Friday 11 September 2009

A rural path -right in the city

We have a lovely video from GentleGreenGiant looking at a rural bike lane, right in the city.

This path is on coldharbour lane, linking down from UWE to Frenchay, where a lot of the UWE students live. On the basis that the students are all impoverished, and that UWE is in the sticks -and nowhere near the rest of Bristol- we can concede that some of these people should be allowed to cycle.

The video starts in South Gloucester, in a stretch of the road that is now 30 mph. There is an on pavement bike lane which we have noticed before, but this video looks at the downhill.

Downhill, the phrase that lights up the eye of a mountain biker. A descent, steepness, rough ground underneath, speed -danger. These are the kind of things that make DH work fun, the kind of thing that makes commuting entertaining. How then, do you give a on-road route the downhill experience?

Simple: leave the path alone so it returns to the wild. Looking at the video, you can see the county boundary. The S. Gloucs road team have tamed it -30 mph roads, lane markings, bicycles, double yellow lines. All the signage of bland suburbia.

Now look at the transition into Bristol -the city itself. At the county line the lane markings go away, the path goes from suburban to rural. Speed limit? gone. Lane markings - a memory. Surface -what was once tarmac, is now a thin layer of vegetation atop the tarmac base.

This is a downhill to cherish, especially for a bit of night work.

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