Friday 29 April 2011

Manchester Critical Mass - April 2011

Sorry, no photos this month, too busy trying not to run into anyone else with the Brox whilst picking the music...

By 6pm there were about 7 of us so I wondered whether it was going to be a washout, but people rolled up eventually and we had a really laid back ride with at least 40 cycles. There were just the two sound systems, me towards the front and the bike mounted ghetto blaster towards the back of the ride.

Lots of really positive vibes, even from many of the car drivers, which just added to the relaxed feel of the ride. We ended up at a street party in Hulme Street and a small bunch of us then rode on to Castlefields.


Indymedia has a few photos here.

Monday 25 April 2011

Fallowfield Loop - the Sainsbury's Tunnel

Having found a reference to a tunnel under the road at Sainsbury's, I had a nose round with the camera today.

Sure enough, you can see the two ends and some of the infrastructure joining the tunnel to the Fallowfield path.

From the west the tunnel is approached by the side of the buildings on the railway bed.

The entrance can be seen, blocked by gates.

From the east the giveaway to its location is the cycle track in the middle of the vehicle ramp

which connects to the gap in the kerb...

Behind the wall is the cycle route

which would have entered the tunnel here.

The designer has removed his version from his web site, so sadly we don't know if he thought this was a good idea or not.

This all begs the question, just how much money was spent on this tunnel and who ended up paying for it?

Update: a follower on twitter has found the text for the deleted web page on the Wayback Machine, so we can now see what he wrote, though the pictures are now sadly lost.

View Fallowfield Loop Tunnel in a larger map

Thursday 21 April 2011

Sackville Street - Fresh Paint...

Back in October I posted this photograph of a bollard in Sackville Street which had been added right in the middle of the pavement cycle sign.

Now, whilst the bollard is still in the middle of the cycle sign, someone has been rearranging the paintwork.

From the opposite direction it used to look like this...

Which makes a bit more sense now.

Notice how the original southbound arrow has been burnt away. However they didn't bother to remove the cycle symbol from around the bollard, so it still looks pretty stupid when approaching from the South.

Which leaves me to wonder whether this work had been scheduled back before October 2010, or whether this paintwork has been amended as a result of some bad publicity...

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Monday 18 April 2011

Fallowfield Loop Barriers 2

Had I tried a little harder to research Saturday's route I might have been better prepared. Adding the word "barrier" to Fallowfield Loop on Google would have given me a much better idea of the route.

2people1bike demonstrates the problem nicely with this photo showing how to get a tandem past the barriers.

Cycle A 2 B has a couple of posts with clear photographs of the barriers, Fallowfield Loop 2 and Fallowfield Loop Barrier.

And, if you can cope with wobbly video from a head-mounted camera, there is also a video, though not of the section I cycled.

Here by comparison is Rowland Dye's rather better made timelapse video of the Bristol to Bath Railway Path - notice the lack of barriers along the path.


If you are yet to be convinced as to why all cycle routes like this should be open to non-standard pedal cycles then watch this programme - jump 17 minutes in to see just how important cycling is for people with a disability.


Interestingly CycleA2B contains this note

"As is this page where I found out there is actually a tunnel underneath Sainsbury's on Wilmslow Road, the design was a cock-up though so it's not in use."

Now, whilst the page linked to is no longer available, it links to this web site..., a name which also turns up in this document about access barriers.

And this document contains a photo of the Fallowfield Loop which explains the horse shit on the path and, quite coincidentally, a photo of my Brox.

Sunday 17 April 2011

Barriers to Cycling on the Fallowfield Loop

On Saturday, I took the Brox Compact on the ride from Oxford Road to Chorlton's Big Green Festival to provide a bit of entertainment. As the route included the Fallowfield Loop railway path I had checked the website of the Friends of the Fallowfield Loop and the online map for information about the use of barriers on the route and couldn't find any information whatsoever. I also checked the Manchester cycling map, but again nothing.

Now I would expect a Sustrans Railway Path to have barriers at the exits and entrances to make it difficult to get motor vehicles onto the route, but the rest of the route should be clear. Sustrans got rid of the in-route barriers on the Bristol to Bath path around 20 years ago.

I had no real difficulty getting onto and off of the path, the machine is narrow enough to get through a normal house door, about the same width as a large wheel chair. However, along the short piece of route between Wilmslow Road and Sandy Lane we encountered four three major barriers, and in three two cases I was very grateful for the other riders who helped lift the Brox over the gates.

This was the first one

This bit of bank on one of the barriers was just wide enough.

and the last one, again the Brox had to be lifted.

Quite how the City Council thinks it can get away with barriers which prevent access for anyone with a disability who has to ride a tricycle or other specially adapted machine. It must also be a real pain for large cycle trailers and tandems. I am sure that the DDA would stop this kind of thing being installed now, and may even make them illegal.


I've tried to find the barriers on Google maps, to plot them, and in the process found this image with two motor vehicles on the path...

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Monday 11 April 2011

Ride to Chorlton's Big Green Festival

Saturday 16th April

11am Depart Manchester Oxford Road
(Salisbury, Revolution, Sound Control)
11.05 Footage & Firkin on Oxford Road
11.10 Whitworth Park
11.15 Platt Chapel
11.20 Sainsbury's Fallowfield then onto Fallowfield Loop
11.35 Arrive Chorlton Big Green Festival

Map of Route

followed by:-

12.00-12.30 Bike Parade around Chorlton
1.20 Bike Fashion Show 1 (music tent)
2.00 Spokes & Velocibici performance
3.00 Puncture Repair Race
3.30 Velocibici performance
4.20 Bike Fashion Show 2 (music tent)
5.00 A ride to Chorlton Ees, TPT, Fallowfield Loop

Thursday 7 April 2011

Stretford Road - Cycle Lane vs Car Parking

On Stretford Road, between Northumberland Road and Henrietta Street/East Union Street, there is a set of parking bays on both sides of the road.

The Cycle lane is narrowed and run along the edge of the parking bays, putting anyone tempted to cycle within the lane into some considerable danger from drivers pulling out or opening their car door.



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Sunday 3 April 2011

Un-ending Lane - Stretford Road

If you cycle east along Stretford Road, the cycle lane announces it is about to end.

Except it doesn't...

This happens right next to the boundary between Trafford and Manchester, demonstrating joined up thinking.....

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