate) for each new mile of road that is created or re-surfaced. Wouldn't take that long to have an improved transport system.

I agree with you Mick, to be Utopia I would need a lot of variety in the scenery. Cycling in Denmark is fun but it is lacking variety scenery-wise. Cycled there this year and last year. Preferred Holland as at least there were lots of waterways but both countries have much better provision for cyclists than the UK

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Mick F
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Re: Cycling Eutopia ?

Postby Mick F » 17 Oct 2014, 11:40am

Yeah, just coz they have more and better facilities, it doesn't mean that it's a good place to cycle. Yes, I agree that it's safe and easy to get to work/shops/etc, but that doesn't mean I'd like that model here.

We don't need facilities, we need to be respected as valid road-users and given space with no harassment, being an accepted part of the road transport system.

Education, education, education, not segregation, segregation, segregation.
Mick F. Cornwall

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mjr
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Re: Cycling Eutopia ?

Postby mjr » 17 Oct 2014, 11:53am

Mick F wrote:We don't need facilities, we need to be respected as valid road-users and given space with no harassment, being an accepted part of the road transport system.

We need both. Yes, a right to ride on the road, but there are places where motorists have proven themselves incapable of being trusted to coexist with all non-motorised users and high-speed motorways are not the only one.

We have motorways, so let's have decent cycleways in key places where they can improve cycling... and I mean decent cycleways. There are some which come close but they need their faults correcting - barriers and unsafe junctions are the most common failings. There are also many many more where the blue plates should probably be removed or replaced with something like the "bikes allowed if you really want" German ones. Also in the mix, let's have more 20mph and no-through-motors zones, green space routes, school routes and cycle-friendly town centres - not every road needs a cycleway.

Meanwhile, let's keep pushing for http://www.RoadJustice.org.uk too.
Education, education, education, not segregation, segregation, segregation.

That's the failed approach of the last 80 or so years, isn't it? Why would it work now when it hasn't yet?
MJR, mostly pedalling 3-speed roadsters. KL+West Norfolk BUG incl social easy rides http://www.klwnbug.co.uk
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NUKe
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Re: Cycling Eutopia ?

Postby NUKe » 17 Oct 2014, 12:04pm

Mick F wrote:Yep.
Ridden there, and Amsterdam, and Antwerp.

Cycling Utopia is a place where there is scenery, hills, sweeping countryside, vales and valleys, quite lanes, mountains and hills, smooth roads, cafes and pubs, castles and farms and draughty barns ........

Not a busy European city.

Mick
I think I may have confused you with my title it was mine not the articles, Cycling Eutopia was my interpreration, It all depends on why you cycle. If you had to cycle into a big city everyday for work, then copenhagen is probably one of the best. But if you ride for Liesure then your right with your version of Eutopia. I am very lucky that most of commute is on quite country lanes.
NUKe
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Mick F
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Re: Cycling Eutopia ?

Postby Mick F » 17 Oct 2014, 2:00pm

Yes, I agree.
Like I said, it make it easy to cycle to work and shops etc. "Easy" means safe as well as simple. I reckon pedestrians want the same things too.

If I ruled the world, it would STILL be education education education, plus the police would have a big and constant presence on the streets.
Mick F. Cornwall