Number plates though, they would be handy. You are actually required to have them if you live in Switzerland, but it helps pay for the armed bike police, which certainly ensure that nobody cuts you up on a bus lane. Why is Bristol Traffic interested in bicycle number plates? It would let us name and shame the two people seen pushing their bicycles up Nine Tree Hill at 08:57 on this sunny Wednesday morning.
But given that some the contributor who took this photo seemingly goes home a different way just to avoid Nine Tree Hill, it is hard to shame them. They are pushing their bikes up one very steep hill.
Here are some facts about Nine Tree Hill:
- It is a hill.
- It is very steep.
- There are less than nine trees on it.
- It connects the People's Republic of Stoke's Croft with Kingsdown
- There are some very nice pubs and cafes nearby.
- It is believed to date from Roman Times; going onto Fremantle Road and hence onto the port at Sea Mills. If true, people have been suffering up this climb for two thousand years.
- It is believed that in the 1970s, the ill-fated Outer Circuit Ring Road wanted to run their dual carriage way up here, through Cotham and hence to Clifton.
- The square at the top, Fremantle Square, is where one of the Royalist forts that defended Bristol during the English Civil War stood.
First and foremost: January 30, 1943: the surrender of the German 6th army at Stalingrad and hence the turning point of the Second Word War. If Putin wants to remind the Davos audience of their obligations to Russia, that event of fifty-six years ago is the one to mention.
Closer to home, it is the 360th anniversary of Britain executing King Charles I, and hence becoming, if not a Republic, a Commonwealth. Which those days meant shared assets, not the shared ownership of the Royal Bank of Scotland's 1.4 trillion pounds worth of liabilities.
This roman road then, with its monument to a civil war fort at the top, is a reminder of the history that lies round this city, and the fact that as far as this road is concerned, England becoming one of Europe's first modern republics is in fact a recent event. It is also why alongside the People's Republic of Stoke's Croft, should stand the Commonwealth of King's Down.