Saturday, 28 February 2015

Freezing February Critical Mass

Ok, so it wasn't quite as cold as January's ride, but many of us got caught out by the sudden drop in temperature at the end of the day. This week was reading week in some parts of the university, so that probably reduced the numbers somewhat. It was quite a small ride but with lots of regular riders it was well controlled and stayed together despite a fast pace.

The ride took a new route at the start to try and avoid the worst of the roadworks,

going down between the Town Hall and the extension

and out on to Albert Square.

Then down John Dalton Street, Bridge Street

and across the River Irwell into Salford.

The ride only ventured as far as Chapel Street, before turning up Blackfriars Street and back into Manchester.

Then in an attempt to cross the city centre, down the end of Deansgate

and up round the Cathedral, where it all got a bit difficult because of the road closures.

We regrouped at the back of the Football Museum and ended up in high-fives with the skateboarders who loved the sound systems.

Then we negotiated the next obstacle course to get us across the tram lines

and out onto Corporation Street and up the very steep hill on Rochdale Road which nearly finished me off! The ride ended at the Angel Pub on the corner.

With three sound systems in such a small ride, the musical accompaniment must have sounded pretty chaotic.

One rider was very appreciative of my more ambient tunes, and wants to form a chill-out zone on one of the summer rides, and was asking if I knew any clubs in Manchester that played this kind of thing.

This ride was mostly drawn from Banco de Gaia, with several versions of Last Train to Lhasa.

Friday, 27 February 2015

Wilmslow Road Cycleway Consultation

Manchester City Council has today posted proposals for the development of the Wilmslow Road Cycleway - Moss Lane East to Dickenson Road, and is carrying out a consultation.

Will post analysis of the plans when I've had a good look at them, but the preview we saw at last Manchester Cycle Forum was promising.

The consultation closes Friday 27 March.

Sunday, 22 February 2015

Castlefield Utilities/Cycle Bridge Scheme

Now as far as I understand it, this bridge is supposed to be the temporary replacement for Princes Bridge, part of NCN route 6, when Network Rail demolish it to build the Ordsall Chord rail link.

It is also a replacement bridge to carry the utilities across the River Irwell.

However, since the whole Ordsall Chord Scheme is still awaiting the results of a public inquiry, this bridge may or may not have been necessary...

From the Salford side of the river, it is clear that a lot of money has been spent on this Bridge and the path on this side has been extensively reworked to change the level of the towpath.

In fact the towpath has been split in two to accommodate the ramps, and the new bridge has been finished off to match the road bridge.

The surface itself includes bollards at both ends, presumably to stop some idiot trying to drive a car over the bridge.

The bridge links back to the road bridge on the Manchester side,

and then crosses the pavement and dumps you in the eastbound cycle lane...

Yes, you've got it, there is no legal way of getting onto the bridge from the Manchester direction!

From Water Street you have no chance of getting across.

The only option seems to be the pedestrian crossing,

or crossing Water Street onto the pavement at the entrance to the car park

and cycling along here illegally.

It seems that Network Rail have failed to put in the rest of the two way cycle track needed to get the route round to Water Street, which should have gone across this patch of mud.

This bridge is an expensive failure. It will result in many people being forced to cycle illegally along the pavement. I don't know who got to see these plans before they were signed off, but I do remember them being mentioned in a GMCC meeting, so I am pretty sure I know where some of the blame lies.

Meantime preparations have started to demolish Princes Bridge and Network Rail have chosen to block the cycle route...

"New cycle route and footpath to be created between Bolton and Bury"

I came across this headline on the This is Lancashire web site a few weeks ago and have been trying to put together the few scraps of information I can find on the web. The next piece I found was "Final stage of new Bolton cycle route gets green light"on the Bolton News site, along with "Cyclists to be ‘caged’ in new Bolton route"which has a useful picture giving one of the viaduct locations and "Former Bury - Bolton railway line" on the Bury Council web site.

The route will mostly be on the trackbed of part of the old Liverpool & Bury Railway.

From what I can gather, the route will start from Scholey Street on an industrial estate in Bolton - not ideal because of the heavy lorries using the road. The route will then be off road on the old railway line over St Peter's Way on the Burnden Viaduct then over the Darcy Lever Viaduct over the River Tonge. From there it will go along or alongside Gorses Road and divert off the railway route through New House Farm playing fields and back onto the railway line where it reaches the boundary with Bury.

Soon after the railway route is lost at Boundary Drive and Boundary Street in Bradley Fold, but can be rejoined on an existing path for a short way the other side of Bradley Lane. The path is then planned to run along the railway route to another interruption at Black Lane and then rejoining the route the other side to join up with the existing Daisyfield Greenway (photo below) to reach Bury.

If anyone has any more details about this route, I'm curious to know when it is planned to open.

Some old photos of the route.

Broken Bollards, Temporary Plastic Crap

The top set of plastic bollards on Middlewood Street have now gone, thanks to the efforts of passing drivers, most likely in HGVs.

These Jislon plastic traffic islands with bollards were only installed ten months ago, so they haven't even lasted a year.

The two bollards are still lying in the grass verge amongst the rubbish.

The remaining island is now badly scared and bits of plastic can be found in the cycle lane, evidence of the many drivers who either can't see where they are going or don't care where they drive.

Previously there was one...

Originally there were two...

The councils and TfGM love these plastic islands and armadillos because they are cheap. However, they are quickly damaged by traffic and would become an expensive maintenance burden, if only they cared about cycle route maintenance...

Whalley Range on Wheels Launch

Via a flyer found at Popup Bikes

Launch of Whalley Range on Wheels
Sunday 1st March 11am - 4pm
Alexandra Park, Whalley Range

Thursday, 12 February 2015

Oldham Cycle Forum

I received the following email today from

Dear Cycle Forum Member,

We’re contacting you with an update following the last forum meeting in September 2014.

Following the meeting, we’ve been looking into how we can continue running the forum in the most effective format. We’ve listened to the feedback from the last forum meeting and have been speaking to other Greater Manchester cycle forums and cycling groups to investigate how we can get the most out of any future engagement with both current and potential cyclists.

We’re committed to the future of the forum and recognise the importance of maintaining a productive two-way relationship with cyclists.

We’ll be in contact in the coming weeks with further information.

Many thanks.

Best Regards,

Bethan Blair

Marketing & Communications

Oldham Council

Tel. 0161 770 5233

Seems to me like an utterly pointless email...