Sunday 28 October 2012

£2,500 for one cycle parking space

This Saturday's MEN carried a story that underlines just how far off the plot Manchester is when it comes to cycling. The item, titled "Underground bike park to open as part of bid to make Manchester the ‘commuter cycling capital of Britain’" gives details of a new £500,000 cycle hub in the centre of Manchester. Now, half a million pounds being spent on cycling in the city centre sounds like good news. Money like that could make a big difference....

However, this £500,000 has been spent on providing cycle parking for only 200 bikes. That's an eye watering £2,500 per cycle parking space. People using this high-quality facility will have to pay £100 or £200 a year to use it. So this is an expensive, executive cycle parking facility that will benefit a few well paid cyclists, like the city council leader, but make very little difference to the number of people cycling in Manchester.



A source tells me that by mid December this very expensive facility (which has been extensively marketed) had only attracted 36 members. That would work out at over £10,000 per cycle parking space!

Saturday 20 October 2012

Irwell River Park: Part 4 - River Park Meadows

Part 3 of the Irwell River Park is still mostly a no-go area for pedal cycles, but part four is somewhat better...

Starting at New Bridge Street, the route is marked by red loops over the path.

The path slopes down onto a boardwalk, turns a tight left and right under Trinity Way,

emerging onto a tarmac path along the south side of the river.

After a while the path kinks left

and then turn right through the gates

and the path turns to a sand surface alongside the river.

This is by far the best path of this route, with wide views an a feeling of freedom from the urban landscape. Here the canalised Irwell of the docks and city center is replaced by a free-flowing river between substantial flood barriers.

Soon however, the path presents bike riders with a problem. At Broughton Bridge, the path runs into steps, so you have to turn left out onto St Simon Street and then right along Blackfriars Road to avoid lifting your pedal cycle.

The route crosses Blackfriars Road on the level with no assistance apart from a traffic island.

Soon after the route opens out into this strange wide path that looks like a rear access road. It is also hemmed in by a brick wall on the left and railings on the right. Despite being traffic free it feels oddly unsafe as if a delivery van is about to come flying round the corner.

At the end of this section there is a traffic-free junction where the Irwell River Path joins the route of NCN route 6.

At this point the path turns right onto Adelphi Footbridge and into a dreadful set of barriers.

If you can get your pedal cycle through this obstruction you drop down onto Riverside,

and then turn right onto Meadow Road.

The road is soon blocked by another weird set of barriers'

and the route turns from a wide road into a flagstone shared footpath.

The path soon becomes hemmed in between the river and back gardens.

The path then crosses Frederick Road - again with no assistance other than a traffic island.

The other side of the road the path is obstructed by another set of barriers.

A short way further on the route reaches St Boniface Road where it turns left over the bridge

and hits yet another set of barriers.

If you can get this far the Irwell River Park ends at Gerald Road, though NCN Route 6 continues.

View Irwell River Park: Part 4 in a larger map

Wednesday 17 October 2012

Irwell River Park Railing Repairs

Today there has been further repair work on the Ordsall section of the Irwell River Park path.

For the past two months or so there have been two big gaps in the railings on the Ordsall section of the path.

This evening the gaps had been filled with nice new sections of railings, in time for the dark winter ride home.

Tuesday 16 October 2012

Are You A "Regular Cyclist"?

What a silly question you might say..., well first ask yourself what you would consider a regular cyclist.

Would you call someone a "Regular Cyclist" if they cycled:-

  • 12 times a day,
  • 12 times a week,
  • 12 times a month,
  • or 12 times a year?

    Well 12 times a day is the sort of punishing regime you would expect of someone like Chris Hoy or Victoria Pembleton, so that's a bit beyond us mere mortals.

    12 times a week is a bit more reasonable. That includes people who commute to work 5 days a week and get out on a bike at weekends too, say a couple of shopping trips, or visiting friends. That's the category I belong to and it feels about right to me.

    12 times a month would include people who potter out on a bike 3 or 4 times a week. Regular cyclists, possibly, particulally if they have restricted opportunities to cycle, like they have to take the train to get to work.

    12 times a year on the other hand is a bit of a joke. You only have to get on a bike every day for a couple of weeks once a year, or ride round your local park once a month to fall into this category. Nobody could take such a measure of activity seriously, could they?

    Well, you've possibly guessed by now that the joker in this particular pack is Sky/British Cycling.

    They claim that:-

    A ‘regular cyclist’ is a cyclist who has cycled at least 12 times in the past year.

     Why on earth would anyone use such a weak level of activity? In order to make wildly inflated claims of course! Sky are making the claim that they have created a million more "regular cyclists" with their Sky Rides.

    This would be a joke if they didn't have undue influence over cycling policy in the City of Manchester. Indeed, Manchester City Council has adopted the same weak measure, phrased as once a month, for its own target of getting "20,000 more cyclists" by 2017.

    Besides, James Murdoch, who was personally responsible for Sky's funding of British Cycling, the Sky racing team and other events, is a personal friend of Jeremy Clarkson, and he wouldn't want to get people out cycling too often as they might get in the way of Clarkson's Range Rover.....

    Sunday 14 October 2012

    First Street Courtesy Bikes

    I've seen a few of these being ridden around Manchester

    The First Street development has a courtesy bike pool.

    You can book them from reception.

    The web address redirects to so this is just a bit of an advertising test.

    However, they are a welcome addition to the local area.

    Saturday 13 October 2012

    More Advertising Bikes

    I do like advertising bikes, I think they draw attention to the bicycles as much as the thing they are trying to promote. This Warp Asylum advert is the newest arrival in central Manchester.

    Whilst this one has been around the Northern Quarter for some time, but I hadn't got round to posting it.

    In Keswick this rather more aged bike points the way to the cheese shop.

    And this fine example sits by the side door of the rather wonderful Lakeland Pedlar cafe and bike shop.

    Unfortunately their sister shop, Keswick Bikes advertises their presence by blocking the pavement with a car.

    Saturday 6 October 2012

    Tweed Ride - October 2012

    Today's Tweed Ride got off to a relaxed start as befits such an event, somewhat later than planned.

    There was a fine turnout of bikes and riders in the bright autumnal sunshine.

    Riding though the city centre the ride attracted much comment. My favourite was a cry of "man, these people know how to dress."

    As for the machines, there were a number of modern bikes alongside some lovely reproductions,


    and stunning originals like this shaft drive.

    Friday 5 October 2012

    The Trans Pennine Trail - Part 2, Dairyhouse Lane to Woodcote Road

    Continued from TPT Part 1, Heatley to Dairyhouse Lane

    Travelling west to east, the railpath ends with a set of over-engineered cycling barriers at Dairyhouse Lane.

    Here the trail goes left then forks immediately right into a country lane wide enough to have wite lines down the centre.

    After a sharp right the route entres a 30mph limit and a give way with Baltic Road to the right. Turn left here continuing along Dairyhouse Lane.


    The road immediately loses it's rural feel as it passes alongside an industrial estate.


    After a sharp left hand bend there are these width restrictions which presumably prevent lorries using the lane. One oddity at this point is the way the pieces of road run in straight lines, then have right angle bends. This is the site of Dairyhouse Farm where my old ordinance Survey one inch map from 1961 shows a set of railway tracks in Dairyhouse Farm. Apparently in World War I Dairyhouse Farm at Sinderland was used as a prisoner-of-war camp and again in WWII as an RAF ordinance depot with a rail network linked to the Timperley/Warrington line.See item 20 on this page for details.

    Soon the route turns left into Sinderland Road, which is probably much busier.

    Along the road are these markings, but no cycle lanes or anything like that.


    The route then turns right into Woodcote Road, and goes up over a bridge.

    Interestingly this bridge goes over a disused railway which ran from just east of Glazebrook joining the route of the railway in the previous part of the TPT to the east in Timperly, the Glazebrook East Junction to Skelton Junction Line. The track has been lifted and it looks like it already forns a footpath. This is clearly a potential cycle route, but it would be interesting to know what condition it is in and whether the Cadishead Viaduct over the Manchester Ship Canal could be refurbished to make a cycle bridge.

    Half a mile to the east was the site of West Timperley Station.

    The route goes straight through Woodcote Farm where it goes off road onto a concrete track.

    The most interesting part of this route is the disused railway it passes over. I've included it for continuity with the off road sections.

    The next section of the Trans Pennine Trail heads north into Carrington Moss.

    View TPT2 in a larger map