Friday 12 December 2008

Winter Urban Commuting

A lot of people have been coming off their bikes on the railway path or other parts of the town this week. Special mention to Fraser, Sarah, Jenny and Caroline for all coming off on the RP. Remember: tarmac gets slippery when covered in ice. But mud, mud gets crisp and crunchy and barely sticks to you or your clothes.

Here is the view from the Narroways. The railway line goes over the M32, and is what could gain from having the North Fringe Expressway on it. The appeal of this route is it would be free of traffic, traffic lights, and hill climbs.

Sadly, that will mean no downhills either, which would be boring. We suspect Josh's lack of decent brakes on his runaround is affecting his judgement.

Being bitterly cold, most of the dog walkers are having a lie in. This leaves it nice and quiet: a little bit of up and down track in the heart of the city. That's St Andrews in the distance. In the foreground, a flight of steps with a steep dirt option to the side.

Down the steps, theres a frosty bowl of frozen grass, followed by a fun downhill to St Werburgh's. This is the kind of commuting to enjoy on a winter morning. An empty trail on a crisp day.

Once down in St Werburgh's, there's a path on to Muller Road. This is going to be part of the cycling city North Fringe route. Josh thinks that the railway bridge should be used to avoid this road, on account of it being the busiest road in the area, but the council does not yet have a plan to deal with how the crossing at the existing endpoint of the path.

Of course, that is not an issue right now, as the Muller road roadworks have taken this path offline. It is not clear what paperwork is required to formally close a route, and whether any such paperwork has been filled in. What is clear is that if you go to the end of the St werburgh's-Muller Road path, you have a bit of a climb back up again, at least for the next week or so.


David Wilcox said...

Hi Steve

I guess you didn't read the signs that are on all the entrances to the Narroways Nature Reserve. The signs ask everyone to not ride bikes through the reserve as this causes erosion on the paths, let alone the risk of colliding with pedestrian users of the site.

As part of the managment team of the Narroways group - we've been in contact with John Rodgers, he agrees that the Narroways site is not for inclusion into the Cycle Expressway project. Do you know different?

Cheers David.

SteveL said...

No, I hadn't seen the signs. The last I saw were the ones telling everyone there was a dog litter bin, that being the overflowing one by the climbing wall. I shall search them out and respect their message.

I don't know what's going on with the expressway routing; I suggest turning up at the next greenways meet. I do think it could route by railway line instead, which would avoid the height problem: you want to climb at the gradient of trains, not over the hills instead.

Unknown said...

I agree with Dave Wilcox - erosion is becoming a problem on Narroways Hill which the trust cannot afford to repair.

As for the dog litter bin - the council admitted it had forgotten to put in a contract to empty the new bin but its now all working fine.

SteveL said...

well, I shall cherish this winter day as my last commute on it. For urban off-road, we'd be better off putting something in up by Lockleaze.

Anonymous said...

Hi David

I get quoted in all sorts of contexts and I usually try and avoid getting drawn into being categorical except when an issue is clear cut.

My recollection was that I said the suggestion was that the proposed cycle expressway would cross over the main line by going up the bank by where the mobile phone mast has appeared, across the existing footbridge and then back to the right hand side of the Severn Beach line to continue on towards Montpelier, Redland and Clifton.

I have since been made aware that there is another possibility, which I know is more contentious, of the route crossing the main line at the site of the old removed, railway bridge along the original cinder track through Narroways to the rail line.

There are other possibilities, like continuing on by side of main line to Station Road Horfield/Muller Road, and not heading up toward Montpelier at all.

At the West of England Partnership Scrutiny meeting this morning in Bath we discussed a Network Rail letter stating that they hope to use all four lines at some stage. We discussed whether with better signalling we could get more frequent trains with three lines rather than four, or possibly having a lease of one of the lines until needed for rail expansion.

There are lots of options and I would be foolish to try and rule anything out (or in) at this speculative stage.

Best wishes


Bristol Traffic said...

The farm area of St W's isn't an area you need to avoid -no traffic; pleasant and safe- and it would benefit from having safe access to Montpelier, which could be achieved by going under Arley Down hill on either side of the railway line.

Chris Hutt said...

Surely cycling on the existing surfaced path from Mina Road to Rousham Road cannot cause erosion. Erosion caused by off-path cycling on the grassy areas is a separate issue.

As for conflict with pedestrians that depends mainly on levels of use. If it proved to be a significant problem it seems to me that such high levels of use would justify widening the path and improving sight lines, etc.

There is no prohibition that I know of on cycling along that path and it forms a useful east-west link to the new school.

Anonymous said...

Special mentions: (petulant child voice) "I want one too!"

I managed to come off TWICE this week on the same stretch of National Cycle Route 72. OK, so it's in Wallsend, Newcastle-upon-Tyne rather than the nation's cycling capital, Bristol. But can I have a special mention? Can I? Please?

Or is it a case of fall off once, and you get a special mention, fall off twice, and we nominate you for the Darwin Awards?


SteveL said...

Karl. you get our sympathy. But you have excellent mountain biking to your west, so get out there and really injured somewhere a long walk from home!