The worst place in the UK for cycling?

General cycling advice ( NOT technical ! )
Psamathe
Posts: 10606
Joined: 10 Jan 2014, 8:56pm

Re: The worst place in the UK for cycling?

Postby Psamathe » 18 Sep 2019, 9:39pm

mjr wrote:.....
And a special mention for Harwich: greeting Dutch cyclists with a cycle route sign pointing across a high kerb and then an unnecessary 2½ mile detour around the headland on steep bumpy bramble-infested cycleways and narrow painted footpaths before joining unreconstructed B roads and back roads anyway... Well, it might lower their expectations appropriately but it's embarrassing!

Harwich is terrible. I've only cycled there twice, both times coming back from cycle tour in Netherlands and the contrast, rough badly repaired, potholed roads. It takes less than 5 mins out from the ferry port and I'm thinking our roads are a National Embarrassment. That said, might be the contrast after couple of months cycling in Europe has affected my expectations. Either way makes you appreciate yet another factor discouraging people from cycling.

Ian

User avatar
The utility cyclist
Posts: 2517
Joined: 22 Aug 2016, 12:28pm
Location: The first garden city

Re: The worst place in the UK for cycling?

Postby The utility cyclist » 18 Sep 2019, 10:28pm

London, end of conversation.

brynpoeth
Posts: 11423
Joined: 30 Nov 2013, 11:26am

Re: The worst place in the UK for cycling?

Postby brynpoeth » 19 Sep 2019, 5:21am

No, start of conversation :wink:
There are so many cyclists in London, cycle superhighways..
Maybe it is the best AND the worst place :?
Entertainer, kidult, curmudgeon
Cycling-of course, but it is far better on a Gillott
We love safety cameras, we love life

gxaustin
Posts: 517
Joined: 23 Sep 2015, 12:07pm

Re: The worst place in the UK for cycling?

Postby gxaustin » 19 Sep 2019, 7:04am

I don't like cities where cyclists are told to dismount in pedestrianised areas but elsewhere are corralled onto footpaths with pedestrians. Worcester springs to mind, but on the plus side they do have a lot of cycle routes away from the central area.

User avatar
TrevA
Posts: 2191
Joined: 1 Jun 2007, 9:12pm
Location: Nottingham

Re: The worst place in the UK for cycling?

Postby TrevA » 19 Sep 2019, 8:15am

The utility cyclist wrote:London, end of conversation.


I agree, in terms of congestion and pollution. London is the only place I’ve ever been where your nasal mucus turns black because of the diesel particulates in the air. Traffic in London is like rush hour all day long. Yes, there’s a network of cycle paths, many good ones, but thbey don’t go everywhere and are still of variable quality.
A cart horse trapped in the body of a man.
http://www.jogler2009.blogspot.com

User avatar
Mick F
Spambuster
Posts: 46997
Joined: 7 Jan 2007, 11:24am
Location: Tamar Valley, Cornwall

Re: The worst place in the UK for cycling?

Postby Mick F » 19 Sep 2019, 8:49am

Me and a mate went to London - early 1970 - in uniform. We were very junior at the time, 17 years old, dressed in "sailor suits" as we always had to go ashore in uniform. We weren't allowed plain clothes. First time I'd been to London too.

My mate had a girlfriend in Bethnal Green, so we hopped on the train from Portsmouth to Waterloo, then worked our way via the Underground to BG and walked to her house, then I played gooseberry whilst we went out to see the local sights . London was filthy. The white fronts of our suits went grey, snot and muck blocked our nostrils. Horrible filthy place.

This is from me who hails from Wigan. Also smelly and dirty back then, but London was a quantum leap further. Never forgotten it, and my nose is still smelling it even now.
Mick F. Cornwall

User avatar
mjr
Posts: 14158
Joined: 20 Jun 2011, 7:06pm
Location: Norfolk or Somerset, mostly
Contact:

Re: The worst place in the UK for cycling?

Postby mjr » 19 Sep 2019, 9:43am

London is much better than it was. The ULEZ and other measures means it's now one of the few UK city centres which doesn't stink of diesel and dust. Still grey mucus because you have to cross outer London to get there, but it's not really fair to hold its 1970s pollution against it.
MJR, mostly pedalling 3-speed roadsters. KL+West Norfolk BUG incl social easy rides http://www.klwnbug.co.uk
All the above is CC-By-SA and no other implied copyright license to Cycle magazine.

Vorpal
Moderator
Posts: 17388
Joined: 19 Jan 2009, 3:34pm
Location: Not there ;)

Re: The worst place in the UK for cycling?

Postby Vorpal » 19 Sep 2019, 10:00am

mjr wrote:London is much better than it was. The ULEZ and other measures means it's now one of the few UK city centres which doesn't stink of diesel and dust. Still grey mucus because you have to cross outer London to get there, but it's not really fair to hold its 1970s pollution against it.

The last couple of times I've been in London (two years ago and three years ago), tt was a little better than previously, but I still ended up feeling all the time like I had a cold, and blowing out wads of grey/black snot. I stayed in in London at friends'. It wasn't just crossing outer London. 10 years ago, IMO, it was worse, but it's still not good. You couldn't pay me enough to live there with that everyday.

A friend who lives in London came to visit me in Norway. She has asthma. She uses steroid inhalers every day in London and still has some symptoms. Whilst she was here, she did not use her inhaler once, and she did not have any symptoms. Not one. And we did some fairly aggressive hiking, up steep hills and things. Something she said she could not have managed in London air. That was about 4 years ago that she was here.
“In some ways, it is easier to be a dissident, for then one is without responsibility.”
― Nelson Mandela, Long Walk to Freedom

User avatar
Mick F
Spambuster
Posts: 46997
Joined: 7 Jan 2007, 11:24am
Location: Tamar Valley, Cornwall

Re: The worst place in the UK for cycling?

Postby Mick F » 19 Sep 2019, 10:06am

mjr wrote:London is much better than it was.

Ok, I can buy that.
Even Wigan is clean now! :wink:

When we first went into Glasgow in 1982, they had just started sandblasting the black off the sandstone buildings. Over the years, they've done the whole lot. Last time I was there, in Govan too, the place was clean.

I remember going back to Wigan years ago, the the parish church and war memorial that I'd grown up with with them black, was bright and sandstone as new. I was brought up knowing that brick and stone buildings were black. :shock:

Look at this photo of our class at the primary school. Look at the wall behind us. It was sandstone!
1964.jpeg
Mick F. Cornwall

User avatar
Audax67
Posts: 4541
Joined: 25 Aug 2011, 9:02am
Location: Alsace, France
Contact:

Re: The worst place in the UK for cycling?

Postby Audax67 » 19 Sep 2019, 10:33am

When I was a child we lived in Manchester for a time, around 1948/49. I can remember the motes of soot spiralling down out of the summer sky, and how cross my mum was when I reached out and caught one on my nice clean sleeve. They used to say "put out a line of washing, and when it's dry you can bring it in and wash it".

They started sandblasting Belfast in the 70s, I think. I can remember seeing the library halfway done and looking piebald. Before that it was black with lighter pockmarks, left by shrapnel during the Blitz.
Have we got time for another cuppa?

User avatar
mjr
Posts: 14158
Joined: 20 Jun 2011, 7:06pm
Location: Norfolk or Somerset, mostly
Contact:

Re: The worst place in the UK for cycling?

Postby mjr » 19 Sep 2019, 10:45am

Vorpal wrote:
mjr wrote:London is much better than it was. The ULEZ and other measures means it's now one of the few UK city centres which doesn't stink of diesel and dust. Still grey mucus because you have to cross outer London to get there, but it's not really fair to hold its 1970s pollution against it.

The last couple of times I've been in London (two years ago and three years ago), tt was a little better than previously, but I still ended up feeling all the time like I had a cold, and blowing out wads of grey/black snot. I stayed in in London at friends'. It wasn't just crossing outer London. 10 years ago, IMO, it was worse, but it's still not good. You couldn't pay me enough to live there with that everyday.

A friend who lives in London came to visit me in Norway. She has asthma. She uses steroid inhalers every day in London and still has some symptoms. Whilst she was here, she did not use her inhaler once, and she did not have any symptoms. Not one. And we did some fairly aggressive hiking, up steep hills and things. Something she said she could not have managed in London air. That was about 4 years ago that she was here.

I agree broadly and the UK in general has failed to clean its air but London has done better than many. It is a bit like having a mild cold but I no longer get short of breath in the centre like the old days.

Also, if we nominate places for being dirtier than Norway then almost every town in the UK is nominated and we need to find another way to choose the worst between them!
MJR, mostly pedalling 3-speed roadsters. KL+West Norfolk BUG incl social easy rides http://www.klwnbug.co.uk
All the above is CC-By-SA and no other implied copyright license to Cycle magazine.

Vorpal
Moderator
Posts: 17388
Joined: 19 Jan 2009, 3:34pm
Location: Not there ;)

Re: The worst place in the UK for cycling?

Postby Vorpal » 19 Sep 2019, 10:50am

mjr wrote:I agree broadly and the UK in general has failed to clean its air but London has done better than many. It is a bit like having a mild cold but I no longer get short of breath in the centre like the old days.

Also, if we nominate places for being dirtier than Norway then almost every town in the UK is nominated and we need to find another way to choose the worst between them!

That's not entirely accurate. We live in a city, about 50 metres from a busy road. It's theoretically a secondary road, but it's the main route on our side of the river. I sometimes notice the pollution here. I'd say it's roughly equivalent to many smaller towns in the UK. Oslo is worse, though getting better.
“In some ways, it is easier to be a dissident, for then one is without responsibility.”
― Nelson Mandela, Long Walk to Freedom

nez
Posts: 1660
Joined: 19 Jun 2008, 12:11am

Re: The worst place in the UK for cycling?

Postby nez » 19 Sep 2019, 11:17am

I lived in Shoreditch until our eldest was born - 36 years ago. I took him out in his pram on the Kingsland road and came back with his blanket covered in smuts. That was enough for us and we moved out soon after.

mattheus
Posts: 906
Joined: 29 Dec 2008, 12:57pm

Re: The worst place in the UK for cycling?

Postby mattheus » 19 Sep 2019, 12:13pm

I don't think pollution - whether or not you regard London as being dirty amongst UK cities - has much to do with cycling. It affects you when you're not cycling too! (and unless you're Steve Abraham you're going to be spending most time NOT cycling.)

[ I seem to recall studies showing that during exertion and thus deep breathing, you are affected less by typical traffic-related toxins; not entirely relevant, but a silver lining to this discussion :) ]

User avatar
The utility cyclist
Posts: 2517
Joined: 22 Aug 2016, 12:28pm
Location: The first garden city

Re: The worst place in the UK for cycling?

Postby The utility cyclist » 19 Sep 2019, 6:09pm

TrevA wrote:
The utility cyclist wrote:London, end of conversation.


I agree, in terms of congestion and pollution. London is the only place I’ve ever been where your nasal mucus turns black because of the diesel particulates in the air. Traffic in London is like rush hour all day long. Yes, there’s a network of cycle paths, many good ones, but thbey don’t go everywhere and are still of variable quality.

The last time I cycled in London was approx 12 months ago, it was a Sunday, cycled back from Greenwich after collecting a bike, journey was okay up until I got to the Olympic Park, then it was just dirge, so called cycle superhighway was absolutely garbage so I came off it back onto the road.

It's just the sheer weight of people, stepping out without looking, roadworks, motorists driving like it's a race track, and that was off peak Sunday.