Friday 31 May 2013

May Critical Mass

May's Critical Mass celebrated the warm weather with a good turnout.

It's the first time I've see a two wheeled recumbent on CM in Manchester.

The good weather also brought out lots of bright coloured clothes.

The ride took some new routes today, this was round the back of the university.

The atmosphere was generally very good.

I left as the ride turned south towards Platts Field Park.

A good evening seemed to be had by all, and it was a fitting prelude to Bike Month Manchester.

Music at the front was Nightmares On Wax, Smoker's Delight and Easy Star All-Stars, Dubber Side of the Moon.

Thursday 30 May 2013

Cycle City Ambition Grant for Manchester?

An unconfirmed report on Place North West says that
"Transport for Greater Manchester is understood to have secured £15m from the Government's Cycle City Ambition Grant programme to encourage more people to get on their bikes."

No idea if it is true or not, we will probably have to wait for an official announcement.

The source of the story seems to be a press release on 24th May from Lib Dem MP Andrew Stunell.

Update: the page has now been deleted, but you can still read the press release here.

It is likely that the announcement of the grant will be made sometime around Bike Week.

Saturday 25 May 2013

GMCC News - Summer 2013

Another GMCC Newsletter hits Manchester, this version had to be expanded to 12 pages to cope with all the news of Oxford Road, Velocity 2025, and Bike Month Manchester.

I've put it on Scribid again because the last one still hasn't been posted to the GMCC web site, so I'm not waiting for that to happen when there is so much news to get out there.

One correction to make, the photo at the top of page two is by Agnieszka Jaroszewicz, sorry it all got put together in a bit of a rush

GMCC News Summer 2013 by Mike Armstrong

The formatting is a bit messed up and the quality isn't brilliant on Scribid, so to make sure you get your own printed copy of the GMCC Newsletter then join us now...

Thursday 23 May 2013

Take part in the Manchester Day Parade

The entry for the MCR Day Parade is coming together.

The giant bike has now arrived, and we need help finishing off the bike and puppet during the week.

Also there are still a few places for people to take part in the parade, both with bikes and people to help guide the giant bike.

Email to take part.

Tuesday 21 May 2013

Princes Bridge - "it has not been possible to provide a direct route"

Back in March...

Following on from last year's consultation, Network rail say that the future of Princes Bridge was a key issue for many people. They say they are "committed to providing a replacement crossing which maintains connectivity for pedestrians and cyclists (both short and long term)."

"Talks are ongoing with both Manchester City Council and Salford City Council as to what the bridge might look like, and where an appropriate location might be."

Now, only 2 months later we get this...

The construction of Ordsall Chord will take 2 years, with a planned start date of Winter 2014 and a completion date of Winter 2016. In order to build the Ordsall Chord structures the existing Prince’s Bridge crossing will need to be removed. Once construction is complete, a permanent replacement crossing will be provided. During construction a temporary route is required for pedestrians and cyclists. Prince’s Bridge carries a number of utilities which also need to be diverted permanently. The current plan for this is to build a dedicated utilities bridge adjacent to Castlefield Bridge.

We have considered a number of options for diversion routes, including providing a temporary dedicated crossing facility and diverting pedestrians and cyclists eastbound along Trinity Way towards Quay Street. Both of these options have had to be dismissed. Due to the location of compound sites, on either side of the River Irwell, it has not been possible to provide a direct route, that is safe and that does not conflict with construction traffic. The need to provide ramps to access and egress a temporary bridge means that any journey time savings would be minimal. The routes around the compound sites were indirect and isolated so the safety of both cyclists and pedestrians was also a concern. The eastbound diversion along Trinity Way towards Quay Street has been dismissed as during construction traffic management measures will be in place during certain periods, which may impact upon the cycle lanes and footways along the stretch of Trinity Way between Hampson Street and Irwell Street.

The only other viable diversion route is to divert cyclists along Castlefield Bridge (between Hampson St and Water St). Castlefield Bridge has good existing cycle and pedestrian infrastructure provision with footways and cycle lanes on either side of the carriageway. The key conflict points are at the Water Street / Trinity Way junction and the Hamspon Street / Trinity Way junctions. There is an area underneath the rail bridge on Trinity Way (south west of Hampson St) where space is tight. We have identified a number of options to improve safety for diverted pedestrians and cyclists. We are also looking at the option of making use of the planned new utility crossing, by provided an unsegregated shared pedestrian / cycle route on top of the crossing.

The diversion plans provide different options for how the diversion route could work with the aim of providing a safe route for both pedestrians and cyclists. Any comments would be greatly appreciated.

If you wish to make any comments on the proposals for the *cycle route diversions* please send them to James Shanks at Parsons Brinckerhoff before Saturday 25th May.

For anyone going down the Irwell path it will be easier and quicker to cross the river on the A57 Regent Road and go down the steps.

View Larger Map

Sunday 19 May 2013

On Target for Manchester Day Parade.

The Giant rider is coming together.

Whilst not completed this weekend, artist Julian Taylor was pleased with our progress.

The giant bike is still in his workshop in Liverpool.

It should make it over this week, and at that point he will need some assistance to finish it off, and get it roadworthy, along with last minute touched to the rider.

The parade is at 2pm on Sunday 2nd of June, email if you would like to take part.

I need 2 people to ride the two sculpture outrider bikes, and others to help push and pull it over speed bumps & round corners.

Tuesday 14 May 2013

Locked Gates on the Irwell again

The gates under the Trafford Road bridge were locked all day today.

This was 08:40 this morning

and this was 18:40 this afternoon

Notice that you can access the path on both sides of the gate, so they are doing nothing except pissing off people trying to get to and from work.

Salford City Council should remove these gates all together.

View Larger Map

Sunday 12 May 2013

The Kirklees Trail - Bury to Greenmount

This is possibly the busiest railway path I've seen so far in Greater Manchester, but first you have to find it. It is the old Bury to Holcombe Brook Line, opened in 1882 it is unusual for it's early electrification.

Starting in Bury, this is yet another case where you should not follow the NCN 6 signs, they send you down a pavement, then dump you onto a road with part time cycle lanes!

From Bolton Street, the trick is to head north along Castlecroft Road, and under the bridge towards the fire station.

You go under the ring road, and then turn left where the large rocks block the road.

The path at this stage runs through a park and swings west to join the old railway line at the viaduct over the River Irwell.

The path then crosses Woodhill Road, and then goes steeply up because the old railway cutting has been filled in.

The path emerges into a new housing estate and crosses Brandlesholme Road, where there are crossing lights you can use.

On the other side the path decends steeply to the level of the old track bed again.

After a short while the view opens out to reveal the new viaduct at Woolford, opened by Sustrans in May 2012 at a cost of £650,000, built slightly lower than the original bridge.

As you approach there are some lovely iron sculptures on your right and a bench seat.

The other side the path rises again,

and for a while enters a cutting,

before the view re-emerges to your left.

Past the site of Tottington Station the path goes under Kirklees Street.

The next bridge is Tottington Viaduct,

which carries the line over a small lake.

The path has a local variation on cycle barriers, with these low step-over gates, presumably designed for the horses which use the path. You do have to watch out for horse shit along the way. This is where Shepherd Street crosses.

The path splits in two at the end, horses left, people to the right.

As you emerge at the site of Greenmount Station this bench marks the end of the path by Brandelsholme Road.

To stay on NCN 6, turn right down the hill, then turn left into Vermon Road.

It's only just over 3 miles in lenght, but it's a busy little path with lots of youngsters out in groups on bikes or walking, so it feels safe.

View The Kirklees Trail in a larger map

Additional info from the Railway Ramblers North West Group newsletter.

Thursday 9 May 2013

Help Create a Giant Cyclist for the Manchester Day Parade

Plans are now finally coming together. Our artist/maker, Julian Taylor is building a giant bike in his workshop in Liverpool.

We need help on Sunday 19th May building the rider.

Unit 4a Manchester Industrial Estate
New Elm Road
Off Water Street
M3 4JW

From 11 to 1am and from 2 till 5pm.

For the parade itself there is also the opportunity to take part.

The parade is at 2pm on Sunday 2nd of June, email if you would like to take part.

Photo from last year's event.

Monday 6 May 2013

Outwood Trail Resurfacing - a sneak preview

The Outwood Trail is due to officially open on 24th May.

However, today the barriers had been pushed back and several people were getting a preview of the work done so far.

The new cycling surface is really smooth and well laid.

There are some strange bits where the cycle path goes off to one side to leave room for a separate horse path.

And some bits of wood lying around...

About two thirds of the route has been laid to tarmac so far.

The tarmac runs out just short of the "Trinity" sculpture.

Trinity is a memorial to the navies that lost their lives during the construction of the railway. The sculpture uses the symbolic language of flowers which was common during the Victorian period when the railway cutting was created. The column has rusted over time making the sculpture part of the natural environment, and a symbolic representation of a tree, at home in the surrounding woodland.

The hardcore also runs out in the last section at the north end and there are pools of water here too.


All in all, the work so far looks really promising, and it will be really good when it's finished.

Sunday 5 May 2013

The Lost Stone Feature on Lon Eifion

Back in 1994 when I road the Bike Tours "Journey Across Britain" I saw this lovely stone feature on the Sustrans cycle route, just south of Penygroes.

I was looking foward to seeing it again last week when I rode the full length of the route.

Unfortunately, this section of the path now looks more like this!

Sadly this section of the route has been built over with the re-routing of the A487, and none of the original stone features survived.

The whole section that I had cycled on before has either been replaced by the road or was used as the access road to the quarry durring the road's construction.

The route did gain a wide coveing of tarmac, but it lost its character and what looked like an original comissioned artwork.

View Larger Map

Saturday 4 May 2013

Oxford Road Flashmob

A short and sweet cycling demonstration in Oxford Road this morning showing just how much we care about the future plans for cycling in Oxford Road and the wider Manchester area.

Around 100 riders gathered at 10am sharp to cover the road with people and pedal cycles for just 5 minutes.

There were two bike lifts for the cameras.

And a sociable post event coffee and chat.

TfGM will soon be going out to consultation with their plans for bikes and buses on Oxford Road - expected start date is Monday 13 May.

It seems that GMCA & TfGM have accepted the principle of "Dutch-style" routes, and we must hold out for good quality implementation of this. The recent Greater Manchester Cycling City Ambition Grant document on Oxford Road says that "Dutch-style full segregation of cycle routes will feature prominently along a 4 mile long flat thoroughfare" (page 18)

A video by Anthony Johnson of the event.



A photo taken from above