Saturday 29 September 2012

The Sign That Says - we couldn't be bothered...

This post was inspired by Cranky Acid's ‏@CrankyAcid tweet

"cyclists dismount" sign is just another way for councils to say "Can't be arsed sorting this"

Labour Party Conference 2010

Roadworks Nov 2010

June 2011 - Matt Busby Way

Trafford, all over the place.

Victoria Street May 2012

Labour Party Conference 2012


And if you are after an alternative wording,
there is always "BEICWYR MAN DISGYN"...

But the final insult has to go to the organisers of the Sky Ride who couldn't resist having their own version.

Friday 28 September 2012

Cyclists Dismount - it's the Labour Party Conference

It's that time of year again, where parts of the city are blocked off for a conference, and cycling takes a very low priority. After all, do you see delegates turning up by bike? Of course not, their bikes would be treated as a security risk....

Here in Lower Mosely Street the steel fencing closes the pavement, so the cycle track, designed to give a safer crossing of the tram tracks has been closed.


The track on the other side of the road has been turned into a pavement, complete with new tarmac to make a drop kerb!

This is the start of the cycle route down Windmill Street.

View Larger Map

Sunday 23 September 2012

The Trans Pennine Trail - Part 1, Heatley to Dairyhouse Lane

This is a three and a quarter mile section of former railway from the edge of Rushgreen just over the border in Cheshire to the edge of Broadheath in Trafford where the railway trackbed is obliterated by the construction of George Richards Way.

This section starts opposite the Co-op supermarket with a relatively wide A frame barrier.

The path is quite narrow here with low overhanging trees. The path has a reasonable grit surface, but with a number of puddles.

The route emerges from the trees a short way later, at the site of the old Heatley and Warburton Station and level crossing.

After crossing Mill Lane there is another A frame and a horse step, with the sign showing that this section is also open to horses.

After a short paved section the path soon degrades to a grit surface with muddy puddles under some of the trees.

The path soon opens out and crosses the River Bollin and into Trafford.

Before narrowing somewhat.

For a while the trackbed rises high enough to see over the Cheshire landscape,

but the hedges are quite high in places.

This bridge takes you under Dunham Road.

A little further along is Station Road, the site of Dunham Massey Station and level crossing.

Here you hit the first of a set of dreadfully over-the-top cycle barriers which mean that everyone using the trail, except horse riders, has to dismount. for a disabled rider on a handcycle or trike these barriers prevent them from using the route. Manc Bike Mummy has written an extensive post about these barriers though I don't think her proposed solution is viable, far better to remove the horse steps.

At this point I saw a number of people who couldn't get their bikes through the kissing gate and resorted to lifting bicycles through the muddy horse step.

The Trans Pennine Trail web site documents many of the barriers and their problems, the attitude of the local authorities who build them and the way in which they prevent people with mobility problems using the trail.

Further along the path passes Heatley Farm,

before going under School Lane.

On the far side of the bridge the path opens up with fleeting views of the adjacent farmland before diving into this atmospheric tunnel through the trees.

However, you soon come across the extensive car park at Seamon's Road,

and the final set of over-engineered barriers at Dairyhouse Lane.

Link to Seventh Series OS map of the route when the railway was still in place.

The next part of The Trans Pennine Trail - Part 2, Dairyhouse Lane to Woodcote Road is on road.

View Trans Pennine Trail in a larger map

Saturday 15 September 2012

Fallowfield Loop - the Lattice Bridge

Back in March the repairs began on the the Lattice Bridge at the Loop entrance to Highfield country park.

Now the repairs are complete it's open and much smarter.

View Larger Map

Thursday 13 September 2012

The Coffee Cranks Cooperative Cargo Bike

Cycling up Liverpool Road today I came across this wonderful machine on it's first day out. Rider Zygmunt Wysocki built this machine with his dad and his business partner "without whom the project would not make it out of our garage."

Today's job was a house move, the machine was loaded with pots and pans and other household goods. However, as the name suggests, the aim is eventually to sell coffee. Though they may end up building more cargo bikes....

More details of the build are available on the Coffee Cranks Cooperative Facebook page.

Saturday 8 September 2012

The Bridgewater Way - MediaCity to Brooklands

Ok, so this doesn't look like a good start, but stay with me it gets much better. Leave MediaCity Plaza via the swing bridge and go through the Imperial War Museum car park.

Turn right onto the road, and then first left into Warren Bruce Road.

Then as you cross the roundabout and into Europa Way.

There are a load of poor quality segregated cycle paths on the pavement here, but I've never seen anyone cycle on them, every bike I've seen has been on the road.

At the next roundabout keep straight on and head for the Kelloggs sign.

At this point there is an unsignposted left turn onto an unsigned cycle route.

It is marked on the cycling maps, so it isn't a footpath. Follow the path round to the right.

And you will emerge out onto the end of Moss Road.

A little further down there is a signposted left turn onto the Bridgewater Way. Thankfully the stupid barrier has been bypassed by the removal of the original gate.

After a short way down a narrow tarmaced path you emerge to see this sculpture.

Now turn sharp right onto the canal tow path. The surface is fairly well finished in an attractive light stone. This location links with this new post Bridgewater Way, Mosley Rd to Europa Gate via Watersmeet.

It undulated somewhat, so you can't comfortably ride very fast, but that is probably a good thing as it makes you take your time and enjoy the views. A little further along the path takes a detour around the marina.

There are a number of tight bridges on the route, but none of them are in any way dangerous.

The route soon settles down to an easy straight ride, passing several residential moorings.

However, the path deteriorates significantly as you cross the River Mersey. The bridge is unsurfaced...

...and the path suddenly turns into a road, complete with cars. This is the access route to an animal sanctuary.

The surface is very poor in places, but as the road turns right you can fork onto the towpath.

This takes you past the Bridge Inn,

and down to Sale.

Watch out for the one interesting piece of industrial archeology.

Then, just before you reach Brooklands and the end of the path, the high quality cycle path suddenly turns into an idiotic obstacle course. This has been done just because a gate from a school opens out onto the path, but it probably breaches the equalities act and pisses off most of the path users.

There is one last short stretch of residential moorings,

before bikes are directed off the canal path.

From here on the surface of the path degrades severely,

as does the attitude of the signage.

So there you have one of Greater Manchester's best cycle routes. It is used by many people from South Manchester and Trafford who work at MediaCity, not least because the Tram service is pretty dreadful. It is such a shame that it is spoilt by one set of discriminatory barriers that make it unusable for tandems and trikes.

View MCUK to Brooklands in a larger map


And the latest news is that £1.5 million of funding has been granted to deliver the next three phases of the Bridgewater Way. The grant, from the Department for Transport's Local Sustainable Transport Fund, will pay for upgrades to another five miles of the Trafford towpath and a number of improvements to access points and routes to the canal over the next couple of years. This will include sections between Brooklands and Broadheath, through Trafford Park and to Manchester United.

Let's just hope that there are no more silly barriers and that they don't waste any more money on Cyclists Dismount signs.